Consumers are powerfully influenced by their emotions and environmental cues, as well as by the differences in options that are presented to them. By becoming more aware of these biases, we can develop a better pattern of thinking and more effective marketing.1
Consumer behavior refers to the study of what causes individuals and organizations to purchase certain products and support certain brands. This area of study focuses primarily on behavior, motivations, and psychology.2 Understanding different consumer behavior can be a powerful tool.
In marketing, understanding these factors that influence consumer behavior provides us with a more complete view into the mind of the customer. As you learn more about what influences decisions for your particular target segment, product category, brand, and competitive set, you can use these influencing factors to your advantage.
What you say to customers, the words you use, the people who say them, and the images they evoke, these things can link back to that web of influencing factors at work in a purchaser’s mind.3 Great marketing uses these connections powerfully and effectively to win over the hearts and minds of customers. We’ve broken down these influencing factors into four sets to help further understand what dictates consumer behavior.
These are the factors pertaining to the consumer’s level of involvement in a buying task and the market offerings that are available. Situational factors influencing customers are external factors usually outside of the control of marketers, manufacturers, and, sometimes even retailers.
In general, the situation affects how consumers encounter and interact with a product, informing their opinion at that moment in time. Just like the pricing, advertising, quality, and reputation of any given product, situational factors can hold sway over purchase behavior.4
Personal factors are individual characteristics and traits such as age, life stage, economic situation, and personality. Personal factors include audience demographics, such as age, culture, profession, age, and background, and play major roles in forming consumers’ interests and opinions.
The audience demographic marker of economic status can be a strong influencer in consumer decisions.3 Not surprisingly, people in different income brackets buy different types of products, shop in very different ways, and look for different qualities.
Many designer clothing shops, for example, aim their marketing at higher-income shoppers.3 It’s important to take personal factors into account when planning marketing for your practice so you are reaching the right audience.
The different factors related to your consumer’s motivation, learning, socialization, attitudes, and beliefs are all psychological factors. The way a person responds to a marketing campaign depends largely on their own personal perceptions, attitudes, and general view of life.