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Consumer Behavior

The term Consumer Behavior is

defined as the behavior that
consumer display in searching for,
purchasing, using, evaluating, and
disposing of products and services
that they expect will satisfy their
One Definition
• Consumer behavior: the
study of individuals, groups, or
organizations and the
processes they use to select,
secure, use, and dispose of
products, services,
experiences, or ideas to satisfy
needs and the impacts that
these processes have on the
consumer and society.
Consumer Decision-Making
Need Recognition

Information Search
Cultural, Social,
Individual and
Psychological Evaluation
Factors of Alternatives
all steps Purchase

Complete model of consumer behavior

search Influences
• culture
• social class
• family
Stimuli Attention Alternative • situation
(marketer evaluation
dominated, Memory
other) Individual
Acceptance Purchase
• resources
• motivation &
Retention involvement
Outcomes • knowledge
• attitudes
• personality,
values, lifestyle
Dissatisfaction Satisfaction
• How do you know when to shop? What are the
triggers that initiate an awareness & search?

• What are the internal & external sources of these

Need Recognition
• When a current product isn’t
Marketing helps
consumers recognize performing properly
(or create) an imbalance
between present status • When the consumer is running
and preferred state out of an product

• When another product seems State

superior to the one currently used
The information search stage

An internal search involves the

scanning of one's memory to recall previous Personal sources
experiences or knowledge concerning (friends and family)
solutions to the problem-- often sufficient for
frequently purchased products.
Public sources (rating
services like Consumer
An external search may be necessary Reports)
when past experience or knowledge is
insufficient, the risk of making a wrong
purchase decision is high, and/or the cost of Marketer-dominated
gathering information is low. sources (advertising
or sales people)

The evoked set: a group of

brands from which the buyer can
• go back to your past purchase– what were the
specific internal and external sources of
information that influenced your decision?

• how do you determine (and rate) the credibility of

these sources?

• what specific information influenced you?

Determinants of External Search
Buyer Behavior
Other people often influence a consumers purchase decision.
The marketer needs to know which people are involved in the
buying decision and what role each person plays, so that
marketing strategies can also be aimed at these people.
(Kotler et al, 1994).

• Initiator: the person who first suggests or thinks of the idea of buying a
particular product or service.

• Influencer: a person whose views or advice carry weight in making the

final buying decision

• Decider: the person who ultimately makes the final buying decision or any
part of it

• Buyer: the person who makes the actual purchase

• User: the person who consumes the product or service
Note: teens are increasingly assuming more of these roles

Think about your past purchase– who was in which role?

Relative influence of husbands & wives
Child clothing Women’s
Final Information groceries
Pots & pans
decision search
Paint wallpaper
Men’s leisure clothing
Joint Men’s business clothing
TV sets
Financial planning

Family car Sport equipment


Lawn mower

Extent of role specialization Dominant

100 75 50 25 0
Consumer decision making
varies with the level of involvement in the
purchasing decision

• Extensive: problem solving occurs when

buyers purchase more expensive, less
frequently purchased products in an
unfamiliar product category requiring
information search & evaluation; may
experience cognitive dissonance.

• Limited: problem solving occurs when buyers are

confronted with an unfamiliar brand in a familiar product Increase in
category Consumer
• Routine: response behavior occurs processes
when buyers purchase low cost, low risk, brand loyal,
frequently purchased, low personal identification or
relevance, items with which they are familiar.
• quickly list 10 items you have purchased in the past

• reexamine how long it took you to make a decision

on each

• why did such a difference in decision occur?

Factors affecting
Consumer involvement

• Previous experience: low level involvement

• Interest: high involvement

• Perceived risk of negative consequences: high involvement

• Situation: low to high due to risk

• Social visibility: involvement increases with product visibility

• Offer extensive information on high involvement products
• In-store promotion & placement is important for low involvement products
• Linking low-involvement product to high-involvement issue can increase sales
Types of consumer involvement
and decision making

Routine Limited Extensive

Involvement Short Low to High

Time Low Short to Long
Cost Short Low to High
Information Internal only Mostly Internal &
Search internal external
Number of one few many
Postpurchase Behavior

Cognitive Dissonance

Can minimize through:

Effective Communication
Did I make a good decision? Guarantees
Did I buy the right product? Underpromise &
Did I get a good value?
Sour Grapes–
a story of

…after being unable to reach the grapes the fox said, “these
grapes are probably sour, and if I had them I would not eat
Cognitive Dissonance
• psychological discomfort caused by inconsistencies
among a person’s beliefs, attitudes, and actions
• varies in intensity based on importance of issue and
degree of inconsistency
• induces a “drive state” to avoid or reduce dissonance
by changing beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors and
thereby restore consistency


Tendency to avoid information can be countered by eliciting interest,

norm of fairness, or perceive usefulness of information

Post-decision “buyer’s remorse” may be increased by importance or difficulty

or irreversibility of decision

Counter-attitudinal action, freely chosen with little incentive or

justification, leads to attitude change (e.g., new product at special low
Decision Processing
Elaboration Likelihood Method (ELM) of persuasion
Persuasive Communication
Attitude Shift:
• short-lived
Motivated to Process?
• susceptible to influence
• personal relevance • dissonance arousal • unpredictable
• personal importance • need for cognition
• personal responsibility • repetition

Peripheral Cues Present?

Ability to Process? • reciprocity (obligated, did a favor)
• consistency (way it’s done, similar to before)
• cognitive complexity • appropriate schema • social proof (peer pressure, conformity)
• critical thinking • message pace • liking (attractiveness, friendliness)
• distraction free • repetition • celebrity (identification, prestige)
• low arousal • issue familiarity • authority (expertise, experience, credibility)
• rapid speech, forceful presentation, charismatic style
• scarcity (limited time offer)
Nature of Active Cognitive Processing: (initial • tangible rewards
attitude, argument quality, etc.) • appealing visuals & music (emotional arousal)
Favorable Unfavorable Neither or • fear appeal
Thoughts Thoughts Neutral • weak counter-arguments
Predominate Predominate Predominate

Retain or Regain
Cognitive Structure Change: Are new cognitions Initial Attitude
adopted and stored in memory? Are different • greater persistence
responses made salient than previously? • resistant to counterattacks & fading
• predictive of behavior
• > brand memory
Enduring positive Enduring negative • > elaboration
attitude change attitude change • >usage intention
(persuasion) (boomerang) • > attitude accessibility
• > attitude confidence
• > attitude-behavior consistency
Items 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 16, and 17 are reverse scored
Write in the number that best fits your view:
1 2 3 4 Need for
completely mostly mostly completely Cognition Scale
false false true true
_____1. I would prefer complex to simple problems.
_____2. I like to have the responsibility of handling a situation that requires a lot of thinking.
_____3. Thinking is not my idea of fun. *
_____4. I would rather do something that requires little thought than something that is sure to
challenge my thinking abilities. *
_____5. I try to anticipate and avoid situations where there is likely chance I will have to think
in depth about something. *
_____6. I find satisfaction in deliberating hard and for long hours.
_____7. I only think as hard as I have to. *
_____8. I prefer to think about small, daily projects to long-term ones. *
_____9. I like tasks that require little thought once I’ve learned them. *
_____10. The idea of relying on thought to make my way to the top appeals to me.
_____11. I really enjoy a task that involves coming up with new solutions to problems.
_____12. Learning new ways to think doesn’t excite me very much. *
_____13. I prefer my life to be filled with puzzles that I must solve.
_____14. The notion of thinking abstractly is appealing to me.
_____15. I would prefer a task that is intellectual, difficult, and important to one that is somewhat
important but does not require much thought.
_____16. I feel relief rather than satisfaction after completing a task that required a lot of mental
effort. *
_____17. It’s enough for me that something gets the job done; I don’t care how or why it works. *
_____18. I usually end up deliberating about issues even when they do not affect me personally.
Sleeper Effect:
• when secondary source becomes more credible than primary source
over time
• persuasion may increase over time with a weak source
• forget the source but remember the message
• not if source is learned prior to the message (will ignore or bias

Example: Attack ads during political campaigns

Next week: Survey & questionnaire design

• Think of our graduate program in

• Formulate 5 questions that you think would
get at customer (student) satisfaction with the

• Term paper
• Bring 1 page with title, 1 paragraph on
purpose & overview
• Citation for 1 journal and one book