Understanding consumer behaviour means we can target our marketing mix to be more appealing and effective which should in turn increase our profits. Part of this comes from considering the buying decision process that consumers go through – The Consumer Buying Decision Process. For more information you should read Dibb et al, Marketing Concepts and Strategies.
There are many personal, psychological and social influences that impact on the stages of the process and the resultant purchase decision.
- Demographic factors such as age, gender, income, stage of the family lifecycle we are in
- The situation we are in when we are buying, for example are we impulse purchasing some chocolate because we are hungry, or are we hoarding petrol because we think there will be a shortage?
- The level of involvement we have with the purchase which includes the time we spend searching for solutions, our interest in the product and our emotional commitment to it.
- Our perceptions of ourselves, the product, what the product can do for us
- Our motives for buying, how our internal force energises us into satisfying a need or want
- Learning, for example buying another dress in the same colour that made us feel slimmer last time
- Attitude, what we think, feel and how we act towards a product
- Personality, our internal traits that make us unique. Our personality can be reflected through the charities we donate to, the makeup we wear, the clothes we buy.
- Role in society and family influence. We all have ‘expected’ roles according to our position in the family and society and when we don’t conform, it can be confusing for others. For example a head teacher with a punk haircut or a lawyer wearing skater clothes doesn’t meet with other people’s expectations. Humans generally like to conform to norms so understanding the norm behaviour for a customer group and appealing to it will make your marketing more effective
- Reference groups, e.g. what our friends, colleagues or other people we identify with will think of us if we buy the product
- Social class, for example designer clothes appealing to the upper classes
- Culture, which is everything around us made by human beings as all of these things impact on our buying decisions.
You don’t have to be a psychologist or neuro-scientist to explore and understand how these factors may influence your customers. By conducting some basic market research you can begin to get a picture of your target market’s buying behaviour. The key skill is using this information to produce effective marketing strategy and tactics that ultimately make your business more profitable.
*This may be particularly useful for CIM Introductory Certificate students doing the March UCR paper.