Now more than ever in such a highly competitive business world were each product and service offered is competing with similar and alternative products, it is crucial from the businesses point of view that their product or service is of the highest standard possible. Correctly marketed a product could be infinitely successful, whilst on the other hand a poorly marketed product could be the death of it. From a marketers perspective it is them making the product what it is, from deciding consumer’s wants and needs, to interpreting these in an end product that satisfies these needs. In order for this to happen marketers must take into account the vast amount of cognitive processes the consumer goes through before, during and after making a purchase. This report provides a view into the consumer’s decision making process, looking more depth into the role motivation plays in these decisions and the various theoretical model frameworks that are used in this process. The report will also outline how a marketer can use this knowledge to assist consumers in their purchasing choices and decisions throughout the report when applicable.
The consumer decision making process
Four views of consumer decision making
The consumer decision making process is one that the consumer makes when making a purchase. There are different models that have been produced in time to support this idea, with four generalist views of consumer decision making, each highlighting different variables. These are the ‘Economic view’ which focuses on the idea that the consumer makes decisions based on rational behaviour, i.e. cost verse benefits, will I get a good enough product service for my money?. Another view that marketers hold is the ‘passive view’ in which opposes the economic view by believing consumers to be submissive to all marketers input, stating that consumers are impulsive buyers, easily manipulated with marketing efforts. Thirdly is the ‘Emotional view’ which may be seen as irrational behaviour based on feelings rather than any logical reasoning, i.e. decisions based on love, hope, sexuality etc. Fourth and probably the most prolific one would be the ‘5 stage (cognitive process)’.The 5 stage process outlines the cognitive procedure consumers go through when making decisions. Marketers will often refer to this model when considering how to effectively influence the consumer’s choices. It shows that more consideration goes into the decision making process than just a purchase decision and even continues post-purchase. Although the consumer does not always necessarily follow each stage, sometimes they may skip stages when making more impulsive decisions or routine purchases. For example when considering this model it would be naïve to think the consumer will put the same amount of thought into buying a pack of chewing gum at a newsagent to buying a new car. The purchase of chewing gum is generally an impulsive decision that does not require much previous thought, whereas the purchase of a car is less routine and requires a lot of thought into varying factors such as cost verses benefits. (Consumer Decision Making Process, 2008) Schiffman and Kanuk describe the process as being viewed in 3 distinct but interlocking stages, the input stage, process stage and output stage. Below is an extended model of this process, which includes external influences and psychological factors.
Before the consumer even has the thought of making a purchase, they are already influenced by two sources subconsciously, the first being the firms marketing efforts (the four P’s) which creates an awareness for the product via marketers attempts to inform and persuade the consumer through products, promotion, price and channels of distribution . Secondly, sociological influences reveal an underlying fundamental need to fit in to certain social groups, lifestyles, cultures...