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Introduction

"Learning about a human being is a lifetime's task"

Paul Tunde Raji (Bsc. Accounting) http://www.webneur.com

Dear Friend, the first step is what counts

Welcome and congratulations!

You have just taken a huge, first step towards boosting your sales-potential.

You’ve made it farther than 90% of businessmen ever do. You’ve been

exploring your options and we’ve connected through the power of the

Internet.

To support your informed decision, I have spent countless hours and

hundreds of dollars on research and developing this information product.

And, I simply want to make sure you know that I really appreciate your

purchase.

Thank You!

Sincerely, you are one of life’s few decision-makers and action takers. I admire those qualities greatly. And, you should know that I intend to do

everything within my power to see that your decision will prove to be the

right decision.

I’ll even go as far as to say: Your decision to purchase this ebook – as far as

having a tremendous increase in sales performance is concerned – is

probably going to be the wisest decision you will EVER make!

Here’s why:

You are about to learn the real secrets to consumers’ “buying behavior” using

this ebook with virtually no additional cost. I will also reveal to you the most viable place where you could sell any product or service for “hungry and

thirsty” consumers.

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And, you should know right off the bat that the information you are about to

read totally delivers on every promise made on my web site. What’s more,

everything you are about to read is not just mere theory. It is hard-won,

tested and proven solution/discovery and theory.

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Consumer Behavior

Consumers consist of individuals, households, and corporate bodies that buy

products or services. They are widely varied in the way they react to

products and other stimuli. Each consumer is a decision-making unit who

collects information and uses many dimensions to analyze it. The resulting

decision is the purchase or rejection of a product or service.

The difference in consumers and factors that they consider to make a

purchase decision are important to marketers. Marketers need to understand

the type of stimuli that can yield a favorable response from consumers and

also to identify the factors and interactions that go into decision-making.

The careful study and understanding of consumers requires the marketer to

design an effective marketing plan.

Marketers’ success anchors on the extent to which they understand and

respond perfectly to the behavior of consumers. They are compelled to

search for new ideas, theories and principles from behavioral sciences such

as Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology and Economics.

It has been discovered that consumers involve considerations from these

perspectives when making their purchase decisions. Consumer behavior is

known to be an element of human behavior that deals with how people

interact with his or her environment, particularly in order to purchase and

after purchasing a product or service.

For a marketer to penetrate the hearts of many consumers and to let them

react positively to his products or service, understanding the behavior of a

consumer is inevitable. The reason is because the knowledge acquired about

the consumers has an important role to play for the marketers’ success.

In modern business, every organization needs to learn buyer’s behavior. The

outcome of the study helps the company to know WHO the consumers are,

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WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY they prefer a particular product to other

competing products.

The theme of marketing philosophy is “consumer sovereignty” which states

that consumer is king and all the activities performed by an organization

should be channeled towards satisfying the needs and wants of the

consumers while at the same time trying to achieve organizational objectives

which is to make profit.

Cundiff, Still and Govoni (1973) supports this analogy by saying what the

result management is looking for in managing their departments. This is not

only to satisfy consumers’ needs, wants and desires, but to also facilitate

achievement of company goals.

In an economy with freedom of choice, the principle of “consumer

Sovereignty” dictates that the consumer ultimately determines a firm’s

continued existence and performance. Consumer behavior will determine the

fate of the enterprise because for an efficient and effective allocation of

resources to be achieved, those who produce products and services cannot

passively place their wares before the public. There is an additional and

dynamic function to be performed which is their reason for seeking to satisfy

the needs and desires of those who purchases and consumes these products

and services.

The essence of marketing therefore is to analyze the process through which a

group of people make and carry out buying decisions, identify the buyers and

buying decision process.

Although many buying decisions involve only one decision maker other

decisions may involve several participants who play such role as initiator,

influencer, decider, buyer and user. The marketer’s job is to identify the

other buying participant, their buying criteria, and their level of influence on the buyer.

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A consumer's experience has been widened by his or her exposure to

competing products, rapid changes in technology which result in regular

availability of innovative products, socio- economic and other environmental

changes, all these conditions in which consumer are subjected to, make them

to be complex and more unpredictable to deal with.

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The Buying Decision Process

When making a decision to buy a product from many competing products, a

consumer unknowingly passes through a few stages of the decision process.

There are five stages and each stage motivates the buyer to purchase. Only

one stage is concerned with actual purchasing. Sometimes, the consumer

does not pass through all the five stages before purchasing a product.

Need Arousal is the first stage of a buying decision process. The need for a given product is activated by internal and external stimuli. The marketer

creates awareness for his product through sales promotion and advertising.

The external stimuli helps to arouse the consumer’s need for the product

while internally, physiological imbalance such as hunger, thirst, warmth, etc.

which are primarily unlearned makes a person recognize a need. The

consumer recognizes a significant difference in his perceived desire and

actual position. He thereafter responds by searching for a product that can

satisfy the identified need.

The consumer having sufficiently been motivated to satisfy a need searches

for information about every product brand that can perfectly match the need.

If a suitable product is available for an urgently felt need, the consumer

quickly purchases the product. However, in most cases, consumers do not

purchase products immediately the products are brought to their awareness.

At this stage, consumers look for further information, and the intensity and

duration of this depends on their past experience together with the

importance of the product.

Different products are identified through intensive and passive searches.

Passive search involves the consumer reading information about the product

on the Internet or in newspapers, magazines and other published materials.

Intensive, or heightened search is where the consumer actively searches for

information from many sources, while moving from one place to another.

These sources include personal sources such as family, friends, neighbors,

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acquaintances, associates and members of his social group whose opinions

he trusts and respects.

Commercial Sources

The consumer pays close attention to commercial messages through

advertising, packaging, talking to salespeople, sales promotion and point of

purchase displays.

Public Sources

These provide messages from mass media publicity, government reports,

news and product-testing companies.

These messages are objective, reliable and factual. The motivated consumer

tries to get a feel for the product through his senses. He tastes a sample,

tests the product during a demonstration by the salesperson; this can be

achieved by having a trial or testing period, where he can handle the product

to judge its suitability. All these sources present the consumer with a large

number of alternative products and information on the features of the

product, like packaging, operating manual, pricing, warranty, etc. The

product has features or characteristics that attracts consumers/customers to

buying or using it.

Empirical research confirmed that consumers use their cognition

consciousness and rational judgment to examine products before making

their purchases.

They evaluate by comparing products in order to make a choice. Evaluation

takes the following dimensions or guiding rules: Those features of interest to

the consumers are listed for further analysis. These consist of performance,

taste, color, physical appearance, packaging, range, price etc. Consumers are

asked to list what they prefer in the product. The preferred attributes of

competing products is used to attach weight or priority or rank the attributes

to facilitate ranking, the consumer uses brand belief or image of each brand

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(if any) to compare one product with other products. This evaluation

establishes the position of each product in relation to the important

attributes.

Other evaluation criteria and techniques use quantitative and qualitative

models to apply objectivity. They consist of dominance, conjunctive,

disjunctive, lexicographic, expectancy and ideal-product, compensatory and

determinant models.

In the Dominance model, the customer lists all his preferred attributes and

rates all available alternative products with the attribute; the product with

superiority in many attributes over others is retained while the inferior

quality brands are dropped.

In the Conjunctive model, all products are classified into two groups

(acceptable and unacceptable) based on the minimum attributes that a

product must meet. Unacceptable products are those that fall short of

minimum specification and are eliminated from further consideration.

The disjunctive model only sets in if the consumer only has to pick from

products whose attributes exceed the specified minimum attributes.

In the Lexicographic model, a single dominant attribute which is common to

all products is used to rank them.

The product with the highest score becomes the consumer's choice. If two or

more products have the same score, the consumer uses the next best

attribute to compare each product with others. This process is repeated until

a surviving product that has the highest total score is identified while the rest are eliminated.

The Expectancy model is when the consumer identifies attributes of

importance and assigns a weight that represents degrees of preference to

each attribute. The resultant score is obtained by the aggregate of weights of

each attribute, multiplied by the performance level of the product for each

attribute.

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In the Ideal product model, the consumer forms an image of his ideal

product. He lists many attributes that the product must possess. If the

current products do not have the attributes he desires, he selects the one

whose attribute is closer to the ideal product. To capitalize on the opportunity offered by this model, a marketer can interview consumers to find two or

more ideal attributes of interest and build these into his product.

Under the Compensatory model, also known as Multi-attribute model, the

product chosen is the one that has the overall balance of favored features

across all attributes.

There is also the Determinant Attribute Model, which states that attributes of

importance sometimes do not significantly influence consumers choices

among competitive products whose attributes are similar.

The choice of product may be made because of a less important attribute

that differentiates the product.

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Nicosia Flow Chart Model of Consumer Behavior

Using a computer flow-chart system, this model shows the input, processor

and output variables together with their relationships towards reaching a

decision that will solve current and future problems of the consumer. It

assumes that the consumer does not have direct experience with a particular

product.

In addition, there are four main stages of decision present in this model.

Stage One: An advertising message about a firm and its products is

presented to the consumer who is not familiar with the product. The

consumer uses psychological, personality and environmental attributes to

examine it.

He then forms an attitude towards the product.

Stage Two: To avoid making mistakes, the consumer searches for more

information about the advertised product and its competitors. He conducts

product/service comparison, to form a more favorable attitude to a few of the

product/service options offered out of the various available alternatives.

The result of the analysis may or may not be a motivation to the advertised

product.

Stage Three: If the consumer is motivated to prefer one product to all the others, he makes the final decision to purchase.

Stage Four: The post-purchase experience gathered in the course of using

the product is stored in his memory. This data bank is used to decide

whether or not to buy the same product /service in future. This completes

the circular decision process of the consumer.

By buying the product or not, the result of the decision stage is known

(through the Feedback System) by the firm and the firm’s knowledge about

its consumer’s behavior is also completed.

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Marketing Implications

This model is scientific enough to help marketers gain an insight into the

consumer behavior process. By stating what happen at each stage, the firm

can apply the right marketing decision to improve the probability that the

consumer purchases the product/service.

Criticism

The research leading to construction of the model was based on a narrow

scope of advertising and how consumers accept the new product. The

research limitations and variables considered were not stated.

This makes it difficult for other interested researchers to find where they can

support and improve the model through further research. The relationship

between the stages is not as direct as the explanation states. In addition, the

descriptions and explanation accompanying the model are too brief.

How consumers form and sustain attitudes to a new product requires further

research and explanation.

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Engel, Kollat and Blackwell

Complete Model of Buying Behavior

This model is an improvement on the Black box model. It contains such

elements as Information input and the Processing unit (which has product

evaluation, general motivation and personal inputs). All these elements

interact and move the consumer across five decision-making stages.

It explains what happen to the inputs in the evaluation process and the type

of outputs. The black box model that contains the invisible intervening

variable, becomes the CENTRAL CONTROL UNIT (CCU). It serves as the

consumer’s psychological structure. It contains memory and manner of

thinking and behavioral pattern, personality variables, past information of

direct experience and current information.

Personality features are the stable behavior pattern of an individual that he

perceives as helpful in satisfying his needs. They are called MOTIVES.

The means of reacting to situation are called RESPONSE TRAITS. They vary

among individuals.

Both motives and traits combine in function to form a general psychological

reaction of a person. They resist change from outside influences.

Experience or past information is, consciously or unconsciously, retained in

the central control unit to make the person respond consistently to stimuli.

The consumer develops product-related values and attitudes from personality

and experience.

This gives shape to their behavior and makes the consumer form a habit for

evaluating products by choosing one product out of many alternatives.

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Detailed Analysis of the Model

Messages relating to the firm and a product/service are transferred to

consumers through their sense organs and are stored in the central control.

After processing it, the required response to the message is passed to the

awareness level of the consumer.

He becomes alert due to feelings of discomfort that he suffers through the

sensory receptors. The need is strengthened by a drive to find the best

solution to his need.

In his effort to satisfy the needs with the right product/service, he is exposed to many stimuli about other products.

Through a process of product/service comparison, the consumer restricts his

attention to the product that is not misleadingly promoted.

Information about the selected product is used in the next stage.

If the consumer has the financial means, he recognizes the need. He knows

that his desired condition is not yet reached. This feeling arouses a response

to satisfy the drive caused by motives and needs.

Where the consumer is unaware of his needs, the firm uses sales promotions,

advertisements, a salesperson, packaging, etc., to trigger or create

awareness. This stage is the starting point for a lengthy buying process.

Where they have little or no information on competing product/service, the

consumer may have to identify many products/services and research their

prices, suppliers, features, operating instruments (manual), packaging,

product or services etc.

He uses internal or passive methods, such as reading, review and recalling

information stored in memory that relates to the specific type of

product/service.

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Externally, he looks for information from his reference group, marketing

firms and salespersons connected with the product/service.

The search will present him with many possible products/services from which

he locates a group of products from which choices can be made.

The products/services are examined and compared with one another in order

to choose the best one.

The consumer compares each product on a set of criteria used for evaluating

all the product/services. The criteria may include price, features,

performance, color and packaging.

Each product/service is also rated from the reference group and

psychological viewpoints. As products have many attributes, only those

falling within the consumer’s specifications are considered.

At the end, he forms product/service image (or preference, judgment) for

some alternatives (choice set). He can buy any product or service from the

set.

At this stage, the consumer selects the best or preferred product from the

choice set. The decision may be influenced again by the positive/negative

attitudes of other people and the consumer’s willingness to comply with the

group.

Other situational factors, such as unanticipated occurrence like sickness, loss

of job, perceived risks etc., may force the consumer to modify, postpone or

avoid purchase of the product.

If these obstructions are not present, the consumers purchase the product

immediately the decision is made.

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Post-Purchase Behavior

The consumer asks himself after purchasing a product, “WAS MY DECISION

GOOD?” He compares his own expectations of the product with the actual

(perceived) performance of the product.

If the actual performance is lower than the expected performance, frustration

(cognitive dissonance) sets in.

If the product’s performance equates or exceeds the consumer’s

expectations, there is a high probability for repeat purchase and spreading of

good information about the product. The criteria used for evaluating products

are applied for analysis of post-purchase perception.

To maintain stable positive mental attitudes about the products, the

consumer requires assurance from the producer in the form of after-sales

services through advertising, salesperson contact, repair, availability,

warranty, maintenance etc.

From the buying process explained above, regardless of the type of buying

decision, the buyer has one stage that reflects in the actual purchase. The

decision to buy can stop at any stage. Not every instance of buying behavior

passes through all the five stages.

After need-recognition, the Central Control Unit passes an instruction (go,

stop) to set the next action of the consumer. And, as the buyer proceeds

towards their decision, each action is stored in memory. This helps him to

learn from what he does; the result of past experience is retained for future decisions.

This decision-making model transcends routine response behavior to

extensive problem-solving behavior. However, the model allows varying

buying situations.

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Cognitive Dissonance

This is the post- (perceived) bad-purchase experience of the consumer of a

product and how he copes with it.

It occurs when the buyer examines the performance of the product each time

he uses it to know if the actual experience is in line with his desired

expectation. This frustration (regret, annoyance) is heightened when the

product is a durable type, which is usually expensive, the negative feature of

the chosen product/service is many and/or the product itself does not

perform satisfactorily. The rejected alternative becomes more attractive.

Coping

The consumer reacts in many ways such as:

• He feels like returning the product to the seller

• He sells the product and buys another product

• He looks for favorable information (reassurance) about his purchase.

• He avoids information that favors the rejected product

• He changes his attitude/belief to be consistent with the favorable

behavior.

Marketing Response

Post-purchase follow-up of the consumer is necessary to provide after-sales

services. These include installation, product availability, maintenance and

repair, use of warranty, availability of spare parts etc., depending on the

nature of the product. Others include a salesperson's visit to monitor the

consumer’s experience, sale promotion, and use of reminder advertisements

to boost the confidence of user.

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Critique of Engel et al Model

It shows the various behavioral influences that occur in the box and how they

interact from need arousal through need recognition to post-purchase

behavior.

Marketers have a lesson to learn about these variables and how they recur in

a way that consumers can prefer their products or services.

Examination of post-purchase behavior allows marketers to have a

permanent business relationship with every consumer. The model implicitly

points out the importance of this stage for repeat purchase/patronage.

Lastly, it affords companies the opportunity to enrich their marketing

activities with a message that consumers need during decision-making.

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Howard and Sheth Model of Consumer Behavior

It presents the decision-making process in a most elaborate manner. The

means of blending the inputs with intervening variables and the resultant

outputs are indicated in the four components of the model.

The elements to be explained include stimuli input, intervening variable

available (which contain endogenous and exogenous variables) and output

response.

Input Stimuli: Information from the business firm and the social

environment is passed to the consumer. It contains indicative messages

about the product features and symbolic information from other sources like

salesmen, mass media and reference groups.

Intervening Variables: These are used to analyze the input and consist of seven exogenous variables, which combine with perception and learning in

the endogenous variables.

Exogenous variables: There are seven. They are the external parts of the hypothetical construct.

1. Importance of Purchase: The consumer measures the perceived

role of each product/service. If a specific product/service is more

important than the rest, it limits the information search by ignoring

other products/services.

2. Time Pressures: The degree of urgency for a product may not allow

the consumer to carefully analyze other products features. He

hurriedly pays close attention to only one or two products.

3. Financial Status: The quality and quantity of the product that a

consumer focuses on is affected by his purchasing power. Many

products are evaluated according to the consumer’s income, income

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expectation, job stability, credit facilities etc. Where he has a strong

financial base, many more products are evaluated.

4. Personality Factors: Traits like confidence, authority, self-esteem

and self-concept, etc., assists in making the choice. They make the

consumer suppress information from other sources and uses his

discretion in choosing the right product/service.

5. Organization: For an organizational buyer, the influence of other

persons involved in the decision, particularly their status, power and

authority are considered by the actual buyer. In addition, he reflects

the organization’s buying policies and channels of operation in his

buying decision.

6. Social Class: The consumer tries to conform to the values and norms

of the class of people he belongs to, in order to enjoy their praise and

acceptance of the product.

7. Culture: Being the product of a culture, some of the items the

consumer purchases are a reflection of the inherited patterns of

consumption. He tends to prefer products that the culture has

ingrained into his personality from his childhood.

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Endogenous Variables or Hypothetical Construct

It contains basically psychological variables: perception and learning. These

unseen variables work upon the product information input and the outcome

of it is expressed as either a purchase or no purchase.

From the perception aspect, the consumer is made to consider information

that relates to his past experience, personality and need, for a product

category. He develops sensitivity by applying perceptual vigilance and

perceptual defense to a given product.

If the product is inconsistent with the consumer's beliefs, the consumer may

distort its information to stop it changing his long-standing beliefs. This is

called perceptual bias.

He goes through a search for information on a product that is urgently

needed. The learning aspect of the construct contains specific and non-

specific motives, product-potential of the evoked set, decision mediators, and

predisposition towards product, inhibitors, and satisfaction with the purchase

of a product.

Specific motives relate to a product’s features such as safety, durability,

reliability etc., while non-specific motives may be power, status and prestige.

The consumer uses the decision mediators (a set of rules) to rank other

alternative products in the evoked set.

He uses past learning, experience and external information to compare the

satisfaction that each product can give (brand differentiation) with other

products. The result of these motives, evoked set and decision mediators

analysis manifest in the consumer, forming as attitude or predisposition

towards a specific product.

Rather than actualizing the predisposition in terms of purchase, the

consumer is delayed by Inhibitors (constraint forces). Inhibitors are

environmental forces that modify behavior. They include a product’s price,

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availability, time pressure, financial status etc. If they persist, the buyer’s

attitude can be changed.

Output Variables: After passing through the information input and

processing in the previous stages, the consumer’s response appears in five

ways. He pays more attention to a set of products and has a better

comprehension (reservoir of knowledge) about a product to which he then

forms an attitude, based on its need-satisfying strength.

Critique of this Model

This model is the most favored by researchers as it presents the most

comprehensive steps that a consumer uses to make a decision.

It urges marketers to analyze their strategies in line with consumers’ buying

processes and influences in order to get their product /service sold. All the

major influences, such as economic, psychological and socio-cultural

influences, are integrated in the model.

Nevertheless, further research is needed to replicate and improve on the

model.

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Andresen Model of Complex Customer Decision

This model uses attitude formation and attitude change, borrowed from social

psychology, to explain consumer behavior. Sources of information about a

product and the product itself (features, availability etc.,) pass through a

perpetual barrier in the mind of the consumer. The buying cycle contains four

stages: input, perception and filtration, disposition changes and outcome.

It is assumed that the consumer selectively perceives and distorts product

information in a way that is different from the original messages from the

company. By drawing information from this reference group, personality

needs and their attitude about complimentary products, the consumer filters

and perceives the product messages.

Hence, his feelings, beliefs and disposition about the product are adjusted.

He may thereafter develop an intention to buy by searching for further

information or stop any further action on the product. Positive intention to

buy may be negative information from other people about the product and its

competitors.

If the obstacles are cleared, he purchases the item and his experience after

purchase is stored for future purchase decisions.

Critique of the Model

Andresen discovered two marketing strategies that affect the buyer’s

attitude, namely: market segmentation and product differentiation.

Market segmentation fits the product into the attitude and behavior of

consumers, so that a positive attitude is formed towards the product.

Product differentiation makes the consumers change their attitude by

being forced to accept or consume the existing product. To make consumers

develop a positive attitude and to effect a change of attitude to a product,

the marketer should use acceptable channels of communication to provide

good product information.

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Any assumption that a positive attitude can directly lead to purchase

behavior is condemned. This is because the attitude/behavior relationship is

too complex to be given simplistic interpretation, and empirical evidence to

support the proposition is absent.

The issue of whether attitude has a direct influence on behavior is

controversial and social psychologists are still working towards

verifying the claim.

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Learning Influence on the Consumer

Behavior: Learning is an intervening variable between input stimuli and

output. It is not visible; rather its result is what helps us to know whether or not a person has learned something. It is defined as a relatively permanent

change in behavior of a person that is caused by practice or experience. It

deals with the acquisition of knowledge by deliberately performing a manual

or mechanical action, or by memorizing some theories.

From this definition, certain terms are clarified to avoid ambiguity. Learning

makes a person experience an enduring change in behavior. Temporary

change caused by tiredness or the intake of alcohol or drugs is not included.

The change in behavior is achieved by practice or experience. Therefore,

unconscious change in behavior due to illness, growth etc., is not part of

learning. The change in behavior occurs to the feelings, emotion and

personality of the person.

Learning can be positive or negative.

Learning has stages that an individual passes through. Each stage has a

marketing implication. Product message and information from their social

environment arouses the need for a product by the consumer. The

recognition on reaching a threshold level gives rise to a drive. Based on this,

the person, after some evaluation and research, purchases the product that

he anticipates will satisfy his need. If the product rewards him by performing

satisfactorily, the person stores and retains his post-purchase experience.

The data is recalled or remembered and used in making subsequent

purchases.

Hence, if an advertised product performs satisfactorily for the consumer, he

develops a habit or product loyalty to ensure a repeat purchase whenever the

same need arises in the future.

After the first trial, the person experiences a stable change in his attitude and response to the same product. He forms a firm attitude, which finally makes

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his purchase decision towards the product to become somewhat automatic or

routine. The sum of all these changes of a person’s behavior from the state

of unawareness and reluctance to buy a product, through product

identification and automatic response to the product is known as learning.

Two broad theories of learning, which were borrowed from the study of

animals through experiments, are relevant in marketing. They include

connectionist and cognitive theories.

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Connectionist Theory

This asserts that a consumer can be made to change behavior by

conditioning him over time. This requires presenting the person with stimuli

about a product that will make him respond. If the product is rewarding, the

consumer will subsequently buy the product.

This method of learning is also called Stimulus – response or Association

theory. Over time, the consumer responds to a product because he has

learned about it. If he has not used it, he collects suitable information from

his reference group to decide to make the purchase.

Reinforcement (satisfaction) and other marketing stimuli (advertisement,

sales promotion) can make the consumer repeatedly purchase the same

product. The theory followed the classical conditioning and operant

conditioning of Ivan Pavlov of Russia and B.F Skinner of the U.S.A.

Ivan Pavlov’s classical conditioning experimented on dogs by pairing their

food supply with the ringing of a bell. After so many repeated instances,

associating the food and the bell, the food was removed and the dog

responded to the bell alone. Thus, the initial unconditioned response of the

dog and the bell was turned to conditioned response.

B. F. Skinner’s Operant, or Instrumental, conditioning was done by

putting a cat in a box. The cat, in its bid to escape pressed a spring

that let it escape or released food to it. By applying this continuously,

the cat distinguished the spring from other levers and it repeatedly

pressed the right spring. The reinforcement led to slower learning.

Marketing Implication

With these theories, psychologists have performed similar experiments and

the results were the same. In marketing, consumers have been used to test

the theory and the following implications are derived.

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An intensive advertisement campaign can build up a strong association

between the product and its function. This makes the consumer want to try

the product. If the product meets the buyer’s expectation, he tends to buy it

again in future.

This is primary reinforcement (reward).

Secondary reward, in the form of sales promotion such as price reduction,

seasonal greeting, prizes and praise for purchase of a product can let the

consumer, who has almost forgotten the product (extinction), continue to

buy the product (spontaneous recovery).

Occasional reminder advertisement at off-season may almost level the sales

value over time. It narrows the difference in income from sales between

peak-season and off-season. Non-stop presentation of information about a

product makes the consumer quickly discriminate the product from others in

the market.

In addition, good positioning of a product through a unique price selling point

can assist in product discrimination.

Product generalization can occur. If a product performs well, the consumer

may pass a general judgment on other products provided by the same

company or persons. For example, good judgment about King's vegetable oil

that has been used is passed to King's Toothpaste, King's Toilet soap and

King's Scouring Powder, which are yet to be used. By branding its product,

the company can encourage brand recognition after the first trial by the

consumer.

For example, if the word panadol is not written on the product, many people

will not buy it because they believe that, “it does not have the same quality

as the one that carries the word p-a-n-a-d-o-l”.

Consumers can be encouraged to have loyalty to the product only if their

response is reinforced frequently, or at regular intervals, through sales

promotion programs. Learning is effectively achieved if the thing to be

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learned is presented in a familiar environmental setting, such as a good demonstration and presentation.

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Cognitive Theory

This theory views learning as a process of restructuring a person’s cognition

(knowledge) with regards to a specific problem. The person uses distinctive

and systematic reasoning and intellectual activity to solve the problem.

A person faced with a problem collects information deliberately (planned) or

by accident (trial and error). He assimilates the information to form an

experience (direct or indirect) and attitude towards the object. The stored

information is recalled to solve a given problem and subsequent ones.

This makes man a problem solver. Wolfgang Kohler’s insight learning belongs

to this cognitive theory. He used a chimpanzee to solve a problem. The

animal was put in a cage with pieces of wood that could be fitted to become

long. Outside the cage were bananas which were beyond the reach of the

animal. After many trials, the animal succeeded in fitting the pieces of wood

and used it to draw the bananas into the cage. The solution was suddenly

discovered as if a light was turned on in the darkness.

Insight depends on the arrangement of a problem situation for which the

solution comes from organizing forces of perception. Once a solution occurs

through insight, it can be promptly repeated. The solution can be applied in

new situations.

Therefore, the solution to the problem does not involve learning of a specific

set of conditioned associations but rather, forming of a cognitive relationship

between a means and an end.

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Tolman’s Latent Learning Theory

This is also a form of cognitive theory. It shows that learning goes on without

the presence of reward but, when good reward appears, previous information

is used to enhance it.

He put a rat in a puzzle box. While trying to escape through the complex

routes, the rat developed a mental picture (cognitive map) of the layout,

which led to its escape. The Reward (escape) and Punishment

(imprisonment) experience served to convey information that assisted the rat

to improve its escape in subsequent attempts.

Tolman transferred the findings to human beings by stating that an individual

may form many kinds of cognitions about the way the world is structured. An

individual finds out how goals can be achieved and relationships between

things.

For an individual to respond adaptively to new situations to solve problems,

they may combine much cognition from past experience. A consumer can

buy a never-used item by making use of his intelligence to analyze the

product.

A consumer is a rational problem-solver who uses detailed evaluation of

many factors; economic, sociological and psychological to make each

purchase decision.

Trial and error is used to purchase unbranded products, which may then be

purchased repeatedly if they are satisfactory.

If the consumer has never used a product, he can collect information from

other sources to form an evoked set.

Where enough information is not available, he imitates his reference group.

Repetition of an advertisement makes the consumer become familiar with

and perhaps develop a preference for the product.

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Attitude in Relation to Consumer Behavior

Attitude is a person’s feelings about an object or person. It is their learned

readiness to respond in a stable (favorable or unfavorable) manner to a given

object.

A person develops their attitudes through past experience. That can be direct

or indirect and are enhanced by physical and social cues in the environment.

Once it is formed, the person directs his attitude to the object or person and

this influences his perception.

It is enduring in nature and guides the person’s response to similar objects or

persons that confront him. If the object is a product, his purchase behavior is

influenced by the attitude. The consumer uses his present or past experience

about a product to form an attitude towards it in future.

But, he experiences change in the attitude as he grows older and faces

higher responsibility. This makes products that were initially rejected to be

sought after. For example, a young boy who likes pop and disco music can

later prefer traditional music, as he grows older. A spendthrift bachelor

gradually learns to save money to meet additional obligations as his

responsibility increases after marriage.

Favorable and unfavorable attitudes to products or the company develops

gradually and selectively according to the consumer’s need, information

exposure, social group and environment.

Input from reliable sources creates a favorable attitude. Information from

people and credible mass media is judged reliable while some is suspected. If

the person trusts the source, he forms a positive attitude, according to the

nature of the information.

In this regard, a marketer has to consider the influence of the source of

information available to consumers. He needs to identify and use such

reliable sources in presenting his product message. Other relevant sources,

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such as window displays of a product, recommendations from people etc.,

create favorable attitudes towards the product.

The consumer is indirectly influenced by the beliefs and norms of his

reference group. However, he selects only those aspects that are compatible

with his own beliefs. A large portion of attitude is formed from childhood

within his family setting. He learns the patterns of behavior toward the

society, sex, money, religion, marriage, type of consumption etc.

In adulthood, his aspiration groups gradually change the consumer’s attitude.

He sheds some childhood attitudes and picks those from his aspiration group

in order to secure their approval. Group information in attitude formation and

attitude change is most effective where the consumer lacks adequate

information and he is uncertain how to identify the right product.

When a person has unsatisfied needs, a drive emerges which directs attitude

towards a product that can satisfy such needs.

The resultant attitude helps to simplify his response to an advertised product.

If the needs are fully satisfied by the product, he forms a good attitude to it

and responds quickly to the same product in future. A marketing-oriented

company can elicit favorable attitudes from its consumers by building a good

corporate image, a suitable marketing mix and consumer-oriented service

that satisfy consumers physical and psychological needs.

Acquisition of new knowledge (education) arouses a new attitude to an

object. The person’s orientation to life changes as a result of advanced

knowledge and interaction with other educated people. Attitude formation

occurs objectively in consumers, based on their educational exposure. For

this reason, they read all available messages about the product to form an

attitude that may be positive or negative.

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Components of Attitude

Attitude has three inter-related elements namely cognitive, affection and

reaction.

Cognitive: is the belief or knowledge about the product. It is acquired by obtaining information from many sources. The belief is formed towards

known things or product after obtaining this detailed information.

Affection: feeling of like or dislike for the product aroused from traits, motives, social norms etc. It is an emotional variable emanating from the

mind of the consumer.

Reaction: the person is pressed to react in some ways towards the

advertised product. This element makes the person develop a favorable

attitude that may lead to the purchase of a product.

However, having a favorable attitude does not lead to automatic purchase as

other factors may inhibit the consumer’s decision e.g. finance. These three

components are consistently inter-related. Each has a level of appeal to the

consumer that occupies any point between a very favorable and very

unfavorable scale. A positive attitude makes a consumer react favorably to

an advertised product.

Functions of Attitude

Attitude directs the consumer towards products that satisfy his needs and

away from unsatisfactory ones. The person can defend his integrity, prestige

and ego by having reasons to support his feelings.

Possession of adequate information by the consumer arms him with sufficient

data to defend him and maintain his ego (self-image). The consumer forms

values or beliefs about the product. He uses the value to achieve satisfaction,

or express his feeling in the form of opinion towards the product. The

cognitive, or knowledge, aspect of attitudes makes the consumer give

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meaning to the product. This experience is organized and consistent for the

product over time.

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Marketing Implication of Attitude in Consumer Behavior

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