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The consumer as an individual

As the consumer is a physical being, it is not difficult to define characteristics that may provide explanations for some of those actions described collectively as ‘behaviour’. Consumers are male or female; some live in towns, some in the country; they are tall, small, young or old.

The psychological state of the consumer, on the other hand, is more difficult to determine. The consumer as an individual absorbs information and develops attitudes and perceptions. A personality also develops that affects the needs that person has as well as the methods chosen to satisfy them. Any need-satisfying action is preceded by a motive. Although each person is physically and psychologically unique, marketing must attempt to identify patterns of behaviour that are predictable under given conditions. This increases the marketer’s ability to satisfy human needs, which is an essential aim of marketing.

Psychological influences and wider forces that influence consumer behaviour exert themselves continually on the consumer and are explained as models of consumer behaviour. They relate to the buyer / decision process and new product adoption. Consumer behaviour is complicated and behavioural models attempt to reduce this complexity. Our aim is to bring together a series of simple models that attempt to explain buying or decision processes.

Whatever the buying task and associated degree of complexity, it is important to consider the steps leading to a purchase as a problem-solving process. Our daily lives are made up of constant processes of problem recognition and need satisfaction. E.g. we need to buy food to satisfy hunger. Our problem is in deciding what kind of food and which brand to purchase from which store. We may want a new model of car. Again, we go through the stages of the buyer / decision process. By identifying or feeling a need or want, we then recognize a problem.

There is a simple model of the mental states that the buyer passes through during the buyer / decision process (referred to as AIDA):

▫ Awareness ▫ Interest ▫ Desire ▫ Action

The consumer is aware of many products, but does not desire to purchase all of them. This state of awareness becomes important when a product is perceived as being capable of solving a problem for the consumer.


1. Read the text and do the exercise below:

Date: 2015-01-12; view: 1012

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