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What Is Consumer Behavior in Marketing? - Factors, Model & Definition

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❶We all base our buying decisions on two main forms of reasoning; rational and emotional.

What is Consumer Behavior in Marketing?

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3.1 Factors That Influence Consumers’ Buying Behavior
Situational Factors

Some studies have shown that consumers feel better about retailers who attempt to prevent overcrowding in their stores. If people are lined up to buy something, you want to know why. Should you get in line to buy it too? Herd behavior helped drive up the price of houses in the mids before the prices for them rapidly fell. Unfortunately, herd behavior has also led to the deaths of people.

In , a store employee was trampled to death by an early morning crowd rushing into a Walmart to snap up holiday bargains. Are you going to turn her down or be a friendly neighbor and buy a box or two? Are you going to turn down cookies from this cute Girl Scout?

Pass the milk, please! Companies like Pampered Chef that sell their products at parties understand that the social situation makes a difference. Certain social situations can also make you less willing to buy products. Where do you take someone for your first date? The time of day, time of year, and how much time consumers feel like they have to shop affect what they buy. Have you ever gone to the grocery store when you are hungry or after pay day when you have cash in your pocket?

When you are hungry or have cash, you may purchase more than you would at other times. The goal is to get the products on the shelves when and where consumers want them. Likewise, if you need customer service from Amazon. The reason you are shopping also affects the amount of time you will spend shopping. Are you making an emergency purchase?

What if you need something for an important dinner or a project and only have an hour to get everything? Are you shopping for a gift or for a special occasion? In recent years, emergency clinics have sprung up in strip malls all over the country. Convenience is one reason. The other is sheer necessity. The same thing may happen if you need something immediately.

Purchasing a gift might not be an emergency situation, but you might not want to spend much time shopping for it either. Gift certificates have been popular for years. You can purchase gift cards for numerous merchants at your local grocery store or online. By contrast, suppose you need to buy an engagement ring.

What if the diamond was fake? What if your significant other turned you down and you had to return the ring? How hard would it be to get back online and return the ring? Have you ever felt like going on a shopping spree?

Some people enjoy shopping. The crash of the U. Penny pinching came into vogue, and conspicuous spending was out. Costco and Walmart experienced heightened sales of their low-cost Kirkland Signature and Great Value brands as consumers scrimped 1. Its annual release of spring fashions usually leads to a feeding frenzy among shoppers, but spring was different. To get buyers in the shopping mood, companies resorted to different measures. The upscale retailer Neiman Marcus began introducing more mid-priced brands.

Discounters like Half-Priced books saw their sales surge. So did seed sellers as people began planting their own gardens. Finally, what about those products Aqua Globes, Snuggies, and Ped Eggs you see being hawked on television?

Their sales were the best ever. Apparently, consumers too broke to go on vacation or shop at Saks were instead watching television and treating themselves to the products Ward, Can companies successfully target certain products to people based on their personalities? How do you find out what personalities consumers have? Are extraverts wild spenders and introverts penny pinchers?

Your self-concept is how you see yourself—be it positive or negative. Marketing researchers believe people buy products to enhance how they feel about themselves—to get themselves closer to their ideal selves. Army to recruit soldiers, is an attempt to appeal to the self-concept. Presumably, by joining the U.

Army, you will become a better version of yourself, which will, in turn, improve your life. All of us want products that improve our lives. While demographic variables such as income, education, and marital status are important, we will look at gender, age, and stage of life and how they influence purchase decisions.

They also shop differently and in general, have different attitudes about shopping. You know the old stereotypes. Women influence fully two-thirds of all household product purchases, whereas men buy about three-quarters of all alcoholic beverages Schmitt, The shopping differences between men and women seem to be changing, though.

One survey found that approximately 45 percent of married men actually like shopping and consider it relaxing. One study by Resource Interactive, a technology research firm, found that when shopping online, men prefer sites with lots of pictures of products and women prefer to see products online in lifestyle context—say, a lamp in a living room. Women are also twice as likely as men to use viewing tools such as the zoom and rotate buttons and links that allow them to change the color of products.

Marketing to men is big business. Some advertising agencies specialize in advertisements designed specifically to appeal to male consumers. Some advertising agencies specialize in advertising directed at men. You have probably noticed that the things you buy have changed as you age. Think about what you wanted and how you spent five dollars when you were a child, a teenager, and an adult. When you were a child, the last thing you probably wanted as a gift was clothing.

As you became a teen, however, cool clothes probably became a bigger priority. How do you think spending patterns change when someone has a young child or a teenager or a child in college? Diapers and day care, orthodontia, tuition, electronics—regardless of the age, children affect the spending patterns of families.

Once children graduate from college and parents are empty nesters, spending patterns change again. Empty nesters and baby boomers are a huge market that companies are trying to tap. The suit simulates the restricted mobility and vision people experience as they get older. Car designers can then figure out how to configure the automobiles to better meet the needs of these consumers.

The suit gives the designer an idea what kinds of car-related challenges older consumers face. Your chronological age , or actual age in years, is one thing.

Your cognitive age , or how old you perceive yourself to be, is another. To better understand and connect with consumers, companies interview or ask people to complete questionnaires about their lifestyles or their activities, interests, and opinions often referred to as AIO statements.

Consumers are not only asked about products they like, where they live, and what their gender is but also about what they do—that is, how they spend their time and what their priorities, values, opinions, and general outlooks on the world are. Where do they go other than work? Who do they like to talk to? What do they talk about? Other companies have paid people to keep a daily journal of their activities and routines.

A number of research organizations examine lifestyle and psychographic characteristics of consumers. Psychographics combines the lifestyle traits of consumers and their personality styles with an analysis of their attitudes, activities, and values to determine groups of consumers with similar characteristics. One of the most widely used systems to classify people based on psychographics is the VALS Values, Attitudes, and Lifestyles framework. Using VALS to combine psychographics with demographic information such as marital status, education level, and income provide a better understanding of consumers.

Motivation is the inward drive we have to get what we need. In the mids, Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, developed the hierarchy of needs shown in Figure 3.

Maslow theorized that people have to fulfill their basic needs—food, water, and sleep—before they can begin fulfilling higher-level needs. Have you ever gone shopping when you were tired or hungry? Even if you were shopping for something that would make you the envy of your friends maybe a new car you probably wanted to sleep or eat even more.

Just give me a nap and a candy bar. The need for food is recurring. Other needs, such as shelter, clothing, and safety, tend to be enduring. For example, during grade school and high school, your social needs probably rose to the forefront. You wanted to have friends and get a date. Perhaps this prompted you to buy certain types of clothing or electronic devices.

A simpler way of thinking about problem recognition is that it is where the consumer decides that he or she is 'in the market' for a product or service to satisfy some need or want. The strength of the underlying need drives the entire decision process.

Theorists identify three broad classes of problem-solving situation relevant for the purchase decision: Consumers become aware of a problem in a variety of ways including: During the information search and evaluation stages, the consumer works through processes designed to arrive at a number of brands or products that represent viable purchase alternatives.

Typically consumers first carry out an internal search ; that is a scan of memory for suitable brands. The evoked set is a term used to describe the set of brands that a consumer can elicit from memory and is typically a very small set of some 3- 5 alternatives.

The fact that a consumer is aware of a brand does not necessarily mean that it is being considered as a potential purchase. For instance, the consumer may be aware of certain brands, but not favourably disposed towards them known as the inept set. Such brands will typically be excluded from further evaluation as purchase options. For other brands, the consumer may have indifferent feelings the inert set. Traditionally, one of the main roles of advertising and promotion was to increase the likelihood that a brand name was included in the consumer's evoked set.

In practice, the consideration set has assumed greater importance in the purchase decision process because consumers are no longer totally reliant on memory. The implication for marketers is that relevant brand information should be disseminated as widely as possible and included on any forum where consumers are likely to search for product or brand information, whether traditional media or digital media channels. Thus, marketers require a rich understanding of the typical consumer's touchpoints.

Consumer evaluation can be viewed as a distinct stage. Alternatively, evaluation may occur continuously throughout the entire decision process.

Consumers evaluate alternatives in terms of the functional also called utilitarian and psycho-social also called the value-expressive or the symbolic benefits offered. Brand image or brand personality is an important psycho-social attribute. Consumers can have both positive and negative beliefs about a given brand. Consumers who are less knowledgeble about a category tend to evaluate a brand based on its functional characteristics.

However, when consumers become more knowledgeable, functional attributes diminish and consumers process more abstract information about the brand, notably the self-related aspects. The marketing organization needs a deep understanding of the benefits most valued by consumers and therefore which attributes are most important in terms of the consumer's purchase decision. During the evaluation of alternatives, the consumer ranks or assesses the relative merits of different options available.

No universal evaluation process is used by consumers across all-buying situations. Thus the relevant evaluation attributes vary according to across different types of consumers and purchase contexts. For example, attributes important for evaluating a restaurant would include food quality, price, location, atmosphere, quality of service and menu selection. Consumers, depending on their geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioural characteristics, will decide which attributes are important to them.

Potential patrons seeking a hedonic dining experience may be willing to travel further distances to patronise a fine-dining venue compared to those wanting a quick meal at a more utilitarian eatery. After evaluating the different product attributes, the consumer ranks each attribute or benefit from highly important to least important. Once the alternatives have been evaluated, the consumer firms up their resolve to proceed through to the actual purchase.

Purchase intentions are a strong, yet imperfect predictor of sales. Sometimes purchase intentions simply do not translate into an actual purchase and this can signal a marketing problem. The extent to which purchase intentions result in actual sales is known as the sales conversion rate.

Organizations use a variety of techniques to improve conversion rates. The provision of easy credit or payment terms may encourage purchase. Sales promotions such as the opportunity to receive a premium or enter a competition may provide an incentive to buy now rather than defer purchases for a later date.

Advertising messages with a strong call-to-action are yet another device used to convert customers. Other types of calls-to-action might provide consumers with strong reasons for purchasing immediately such an offer that is only available for a limited time e. The key to a powerful call-to-action is to provide consumers with compelling reasons to purchase promptly rather than defer purchase decisions.

As consumers approach the actual purchase decision, they are more likely to rely on personal sources of information. Methods used might include: Following purchase and after experiencing the product or service, the consumer enters the final stage, namely post-purchase evaluation.

The consumer's purchase and post-purchase activities have the potential to provide important feedback to marketers. The post purchase stage is where the consumer examines and compares product features, such as price, functionality, and quality with their expectations.

This is also known as "post-purchase intention". Consumer actions, in this instance, could involve requesting a refund, making a complaint, deciding not to purchase the same brand or from the same company in the future or even spreading negative product reviews to friends or acquaintances, possibly via social media.

After acquisition, consumption or disposition, consumers may feel some uncertainty in regards to the decision made, generating in some cases regret.

Post-decision dissonance also known as cognitive dissonance is the term used to describe feelings of anxiety that occur in the post purchase stage; and refers to the consumer's uneasy feelings or concerns as to whether or not the correct decision was made at purchase. This type of anxiety can affect consumers' subsequent behaviour and may have implications for repeat patronage and customer loyalty.

Consumers use a number of strategies to reduce post purchase dissonance. A typical strategy is to look to peers or significant others for validation of the purchase choice.

Marketing communications can also be used to remind consumers that they made a wise choice by purchasing Brand X. When consumers make unfavorable comparisons between the chosen option and the options forgone, they may feel post-decision regret or buyer's remorse. Consumers can also feel short-term regret when they avoid making a purchase decision, however this regret can dissipate over time.

This refers to the formation of hypotheses about the products or a service through prior experience or word of mouth communications. There are four stages that consumers go through in the hypothesis testing: Hypothesis generation, exposure of evidence, encoding of evidence and integration of evidence. Internal influences refer to both personal and interpersonal factors. Social theory suggests that individuals have both a personal identity and a social identity. Personal identity consists of unique personal characteristics such as skills and capabilities, interests and hobbies.

Social identity consists of the individual's perception of the central groups to which an individual belongs and may refer to an age group, a lifestyle group, religious group, educational group or some other reference group. Social psychologists have established that the need to belong is one of the fundamental human needs.

Demographic factors include income level, psychographics lifestyles , age, occupation and socio-economic status. Personality factors include knowledge, attitudes, personal values, beliefs , emotions and feelings. Psychological factors include an individual's motivation , attitudes , personal values and beliefs. Other factors that may affect the purchase decision include the environment and the consumer's prior experience with the category or brand.

Social identity factors include culture, sub-culture and reference groups. The consumer's underlying motivation drives consumer action, including information search and the purchase decision. The consumer's attitude to a brand or brand preference is described as a link between the brand and a purchase motivation.

One approach to understanding motivations, was developed by Abraham Maslow. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is based on five levels of needs, organized accordingly to the level of importance. Maslow's five needs are: Physiological needs and safety needs are the so-called lower order needs.

Consumers typically use most of their resources time, energy and finances attempting to satisfy these lower order needs before the higher order needs of belonging, esteem and self-actualization become meaningful. Part of any marketing program requires an understanding of which motives drive given product choices. Marketing communications can illustrate how a product or brand fulfills these needs.

Another approach proposes eight purchase motivations, five negative motives and three positive motives, which energise purchase decisions as illustrated in the table below. In the marketing literature, the consumer's motivation to search for information and engage in the purchase decision process is sometimes known as involvement.

On the other hand, a purchase decision is classified as high involvement when psycho-social risks are perceived to be relatively high. Part of marketing strategy is to ascertain how consumers gain knowledge and use information from external sources. The perception process is where individuals receive, organize and interpret information in order to attribute some meaning.

Perception involves three distinct processes: Sensation is also part of the perception process, and it is linked direct with responses from the senses creating some reaction towards the brand name, advertising and packaging. The process of perception is uniquely individual and may depend on a combination of internal and external factors such as experiences, expectations, needs and the momentary set. When exposed to a stimulus, consumers may respond in entirely different ways due to individual perceptual processes.

Selective exposure occurs when consumers decide whether to be exposed to information inputs. Selective attention occurs when consumers focus on some messages to the exclusion of others.

Selective comprehension is where the consumer interprets information in a manner that is consistent with their own beliefs. Selective retention occurs when consumers remember some information while rapidly forgetting other information. The way that consumers combine information inputs to arrive at a purchase decision is known as integration. Marketers are interested in consumer perceptions of brands, packaging, product formulations, labeling and pricing.

Of special interest is the threshold of perception also known as the just noticeable difference in a stimulus. For example, how much should a marketer lower a price before consumers recognize it as a bargain? Accordingly, white packaging would be an inappropriate color choice for food labels on products to be marketed in Asia.

The consumer's prior experience with the category, product or brand can have a major bearing on purchase decision-making. Experienced consumers also called experts are more sophisticated consumers; they tend to be more skillful information searchers, canvass a broader range of information sources and use complex heuristics to evaluate purchase options. Novice consumers, on the other hand, are less efficient information searchers and tend to perceive higher levels of purchase risk on account of their unfamiliarity with the brand or category.

When consumers have prior experience, they have less motivation to search for information, spend less effort on information search but can process new information more efficiently.

Purchasing behaviour can also be affected by external influences, such as culture , sub-culture , social class , reference groups , family and situational determinants. Culture is the broadest and most abstract of the external factors.

Culture refers to the complexity of learning meanings, values, norms, and customs shared by members of a society. Cultural norms are relatively stable over time, therefore, culture has a major impact on consumer behaviour.

Research studies have consistently shown that culture influences almost every aspect of purchasing: Marketers, interested in global expansion, are especially interested in understanding cross-cultural differences in purchasing and consumption.

For instance, Ferrari, one of the world's top brands found that Chinese consumers are very different from their Western counterparts. Whereas consumers in the US, UK and Australia expect to wait 12 months for a custom-made Ferrari, prospective Chinese buyers want to drive the vehicle off the showroom floor.

Buyers see their friends riding around in a luxury car and want to have the same as quickly as possible. To meet the growing demand for luxury goods, Ferrari and other luxury car makers have been forced to modify their production processes for Asian markets. Subcultures may be based on age, geographic, religious, racial, and ethnic differences. More often, however, a subculture occurs when people with shared interests form a loose-knit group with a distinctive identity sometimes called consumer tribes.

Members of subcultures are self-selected, and signal their membership status by adopting symbols, rituals or behaviours that are widely understood by other members of the tribe e. For example, within youth culture it is possible to identify a number of sub-groups with common interests such as skaters and bladers, surfers, ravers, punks, skin-heads, Goths, homies and others.

A different type of subculture is a consumption subculture which is based on a shared commitment to a common brand or product. In other words, consumption subcultures cut across demographic, geographic and social boundaries. The most well-known example of a consumption subculture is that of Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners. Ethnographic researchers who have studied Harley riders believe that there are only two types of motor cyclists; namely Harley owners and the rest. Subcultures are important to marketers for several reasons.

Secondly, and perhaps less obviously, many new fads and fashions emerge spontaneously from within these tribal groups. Trend-spotters are accordingly interested in studying the lifestyles and activities of tribes in an effort to spot new trends before they go mainstream. Social class refers to relatively homogenous divisions in a society, typically based on socio-economic variables such as educational attainment, income and occupation.

Social class can be very difficult to define and measure, however marketers around the world tend to use a conventional classification which divides any given population into five socio-economic quintiles e. AB socio-economic segments are of particular interest to marketers of luxury goods and services such as travel, dining-out, entertainment, luxury cars, investment or wealth management services, up-market consumer electronics and designer labels e.

A reference group is defined as "a group whose presumed perspectives or values are being used by an individual as the basis for his or her judgment, opinions, and actions. The literature identifies five broad types of reference group; primary, secondary, aspirational, dissociative and formal:. Opinion Leaders can act like reference groups in that they exert considerable social influence because of their product knowledge, expertise and credibility.

In the marketing literature, opinion leaders are also known as influencers, mavens and even hubs. Typically, opinion leaders have high levels of involvement with the product category, are heavy users of the category and tend to be early adopters of new technologies within the category. In order to leverage the value of opinion leaders in marketing strategies, it is important to be able to identify the unique opinion leaders for each category or situation and this can be very challenging.

Some techniques that can be used are through key informants, socio-metric techniques and self-questionnaires. Marketers of cosmetics and skincare preparations regularly provide fashion editors with free samples in the hope that their products will be mentioned in fashion magazines.

The family has a great impact on the individual because he learn from his young age how to act as a conscious consumer by acquiring the skills, values and trends of his family environment. As the family plays an important role in the consuming process and affects the behavior of its purchasing members, those interested in marketing should design the advertisements to suit this role. I think it also depends on what people are buying although referrals will always be important for small business.

It has been said that purchasing decisions — or not — are based on emotional triggers. With that said, your last 3 categories are right on the mark. Obviously, the first one is beyond all of our control.

Your categories also lend credence to the fact that people like to do business with people they know or people people they know know did that come out right? You know what I mean right? Hello friend, brand purchasing decisions are based on emotional reasons ultimately. Another factor is how content they are with the results they got when you did something for them. But most of them will blame it on you. That can be tricky especially for service businesses and repurchase of the service.

One factor is their expectations and trying to manage them which can be difficult. One other thing I would add that can really affect a person buying decision is the customer service and support you offer. That is a good point you brought up. I agree with you and will probably get only more important. Many thanks Have a great day ahead! Kindest Regards Varsha Kushwaha India.

Hi Dennis, I can understand that would be frustrating and I have heard other designers say the same. Hi Delena, You are very much like a friend of mine and I am a bit of the opposite. Thanks for your comment. Agree with the factors you list Susan as well as what Jason says. They are all very important.

Cultural Theory of Buying Behavior

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Contents of Chapter 6 Class Notes. What is Consumer Buying Behavior? Stages of Consumer Buying Behavior? Types of Consumer Buying Behavior. Categories That Effect Consumer Buying Behavior. Marketers try to match the store image to the perceived image of their customers. There is a weak association between personality and Buying .

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Consumer buying behavior is the mix of a consumer's attitudes, preferences, and decision-making process when the consumer is acting in the marketplace to buy a good or service. The standard behavioral model of consumer purchase decision making is problem identification, information search, evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase .

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Keeping track of the key market trends that affect your business can help in this area. Simplicity. Today customers are seeking simplicity when buying products or services. The reason why is lack of time and stress. They have many things going on in their lives and too many choices when buying. This causes them stress. The key to a successful marketing campaign lies in consumer behaviour. Marketing to an audience that you don’t truly understand will not get you very far; the only way to reach and connect with a customer, the only way to influence their purchasing decision is to understand their buying behaviour.

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The link between people’s personalities and their buying behavior is somewhat unclear. Some research studies have shown that “sensation seekers,” or people who exhibit extremely high levels of openness, are more likely to respond well to advertising that’s violent and graphic. The answer lies in the kind of information that the marketing team needs to provide customers in different buying situations. In high-involvement decisions, the marketer needs to provide a good deal of information about the positive consequences of buying.