The term consumer behavior refers to the study of how people and businesses choose, employ, and discard products, services, ideas, and experiences to meet their desires and requirements. Those in marketing need a firm grasp of customer behavior in both its theoretical and practical forms. Consumers routinely weigh their options and make several choices. To better understand what customers purchase, where they buy it, how much they buy, when they buy it, and why, most major corporations conduct extensive market research. One of the main goals of marketing is to supply a need or fulfill the needs and wants of the customers. Consumer behavior is the study of how people and institutions locate, evaluate, choose, acquire, utilize, and eventually get rid of the products, services, ideas, and experiences that they need and want (Roles, 2001). Customers may claim they need something yet conduct themselves in a way that suggests they desire something else.
Cultural and Social Factors
Culture entails a set of shared beliefs, values, and norms that people pick up through their families and other significant social institutions. Culture exists inside every social group, and the effects of culture on consumer behavior can vary widely from one country to the next. Social factors just like cultural factors have an influence on consumer behavior in a significant way. These social factors include reference groups, family, and social roles and statuses (Roles, 2001). Reference groups include all the people that have some kind of impact on the individual’s beliefs and behavior. A person’s family, friends, neighbors, and other close associates all fall under this category. An individual’s product and brand preferences may be affected by the social pressures to adhere to the norms of their reference group, which in turn may introduce the individual to new habits and lifestyles.
When it comes to making purchases, families are the most significant groups. The purchaser usually has two families. Parents and children are members of the orientation family. A child learns values like ambition, self-worth, and love from their parents, as well as values like religion, politics, and economics (Roles, 2001). Parental influence can substantially affect purchaser decisions and behavior. A person’s spouse and children, which forms a family of procreation, have a more direct impact on their regular spending habits. Now that gender norms are shifting, advertisers would do well to view male and female consumers as potential buyers. The great majority of men and women make decisions together on large purchases like automobiles, trips, and homes.
Personal factors that influence consumer behavior include age, life phase, career, financial situation, self-perception, and value system. Many of these have direct effects on customer behavior, making it crucial for marketers to keep tabs on them. Food, fashion, and interior design preferences, as well as leisure activities, tend to mirror our advancing years. The number of persons living in a home at any one moment, as well as their ages and genders, all have an impact on the family’s consumption patterns (Roles, 2001). Occupations also play a vital role in determining consumers’ behavior. Marketers sometimes aim to narrow in on certain professions that show above-average interest in their goods and services, or even create products specifically for such professions.
Lifestyle, Personality, and Self-Concept
A wide variety of lifestyles can exist among people of the same background, economic status, and profession. A person’s lifestyle reflects the way they choose to go about their daily lives and the values they hold. Marketers try to find connections between their products and distinct demographics based on their way of life. An individual’s personality refers to their unique combination of attributes that determine how they will react to new experiences, whether those experiences be social or commercial (Roles, 2001). Self-assurance, dominance, autonomy, deference, sociability, defensiveness, and flexibility are frequently used to define people’s personalities. Brands have identities, and customers are more inclined to identify with and purchase from companies whose values and ethos they share.
Key Psychological Processes
Consumers have a wide variety of wants and demands at any one time. Some requirements are biogenic, meaning they stem from the body’s internal states of stress, such as hunger, thirst, or discomfort. Other requirements, such as the desire for recognition, esteem, or belonging, are psychogenic; they originate in heightened emotional states. When a need is stimulated to the point that it compels one to do a purchase, this might be termed as motivation. Every consumer is motivated in different ways: some of them are more focused on achieving a certain goal, while others are more open to achieving any number of other outcomes. Maslow proposed a hierarchy of wants, from most important to least important, to explain human behavior. Priority is given to meeting one’s basic physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization requirements.
Perceptions, Beliefs, and Attitudes
Different people might have vastly different perceptions of the same event. A salesperson’s rapid-fire tongue might come off as hostile to one customer and as savvy and helpful to another. Selective attention, selective distortion, and selective retention are three perceptual processes that can lead to varying interpretations of the same item. A person’s beliefs are the defining thoughts they have about a subject (Roles, 2001). People’s opinions on a product or brand affect their decisions to purchase. A person’s attitude is consistent assessments, emotions, and behavioral inclinations toward a certain item or concept. Attitudes tend to stabilize into predictable patterns, therefore it may be more successful for a business to tailor its offering to customers’ preexisting preferences than trying to influence their worldview.
The Buying Decision Process and Stages
Marketers need to learn more than just the factors that affect consumers’ purchasing decisions. The first step in making a purchase is for the buyer to become aware of a problem or need, which can be prompted by either an internal or external factor (Roles, 2001). When a person experiences an internal motivator, one of their basic wants might increase to the point that it becomes a drive. Second, an interested buyer is more likely to do more research. Consumers might be in one of two states of arousal: highly focused or actively searching for information. Individual sources, businesses, the general public, and experiments are all viable options when looking for consumer information (Roles, 2001). The next step is an evaluation of the available options, in which the traits that provide the desired advantages will receive the greatest weight with the target audience. Beliefs and attitudes, as well as the expectancy-value model, allow us to divide the market for a product into several subsets based on the features and advantages that matter most to various types of consumers. What follows is a purchase decision based on their preferred brand.
Post Purchase Behavior
Some customers may be pleased with the goods, while others may be dissatisfied with their purchase. Marketers need to keep tabs on customer reactions, behavior, and product usage after a sale has been made. Fulfillment after purchasing customer happiness is a result of how well the product meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations. Customer dissatisfaction is the result of performance falling short of expectations; satisfaction is the result of meeting expectations; and joy is the result of exceeding expectations. A consumer’s following behaviors after making a purchase are heavily influenced by their level of satisfaction with the goods. There is a positive correlation between customer satisfaction and repeat purchase (Roles, 2001). A disappointed customer may choose to either not use the product at all or return it. They might file a formal complaint with the corporation or hire an attorney and go public with their grievance.
Is Target Marketing Ever Bad?
Target marketing is important to boost the sales of a business. It aids in selecting the best market for the most appropriate items, although doing a target marketing study might be difficult in some situations. It can be costly for small businesses to engage in targeted marketing, so instead, they do a broad market study to determine what their target demographics’ most pressing issues are. It seems that the cost of a complete study analysis is high. Primary research is the most common method used by small firms to learn about their target market. A thorough market targeting calls for hundreds of surveys and interviews, and while some marketing research managers may choose to pay a third party to conduct this job, the expense may quickly add up (Roles, 2001). While it is true that firms may boost sales by zeroing in on target markets, they risk alienating a sizable chunk of their client base if they do so.
For example, a video game developer may target children and teenagers because they believe that demographic to be the largest, although gamers of all ages enjoy playing video games. Similarly, it is believed that there are 100,000 Italian eateries in the United States alone. It is easy to see why they would be popular with so many people. Younger, more financially-conscious customers may predominate at a pizza parlor on the corner, whereas the clientele of a more traditional restaurant with white tablecloths may be more likely to consist of retirees and families from the area.
I always make sure I get the quality I desire when I buy anything or have a service performed, but if the price is high but the quality is the same, I seek alternatives. When considering a purchase, I always think ahead to the product’s future availability, whether or not it will be phased out, and whether or not I can afford to replace it. My rule of thumb in life is “if you cannot afford twice the price then you must not purchase,” and as a student, I always keep that in mind when looking for items and services. From talking to my pals, I have learned that everyone has their own set of spending guidelines because of their preferences and perspectives on certain things. Mental accounting, as described by Richard Thaler, rests on a few fundamental tenets. As a result, I do, adhere to these guidelines since they help me save money and make the most of my resources.
Roles, B. (2001). Analyzing consumer markets and buyer behavior.