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Author: Jonathan Dodoo
Title:
Practical Approach Towards Consumer'S Behavior
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  INTRODUCTION


An important part of the marketing process is to understand why a customer or
buyer makes a purchase. Without such an understanding, businesses find it hard to
respond to the customers needs and wants.

Marketing theory traditionally splits analysis of buyer or customer behaviour into
two broad groups for analysis Consumer Buyers and Industrial Buyers, Consumer
buyers are those who purchase items for their personal consumption Industrial
buyers are those who purchase items on behalf of their business or organisation
Businesses now spend considerable sums trying to learn about what makes
customers tick. The questions they try to understand are:

Who buys?
How do they buy?
When do they buy?
Where do they buy?
Why do they buy?

For a marketing manager, the challenge is to understand how customers might
respond to the different elements of the marketing mix that are presented to them.
If management can understand these customer responses better than the
competition, then it is a potentially significant source of competitive advantage.

Consumer behaviour is the study of how people buy, what they buy, when they
buy and why they buy. It blends elements from psychology, sociology,
sociopsychology, anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the
buyer decision making process, both individually and in groups. It studies
characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics, psychographics,
and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries
to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends,
reference groups, and society in general.

Buyer decision processes are the decision making processes undertaken by
consumers in regard to a potential market transaction before, during, and after the
purchase of a product or service. More generally, decision making is the cognitive
process of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives.
Common examples include shopping, deciding what to eat. Decision making is
said to be a psychological construct. This means that although we can never "see"
a decision, we can infer from observable behaviour that a decision has been made.
Therefore we conclude that a psychological event that we call decision making
has occurred. It is a construction that imputes commitment to action. That is,
based on observable actions, we assume that people have made a commitment to
effect the action.


3

INTRODUCTION


In an early study of the buyer decision process literature, Frank Nicosia (Nicosia,
F. 1966; pp 9-21) identified three types of buyer decision making models. They
are the univariate model (He called it the "simple scheme".) in which only one
behavioural determinant was allowed in a stimulus-response type of relationship;
the multi-variate model (He called it a "reduced form scheme".) in which
numerous independent variables were assumed to determine buyer behaviour; and
finally the system of equations model (He called it a "structural scheme" or
"process scheme".) in which numerous functional relations (either univariate or
multi-variate) interact in a complex system of equations. He concluded that only
this third type of model is capable of expressing the complexity of buyer decision
processes. Nicosia builds a comprehensive model involving five modules. The
encoding module includes determinants like attributes of the brand, environmental
factors", "consumer's attributes, attributes of the organization", and "attributes of
the message". Other modules in the system include consumer decoding, search
and evaluation, decision, and consumption.















4

DISCRIPTION


Consumer behaviour is the study of how people buy, what they buy, when they
buy and why they buy. It blends elements from psychology, sociology,
sociopsychology, anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the
buyer decision making process, both individually and in groups. It studies
characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics, psychographics,
and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries
to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends,
reference groups, and society in general.

Psychology is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific
study of mental processes and behavior. Psychologists study such phenomena as
perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behavior, and interpersonal
relationships. Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to
various spheres of human activity, including issues related to daily life e.g.
family, education, and work and the treatment of mental health problems.
Psychology is one of the behavioral sciences a broad field that spans the social
and natural sciences. Psychology attempts to understand the role human behavior
plays in social dynamics while incorporating physiological and neurological
processes into its conceptions of mental functioning. Psychology includes many
sub-fields of study and application concerned with such areas as human
development, sports, health, industry, law, and spirituality.

Sociology is an academic and applied discipline that studies society and human
social interaction. Sociological research ranges from the analysis of short contacts
between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social
processes. Numerous fields within the discipline focus on how and why people
are organized in society, either as individuals or as members of associations,
groups, and institutions. As an academic discipline, sociology is typically
considered a social science.

Sociology is a cluster of disciplines which seek to explain the dimensions of
society and the dynamics that societies operate upon. Some of these disciplines
which reflect current fields of Sociology are demography, which studies changes
in a population size or type; criminology, which studies criminal behavior and
deviance; social stratification, which studies inequality and class structure;
political sociology which studies government and laws; sociology of race and
sociology of gender which examine the social construction of race and gender as
well as race and gender inequality. New sociological fields and sub-fields such as
network analysis and environmental sociology continue to evolve many of them
are very cross-disciplinary in nature.




5

DISCRIPTION


Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and
consumption of goods and services. A definition that captures much of modern
economics is that of Lionel Robbins in a 1932 essay: the science which studies
human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have
alternative uses. Scarcity means that available resources are insufficient to satisfy
all wants and needs. Absent scarcity and alternative uses of available resources,
there is no economic problem.

An organisation cannot be reach its goals without understanding buyer behaviour
which is the action people take in buying and using goods and service. Marketers
who understand buyer behaviour, such as how a price increase will affect a
products sales, can create a more effective marketing mix.

To understand buyer behaviour, marketers must understand how consumers make
buying decisions. The decision making process has several steps which the entire
process is affected by a number of personal and social factors, A buyer decision
start with a stimulus, which is anything that affects one or more of our senses like
sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. A stimulus might be the feel of a sweater,
the sleek shape of a new model car, the design on a package or a brand name
mentioned by a friend.

The stimulus leads to problem recognition; this sweater feels so soft and looks
good on me, should I buy it, in word the consumer decides that theres a purchase
need The consumer then get information about the purchase or what other styles
of sweater are available at what price can this sweater be bought at a lower price
elsewhere, the consumer weighs the options and decides whether to make the
purchase. If the consumer buys the product certain outcomes are expected, these
outcomes may or may not become reality the sweater may last for years or the
shoulder seams may pull out the first time its worn, the consumer assesses the
experience with the product and uses this information to update expectation about
future purchases.

Individual and social factors can influence the consumer decision making process;
the individual factors are within the consumer and are unique to each person, they
include perception, beliefs and attitudes, values, learning, self concept, and
personality.

Companies often conduct research to better understand individual factors that
cause consumers to buy or not to buy, for instance, Hyatt Hotel found that people
who stayed at Hyatt while on business chose other hotels when they traveled on
vacation with children.



6

DISCRIPTION




Consumer Decision Making Process






1



Sense Stimulus






2



Recognise problem










3


Search for information






4
Individual and
Evaluate alternatives

memory
Social factors





5



Purchase product






6



Evaluate outcome






7



Engage in



Post purchase behaviour


Hyatt was perceived as a businesspersons hotel, so Hyatt came up with a
program called Camp Hyatt which caters to children with a year round program
that varies by season. It combines attractive rates that appeal to parents with lots
of activities for kids.

Social factors that affect the decision making process include all interactions
between a consumer and the external environment, family, opinion leaders, social
class, and culture. Families may be the most important of these social factors, yet
families have limited resources so many buying decisions are compromises. Since
a number of decisions include input from several family members marketing
managers sometimes promote products using a family theme such as Camp Hyatt.

7

GENERAL ANALYSIS


The need for an understanding of the organizational buying process has grown in
recent years due to the many competitive challenges presented in business-to-
business markets. Since 1980 there have been a number of key changes in this
area, including the growth of outsourcing, the increasing power enjoyed by
purchasing departments and the importance given to developing partnerships with
suppliers.

Business buyer behaviour and business markets are different from consumer
markets. Business markets include institutions such as hospitals and schools
manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers and various branches of government.

The purchase volume is that business where customers buy in much larger
quantities than consumers, think how many truckloads of sugar mars must
purchase to make one day output of M&Ms. imagine the number of batteries sears
buys each day for resale to consumers and also think about the number of pens the
federal government must use each day.

The numbers of customers business marketers usually have far fewer customers
than consumer marketers, as a result, it is much easier to identify prospective
buyers and monitor current needs. How few customers for airplanes or industrial
cranes there are compared to the more than 70 million consumer households in
the United States?

The location of buyers is that business where customers tend to be much more
geographically concentrated than consumers; the computer industry is
concentrated in Silicon Valley and a few other areas. Aircraft manufacturing is
found in Seattle, St Louise, and Dallas/Fort Worth where suppliers have to
manufactures often locate close to the manufactures to lower distribution costs
and facilitate communication.

The direct distribution sales tend to be made directly to the buyer because such
sales frequently involve large quantities or custom made items like heavy
machinery, consumers goods are more likely to be sold through intermediaries
like wholesalers and retailers.

Also the rational purchase decision consumers, business buyers usually approach
purchasing rather formally; businesses use professionally trained purchasing
agents or buyers who spend their entire career purchasing a limited number of
items, they got to know the items and the sellers quite well.

Decision making is the cognitive process leading to the selection of a course of
action among variations. Every decision making process produces a final choice.


8

GENERAL ANALYSIS


It can be an action or an opinion. It begins when we need to do something but
know not what.

Therefore, decision making is a reasoning process which can be rational or
irrational, and can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions.
Common examples include shopping, deciding what to eat, when to sleep, and
deciding whom or what to vote for in an election or referendum. Decision making
is said to be a psychological construct. This means that although we can never, we
can infer from observable behaviour that a decision has been made. Therefore, we
conclude that a psychological event that we call decision making" has occurred. It
is a construction that imputes commitment to action. That is, based on observable
actions, we assume that people have made a commitment to affect the action.

Structured rational decision making is an important part of all science-based
professions, where specialists apply their knowledge in a given area to making
informed decisions. For example, medical decision making often involves making
a diagnosis and selecting an appropriate treatment. Some research using
naturalistic methods shows, however, that in situations with higher time pressure,
higher stakes, or increased ambiguities, experts use intuitive decision making
rather than structured approaches, following a recognition primed decision
approach to fit a set of indicators into the expert's experience and immediately
arrive at a satisfactory course of action without weighing alternatives. Also, recent
robust decision efforts have formally integrated uncertainty into the decision
making process.




















9

ACTUALISATION


A well-developed and tested model of buyer behaviour is known as the stimulus-
response model, which is summarised in the diagram below:




In the above model, marketing and other stimuli enter the customers "black box"
and produce certain responses. Marketing management must try to work out what
goes on the in the mind of the customer the black box.

The Buyers characteristics influence how he or she perceives the stimuli; the
decision-making process determines what buying behaviour is undertaken.
Characteristics that affect customer behaviour The first stage of understanding
buyer behaviour is to focus on the factors that determine he buyer characteristics
in the "black box.







10

ACTUALISATION


These can be summarised as follows:



Each of these factors is discussed in more detail in our other revision notes on
buyer behaviour.

If a marketer can identify consumer buyer behaviour, he or she will be in a better
position to target products and services at them. Buyer behaviour is focused upon
the needs of individuals, groups and organizations. It is important to understand
the relevance of human needs to buyer behaviour (remember, marketing is about
satisfying needs).











11

ACTUALISATION





Let's look at human motivations as introduced by Abraham Maslow by his
hierarchy of needs the hierarchy is triangular. This is because as you move up it,
fewer and fewer people satisfy higher level needs. We begin at the bottom level.
Physiological needs such as food, air, water, heat, and the basic necessities of
survival need to be satisfied. At the level of safety, man has a place to live that
protects him from the elements and predators. At the third level we meet our
social and belongingness needs i.e. we marry, or join groups of friends, etc.

The final two levels are esteem and self actualization. Fewer people satisfy the
higher level needs. Esteem means that you achieve something that makes you
recognised and gives personal satisfaction, for example writing a book. Self-
actualisation is achieved by few. Here a person is one of a small number to
actually do something. For example, Neil Armstrong self actualized as the first
person to reach the Moon.

The model is a little simplistic but introduces the concept a differing consumer
needs quite well.















12

ACTUALISATION






To understand consumer buyer behaviour is to understand how the person
interacts with the marketing mix. As described by Cohen (1991), the marketing
mix inputs (or the four P's of price, place, promotion, and product) are adapted
and focused upon the consumer. The psychology of each individual considers the
product or service on offer in relation to their own culture, attitude, previous
learning, and personal perception. The consumer then decides whether or not to
purchase, where to purchase, the brand that he or she prefers, and other choices.


It is often said that the central purpose of economic activity is the production of
goods and services to satisfy consumers needs and wants i.e. to meet peoples
need for consumption both as a means of survival but also to meet their ever-
growing demand for an improved lifestyle or standard of living.

Economics is a social science that studies human behaviour as a relationship
between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. That is, economics is
the study of the trade-offs involved when choosing between alternate sets of
decisions.

Road space throughout the world is becoming increasingly scarce as the demand
for motor transport increases each year what do you think are some of the best
solutions to reducing the problem of congestion on our roads?




13

ACTUALISATION


It is often said that the central purpose of economic activity is the production of
goods and services to satisfy consumers needs and wants i.e. to meet peoples
need for consumption both as a means of survival but also to meet their ever-
growing demand for an improved lifestyle or standard of living.

The basic economic problem is about scarcity and choice since there are only a
limited amount of resources available to produce the unlimited amount of goods
and services we desire. All societies face the problem of having to decide:

The economy uses its resources to operate more hospitals or hotels? Do we make
iPod Nanos or produce more coffee? Does the National Health Service provide
free IVF treatment for thousands of childless couples? Or, do we choose instead
to allocate millions of pounds each year to providing beta-interferon to sufferers
of multiple sclerosis?

The best use of our scarce resources of land labour and capital should school
playing fields be sold off to provide more land for affordable housing? Or are we
contributing to the problem of obesity by selling off these playing fields?

The best method of distributing products to ensure the highest level of wants and
needs are met? Who will get expensive hospital treatment - and who not? Should
there be a minimum wage? If so, at what level should it be set?

We use an average of 158 liters of water a day in Britain, for which we pay a
price of 28p per liter but much of it is just cash down the drain, according to water
companies. Most are campaigning to cut the amount we use. And the front-line
weapon in their campaign is the water meter. They want us all to have one and
one company is seeking powers to make them compulsory. When a meter is
installed, in most homes, consumption drops by 20 per cent and, in some, it goes
down by a third. According to Ofwat, the water industry regulator, the average
water and sewerage bill for homes with a meter is 248 compared with 289 for
those with flat-rate bills.

At present only 25% of households have meters and most of those are in East
Anglia. They are installed free by water companies but households then have
about 43 added to each bill to cover the cost of installing and reading the meter.
Unsurprisingly, we use more water in summer. Peak demand on hot days can be
50%to 70% above average. Most of this is for lawns, flowers, paddling pools and
extra showers and baths.

Source: Adapted from an article by Valerie Elliott, the Times, 9 July 2005



14

ACTUALISATION


If the supply of a good or service is low, the market price will rise, providing
there is sufficient demand from consumers. Goods and services that are in
plentiful supply will have a lower market value because supply can easily meet
the demand from consumers. Whenever there is excess supply in a market, we
expect to see prices falling. For example, the prices of new cars in the UK have
been falling for several years and there have been huge falls in the prices of
clothing as supply from countries such as China and Vietnam has surged.

Human beings want better food; housing; transport, education and health services.
They demand the latest digital technology, more meals out at restaurants, more
frequent overseas travel, more leisure time, better cars, cheaper food and a wider
range of cosmetic health care treatments. Opinion polls consistently show that the
majority of the electorate expects government policies to deliver improvements in
the standard of education, the National Health Service and our transport system.

Economic resources are limited, but human needs and wants are infinite. Indeed
the development of society can be described as the uncovering of new wants and
needs which producers attempt to supply by using the available factors of
production. For a perspective on the achievements of countries in meeting
peoples basic needs, the Human Development Index produced annually by the
United Nations is worth reading. Data for each country can be accessed and cross-
country comparisons can be made.

Because of scarcity, choices have to be made on a daily basis by all consumers,
firms and governments. For a moment, just have a think about the hundreds of
millions of decisions that are made by people in your own country every single
day. Take for example the choices that people make in the city of London about
how to get to work. Over six million people travel into London each day, they
have to make choices about when to travel, whether to use the bus, the tube, to
walk or cycle or indeed whether to work from home. Millions of decisions are
being taken, many of them are habitual but somehow on most days, people get to
work on time and they get home too! This is a remarkable achievement, and for it
to happen, our economy must provide the resources and the options for it to
happen.

Making a choice made normally involves a trade-off in simple terms, choosing
more of one thing means giving up something else in exchange. Because wants
are unlimited but resources are finite, choice is an unavoidable issue in
economics. For example: Housing, Choices about whether to rent or buy a home a
huge decision to make and one full of uncertainty given the recent volatility in the
British housing market! There are costs and benefits to renting a property or
choosing to buy a home with a mortgage. Both decisions involve a degree of risk.


15

ACTUALISATION


Choosing between full-time or part-time work, or to take a course in higher
education lasting three years how have these choices and commitments been
affected by the introduction of university tuition fees, the choice between using
Euro-Tunnel, a speedy low-cost ferry or an airline when traveling to Western
Europe Your choices about which modes of transport to use to get to and from
work or school each day.

Despite several decades of rising living standards do surveys of happiness suggest
that people are not noticeably happier than previous generations? When we study
the decisions of consumers in different markets, we can start to consider and
explore what their aims are. Our working assumption for the moment is that
consumers make choices about what to consume based on the aim of maximising
their own welfare. They have a limited income and they seek to allocate their
funds in a way that improves their standard of living. Of course in reality
consumers rarely behave in a perfectly informed and rational way. We will see
later that often decisions by people are based on imperfect or incomplete
information which can lead to a loss of satisfaction and welfare not only for
people themselves but which affect other and our society as a whole.

As consumers we have all made poor choices about which products to buy. Do we
always learn from our mistakes? To what extent are our individual choices
influenced and distorted by the effects of persuasive advertising? Multinational
companies have advertising and marketing budgets that often run into hundreds of
millions of pounds. We are all influenced by them to a lesser or greater degree
and there is always the risk that advertising can be misleading.

An economic system is best described as a network of organizations used by a
society to resolve the basic problem of what, how and for whom to produce.

There are four categories of economic system, Traditional economy, where
decisions about what, how and for whom to produce are based on custom and
tradition. Land is typically held in common i.e. private property is not well
defined.

Free market economy, where households own resources and free markets allocate
resources through the workings of the price mechanism. An increase in demand
raises price and encourages firms to switch additional resources into the
production of that good or service.
The amount of products consumed by households depends on their income and
household income depends on the market value of an individuals work. In a free
market economy there is a limited role for the government.



16

ACTUALISATION


Indeed in a highly free market system, the government limits itself to protecting
the property rights of people and businesses using the legal system, and it also
seeks to protect the value of money or the value of a currency.

Planned or command economy, in a planned or command system typically
associated with a socialist or communist economic system, scarce resources are
owned by the state i.e. the government. The state allocates resources, and sets
production targets and growth rates according to its own view of people's wants.
The final income and wealth distribution is decided by the state. In such a system,
market prices play little or no part in informing resource allocation decisions and
queuing rations scarce goods.

Mixed economy, in a mixed economy, some resources are owned by the public
sector government and some resources are owned by the private sector. The
public sector typically supplies public, quasi-public and merit goods and
intervenes in markets to correct perceived market failure. We will come back to
all of these concepts later on in our study of microeconomics.

There is a well known saying in economics that "there is no such thing as a free
lunch!" Even if we are not asked to pay a price for consuming a good or a service,
scarce resources are used up in the production of it and there must be an
opportunity cost involved. Opportunity cost measures the cost of any choice in
terms of the next best alternative foregone. Many examples exist for individuals,
firms and the government.

The opportunity cost of deciding not to work an extra ten hours a week is the lost
wages foregone. If you are being paid 6 per hour to work at the local
supermarket, if you choose to take a day off from work you might lose 48 from
having sacrificed eight hours of paid work. Government spending priorities, the
opportunity cost of the government spending nearly 10 billion on investment in
National Health Service might be that 10 billion less is available for spending on
education or the transport network.

Investing today for consumption tomorrow the opportunity cost of an economy
investing resources in new capital goods is the current production of consumer
goods given up. We may have to accept lower living standards now, to
accumulate increased capital equipment so that long run living standards can
improve. Making use of scarce farming land The opportunity cost of using arable
farmland to produce wheat is that the land cannot be used in that production
period to harvest potatoes.




17

ACTUALISATION


Sectors of production in the economy

Primary sector this involves extraction of natural resources e.g. agriculture,
forestry, fishing, quarrying, and mining

Secondary sector this involves the production of goods in the economy, i.e.
transforming materials produced by the primary sector e.g. manufacturing and the
construction industry

Tertiary sector the tertiary sector provided services such as banking, finance,
insurance, retail, education and travel and tourism

Quaternary sector the quaternary sector is involved with information processing
e.g. education, research and development






























18

GENERAL RECOMMENDATION


Customers have different reservation prices they are willing to pay for your goods
or services. Price increases will probably cause a decrease in sales, and price
decreases will probably have the reverse effect. But how can you tell how much
volume will change as a result of a price change?

Producers often take advantage of consumer surplus when setting prices. If a
business can identify groups of consumers within their market who are willing
and able to pay different prices for the same products, then sellers may engage in
price discrimination the aim of which is to extract from the purchaser, the price
they are willing to pay, thereby turning consumer surplus into extra revenue.

Airlines are expert at practicing this form of yield management, extracting from
consumers the price they are willing and able to pay for flying to different
destinations are various times of the day, and exploiting variations in elasticity of
demand for different types of passenger service. You will always get a better deal
/ price with airlines such as Easy Jet and Ryan Air if you are prepared to book
weeks or months in advance. The airlines are prepared to sell tickets more cheaply
then because they get the benefit of cash-flow together with the guarantee of a
seat being filled. The nearer the time to take-off, the higher the price. If a
businessman is desperate to fly from Newcastle to Paris in 24 hours time, his or
her demand is said to be price inelastic and the corresponding price for the ticket
will be much higher.

One of the main arguments against firms with monopoly power is that they
exploit their monopoly position by raising prices in markets where demand is
inelastic, extracting consumer surplus from buyers and increasing profit margins
at the same time. We shall consider the issue of monopoly in more detail when we
come on to our study of markets and industries.
When the demand for a good or service is perfectly elastic, consumer surplus is
zero because the price that people pay matches precisely the price they are willing
to pay. This is most likely to happen in highly competitive markets where each
individual firm is assumed to be a ,,price taker in their chosen market and must
sell as much as it can at the ruling market price.

In contrast, when demand is perfectly inelastic, consumer surplus is infinite.
Demand is totally invariant to a price change. Whatever the price, the quantity
demanded remains the same. Are there any examples of products that have such a
low price elasticity of demand?

The majority of demand curves are downward sloping. When demand is inelastic,
there is a greater potential consumer surplus because there are some buyers
willing to pay a high price to continue consuming the product. This is shown in
the diagram below:

19

GENERAL RECOMMENDATION


























20

GENERAL RECOMMENDATION


Changes in demand and consumer surplus



When there is a shift in the demand curve leading to a change in the equilibrium
market price and quantity, then the level of consumer surplus will alter. This is
shown in the diagrams above. In the left hand diagram, following an increase in
demand from D1 to D2, the equilibrium market price rises to from P1 to P2 and
the quantity traded expands. There is a higher level of consumer surplus because
more is being bought at a higher price than before.

In the diagram on the right we see the effects of a cost reducing innovation which
causes an outward shift of market supply, a lower price and an increase in the
quantity traded in the market. As a result, there is an increase in consumer welfare
shown by a rise in consumer surplus.
Consumer surplus can be used frequently when analysing the impact of
government intervention in any market for example the effects of indirect taxation
on cigarettes consumers or the introducing of road pricing schemes such as the
London congestion charge.

Adam Smith, one of the Founding Fathers of economics famously wrote of the
invisible hand of the price mechanism". He described how the invisible or hidden
hand of the market operated in a competitive market through the pursuit of self-
interest to allocate resources in societys best interest.

21

GENERAL RECOMMENDATION


This remains the central view of all free-market economists, i.e. those who
believe in the virtues of a free-market economy with minimal government
intervention.

The price mechanism is a term used to describe the means by which the many
millions of decisions taken each day by consumers and businesses interact to
determine the allocation of scarce resources between competing uses. This is the
essence of economics!

Firstly, prices perform a signaling function this means that market prices will
adjust to demonstrate where resources are required, and where they are not.
Prices rise and fall to reflect scarcities and surpluses. So, for example, if market
prices are rising because of high and rising demand from consumers, this is a
signal to suppliers to expand their production to meet the higher demand.

Consider the left hand diagram on the next page. The demand for computer games
increases and as a result, producers stand to earn higher revenues and profits from
selling more games at a higher price per unit. So an outward shift of demand
ought to lead to an expansion along the market supply curve.

In the second example on the right, an increase in market supply causes a fall in
the relative prices of digital cameras and prompts an expansion along the market
demand curve Conversely, a rise in the costs of production will induce suppliers
to decrease supply, while consumers will react to the resulting higher price by
reducing demand for the good or services.

Through the signaling function, consumers are able through their expression of
preferences to send important information to producers about the changing nature
of our needs and wants. When demand is strong, higher market prices act as an
incentive to raise output (production) because the supplier stands to make a higher
profit. When demand is weak, then the market supply contracts. We are assuming
here that producers do actually respond to these price signals!

One of the features of a free market economy is that decision-making in the
market is decentralised in other words, the market responds to the individual
decisions of millions of consumers and producers, i.e. there is no single body
responsible for deciding what is to be produced and in what quantities. This is a
remarkable feature of an organic market system.

Prices serve to ration scarce resources when demand in a market outstrips supply.
When there is a shortage of a product, the price is bid up leaving only those with
sufficient willingness and ability to pay with the effective demand necessary to
purchase the product.

22

GENERAL RECOMMENDATION


Be it the demand for tickets among England supporters for the 2006 World Cup or
the demand for a rare antique, the market price acts a rationing device to equate
demand with supply.
The prices for using the good example of the rationing function of the price
mechanism. A toll road can exclude those drivers and vehicles that are not
businesses and other road users are paying for the right to use the road, road space
has a market price instead of being regarded as something of a free good.





































23

CONCLUSION


The best way is to examine customer behaviour. Their behaviour tells you what
their needs are. We identify simple but powerful facts about buying behaviour -
who buys, what they buy, and how do they buy. We supplement this information
with why do they buy. The results give you amazing insights into what customer's
needs are, and how they differ across different background variables such as age
or gender.


Research suggests that children are exerting more influence over family buying
decisions. What are the implications of this for retailers, brands and marketers?
Children are an important part of the family buying process. But what roles do
they play? Marketing theory suggests five main roles in a family buying process:

- Initiator
- Influencer
- Decider
- Buyer
- User

Which roles do children play in addition to the obvious one the user Children
certainly influence family buying decisions from cars to holidays? They are also
the buyers of the future. Provide children with Penguin bars and McVitie's may be
able to hold on to the adult due to brand awareness and brand loyalty formed at
such an early age.

But how should businesses market to children? Are there conflicts with being
seen to specifically target the child audience can it alienate parents?
Products have to appeal to the conflicting agendas of child and parent, while
fighting off increasing competition. A marketer of childrens foods was recently
quoted as follows:

Ten years ago children wouldn't have given a damn about cheese. It used to be
just Dairylea, but now children's dairy products encompass everything from
cheese to yogurts, and fromage frais. Our brands also face more intense
competition than ever and it's not just from other chocolate biscuits - it's from
products such as Dairylea Dunkers and Fruit Winders. These things didn't exist
before.


Marketers also have to recognise that children are moving into new markets.
Children as young as seven buy DVD's, and no teenage lifestyle is complete
without a mobile phone. This has a knock-on effect. For example, the money
children spend on mobile phone cards reduces the money they spend on snacks.


24

CONCLUSION


Marketers also need to be sensitive to the peculiarities of children-related markets.
It may be tempting to use a daring marketing campaign to make a product stand
out. But a poorly thought-through campaign could result in the product and/or
brand being attacked by ethical campaigners, outraged mothers, educationalists,
health and safety organisations and others.

A good example of how things can go wrong is Sunny Delight. Sunny Delight
enjoyed boom sales after its initial launch. However, the drink's popularity
crashed when the media realised that it was sold from chiller cabinets purely as a
marketing ploy to make it seem fresh and, therefore, healthy. The actual product
formulation was far from healthy.

Retailers face a challenge to display products in a way that attracts children.
Promotional displays have to be able to handle child usage (or abuse) and capture
a childs imagination and attention. Disney has a reputation as being particularly
good at interactive promotional marketing. Many children also prefer
Woolworth's to supermarkets because of features such as pick 'n' mix sweets. The
Early Learning Centre succeeds by creating a playground which allows children
to play with toys rather than leaving them wrapped in plastic.

For a marketing manager, the challenge is to understand how customers might
respond to the different elements of the marketing mix that are presented to them.
If management can understand these customer responses better than the
competition, then it is a potentially significant source of competitive advantage.

Consumer behaviour is the study of how people buy, what they buy, when they
buy and why they buy. It blends elements from psychology, sociology,
sociopsychology, anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the
buyer decision making process, both individually and in groups. It studies
characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics, psychographics,
and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries
to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends,
reference groups, and society in general.

Buyer decision processes are the decision making processes undertaken by
consumers in regard to a potential market transaction before, during, and after the
purchase of a product or service. More generally, decision making is the cognitive
process of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives.
Common examples include shopping, deciding what to eat. Decision making is
said to be a psychological construct. This means that although we can never see a
decision, we can infer from observable behaviour that a decision has been made.
Therefore we conclude that a psychological event that we call decision making
has occurred. It is a construction that imputes commitment to action.

25

CONCLUSION


That is, based on observable actions, we assume that people have made a
commitment to effect the action.

In an early study of the buyer decision process literature, Frank Nicosia (Nicosia,
F. 1966; pp 9-21) identified three types of buyer decision making models. They
are the univariate model (He called it the "simple scheme".) in which only one
behavioural determinant was allowed in a stimulus-response type of relationship;
the multi-variate model (He called it a "reduced form scheme".) in which
numerous independent variables were assumed to determine buyer behaviour; and
finally the system of equations model He called it a structural scheme" or
"process scheme. In which numerous functional relations either univariate or
multi-variate) interact in a complex system of equations. He concluded that only
this third type of model is capable of expressing the complexity of buyer decision
processes. Nicosia builds a comprehensive model involving five modules. The
encoding module includes determinants like attributes of the brand, environmental
factors", "consumer's attributes, attributes of the organization", and "attributes of
the message". Other modules in the system include consumer decoding, search
and evaluation, decision, and consumption.


























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28

 
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