Consumer behavior is characterized by:
“The decision-making and physical activity involved in selecting, obtaining, utilizing, or discarding products and services.”
This definition raises two crucial questions: a) What are consumers, and who are they? b) What kind of decision-making process do they use? The answers to these queries provide a general description of customer behavior.
Consumer behavior and marketing go hand-in-hand. Any marketing program must have a thorough understanding of consumer behavior if it is to be successful in the long run. Many marketing managers view it as the foundation of the marketing concept and a key tenet of their philosophical framework. Consumer behavior has several applications in the area of marketing.
- Analysing Market Opportunity: A study of consumer behavior helps in identifying needs and wants which are unfulfilled. This is done by examining trends in income, consumers, lifestyles, and emerging influences.
- Selecting the Travel Market: The study of consumer trends would reveal distinct groups of consumers with very distinct needs and wants. Knowing who these groups are, how they behave, and how they decide to buy enables the marketer to market products/services that suit their needs.
- Determining the Market Mix:
- Product: The marketer has the product that will satisfy hitherto unfulfilled consumer needs, but he must decide the size, shape, and attributes of the product. Among decisions that are influenced by consumer behavior are:
-What should the product’s dimensions, form, and characteristics be?
-How should it be packaged?
-What elements of a service are most crucial to customers?
-What kinds of service plans and warranties ought to be offered?
-What kinds of accouterments and related goods ought to be provided?
- Price: A few of the factors involving consumer behavior are:
–In the relevant product category, how price-savvy are consumers?
–How perceptive are consumers to price variations across brands?
–Should any price discounts be offered?
–What does a lower or higher price seem to like to the customer?
–Is a lower price always indicative of lesser quality?
–Would a lower price stimulate sales?
- Place and Distribution: Having determined the product size, shape, packaging, and price, the next decision the marketer has to make is regarding the distribution channel.
-What kinds of retail establishments ought to sell the goods?
-Should it be sold through all retail locations or just a few chosen ones?
-How important is the location of the retail stores from the perspective of the customers?
-Does the customer look for the most convenient spot to purchase the product, or is he willing to travel a short distance?
- Promotion: The marketer here is to be concerned with finding the most effective methods of promotion which will make the product stand out against others. Of concern here are the goals and the methods of communicating aspects of the firm and its offering to target consumers. Consumer-related decision include
-Which promotion strategies work best in each unique circumstance?
-What strategies work best for attracting customers’ attention?
-What methods best convey the intended message?
-How many times should a specific commercial be aired?
- Use in Non-Profit and Social Marketing:
The knowledge of consumer behavior is also useful in the marketing of non-profit or social or governmental services of institutions such as hospitals, voluntary agencies, law enforcement, and tax collection agencies. The senders or concepts that various social and non-profit organizations are aiming to promote to their intended “consumers” or constituency can be seen as their senders. Governmental agencies, religious groups, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations are examples of these organizations. Along with seeking to meet a social need or goal, these organizations frequently also need to make an appeal to the general public for help.
- Consumer Behaviour and Governmental Decision-Making:
Principles of consumer behavior are very applicable to how governments make decisions. Two major areas of activity have been affected:
- Governmental policies that provide services to the public or result in a decision that influences consumer behavior, and
- The design of legislation to protect consumers or to assist them in evaluating products and services.