Importance of consumer behavior in a marketing strategy

Marketing strategies impact the daily lives of the consumer significantly:

  1. They act as the source of information for new products or services available in the market.
  2. It influences the way they think and perceive, their beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and their buying decisions.

On an average, a consumer is exposed to several promotional tactics every day. The television alone accounts for 6 hours of commercial advertisements every week (Lamb et al). In addition to the television, consumers also gain information from other forms of mass media like magazines, newspapers, radio, etc.

Impact of promotions on consumer behavior

Such advertisements have a mass impact as consumers change the way they purchase products, the politicians they root for in polls, their medicinal options, the toys they gift their children, etc. Although it is extremely difficult to change the beliefs, attitudes and character embedded deep in the roots of the person, most of the times marketing makes it a simpler task. Promotional activities are mostly successful in changing negative approaches to positive. For instance, if a consumer is loyal to a particular brand, advertisements may change their frequency of purchase. Marketing strategies affect the way a consumer ranks most important aspects of a brand like color, quality, taste, smell, texture, etc.

The impact of marketing strategies on consumer behavior is explained by Gort and Klepper (1982) as a process life cycle consisting of four stages:

  • Introduction: Here, the organization informs consumers about the new product. In this stage, the sales of a product increase.
  • Growth: here, the product has gained a level of stability in the market. The well-established hold pushes its sales further.
  • Maturity: On reaching maturity, the product reaches its optimum level of sales i.e. sales remain the same.
  • Decline: Finally, the product sales start to decrease in this stage as a result of competition, substitute products, etc.

Preparing a marketing strategy

The first step a company ideally adopts as a part of its marketing strategy is to inform the consumer about the product. This impacts the product sales as there is increased product awareness. Companies also invest most in the pre-launch stage of a product’s marketing plan. Here, we can identify with two primary effects of promotion and marketing on consumer preference: the impact on choice set and consumer utility quotient (Dixit & Norman, 1978; Grossman & Shapiro, 1984).

Hawkins (1986) rightly states that understanding consumer behavior is the initiation of the creation of an accurate marketing strategy. A product’s success/ failure is the evaluation of consumer responses to a particular marketing strategy. It also indicates if the organisation has been successful in fulfilling their wants and needs and their impact on the society. This can be represented as under:

Marketing Strategy & its impact on Consumer Behavior (Source: Hawkins (2006); “Consumer Behavior”)

Marketing strategy & its impact on consumer behavior (Source: Hawkins (2006); “Consumer Behavior”)

The marketing strategies of many organizations can be modified by simply understanding issues such as:

  • The psychologies of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different options of brands and products.
  • The psychology of how the consumer is influenced by his or her environment which include the culture, media to which the individual is exposed, family etc.
  • The behavior of consumers while shopping or making other marketing decisions.
  • Restrictions in consumer knowledge or information processing abilities have the ability to influence decisions and therefore the marketing result.
  • How consumers’ motivation and decision policies change with different products  that differ in their level of importance or interest that they hold for the consumer.
  • How marketers can adapt to these psychologies and improve their marketing campaigns and marketing strategies which may create more impact in the minds of the consumer.

Reference

  • Hoyer, W.; Macinnis, D. (2009). Consumer Behavior. South Western, USA.
  • Loudon (2001). Consumer Behavior: Concepts And Applications. Tata McGraw Hill, New Delhi.
  • Mooij, M. (2009). Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Cultural Paradoxes. Sage Publications, USA.
  • Gaski, JF, Etzel, MJ (1986). The index of consumer sentiment toward marketing. Journal of Marketing, 50, 71-81.

Abhinash Jena

Partner at Project Guru
Abhinash has worked in sales, branding, and marketing functions for GPS companies including MapmyIndia Navigators (www.MapmyIndia.com). In addition to writing for Knowledge Tank articles, he also writes the expert's advice for Thesis & Dissertations and Power Designs.

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Discussions

3 Comments.

  1. why do you think understanding customer behaviour is a prerequisite to a proper formulation of marketing programmes

    • Understanding customer behaviour helps to analyse the response to a product and the behavioural properties helps draw future strategies such as increasing market reach.

  2. In the model of motivation how a marketer can Drive a consumer to to select your product and service ?

Discuss

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