Consumers referred to all those individuals who buy products and services either for themselves or on behalf of their households. They can be either users of products or services, or responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of those who use them. Consumers buy products or services in order to meet the physical demands of life, apart from using, purchases to indicate their roles in the society, to express their personalities, communicate their attitudes and opinions, stress on the values held by them and also to demonstrate their wealth. This means that the products and services purchased by consumers not only satisfy their physiological needs but also their psychological and sociological needs. The marketer therefore tries to understand the needs of different consumers and having understood his different behaviours which require an in-depth study of their internal and external environment, they formulate their plans for marketing. It was during the 1950s, that marketing concept developed, and thus the need to study the behaviour of consumers was recognised. Marketing starts with the needs of the customer and ends with his satisfaction. When everything revolves round the customer, then the study of consumer becomes a necessity. It starts with the buying of goods. Goods can be bought individually, or in groups. Goods can be bought under stress to satisfy an immediate need, for comfort and luxury in small quantities or in bulk. For all this, exchange is required. This exchange is usually between the seller and the buyer. It can also be between consumers. Relationship between “Marketing and Consumer”.
The relationship between marketing and customer as a business philosophy is concerned with creating and keeping profitable customers, where: * Creating customers requires the organisation to continuously monitor its environment, identify the opportunities presented by the changing consumer needs and make efforts to convert them into actual customers. * Keeping customers implies that organisations make all efforts to minimize threats to their existing customer base which could occur either due to changing customer needs or competitors activities. * Profitable customers are those who have the potential to generate revenues which can offset the costs of the business.
A process of buying starts in the minds of the consumer, which leads to the finding of alternatives between products that can be acquired with their relative advantages and disadvantages. This leads to internal and external research. To understand the likes and dislikes of the consumer, extensive consumer research studies are being conducted. These researches try to find out: * What the consumer thinks of the company’s products and those of its competitors? * How can the product be improved in their opinion?
* How the customers use the product?
* What is the customer’s attitude towards the product and its advertising? * What is the role of the customer in his family?
Need for understanding Consumer by Marketer.
1. Evolving Consumer preference: Change is the norm today. Preference of a consumer is the driving force behind every product or service in the market. 2. Changing Life-Style: Lifestyle reflects a person’s view about the world. Marketers have to monitor these new trends in consumer lifestyle and incorporate these changes in their products. 3. Shorter product life cycles: More variety, more options and consumers are looking for change more often. This result in shorter life cycles of products. 4. Environmental concerns: As environmental awareness amongst consumers grows, firms are coming up with new products that are environmental friendly. 5. Faster Technology adoption: The advent of the Internet has led to an information boom. The internet allows users to compare and review products before they decide on a purchase. The Psychology of Consumers.