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OVERVIEW

CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

the study of exchange processes involved in
acquiring, consuming, and disposing of
goods, services, experiences, and ideas

The study of consumer behavior (CB) incorporates theories and concepts from all of the behavioral sciences:

  • cognitive, experimental, social psychology
  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • economics
  • - etc.

Acquisition:
The factors that influence the product/service choices of consumers. Much of CB research has focused on this stage. E.g., how did you decide to purchase one brand of car over another?

Consumption:
How consumers actually use a product/service. E.g., what sorts of attitudes are you forming during the time that you own a car, and how does this affect future purchases?

Disposition:
What consumers do with a product once they have completed their use of it. E.g., if you purchase a new car several years later, do you keep the old one, trade it in, sell it yourself through the newspaper, give it to a friend, or have it towed to a junk yard?


PERSPECTIVES TOWARD THE STUDY OF CB

Marketer:
How to best satisfy the wants and needs of a target market.

Consumer:
How to become a better consumer by learning how people go about consumption activities and how marketers sell products.

Public policy maker:
How to make rules, regulations, or laws which influence marketers and consumers in the marketplace.


INFLUENCES ON CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

Intrinsic:
Individual, internal influence factors: personality, motivation, beliefs, attitudes, etc.

Extrinsic:
External factors of influence:

  • group influences, such as culture, family, reference groups
  • environmental and situational factors, such as time of day, temperature, etc.


PERSPECTIVES ON ACQUISITION BEHAVIOR

Decision-making
Consumers move through a series of steps when making a purchase:

  • problem recognition
  • search
  • alternative evaluation
  • choice
  • post purchase evaluation

  • E.g., we might go through the above steps in buying an expensive product such as a car or house. In the study of consumer behavior, we are less interested in whether or not this generic model is the "correct" model, and are more interested in the sorts of factors that influence this as a generic model. Hence, we are interested in the intrinsic and extrinsic influences on this model.

Experiential:
Pople do not always make purchases according to a rational decision-making process; they sometimes buy products to have fun, create fantasies, and obtain emotions and feelings.

  • E.g., concerts, movies, camping: these are experiences that do not result in the ownership of a physical thing, but rather result in a pleasant (or unpleasant) memory. Why would someone go out to eat at a fancy restaurant when they could make dinner at home for less cost in money and time?

Behavioral:
Environmental forces propel consumers to make purchases without necessarily first developing strong feelings or beliefs about the product.

  • E.g., using a coupon, responding to a contest, feeling proud when the national song is played. If the national song is played during commercials for a political candidate, we might later associate a feeling of pride with that candidate (classical conditioning) even though we otherwise know nothing substantial about the candidate.


EXCHANGE
a transfer of something,
tangible or intangible
actual or symbolic
between two or more social actors

Exchange occurs between organizations as well as between organizations and household consumers.

Exchanges can be

  • simple: involves two parties in a reciprocal relationship
  • complex: involves a set of three or more actors enmeshed in a set of mutual relations


RESOURCES OF EXCHANGE:

  • money
  • goods
  • services
  • information
  • status
  • feelings


TWO MODELS OF EXCHANGE

1) Homans' basic exchange equation:

Profit = Rewards - Costs

When would satisfaction be the result?

2) equity theory:

Outcomes of A / Inputs of A
- vs.
Outcomes of B / Inputs of B

When would satisfaction be the result?