This video offers an introduction to the discipline of consumer behavior and an overview of approaches to understanding why people buy.
- Why do we buy what we buy? Every one of us makes these consumptions decisions every single day. Some of the reasons are obvious. I'm out of milk so I buy another carton. Others are less so. One thing is clear, however. It's vital for organizations and businesses to understand what drives their customers to choose some options over others. At the end of the day, if we can't get a handle on this, we're out of business.
That's why consumer behavior is so essential to any enterprise that interacts with buyers. Let's start with a definition. What is consumer behavior? It is the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use, or dispose of products, services, ideas, or experiences to satisfy needs and desires.
As this long-winded definition states, consumers take many forms. They can range from an eight year old child who asks for a Frozen Elsa doll to an executive who helps decide on a multi-million-dollar computer system. So it's important for businesses to consider not only what we actually purchase but also how we decide we need it, where we look for options, such as a Google search, how the purchase environment influences what we choose, what we do with it when we get it home, and even how we get rid of it when we're ready for the next one.
The items we consume include anything from canned peas to a massage, democracy, computer chips, Juicy jeans, hip hop musics, or a celebrity. The needs and desires we satisfy range from hunger and thirst to love, status, and even spiritual fulfillment. So the study of consumer behavior may seem a lot more complicated than you thought.
How do we make sense out of all the decisions that individuals and groups make? Maybe you remember the old story about the blind men and the elephant. Each touched a different part of the animal and gave a vastly different description of what it felt like. It's a lot like that when we study consumer behavior. Many different fields of study try to explain why we buy. Depending on their perspectives, we get really different answers.
Those that have a more micro focus like experimental pscyhology look at what goes on inside our heads, while those with a more macro focus like anthropology look for external reasons like cultural expectations. Consider why someone might want to buy a Tesla electric car. The first approach is likely to stress how objective product attributes like the cost of operating an electric versus gas powered car influence the likelihood of purchase.
The second approach is more likely to consider the role of subjective product benefits like whether driving around in a Tesla makes the driver feel cool or even self-righteous. These assumptions have an impact on many aspects of marketing strategy, including the way the product is promoted and the way a brand is positioned in the marketplace. Our definition of consumer behavior ends with the phrase: to satisfy needs and desires.
This part is key because it goes full circle to the fundamental marketing concept that says marketing is about satisfying the needs of customers. In order to do that and succeed as an organization, we need to understand just what those needs are. That's not always as easy as it sounds, and that explains why it's so important to understand consumer behavior.
First, learn the importance of consumer behavior in helping us understand when, why, and how purchasing decisions are made. Michael shares how factors such as color, shape, and sound influence our perception of brands and products. He discusses gender identity and products geared towards different genders, as well as how consumer lifestyles, values, and attitudes affect product preferences. Michael also goes into external influences on consumer behavior, covering how groups make decisions and how ideas spread. Finally, Michael explores the role emotion plays in purchase decisions, and how you can structure messages to maximize persuasion.
- Sensory marketing as a strategic tool
- How gender identity can affect product choice
- Personality and brand image
- Decision-making in groups
- Retailing as theater
- How ideas spread through the market
- Persuasive communications
- Influencing consumer behavior