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Introduction to Consumer Behaviour: Understanding Consumers and their Behaviour

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

We may not realize it, but the study of consumer behaviour forms a very important part of our daily lives.


Whether we are marketing students or not, this is still a crucial element to study.


We wake up in the morning and brush our teeth, possibly using the same Colgate toothpaste that our parents have been using for ages.


We eat our breakfast, consuming Kellogg’s cereal.


We scroll through our social media feed using an I-phone.


We are incorporating brands in the most basic of activities and also ensuring that consumer habits are formed accordingly.


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All this and more is covered as a part of understanding Consumer Behaviour.


How and why we behave in certain ways, in certain social settings, and how brands form an essential part of our lives, is what is a part of Consumer Behaviour.


This article is the first article in the series of 6 articles around Consumer Behaviour.


It includes the following points:

1. Defining Consumer Behaviour

2. Who is a Consumer?

3. What influences Consumer Behaviour?

4. What is the need to analyse consumer behaviour?

5. Basic understanding of market research

6. What do marketers derive out of consumer research?


Let's look at each of them briefly


1. Defining Consumer Behaviour

Now the exact definition of consumer behaviour, looks something like this!


‘The study of the processes involved when consumers acquire, consume and dispose of goods, services, activities, ideas in order to satisfy their needs and desires’.


As a part of this definition, there are multiple smaller aspects covered, that need to be crucially analysed, let’s look at them!


2. Who is a Consumer?

A consumer is any or everyone who has a specific need to satisfy, who looks out for a product to satisfy this need, and purchases the product accordingly.


Now its extremely important to note that in certain cases, there may be multiple layers involved within this definition of a consumer.


For example, a parent might be the one paying for a new laptop, however a kid might be the end user of the product.


And hence, as marketer’s we must clearly understand these different facets of consumers and target our communication accordingly.


Another important part to note here is that consumer behaviour is not restricted to only tangible products, in fact services today form a very important part of analysing consumer behaviour!


3. What influences Consumer Behaviour?

There are multiple factors that are responsible for influencing consumers and making them behave in a certain way, but almost all of these can be grouped into either of these three buckets:


1. External Factors

This will include all of your external culture elements, For example, a consumer’s religion may play an important role in deciding the attitude or behaviour of the consumer.


This also takes into account a particular company’s marketing efforts, what are the kind of promotional activities that a consumer comes across before buying a product.


2. Internal Factors

This is taking into account all of your psychological processes, what is it that the consumer thinks about internally, that is in his/her mind before making the purchase decision, what motivates them, what are their perceptions etc.


This also includes decision making processes like recognizing the problem at hand, looking for available products etc.


3. Post-Decision processes

This takes into account the actual purchase of the product and also the things that are considered as a part of post purchase decision.


4. What is the need to analyse consumer behaviour?

At the end of the day, the question that normally pops up is, why should marketers be bothered about consumer behaviour?


The simple answer to this is, because it leads to greater profitability.


One of the major definitions of marketing revolves around satisfying consumer needs profitably, but this is only possible if we know and understand the consumer needs perfectly.


And this is also the crux behind market research, one of the most important step in marketing today!



5. Basic understanding of Market Research

Market research involves gathering data around consumers to determine the way the brand can be positioned in the market.


There are two types of market research:


1. Qualitative Research

This includes asking open ended questions to the consumers to understand their consumption and buying behaviour


2. Quantitative Research

This takes into account numerical answers and is more statistical in nature


6. What do Marketers derive out of Consumer Behaviour?

While there are multiple things that a marketer derives out of an understanding of Consumer Behaviour, the most important one's are given below


1. It helps them define a marketing problem that is existing in the market right now


2. It helps them to define opportunities that can help in positioning your product


So to conclude, studying Consumer Behaviour is extremely crucial for all the marketers out there!



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