Introduction to Consumer Behaviour

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In the highly specialised study of "BUSINESS MANAGEMENT", "BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION" or just "MANAGEMENT" today, "MARKETING MANAGEMENT" function plays a very critical role. This is because this functional area of management (1) "EARNS" the revenue, & (2) "WORKS" in the close proximity with the public or persons outside the organisation. Controlling these two attributes to have the desired benefits are the most difficult part of the management, because none of these two are within the direct control of the marketers. This doesn't mean that the other functional areas are not useful, but they are not "DIRECTLY" involved in the activities mentioned above. Similarly, within the study of Marketing Management, the "Consumers" or the "Customers" play a very critical role as these are the people who finally BUY the goods & services of the organisation, and the firm is always on the move to make them buy so as to earn revenue. It's crucial from both the points of view as given below : From the customers' point of view : Customers today are in a tough spot. Today, in the highly developed & technologically advanced society, the customers have a great deal of choices & options (and often very close & competing) to decide on. They have the products of an extreme range of attributes (the 1st P - Product), they have a wide range of cost and payment choices (the 2nd P - Price), they can order them to be supplied to their door step or anywhere else (the 3rd P - Place), and finally they are bombarded with more communications from more channels than ever before (the 4th P - Promotion). How can they possibly decide where to spend their time and money, and where they should give their loyalty ? From the marketers' point of view : "The purpose of marketing is to sell more stuff to more people more often for more money in order to make more profit". This is the basic principle of requirement for the marketers in earlier days where aggressive selling was the aim. Now it can't be achieved by force, aggression or plain alluring. For the customers are today more informed, more knowledgeable, more demanding, more discerning. And above all there is no dearth of marketers to buy from. The marketers have to earn them or win them over.

The global marketplace is a study in diversity, diversity among consumers, producers, marketers, retailers, advertising media, cultures, and customs and of course the individual or psychological behaviour. However, despite prevailing diversity, there also are many similarities. The object of the study of consumer behaviour is to provide conceptual and technical tools to enable the marketer to apply them to marketing practice, both profit & non-profit. The study of consumer behaviour (CB) is very important to the marketers because it enables them to understand and predict buying behaviour of consumers in the marketplace; it is concerned not only with what consumers buy, but also with why they buy it, when and where and how they buy it, and how often they buy it, and also how they consume it & dispose it. Consumer research is the methodology used to study consumer behaviour; it takes place at every phase of the consumption process: before the purchase, during the purchase, and after the purchase. Research shows that two different buyers buying the same product may have done it for different reasons, paid different prices, used in different ways, have different emotional attachments towards the things and so on. According to Professor Theodore Levitt of the Harvard Business School, the study of Consumer Behaviour is one of the most important in business education, because the purpose of a business is to create and keep customers. Customers are created and maintained through marketing strategies. And the quality of marketing strategies depends on knowing, serving, and influencing consumers. In other words, the success of a business is to achieve organisational objectives, which can be done by the above two methods. This...
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