When it comes to marketing your business, there is nothing more important than understanding consumer behaviour. If you have already started your own business, then you have demonstrated at least a subconscious understanding of one element important in consumer behaviour, even if you can't define the term. The element you used when starting your business was identifying the needs or wants of a certain group of people, and developing a business that can fill those needs or wants for them. For example, someone who has chosen to become a real estate agent might sense that there was a need for those looking to buy homes in this growing area.
Identifying the requirements of a group of people is but the first step when it comes to consumer behaviour, vital as it is. In this section of our site, we are going to take a look at not only the elements that make up the concept of consumer behaviour, but how they can be employed in an overall marketing strategy. On the whole, the term consumer behaviour is the study which seeks to determine why or why not an individual would purchase products or use services.
The study of consumer behaviour is an interesting one, because the results are never the same for every study. There are a multitude of different factors that go into determining any individual's behaviour, and buying behaviour is certainly no exception. In fact, there may be more individual detail that goes into the buying process than into any other aspect of human behaviour. This is why we need services like a mortgage calculator or other residents can use to make their biggest purchases. Thus, consumer behaviour tends to look at a wide variety of factors including culture, family, demographics, the influence of others, and so on.
Once you understand your consumer base and the behaviours that are likely to determine conscious buying decisions, marketing becomes a lot easier when it comes to execution. Not only does understanding your market mean you can engage in more pointed campaigns, it will often save your company a lot of money. Instead of a catch all marketing approach, you can focus on a specific group of consumers and the specific areas of marketing that are important to them. For example, a company that sells safety barricades (like those from Iron Guard Safety, only need to know how to cater to industrial supply buyers who are looking for that specific product. This is not the case for someone selling television sets.
Just what are those specific areas of marketing? Well, each area is determined by the needs of the consumer when going through the buying process. Let's take a look at them briefly below.
Problem recognition: At this stage, a consumer will realize that they have a want or need that they need filled by some kind of material purchase. They may come to this conclusion on their own, or be influenced by successful marketing. A good example is a person planning a wedding. They know that they are going to need to hire a good catering company to handle the food for the reception.
Information search: At this point, a consumer looks for ways to fill that need. The information they obtain will influence their purchase decision, and the search may be internal or external.
Information evaluation: The consumer evaluates the different options they have according to a pre-set list of criteria.
Purchase: Ultimately, the consumer makes the purchase.
Post purchase evaluation: The consumer decides how he or she feels about the purchase.
At each level of the behavioural process, marketing can play a key factor. Sound practices will ensure that the product or service you offer satisfies the criteria of the consumer at any stage, and we will provide the information crucial to these practices in the articles in this section.