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Consumer Behavior Paper

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In this paper we will define consumer behavior and how marketing is related to consumer behavior. We will also select a purchase we made recently and describe in detail how each of the 4 P’s (product, price, promotion, and place) affected our purchasing decision.

Consumer behavior is the study of how people buy, what they buy, when they buy and why they buy. It is a subcategory of marketing ends elements from psychology, sociology, sociopsychology, anthropology, and economics. It attempts to understand the buyer decision making process, both individually and in groups. It studies characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics, psychographics, and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people’s wants. It also tries to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends, reference groups, and society in general (Wikipedia, 2006).

Organizations are applying theories and information about consumer behavior on a daily basis. Knowledge of consumer behavior is critical for influencing not only product purchase decisions but decisions about which college to attend, which charities to support, how much recycling to do, or whether to seek help for an addiction or behavioral problem.

The examples also indicate the need to collect information about the specific consumers involved in the marketing decision at hand. Consumer behavior theory provides the manager with the proper questions to ask. However, given the importance of the specific situation and product category in consumer behavior, it will often be necessary to conduct research to answer these questions.

Consumer behavior is a complex, multidimensional process. Marketing practice designed to influence consumer behavior influences the firm, the individual, and society. Pampers, while providing substantial benefits to individual consumers and profits for Procter & Gamble, raises resource use and disposition issues that affect all of society.

It is important to note that all marketing decisions and regulations are based on assumptions about consumer behavior. It is impossible to think of a marketing decision for which this is not the case. For example, regulations designed to protect children from Understanding and properly interpreting consumer wants is a whole lot easier said than done. Every week our marketing researchers talk to more than 4,000 consumers to find out

* What they think of our products and those of our competitors.

* What they think of possible improvements in our products.

* How they use our products.

* What attitudes they have about our products and our advertising.

* What they feel about their roles in the family and society.

* What their hopes and dreams are for themselves and their families.

Today, as never before, we cannot take our business for granted. That’s why understanding–and therefore learning to anticipate–consumer behavior is our key to planning and managing in this ever-changing environment. Likewise, a decision to match a competitor’s price reduction must be based on some assumption about how consumers evaluate prices and how they would respond to a price differential between the two brands. As stated above, all marketing strategies and tactics are based on explicit or implicit beliefs about consumer behavior. Decisions based on explicit assumptions and sound theory and research are more likely to be successful than are decisions based solely on implicit intuition. Thus, knowledge of consumer behavior can be an important competitive advantage. It can greatly reduce the odds of bad decisions.

The primary goal is to help obtain a usable managerial understanding of consumer behavior. The key aspect of this objective is found in the phrase usable managerial understanding. We want to increase your understanding of consumer behavior in order to helpyou become a more effective marketing manager. We will take a more in-depth look at marketing strategy and consumer behavior shortly. It is not possible to anticipate and react to customers’ needs and desires without a complete understanding of consumer behavior. Discovering customers’ current needs is a complex process, but it can often be accomplished by marketing research, as the following example illustrates.

A firm must fully understand its own ability to meet customer needs. This involves evaluating all aspects of the firm, including its financial condition, general managerial skills, production capabilities, research and development capabilities, technological sophistication, reputation, and marketing skills. Marketing skills would include new-product development capabilities, channel strength, advertising abilities, service capabilities, marketing research abilities, market and consumer knowledge, and so forth. Failure to adequately understand one’s own strengths can cause serious problems.

It is not possible to consistently do a better job of meeting customer needs than the competition without a thorough understanding of the competition’s capabilities and strategies. This requires the same level of knowledge of a firm’s key competitors that is required of one’s own firm. In addition, for any significant marketing action, the following questions must be answered:

1. If we are successful, which firms will be hurt (lose sales or sales opportunities)?

2. Of those firms that are injured, which have the capability (financial resources, marketing strengths) to respond?

3. How are they likely to respond (reduce prices, increase advertising, introduce a new product)?

4. Is our strategy (planned action) robust enough to withstand the likely actions of our competitors, or do we need additional contingency plans?

The state of the economy, the physical environment, government regulations, and technological developments affect consumer needs and expectations as well as company and competitor capabilities. The deterioration of the physical environment has produced not only consumer demand for environmentally sound products but also government regulations affecting product design and manufacturing. Clearly, a firm cannot develop a sound marketing strategy without anticipating the conditions under which that strategy will be implemented


Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (2003), Consumer Behavior, retrieved

June 19, 2005 from www.google.com on the World Wide Web:


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