Assignment 1 Suggested Answer
Model of Consumer Behavior
Consumers make many buying decisions every day, and the buying decision is the focal point of the marketer’s effort. Most large companies research consumer buying decisions in great detail to answer questions about what consumers buy, where they buy, how and how much they buy, when they buy, and why they buy. Marketers can study actual consumer purchases to find out what they buy, where, and how much. But learning about the whys of consumer buying behavior is not so easy—the answers are often locked deep within the consumer’s mind.
Often, consumers themselves don’t know exactly what influences their purchases. “The human mind doesn’t work in a linear way,” says one marketing expert. “The idea that the mind is a computer with storage compartments where brands or logos or recognizable packages are stored in clearly marked folders that can be accessed by cleverly written ads or commercials simply doesn’t exist. Instead, the mind is a whirling, swirling, jumbled mass of neurons bouncing around, colliding and continuously creating new concepts and thoughts and relationships inside every single person’s brain all over the world.”
The central question for marketers is as follows: How do consumers respond to various marketing efforts the company might use? The starting point is the stimulus-response model of buyer behavior shown in Figure 5.1. This figure shows that marketing and other stimuli enter the consumer’s “black box” and produce certain responses. Marketers must figure out what is in the buyer’s black box.
Marketing stimuli consist of the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. Other stimuli include major forces and events in the buyer’s environment: economic, technological, political, and cultural. All these inputs enter the buyer’s black box, where they are turned into a set of buyer responses: the buyer’s brand and company relationship behavior and what he or she buys, when, where, and how often.
Marketers want to understand how the stimuli are changed into responses inside the consumer’s black box, which has two parts. First, the buyer’s characteristics influence how he or she perceives and reacts to the stimuli. Second, the buyer’s decision process itself affects his or her behavior. We look first at buyer characteristics as they affect buyer behavior and then discuss the buyer decision process.
Many levels of factors affect our buying behavior—from broad cultural and social influences to motivations, beliefs, and attitudes lying deep within us. For example, why did you buy that specific cell phone? Consumer purchases are influenced strongly by cultural, social, personal, and psychological characteristics, as shown in Figure 5.2. For the most part, marketers cannot control such factors, but they must take them into account.
Cultural factors exert a broad and deep influence on consumer behavior. Marketers need to understand the role played by the buyer’s culture, subculture, and social class.
Culture is the most basic cause of a person’s wants and behavior. Human behavior is largely learned. Growing up in a society, a child learns basic values, perceptions, wants, and behaviors from his or her family and other important institutions. A child in the United States normally learns or is exposed to the following values: achievement and success, individualism, freedom, hard work, activity and involvement, efficiency and practicality, material comfort, youthfulness, and fitness and health. Every group or society has a culture, and cultural influences on buying behavior may vary greatly from country to country. A failure to adjust to these differences can result in ineffective marketing or embarrassing mistakes.
Each culture contains smaller subcultures, or groups of people with shared value systems based on common life experiences and situations. Subcultures include...