Consumer Who? Consumer You!

When I played football in Highschool, every time we’d lose a game, during the next practice, our coaches would harp on going back to the fundamentals. Consumer behavior is one of the “fundamentals” of advertising, marketing, and sales which many people take for granted. I would argue it’s often aforethought in most marketers minds, although it shouldn’t be. It’s incredibly important for businesses to understand consumer behavior as it directly affects everything they do.

“All marketing decisions are based on assumptions and knowledge of consumer behavior.” (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh & Best, 2007)

To better understand consumer behavior, I’ve created this blog post to share a few insights into my life and my typical consumer behavior.

What type of consumer are you?

Most of my every day buying decisions fall under the “Individual consumer” category. “Individual consumers purchase goods and services to satisfy their own personal needs and wants or to satisfy the needs and wants of others.” (Kardes)

Here’s a list of typical purchases which fall into this category:

  • Groceries
  • Filling up my car’s gas tank
  • Deciding where to get my car’s maintenance done
  • Internet provider
  • Cell phone/carrier service
  • Deciding what restaurant I will take my wife to for Date night
  • Choosing which movie theater to go to

What influences your buying decisions and how?

Consumer behavior can be broken down into three activities; Purchase, Use, and Disposal activities. Consumer behavior is broken down into purchase, use, and disposal activities. (Kardes)

There are several factors which influence my buying decisions. During the purchase activity, I like to do a lot of homework for much of what I purchase while I’m in the awareness or education phase of the process. While in the purchasing activity, I tend to research as much as I can from blogs, news sites, reviews, ask a friend or two who I know has the product, and take a look at competitors products and reviews.

However, there are some purchases I make because of the positive experience I had in the past, which has lent me to have brand loyalty. For these purchases, I tend not to do research and jump immediately to the Use activity in these instances. I also do make some impulse Use activities based off nothing but wanting an innate desire fulfilled. Is this a bad thing? It can be, but in most instances, it’s just what we do in our culture of consumption.

Which stage actually leads to your purchasing decisions?

The purchase activity is what typically leads to my purchasing decision in most cases. This is because, during this phase, I usually analyze and access, and then make the decision to move or not move into a “use activity” for the purchase based on several factors.

When making a buying decision, how are you influenced by marketing research and marketing design?
I am influenced by marketing research, product design, product placement, the timing of an ad, where I see the advertisement, how many times I see an ad or variations of ads. It all plays a part for me; from the point of sale marketing in-store to the product packaging, to online stores who’s featured product images and high reviews sell me on giving the product a whirl.

Do you experience any post-purchase behavior?

Yes, experiencing post-product behavior is part of consumer purchasing behavior. Now what exactly I feel, the emotions involved vary quite a lot from any number of self motivations. For example; I might buy a candy bar, eat it, and immediately feel bad because I know it isn’t aiding my goal in losing weight for that week. At the same time, I might buy a Gym membership, go to the gym one time, and feel stupid for the month because I wasted money on a nice thought.

In contrast, I might have bought a candy bar, eaten it and felt happy or glad I did because my blood sugar was a little low and it gave me the energy boost I was looking for. Same goes for the gym membership, I might purchase and then actually go to the gym, and feel good about myself for doing it. The world of consumer behavior is a diverse and complex one. This is why there is a whole field of study dedicated to it.

References:

Hawkins D.I., Mothersbauch D.L. & Best R.J. (2007) Consumer behavior: Building Marketing Strategy, 10th ed., McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Kardes, F., Cronley, M., Cline, T. (2014/01/01). Consumer Behavior, 2nd Edition.