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The Real Purpose Behind Consumer Behavior Studies

 The Real Purpose Behind Consumer Behavior Studies

This article is not theoretical. It is rather enlightening for consumers, to think before buying anything, even ideas because ideas leads to products/services or actions and behavior.

In my previous article about the difference between business development, sales and marketing, I have highlighted the idea that Marketing is a design function not an execution function like sales.

High Level View of Consumer Behavior

Marketing handles a lot of disciplines together and with a super harmony when it is studied at its best.
Marketers are a very powerful tool to be used and can change the company situation dramatically.
Marketers study the consumer behavior to bring more customers, and thus more revenues.

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Consumer Behavior

They consist the unit who put the sales strategy to make sure customers are satisfied and get the necessary feedback.
They manage the unit who supervises the supply chain cycle to make sure the products/services are reaching the customers on time and as per agreed quality.
They participate in the product innovations, they analyze the market and know what the customer needs and wants.
They create the brand, the brand identity with the owners, the brand strategy, the positioning of the product in the consumers' minds.
They are the direct responsible for the segmentation and marketing, pricing strategy, and the market targeting based on demographics, lifestyles, and many other criteria.

They provide feedback to all organization's functions to make sure the coordination works well and all units are delivering their results for one purpose: Customer Satisfaction.

History of Consumer Behavior Study

One of the main functions that made marketing such an important field is the consumer behavior study. Consumer behavior is meant by behaviors that lead to decisions for purchase or adoption of products/technologies/ideas, by consumers.

Purchasing, consuming, products, production: Does that ring a bell? Yes, Economics.
Marketers contribute largely in the studies of economics. The first study on consumer behavior was done by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776 and relating the production with consumption and democracy. 

At that time, there was no concept of marketing like now, and we will not list the historical studies and publications the way most of us know it or understand it. We would rather list it by looking at it from a top-to-bottom view.

Allow me to drive your imagination for few seconds:
Since 1776, economists were focusing on production mainly and a little bit on consumption. Thus, the focus was not on customer satisfaction rather than governor satisfaction. The purpose was to create a political system suitable for rich people with a naïve focus on the consumers. Adam Smith opened their eyes more on consumption and made them realize that the main purpose of production is the consumption.

Now let's make a big jump into the phase of industrial revolution 4.0 and watch the major subject studied by economists and marketers about consumption: The shift is completely towards the consumer. 

How can marketers satisfy the consumer? Is it the real question behind all what marketers are doing or is there an underlying hidden secret about revenues?
You are right, customer satisfaction leads to more revenues and most consumers realize this legal and ethical target but, when competition gets into the picture with today figures of unethical acts performed by marketers to dominate the biggest market share, it will be very clear for us to notice that marketers aim at robotizing the consumer and driving him by controlling his/her decisions towards consuming.

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Consumer Behavior Study Purpose

The best reference of consumer behavior in the market today is the "Consumer Behaviour" book by "Isabelle Szmigin and Maria Piacentini".

Let's go briefly through the major titles of this great reference from a high level to understand the shift of researchers and marketers clearly:
  •  Historical and current perspectives on consumers: This is the era of economists and how they studied the consumers long time ago. It focuses on previous researches about consumerism and highlights the new shopping concepts to draw the reader's attention on the big shift
  • Micro-view of consumption: This section digs into the micro details of consumers and how do they adopt things. How do they move from choice to decision about consumption. How do they interact and perceive shopping. How the technology and innovations are perceived by consumers. How do they learn about innovations, technologies in general, product and service usage, and how can marketers make them store information about their offerings in their log term memory as well as short term memory. Brain studies are studied here. Also, how do consumers perceive ads, products, promotions, occasions, sales. What is behavior and what is attitude. What motivates consumers and what are their personality traits 
  • Macro-view of consumption: This section interprets the privacy violations of consumers by marketers in terms of external powers that affects or controls the decision flow. How do consumers interact socially and how does that increase the odds of consuming. What is the consumer's culture and how do they communicate together as species towards promoting brands and buying. What are the patterns of consumer's behavior and how can marketers make them loyal to their brands
  • Where are we going?: What are the technological trends and development about consumer behavior. How can we make consumption more sustainable. Importance of monitoring global pressures not only the local ones that affect consumer behavior. Consumer misbehavior and consumer well-being
Do you feel comfortable, safe, secure, you can manage your own privacy with all those people knowing that much information about you?
Do you control your own choices of consumption? Have you decided to adopt your own strategy of contradicting what marketers are trying to offer? Do you feel financially secure to do that and avoid marketers offers? How do cope up with technology disruption? Are you a change leader or follower?
Are you a robot for marketers? Yes you are and yes I am. We will remain the same until forever. Enjoy it as much as you can and consume rationally as much as you can.
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