Patricia Knowles, Ph.D.
A marketer’s success in influencing purchase behavior depends on how well he or she
understands consumer behavior. One must know the specific needs consumers are trying to
satisfy and how those needs translate into purchase criteria.
For many products and services, purchase decisions are the result of a long, detailed process
that may include an extensive information search, brand comparisons and evaluations, and
so on. Other purchases are more incidental.
It is the process and activities people
engage in when searching for, selecting,
purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing
of products and services.
Consumer Decision Making
Here are the stages in the consumer decision-making process and the relevant internal
psychological processes that relate to each:
Page 111 / Figure 4 - 1
Decision Stage Psychological Process
Problem Recognition Motivation
Information Search Perception
Alternative Evaluation Attitude Formation
Purchase Decision Integration
Post-Purchase Evaluation Learning
Marketing Strategy and Analysis
This various sources of problem recognition:
Pages 112 - 113
Out of Stock Dissatisfaction New Needs
Ad Highlighting Consumer Dissatisfaction
This visual presents an ad by NicoDerm in which they offer to help those who want to quit
smoking. An ad can be used to highlight consumer dissatisfaction. In this case, the ad targets
consumers who are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs (their smoking habit) and
want to quit.
Page 112 / Exhibit 4 - 2
Marketer-Induced Problem Recognition
This visual presents an ad by Splat, which encourages consumers to rebel by changing their
hair color. Marketer’s actions can encourage consumers to be unhappy with their current
state or situation.
Page 112 / Exhibit 4 - 3
Ads for personal hygiene
products, such as
deodorant, are designed to
create insecurities that
consumers can supposedly
resolve through the use of
the marketer’s products.
Marketers also take
behavior, which leads
them to try new
products and different
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
This slide presents Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which shows the reasons underlying
consumer purchase behavior.
Pages 113 – 114 / Exhibit 4 - 2
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory suggests
five basic levels of human needs, arranged in a
hierarchy based on their importance.
(sense of belonging, love)
(self-esteem, recognition, status)
Marketers devote considerable attention to examining
motives, which are factors that compel a consumer to
take a particular action.
To What Need is CHPA Appealing?
This ad by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association is designed to appeal to security
needs. Marketers appeal to different market segments.
Page 114 / Figure 4 - 5
This ad was obviously
designed to appeal to
mothers or to families with
Would it be as effective
with a young male
Freudian Psychoanalytic Approach
This visual represents the psychoanalytic theory pioneered by Sigmund Freud. According to
Sigmund Freud’s theory, the underlying motives for human behavior are complex and
unclear to both the casual observer and to persons themselves. Motivation research
attempts to root out deep motives by probing the subconscious mind.
Probing the Minds of Consumers
Here are some of the methodologies used to gain insight into the underlying causes of
Pages 115 - 116
• Consumers prefer large
cars because they believe
such cars protect them
from the “jungle” of
• A man buys a convertible
as a substitute mistress.
• Women like to bake cakes
because they feel like
they are giving birth to a
• When people shower,
their sins go down the
drain with the soap as
Sexy Ads Get Noticed
This is an ad for Joe’s Jeans. It is an example of the use of sexual appeals and symbols in
advertising. Although problematic, psychoanalytic theory has furthered our understanding
of consumer behavior. This ad by Joe’s Jeans uses both sex and symbolism to drive consumer
Pages 116 - 117 / Exhibit 4 - 6
This visual shows the various sources consumers use in the information search stage of the
Pages 117 - 118
Perception influences advertising. Knowledge about how consumers acquire and use
information from external sources is important to marketers in formulating communication
Marketers want to know:
• How consumers sense external information
• How they select and use sources of information
• How information is interpreted and given meaning
The Perception Process
Perception is the process by which an individual receives, selects, organizes, and interprets
information to create a meaningful picture of the world. It is an individual process and
depends on internal factors, such as a person’s beliefs, experiences, needs, moods, and
expectations. The process is also influenced by the characteristics of a stimulus, such as its
size, color, and intensity, and the context in which it is seen or heard.
This is an example of a creative tactic used to get the attention of the consumer.
Gaining Attention with Color
Pages 118 / Exhibit 4 - 7
WE CAN SUM IT UP IN TWO WORDS:
EXCEPTIONAL, EXTRAORDINARY, FANTASTIC, FRESH
ADMITTEDLY, WE’RE BAD AT SUMMATION.
There just aren’t enough adjectives
to describe the
straight-from-the-orange taste of
Tropicana Pure Premium.®
Because the perceptual process is influenced by the
characteristics of a stimulus, companies often use color
in their ads to make a product stand out, thus grabbing
the attention of the consumer.
Tropicana uses color to focus attention on orange juice.
What is Sensation?
It is important for marketers to understand consumers’ physiological reactions to marketing
stimuli. For example, the visual elements of an ad or package design must attract consumers’
favorable attention. This is the definition of a “sensation:”
Marketers sometimes increase the level of sensory input so their messages get noticed. A
common way to do this is with the use of scent strips.
of the senses
Appealing to the Senses
Here are some of the tactics marketers use to grab the attention of consumers:
• Bloomingdale’s New York store sprayed Donna Karan’s new perfume, DKNY, onto the
sidewalks in front of the store.
• Draft Foods promoted DiGiorno Garlic Bread Pizza with scent strip cards in stores.
• Avon uses scent strips for perfumes and bubble bath products in their catalogs.
Perfume on Sidewalks Scented Cards Product Samples
The Selective Perception Process
The selective perception process occurs at the exposure, attention, comprehension, or
retention state of perception.
Consumers do not remember all the information they see,
hear, or read, even after paying attention to and
Consumers choose whether or not to make themselves
available to information. For instance, when changing
The consumer chooses to focus on certain stimuli while
Interpreting information on the basis of attitudes, beliefs,
motives, and experiences.
Selective Attention to Advertising
This ad reminds consumers of how advertising responds to their needs. People focus
attention on some things and ignore others.
Pages 118 / Exhibit 4 - 8
How much more attentive are you to ads for
personal computers, tires, or stereos when
you are in the market for one?
Advertisers know consumers use selective perception to filter out irrelevant or unwanted
advertising messages, so they sometimes use hidden, subliminal audio messages or visual
cues to influence consumers.
Perceiving Stimuli Below the Conscious Threshold of Perception
Evaluation of Alternatives
“Evoked set” is merely a subset of all the brands or products that the consumer thinks can
solve a consumption problem or satisfy a need. The goal of most advertising and
promotional strategies is to increase the likelihood that a brand will be included in the
consumer’s evoked set and considered during alternative evaluation. Advertisers use top of
mind awareness and reminder advertising to help get their brands into the evoked set.
Pages 120 - 122
All Available Brands
Brand A Brand B Brand C Brand D Brand E
Brand F Brand G Brand H Brand I Brand J
Brand K Brand L Brand M Brand N Brand O
Evoked Set of Brands
Brand B Brand E
Branding and Packaging Decisions
The visual shows the type of criteria used by consumers to evaluate purchase alternatives.
Evaluative criteria are the dimensions or attributes of a product or service that are used to
compare different alternatives.
Based on abstract
attributes that are
intangible and more
subjective in nature,
such as style,
Based on abstract
attributes that are
intangible and more
subjective in nature,
such as style,
Different Perspectives: Marketer’s View
The visuals show how the manufacturer of a riding lawn mower might view the product in
terms of functional attributes. Many marketers view their products or services as a bundle of
attributes. They understand that consumers evaluate products differently, and often think
terms of the consequences or outcomes associated with using the product or service.
This visual shows how a consumer’s view of products and services differs from that of the
marketer. The bubbles contain different thoughts consumers might have when evaluating a
riding lawn mower. Consumer thought processes differ from those of marketers. Consumers
tend to think of products or services in terms of consequences… specific events or outcomes
that consumers experience when they purchase and/or consume a product or service.
Will it cut
the taller grass?
How close can I get
Will the neighbors
Will it be as
fun to use later this
Will I have
more time for golf?
Will it pull that trailer I
saw at the store?
Relating Price to Ads and Promotions
This visual shows how consumer attitudes can be directed toward a variety of objects and
Multi-Attribute Attitude Model
This is the analytical side of marketing research. According to the model on this slide,
consumers have beliefs about specific brand attributes, and they attach different levels of
importance to these attributes. To predict attitudes, one must know how much importance
consumers attach to each of these attributes (Ei). However, not all of these beliefs are
activated in forming an attitude. Beliefs concerning specific attributes or consequences that
are activated and form the basis of an attitude are called salient beliefs. Saliency varies
among different market segments, over time, and across different consumption situations.
Measuring Components of Model
How beliefs and the importance attached to a product attribute contribute to a consumer’s
attitude toward the product; hence, the likelihood that they would purchase it.
– How likely is it that Nike running shoes provide good cushioning?
Very likely _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Very unlikely
– Good cushioning in a running shoe is:
Very important _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Not at all important
• Attitude Toward the Object
– How do you feel about purchasing Nike running shoes?
Very good _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Very bad
Ways to Change Attitudes
These are ways in which marketers can influence consumer attitudes. By understanding the
beliefs that underlie consumers’ evaluations of a brand, and the importance of various
attributes or consequences, a marketer is better able to develop communication strategies
for creating, changing, or reinforcing brand attitudes. The multi-attribute attitude model
shown on a previous slide provides insights into how marketers can influence consumer
• Increasing or changing the strength or belief rating of a brand on a particular attribute.
For instance, AT&T has the fewest dropped calls.
• Changing consumers’ perceptions of the importance or value of an attribute. For
instance, demonstrating the safety of a Mercedes Benz.
• Adding a new attribute to the attitude formation process. For instance, Ragu’s
organically grown tomato sauce.
• Changing perceptions of beliefs ratings for a competing brand. For instance, Hyundai’s
ads show that their cars are reliable.
Adding Attributes Changes Attitudes
This is an example of how a company adds a new attribute to a product as a way of
influencing consumer attitudes.
Pages 124 - 125
In this ad, Michelin stresses higher gas
mileage, as well as safety, in order to give
consumers an additional attribute on
which to evaluate the brand.
The Decision Process
These are the last three steps of the consumer decision-making process, which includes
integration processes and decision rules, the actual purchase decision, and post-purchase
Pages 125 - 127
Learning is the process by which consumers acquire consumption-related knowledge and
experience that they apply to future behavior.
The two basic approaches to learning are:
• The behavioral approach… emphasizes the role of external, environmental stimuli in
causing behavior, and minimizes the significance of internal psychological processes.
• The cognitive learning theory… assumes that humans are logical beings who make the
choices that make the most sense to them.
How Consumers Learn
Learning occurs in one of three ways:
Pages 130 - 131
Based on intellectual
Based on conditioning
through association or
Based on emulating
(copying) of behavior
Classical Conditioning Process (Association)
This diagram shows how the classical conditioning process might occur for Lollipop Bling.
Pages 130 / Figure 4 - 7
Learning through classical conditioning plays an important role in marketing. Buyers can be
conditioned to form favorable impressions and images of various brands through this
associative learning process.
(Mariah’s Lollipop Bling)
Lollipop Bling Uses Classical Conditioning
Mariah Carey’s new perfume ad associates the perfume with the look and sweetness of
Pages 130 / Exhibit 4 - 15
Identify the target market for this ad. Best guess is that the target market is pre-teen girls, or
mothers and grandmothers of teens who would like them to be sweet and cute.
Instrumental Conditioning Process
Instrumental Conditioning process is when the consumer is an active participant. His or her
response is instrumental in getting a positive reinforcement (reward) or avoiding negative
reinforcement (punishment). Instrumental conditioning is dependent on reinforcement. Two
concepts relevant to marketers are schedules of reinforcement and shaping.
• Schedules of reinforcement can be continuous or intermittent. Learning occurs rapidly
with continuous reinforcement, but the behavior is likely to cease when the
reinforcement stops. Learning occurs more slowly with intermittent reinforcement, but
the behavior lasts longer.
• Shaping is the reinforcement of successive acts that lead to a desired behavior pattern.
Pages 130 - 132
uses product or
Positive or negative
from use of product,
leading to reward or
Increase or decrease
in probability of
Kyocera Focuses on Negative Outcomes
A negative consequence can influence consumer behavior.
Pages 131 / Exhibit 4 - 16
This is the definition of “shaping”:
Shaping is the reinforcement of successive acts that lead
to a desired behavior pattern.
The Shaping Process
In a promotional context, shaping procedures are often used as part of the introductory
program for new products.
Page 132 / Figure 4 - 9
Cognitive Learning Theory
Cognitive learning theory focuses on the more complex mental processes that underlie
consumer behavior, and it has dominated the field of consumer behavior in recent years.
Because consumer behavior typically involves choices and decision making, the cognitive
perspective has particular appeal to marketers.
Pages 132 - 133 / Figure 4 - 10
External Influences on Consumer Behavior
Consumers do not make purchase decisions in isolation. Any number of external factors may
influence consumer decision making, including:
Pages 133 - 137 / Figure 4 - 11
• Culture: Learned meanings, values, norms, and customs shared by a society. It is the
broadest and most abstract influence on buyer behavior.
• Subcultures: Smaller groups within cultures whose beliefs, values, norms, and patterns of
behavior set them apart from the larger cultural mainstream. Subcultures can be based
on age, geography, religion, and ethnicity.
• Social Class: Homogenous divisions in a society into which people sharing similar
lifestyles, values, norms, interests, and behaviors can be grouped.
• Reference Groups: A group whose presumed perspectives or values are being used by an
individual as the basis for his or her judgments, opinions, and actions. It is one of the
primary factors influencing our purchase decisions.
• Situational Determinants: Specific situation in which consumers make a purchase
decision or plan to use a product or service. Situational determinates include the usage
situation, the purchase situation, and the communications situation.
The three largest subcultures in the United States are African-Americans, Hispanics, and
Asians. These subcultures are important to marketers because of their size, growth,
purchasing power, and distinct purchasing patterns. There are also three broad levels of
social classes in the U.S.:
• Upper class (14%)
• Middle class (70%)
• Lower class (16 %)
Pages 134 - 135 / Figure 4 - 17
Consumers within each social class often have similar values, lifestyles, and buying behavior.
A group whose perspectives or values are being used as the basis for one’s…
Types of reference groups:
Pages 135 - 136
The specific situation in which consumers plan to use the product directly affects their
perceptions, preferences, and purchasing behaviors.
• Usage situation: The circumstance in which the product will be used (Private versus
public use, for example).
• Purchase situation: The environment at the time of purchase. Time constraints,
store environment, and other factors may all have an impact.
• Communications situation: The condition in which an advertising exposure occurs.
For example, listening to the radio with friends.
Pages 136 - 137
Consumer researchers complement psychological approaches to understanding consumer
behavior with perspectives driven from scientific disciplines. These disciplines include
economics, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, semiotics, neuroscience, and history.
Pages 137 - 138
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