Consumer Behavior 101

Consumers, consumers, consumers in the land of consumption. How do we get a consumer to consume? What exactly is a consumer? Why do I care? 

A consumer is a human begin, that needs to make a purchase or consume a product or a service. Consumers can be individuals, families, businesses or public institutions. 

All decisions we make, not just purchasing or consuming of 'things,' are influenced by our environment and our culture. Technology has been changing how we make these decisions and where we place value and weight to make those decisions. Brands try and represent a particular personality that will entice consumption and influence these markets.  

There are 3 Stages that a consumer moves through when making a decision, where the marketer and consumer engagement in different stages of their relationship. 

1) Identify an Issue (for those entrepreneurs out there, what problem are you solving?) 

2) Make a Purchase and Reflect (customer experience)

3) Disposal 

Basic Consumption Process

Value motivates the central aspect of a consumers behavior. Value is such a buzz word these days, business objectives are being defined where we want to provide perceived value to the customer. Defining value can be challenging and can take many forms. The primary identification of value is the price but can be interpreted in service as well. There are two types of value, the utilitarian value where there is a functional value when solving a problem, or hedonic value where this is more about pleasure and gratification (hello impulse shopping!).

Consumer behavior will change based on segmentation, and lets emphasized geographic segmentation. Perception of brands and how a brand can help define someone's identity will vary based on lifestyle, religion, culture, and environment. How does marketing fall into this? Can the producers persuade us to want something we previously didn't? Is that how insurance and diamond rings came to be? 

The value will be determined differently depending on where you are. It is up to a business to provide value at every interaction with a customer. It is cheaper to make your current customers happy as opposed to acquiring new ones, that is because your client base will contribute reoccurring revenue and upsell opportunities. The product or service attributes also add value, those product features that give a wanted benefit.