Posted: May 18th, 2021
Consumer behavior is one of the most interesting topics in the discipline of marketing. Attempting to understand why consumers buy certain products but not others or why a particular product becomes a must-have item is fascinating detective work. To engage in these types of activities, it is necessary to understand the role of consumer behavior within the discipline of marketing, as well as the different approaches to consumer decision-making. Although understanding precisely why consumers behave the way they do is not always possible, it is generally possible to understand themes, or the overarching rationale, for certain types of behavior. For example, convenience is a theme that pervades an enormous number of goods and services.
The wide range of consumer preferences creates many different categories of customers and a large number of choices of products. Because of the variability within consumer behavior, it is important to know how consumer behavior has evolved and what trends may appear in the future. By understanding how consumer decision-making impacts the products that are available now and in the future, marketers may help direct their companies to decisions that meet customer needs and bring greater profitability.
The ability of modern companies to be successful often depends on their ability to target particular products to the right type of customer. Having a clear understanding of the different categories, or segments, of customers is a critical part of targeted marketing. Such segmentation has not always been the way products are marketed.
At the turn of the 20th century, Campbell’s Soup was sold in only 21 flavors, whereas today, Campbell’s has over 30 flavors of low-sodium soup alone—not to mention the dozens of other flavors that are available to meet consumers’ wants (CSC Brands, 2005). The simple lesson from Campbell’s is that companies must understand the different segments of customers and their preferences and tailor their marketing efforts as needed.
Although one person’s consumption habits may look like random craziness to other people, the reality is that most individuals employ a fairly standardized process for certain types of purchasing decisions. Understanding the theories related to models for consumer decision-making is a first step for marketers who want to make sense of consumers’ actions.
Many variables affect the type of decision processes a consumer will use, but patterns in decision-making do emerge. For example, when a consumer is buying his or her first car, this consumer is likely to fully engage in each of the steps in the consumer decision-making process. However, when a consumer becomes loyal to a particular brand of cars and is about to buy his or her eleventh new vehicle, he or she will most likely truncate the decision-making process dramatically.
o deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.
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