April 5, 2015
Principles of Marketing
One of the major challenges for marketers is understanding consumer behavior. The focus of consumer behavior studies is to determine what influences buyers to spend their money, time and effort on products or services. There are many factors involved and every consumer is different. Most consumers go through a process to determine what to buy, when to buy, where to buy, and how much to spend.
Consumers generally follow a decision making process which includes: recognizing a need, searching for information, evaluating the alternatives, purchasing, and after purchase behavior. It has been found that though these five steps are generally used by consumers, not all of the steps are followed and sometimes there is no purchase made. There have been many studies conducted on consumer behavior and with the technology that we have today these studies have become more in depth.
Consumers’ decision making is heavily influenced by cultural factors, social factors and individual factors. Culture has a significant influence on buying decisions. Marketers need to understand how people’s culture and its values influence buying behavior. “The most defining element of a culture is its values.” (Lamb/Hair/McDaniel, 2015, p. 102) Social factors also have significant influence on consumers and their buying decisions. Social factors include external sources such as family and friends, leaders and reference groups. Consumers frequently ask others’ opinions about new products or services. Individual factors that affect buying behavior are age, gender and personality, to name a few. Frequently age is a defining factor when it comes to purchasing.
There are so many factors involved in buying decisions and with the technology that we have marketers can use it to help them better understand what drives consumers to buy. Retailers are investing time and money into store...