Importance and Determinants of Consumer Behaviour
Importance of Consumer Behaviour
Studying consumer behaviour helps marketers to understand consumer perceptions about a particular product or range of products. Uncovering and correcting erroneous perceptions about a particular product may give marketers an additional competitive advantage over their competitors.
1) Attitude: Consumer attitudes very often determine consumer beliefs about certain products. Discovering consumer attitudes allows marketers to fine-tune their campaigns to resonate with a particular consumer niche and deepen their marketing approach.
2) Culture: Changing population demographics around the world affect the way marketing campaigns are designed. Understanding cultural subtleties and nuances may allow marketers to help further define their particular target market.
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3) Lifestyle: Consumer lifestyles also determine what products appeal to certain consumer markets. Understanding consumer lifestyles is also a key component of consumer behaviour that lets marketers make the appropriate appeals in promoting lifestyle products and further consumption of lifestyle products.
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4) Experience: Like consumer attitudes, experience also colours consumer responses to certain products. By studying consumer behaviour, marketing professionals can tap into consumer experiences with similar products to promote consumption and gain a competitive advantage over competitors.
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5) Decision-Making: The thought processes consumers use in their decision-making is an important behaviour to try and understand. Marketers want to try and tap into what makes consumers tick as they ponder their choices and learn just what types of things lead to a final decision. This way they can align their products to remain in the running and be hopefully selected.
6) Product Use/Complements: Understanding how consumers use products and what complementary items are used is of value. Marketers who gain insight into how products are used and what accompanying products are purchased can then use this information to design products and develop complementary products that are enticing and attractive to consumers.
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Understanding consumer behaviour is a vital component of marketing. Businesses that do not understand how, why and where consumers gain insight into why they make the choices they do are going to have a much more difficult time making a connection and those coveted sales.
Determinants of Consumer Behaviour
Consumers don’t make their decisions in a vacuum. A consumer’s buying behaviour is influenced by social, cultural, personal, and psychological factors:
1) Cultural Factors
i) Culture: Culture is the most basic determinant of an individual’s wants and behaviour. It consists of the learned values, rituals, norms, and symbols of society, which are transmitted through both the language and symbolic features of the society. The growing child acquires a set of values, perceptions, preferences, & behaviours through his family and other key institutions.
A child growing up in the United States is exposed to the following values: achievement and success, activity, efficiency and practicality, progress, material comfort, individualism, external comfort, freedom, humanitarianism and youthfulness.
ii) Subculture: Each culture consists of smaller subcultures that provide more specific identification and socialisation for their members. Subcultures include religions, nationalities, racial groups, & geographic regions. Many subcultures make up essential market segments, and marketers usually design products and marketing programs tailored to their requirements.
iii) Social Class: Virtually all-all-human societies exhibit social stratification. Stratification sometimes takes the form of a caste system where the members of different castes are raised for certain roles and cannot change their caste membership. More often, stratification takes the form of social classes. Social classes are relatively enduring and homogenous in a society, which is hierarchically ordered and whose members share similar divisions, values, interests, and behaviour.
2) Social Factors
i) Reference Group: Generally speaking, a reference group can designate any person or group that serves as a point of comparison (or reference) for an individual informing either general or specific values, attitudes or behaviour. Every people because of their sociable nature prefers to evaluate their abilities and opinion based on the comparison of others’ abilities and opinions.
ii) Family: Family members can extremely influence buyers’ behaviour. The family is the most important consumer buying organisation in society, and it has been researched broadly. Family is of two types:
a) Family of Orientation: From parents, a person acquires an orientation towards politics, religion, self-worth etc. In countries where parents live with their grown children, their influence can be sufficient.
b) Family of Procreation: This involves a more direct influence on every buying behaviour including one’s spouse and children. Marketers are interested in the roles and influence of the wife, husband, and children on the purchase of different products and services.
iii) Roles and Statuses: A person participates in many groups families, clubs, and organisations. The individual position in each group can be defined in terms of roles & status. A role consists of the activities that an individual is expected to perform. Each role carries a status. A Supreme Court judge has more status than an hr manager, and an hr manager has more status than an office clerk. People choose products that communicate their status and role in society.
3) Personal Factors
i) Age and Stage in the Life Cycle: As a person passes through different stages of his life he needs a different set of products. Further, the tastes and habits of people change with age. They eat baby food in the early years, most foods in the growing and mature years, and particular diets in the later years. Taste in furniture, clothes, and recreation is also age-related. Consumption is shaped by the family lifecycle. Some recent work has identified psychological stages of the life cycle.
ii) Occupation and Economic Circumstances: Occupation also influences a person’s consumption pattern. A blue-collar worker will buy work shoes, clothes, and lunch boxes. A company president will buy expensive air travel, suits, country club membership, and a large sailboat.
Marketers try to identify the occupational groups that have an above-average interest in their services and products. Product choice is greatly affected by economic circumstances; spendable income (stability, level, and time pattern), savings and assets (including the percentage that is liquid), borrowing power, debts, and attitude towards spending versus saving.
iii) Lifestyle: People from the same subculture, social class, and occupation may lead quite different lifestyles. A lifestyle is an individual pattern of living in the world as expressed in interests, activities, and opinions. The lifestyle portrays the “whole person” interacting with the environment. Marketers search for relationships between their lifestyle products & the groups.
For example, a computer manufacturer might find that most computer customers are achievement-oriented. The marketer may then aim the brand more obviously at the achiever lifestyle.
iv) Personality: Each person has a distinct personality that influences buying behaviour. By personality, we mean distinguishing psychological features that lead to relatively consistent and enduring responses to the environment. Personality can be a useful variable in analysing consumer behaviour, provided that personality types can be classified accurately and that strong correlations exist between certain personality products and types or brand choices.
4) Psychological Factors
i) Motivation: An individual has many needs at any given time. Some needs are biogenic; they arise from physiological states of tension such as thirst, hunger, comfort and discomfort. Other needs are psychogenic; they arise from psychological states of tension such as the need for esteem, recognition, and belongingness. When a need is roused to a sufficient level of intensity it becomes a motive. A motive is a need that is adequately pressing to drive someone to act.
ii) Perception: A motivated individual is ready to act. How the motivated individual actually acts is influenced by his perception of the situation. Perception is the process by which someone selects, organises, and interprets the information inputs to create a meaningful image of the world. Perception depends not only on the physical stimuli but also on the stimuli’s relation to the surrounding area and on conditions within someone.
iii) Learning: When people act, they learn. Learning involves changes in someone’s behaviour arising from experience. Most human behaviour is learned. Learning theorists that learning is produced through the interplay of drives, responses, cues, stimuli, and reinforcement. A drive is a powerful inner stimulus impelling action. Cues are minor stimuli that determine where, when, and how someone responds.
iv) Beliefs: Through doing and learning, people acquire beliefs and attitudes. These in turn influence buying behaviour. A belief is a descriptive idea that someone holds about something. Beliefs may be based on opinion, knowledge or faith. They may or may not take an emotional charge. Manufacturers are very interested in the beliefs that people hold in their heads about their products and services.
v) Attitudes: An attitude is a person’s enduring favourable or unfavourable evaluations, emotional feelings, and action tendencies toward some object or idea. People have attitudes toward almost everything: religion, clothes, politics, music, and food. Attitude put them into a frame of mind of liking or disliking a thing, moving towards or away from it.
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