Consumer Behaviour (Kotler and Keller)

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Consumer behaviour is the study of how individuals, groups, and organizations select, buy, use, and dispose of goods, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy their needs and wants. Consumers are exposed to a myriad of marketing and other external stimuli on a daily basis for which the marketer has to consider consumer characteristics and consumer psychology to successfully position a product or service. Consumer characteristics include; culture, social and personal factors and consumer psychology include motivation, perception, learning and memory.

Culture is the underlying determinant of a person’s wants and behaviours. Our values are shaped by our cultural heritage for eg. Americans value individualism, freedom, youthfulness, success whereas the British value tradition, the family, the rule of law, etc. Similarly, subcultures such as religion, racial groupings and geographical location impact on consumer behaviour. Social stratification is also key when considering how to market a product which includes seven categories: 1) lower lowers 2) upper lowers 3) working class 4) middle class 5) upper middles 6) lower uppers 7) upper uppers.

Social factors include reference groups, the family and roles and status. Reference groups expose an individual to new behaviours and lifestyles, influence attitudes and self concept, and create pressures for conformity that may affect product and brand choices. Reference groups include groups that have a direct influence on purchase decisions which include primary groups (family, co-workers, neighbours) as well as secondary groups (religious, professional, trade-unions). Other groups that an individual may not belong to but have a bearing on purchase decisions include aspirational and dissociative groups. Marketers also have to examine the role of opinion leaders (who offer informal advice or information about a product or product category) and direct efforts to informing, educating and reinforcing the product message to...
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