Buyer Behavior

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A model is often viewed as a n abstract representation of a process or relationship,which allows us to make a sense of the world and also help us to predict the likely course of events. The buying process is portrayed as a highly complex one, in which a variety of personal and environmental factors influence the decisions the buyer makes. A simple starting point of understanding buyer’s behaviour is to take a basic model of consumer response.

The inputs to the decision process are the range of psychological, sociological, economic and situational factors. The outcome is the decision: whether or not to purchase; whether to purchase now or to defer; where to buy from etc. In between the input and output is the decision making process which determines how the buyer translates complex information into decisions and the process differs for each consumer.

The basic model of buyer behaviour, however does not explain how a decision is made. For this a number of models have been developed. If a model is to have value to the marketing managers , it should be capable of use as a predictive tool, given a set of conditions on which the model is based. Hence, a number of researchers have sought to develop models that explain how buying decisions are made in specific situations and from this to predict the likely consequences of changes to marketing strategy.

The different models that are going to be discussed are:
1. Howard model of Buyer Behaviour.
2. Howard-sheth Model of Consumer behavior
3. Engel, Kollat and Blackwell model of consumer decision making. 4. Webster and wind model of consumer behaviour.
5. Sheth model of industrial buyer behaviour.

Howard Model of Buyer Behaviour

John Howard’s (1989) most recently cognitively model of buyer behavior is along the lines of Dretske. Basic to the model is the view that consumers are in one of three different decision states corresponding to the first three stages of product life cycle. At the Introductory stage, the decision state is termed “Extensive problem solving” (EPS), the Growth stage is “Limited problem solving” (LPS), & the maturity stage is “Routine problem solving” (RPS).

EPS implies that the consumer yet to form a concept of product class or category. In the case of LPS, the consumer does have a concept of product category but has yet to form a concept of new Brand falling into a familiar product category. In the case of RPS, the consumer has formed both a concept of the product category and a concept of each of the relevant brands.

Basic to all three decision categories is the concept of product category. Howard defines a “Product category” as a group of brands that consumers view as close substitutes for each other. As Howard views product category it leads him to dismiss the utility of the PLC for brands, even though there are those who argue that the classical Bell-shaped curve applies best to brands (Dhalla & Yospeh , 1976). In this Howard is supported by Lambkin & Day , 1989, who argues convincingly that the life cycles of the brands and product forms ( for example , sports cars) simply reflect the competitive developments within life cycles rather than any overall life cycle patterns.

According to Howard, the movement from EPS to RPS is a movement toward a state of “Total Understanding” of a brand. Such total understanding does not mean that consumers become experts on brands but that they 1. know the brand’s physical characteristics to allow brand recognition (B); 2. know the strengths of the brand on each of its relevant “benefits” as manifested in their attitude toward the brand (A) ; and 3. feel they have the confidence to judge quality (L)

This total understanding, what Howard calls the ABC’s of marketing (brand recognition, attitude and confidence), constitutes for Howard the “brand image”.

Howard’s consumer decision model (CDM) is the process...
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