Consumer Behavior Theory and Marketing Strategy

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  • 0:05 Predicting Consumer Behavior
  • 1:03 What Is Consumer Behavior?
  • 2:30 Marketing Strategy and…
  • 4:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kelly Roach

Kelly earned her Master of Mass Communication from Arizona State and has taught consumer behavior and communication courses at the undergraduate level.

Watch this lesson to find out how marketers can use predictions about our behavior to create a strategy that helps them reach out to us and influence our decisions to buy.

Predicting Consumer Behavior

Did you know that marketers are able to predict the future? Well, maybe not really, but by studying our habits as consumers, over time they can begin to predict our behavior and even anticipate things like seemingly random shopping trips induced by late-night cravings for our favorite food.

Once marketers have enough data about our shopping habits and preferences, they can use that information to help them make predictions about our shopping behavior. Then, once they've made predictions about how, when or why we might buy, they take it a step further and attempt to influence our buying behavior through marketing strategy.

For example, have you ever noticed how baking supplies like sugar, flour or butter all seem to go on sale around the holidays? Through many years of research, stores have come to understand that November and December bring the urge to make Grandma's gingerbread or Aunt Mabel's maple-pecan bars. To sweeten the deal, marketers put these items on sale and even distribute coupons to reinforce our decision to buy.

What Is Consumer Behavior?

Before we get into more detail about how consumer behavior can affect marketing strategy, let's step back and define exactly what consumer behavior is. Simply put, consumer behavior is the study of all consumers and the process they go through to satisfy needs.

A few points about this definition: one, consumers can be individuals, groups or even organizations. Two, consumers may be able to satisfy their needs in a number of ways - through the acquisition of goods or services, by discovering ideas or experiences or something else entirely. These all count as consumer behavior. Finally, the process goes beyond just buying something. It involves the search for, acquisition of, use of and disposal of whatever was found to fulfill the need.

For example, let's say after watching Lady and the Tramp late one night, you have a sudden craving for spaghetti. You run to the nearest grocery store that's still open, grab spaghetti noodles and a jar of sauce, along with some ground beef and an onion to doctor it up. When you get home, you snip some basil and oregano from your herb garden and get to work in the kitchen.

This is all consumer behavior, from the movie that triggered your sudden 'need' for spaghetti, to your choice of store, to the idea that you decided to fix up the sauce with other ingredients - even whether or not you decide to recycle the jar your sauce came in. As you can see, consumer behavior is a very involved process including much more than the moment you make a purchase decision.

Marketing Strategy and the Four Ps

Okay, so now that you see what consumer behavior is all about, let's talk about how it impacts marketing strategy. A company's marketing strategy is driven by their ability to fulfill consumer needs. By anticipating and reacting to needs faster and better than competitors, they provide a greater overall value for the consumer.

You may recall that the company's marketing strategy is fulfilled through the four P's: product, price, promotion and place. Once marketers understand their target market's behavior, they can use that knowledge to help them develop a more effective strategy using the four P's. Let's go back to our spaghetti example to see how this works.

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