Consumer Behaviour Theories

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Lecture 1 – introduction

Role theory (the perspective that much of consumer behaviour resembles action in a play) •Each consumer has lines, props and costumes that are necessary to a good performance. Since people act out many different roles they may modify their consumption decisions according the particular play they are in at the times. The criteria that they use to evaluate products and services in one of their roles may be quite different from those used in another role. •Another way of thinking about consumer roles is to consider the various plays that the consumer may engage in. One classical role here is the consumer as a chooser – somebody who can choose between different alternatives and explores various criteria for making this choice. But the consumer can have many other things at stake than just making the right choice. •We are all involved in a communication system through our consumption activities, whereby we communicate our roles and statuses. We are also sometimes searching to construct our identity through various consumption activities. •The main purpose of our consumption might be exploration of a few of the many possibilities the market has to offer us. •We might feel victimised by fraudulent or harmful offerings from the marketplace and we may decide to take action against such risks from the marketplace by becoming active in consumer movements. Or we may react against the authority of the producers by co-opting their products and turning them into something else as when military boots all of a sudden became normal footwear for peaceful women. •We may decide to take action as political consumers and boycott products from companies or countries whose behaviour does not meet our ethical or environmental standards. •Hence as consumers we can be choosers, communicators, identity seekers, pleasure seekers, victims, rebels and activists.

Market Segmentation (strategies targeting a brand only to specific groups rather than to everybody) •Depending on its goals and resources a company may choose to focus on just one segment or several, or it may ignore differences among segments by pursuing a mass market strategy. •In the internet based market Amazon tries to reach multiple segments at the same time while Google News UK focuses on being a search engine for information and news for consumers in the UK. •Age

oConsumers in different age groups have very different wants and needs and a better understanding of the ageing process of European consumers will continue to be of great importance to marketers. oWhile people who belong to the same age group may differ in other ways, they do tend to share a set of values and common cultural experiences that they carry throughout life. oMarie Claire, the French magazine, that is published in 25 editions and 14 languages, has noticed that its circulation and readership has fallen in past years due to primarily not keeping pace with its younger readers and their reading habits. In the past article length was typically 9-10 pages and what is now desired is 2-5. Rather than concentrating on serious articles on contemporary women’s issues, the newer and younger readership is looking for something more fun and entertaining. Finding the balance of fun and serious has been the challenge in bridging women readers of different age groups. •Gender

oDifferentiating by sex starts at a very early age – even nappies are sold in pink trimmer or blue trimmed versions. As proof that consumers take these differences seriously market research has showed that many parents refuse to put their baby boys in pink nappies. oOne dimension that makes segmenting by gender so interesting is that the behaviours and tastes of men and women are constantly evolving. In the past most marketers assumed that men were the primary decision makers for car purchases, but this perspective is changing with the times. oSometimes, the gender segmentation can be an unintended product...
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