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What is consumer behavior, and why is it important?

Online Manipal Editorial Team | October 12, 2022

Key takeaways:

  • Consumer behavior studies how people decide what to buy and do with their money. 
  • It helps you understand how people make purchasing decisions.
  • It allows you to predict what your customers want next.
  • It helps you understand how to advertise best and market your product or service.
  • It also gives you insight into what people want regarding the price, quality, and features of your product or service.

Consumer behavior is the study of how consumers make decisions, influence each other, and behave in a market environment. It can be defined as the study of all factors that influence consumers’ choices, actions, and attitudes toward the marketplace.

The field of consumer behavior in marketing is essential because it can help companies understand their customers better, leading to more significant sales and profits. 

For instance, if a company knows why customers are buying its products, then it can focus on making those products more attractive. Continue reading to understand what consumer behavior is.

What is consumer behavior?

Consumer behavior studies how people buy and use products, services, experiences, and ideas. It is essential because it helps businesses understand their customers’ needs, wants and desires and create products accordingly.

How does consumer behavior impact organizations?

Consumer behavior and marketing strategy go hand-in-hand. But how exactly does it impact organizations? Let us understand.

  • Identifying market opportunity

Companies must first be aware of what their customers are looking for to identify a market opportunity. The best way to do this is by conducting a thorough market analysis and identifying key trends. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, and other tools.

  • Selecting target market

After identifying the market opportunity, it is time to select which customers you will target. You may want to consider demographics such as age, gender, and ethnicity; psychographics such as personality traits or values; or even geographic location if your product has geographic limitations. 

  • Customer retention

Once you have identified your target market, your next goal should be to retain the customers by providing high-quality products at competitive prices and excellent customer service whenever possible. This means listening carefully to their needs so that you can meet them better than anyone else!

  • Dynamic nature of the market

The market is dynamic, which means that it changes quickly and frequently. This can be a challenge for organizations trying to predict how consumers will behave. Still, it also means that those who can adapt and adjust their strategies can gain an advantage over their competitors.

  • Marketing-mix decisions

Marketing-mix decisions are about selecting the right combination of product, price, place, and promotion. Some companies use one or two elements, but others choose all four. Each element has its benefits and drawbacks, so choosing the right mix for your company is vital for success.

  • Effective use of productive resources

You must ensure an effective use of Productive resources including labor, equipment, and materials needed by an organization to produce its goods or services. This aids in optimizing outputs in the long run.

  • Fulfill varied consumer preferences

Consumer behavior helps companies understand what their customers want and need, so they can offer products and services that appeal to their target audience. This is helpful for businesses who want to expand their reach into new markets or demographics.

  • Address custom needs

Understanding your customers’ needs is essential for any business, especially those that serve niche markets or have particular offerings. For example, a company that sells specialty products like organic food or luxury home goods will need to know what items their customers are interested in and how much they are willing to pay.

Types of buying behavior

Extended Decision MakingLimited Decision MakingHabitual Buying BehaviorVariety Seeking Buying Behavior

The buying process is a complex dance of emotions, thoughts, and decisions. It is not uncommon for people to change their minds several times when making a purchase.

There are several factors influencing consumer buying behavior you can use to your advantage when selling products or services:

  • Extended decision making

Extended decision-making occurs when a buyer is uncertain about the product or service and needs more time to make a final purchase. The buyer will typically conduct extensive research before deciding on the best option. A good example of extended decision-making is when you are buying a car.

  • Limited decision making

Limited decision-making is when the buyer knows exactly what they want, but multiple options are available at different prices. This buying behavior usually involves comparing a few choices and then picking one based on price or other factors like quality or service level agreements (SLA). 

  • Habitual buying behavior

This buying behavior is when a customer repeatedly buys the same brand or product. The customer may have tried other brands and found them unsatisfactory and returned to their habitual purchase. These customers are loyal to their brand but must be reminded that additional options are available.

  • Variety seeking buying behavior 

This buying behavior is when a customer has tried a new product and liked it so much that they want to try more products from that company. Here, the customer may not necessarily stick to one brand but will keep trying new products until they find the right one.

How do consumers buy an item?

The process of consumer buying can be broken down into several parts:

  • Problem recognition

Consumers are only motivated to buy if they have a problem that needs solving. This can be an actual need—like the need for food or shelter- or a perceived need—like the desire for a new car because you are tired of your old one.

  • Information search

Once consumers recognize a problem, they will begin searching for information about how to solve it. This process is called information search.

  • Alternatives evaluation

After evaluating the information, consumers will decide which alternative best solved their problem and meets their needs. They will then make a purchase decision based on this evaluation.

  • Purchase decision

The purchase decision is a process of selecting or buying a particular product or service. The decision process can be affected by various factors, including the consumer’s personality, lifestyle, and environment. The result is that consumers may purchase more than one of the same products to satisfy their needs.

  • Post-purchase evaluation

After purchasing an item, consumers will evaluate whether or not they made the right choice. They will also assess if they received value for money spent and whether or not they would make the same choice again in future situations. 

This post-purchase evaluation is often referred to as “post-decision dissonance” because it can cause frustration after making an expensive purchase that doesn’t fulfill all expectations.

Seven O’s framework of consumer behavior

7 O's Framework of Consumer Behavior

The Seven O’s framework of consumer behavior is a set of seven principles that can help marketers understand how people decide what to buy and use.

  • Occupants

Occupants are the people who use a product or service.

  • Objects

Objects are the things that occupy a person’s time and attention. They can be tangible, like a car or computer, or intangible, like a song on the radio or a TV show.

  • Objectives

Objectives are what you want to accomplish with your possessions or activities. You may have one objective for each object you use or goals that span multiple objects. 

  • Organizations 

The organization has a significant impact on consumer behavior. An organization’s mission statement, values, and vision all serve as a guide for consumer behavior.

  • Operations 

The operations of an organization influence consumers. For example, if a customer buys clothes from a store that does not serve the customers effectively, they will be less likely to buy from that store in the future. Additionally, if the prices are too high or the quality is low, it would be difficult for consumers to continue purchasing from this company.

  • Occasions 

Consumers buy things for different occasions, such as birthdays, holidays, etc., which can affect their buying behaviors.

  • Outlets 

Consumers shop at many grocery stores, drug stores, department stores, and online retailers; therefore, they must decide where they want to shop based on price and selection, among other factors.

What factors influence behavioral changes?

In this section, we shall discuss what influences consumer behavior. Here are a few factors that that affect a consumer’s behavioral pattern –

  • Cultural factors

Culture is a set of beliefs, values, and behaviors that a group shares. It determines how we interact with each other and the environment around us. Cultural factors give rise to different styles of consumption.

  • Social factors

Social factors are related to people’s relationships with others in their group. These factors can indicate how consumers respond to one another’s opinions regarding products or services on offer in the marketplace. For example, if your friends are buying a particular brand of car, then you may also decide to buy it even though you may not be interested in cars at all.

  • Personal factors

Personal factors refer to individual tastes and preferences, which vary from one consumer to another. For instance, some people like spicy food while others do not like any spices in their food items; hence, companies should try and understand their target audience to design their products accordingly.

  • Psychological factors

Marketing strategies are based on consumer behavior and psychology. It is imperative to know what motivates consumers to buy your product or service. For example, if you sell luxury products, you will want to advertise them in ways that appeal to people who have an affinity for luxury.

  • Economic factors

Economical factors are also important because they include price, supply and demand, competition, and many other things. The company should consider all these factors when developing a marketing strategy.

How to influence consumer behavior through  marketing strategies?

Here are some marketing strategies to tackle changing consumer behavior:

  • SEO

Search engine optimization is a marketing strategy that helps you rank higher on search engines like Google. It is important to know what keywords people are searching for, so you can ensure your site is optimized for those terms.

  • Social media marketing

Social media marketing is one of the best communication strategies for consumer behavior. It includes strategies like posting content to social media platforms and interacting with users who have already expressed interest in your brand or industry.

  • Content marketing

Content marketing involves creating valuable content that provides value to customers and then promoting that content across multiple channels. This marketing strategy can help build trust between a company and its customers by providing helpful information about products or services.

  • Email marketing

Email marketing typically involves emails with links to relevant content or advertisements related to the product or service being marketed. This strategy can build relationships between businesses and customers over time by offering discounts or incentives related to products purchased through email campaigns.

How to become a successful marketer?

The MBA in Marketing by MAHE with Online Manipal is a perfect program for those who wish to make a career in the field of marketing.

The course will help you gain the skills needed to become a successful marketer with valuable knowledge and experience. The course is designed by experts in their respective fields and covers marketing analytics, digital marketing, advertising, customer relationship management (CRM), and more. 

With the help of this program, learners can build their understanding of the various aspects of marketing and how they can be applied to different industries.

A student who completes this course will be able to:

  • Understand various aspects of marketing
  • Know how to apply these aspects in real-world scenarios
  • Understand different types of customers such as retail customers, industrial customers, or service customers
  • Understand how to interact with customers using different communication channels such as social media or traditional media outlets

READ MORE: MBA marketing course syllabus

Final thoughts 

The MBA in Marketing course at Online Manipal is designed to help you hone your skills and develop your knowledge. From understanding marketing principles to learning how to implement them in real-world scenarios, this course will give you a competitive edge in business. Enroll today!

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