AN INTRODUCTION TO CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AS MARKETING DISCIPLINE:
The term ‘Consumer Behaviour’ can be defined as the behaviour that consumers display in searching for, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services that they expect will satisfy their needs. The study of consumer behaviour is the study of how individuals make decision to spend their available resources (money, time, efforts) on consumption related items. It includes the study of what they buy, why they buy it, how they buy it, when they buy it, where they buy it, and how often they buy it. The answers to these questions can be found through consumer research and provide the manufacturer with important input for product scheduling, design modification, and promotional strategy.
In addition to studying consumer use and post purchase evaluation of the product they buy, consumer researchers are also interested in how individuals dispose of their once-new purchases. The answer to this question is important to marketers because they must match their production to the frequency with which consumers buy replacements. But it is also important to society as a whole, because solid waste disposal has become a major environmental problem that marketers must address in their development of products and packaging.
As students of human behaviour, it is important for us to understand the internal and external influences that impel individuals to act in certain consumption-related ways. Consumer behaviour is simply a subset of the larger field of human behaviour. As marketers and future marketers, it is important for us to recognize why and how individuals make their consumptions decisions so that we can make better strategic marketing decisions. Without doubt, marketers who understand consumer behaviour have a great competitive advantage in the market place.
CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR PRINCIPLES IN STRATEGIC MARKETING
There are numbers of reasons why the study of consumer behaviour developed as a separate marketing discipline. Marketing scientists had long noted that consumers did not always act or react, as economic theory would suggest. The size of consumer market in this country is vast and constantly expanding. Consumer preferences are changing and becoming highly diversified. As marketing researchers began to study the buying behaviour of consumers, they soon realized that despite overriding similarities, consumers were not alike. Despite a sometimes “Me too” approach to fads and fashions, many consumers rebelled at using the identical products everyone else used. Instead, they prefer differentiated products that they feel reflect their own special needs, personalities, and life-styles.
To better meet the needs of specific groups of consumers, “enlighten” marketers developed the policy of market segmentation, which called for the division of their total potential markets into smaller, homogeneous segments for which they could design a specific product and / or promotional campaign. They also used promotional techniques to vary that image of their products so that they were perceived as better fulfilling the specific needs of certain groups of consumers--a process now known as positioning.
In addition to the fast pace of new product introduction, other factors that contributed to the development of consumers behaviour as a marketing discipline include shorter product life cycles, environmental concerns, increased interests in consumers protection and public policy registration, the growth of services marketing and non-profit marketing, the growth of international markets, and the development of computers and sophisticated method of statistical analysis.
CONSUMER ORIENTED VIEW OF MARKETING STRATEGY:
THE MARKETING CONCEPT
The philosophy that marketing strategies rely on better knowledge of the concept is known as the marketing concept. The marketing concept...