Welcome to the Henry Stuart program
on Consumer Behavior:
Why We Buy.
Consumer behavior is a subset
of marketing discipline.
It's a very interesting
and exciting field to be in
because it's very much a hybrid.
It's a combination of scholarly work
in a number of areas,
most notably psychology, economics,
sociology, and anthropology.
So it really
is a fascinating juxtaposition
of just about everything
that we know about human behavior
and trying to find ways to apply that
to understand how people behave
in the market place.
I would like to start with a definition
of the field of consumer behavior.
It's particularly important for us to
take a closer look at this definition,
because for many years
people working in the field,
both as practitioners and as academics,
have tended to confuse consumer behavior
with the much narrower
focus on buyer behavior;
that is what happens
when a person in a store exchanges money
or credit card and goes home
with some item in his or her basket.
a part of what we look at,
but our field has expanded
to include many, many other aspects
of people's interactions
with the market place.
So let's look at a long-winded sentence
that really encapsulates
many of the issues
that we need to grapple with,
when we want to understand
We can define the field
as the study of the processes
involved when individuals
or groups select, purchase,
use, or dispose of products,
or experiences to satisfy needs
that is a very long-winded definition.
But there are several words
or phrases in there
that are worth noting
as we move forward.
One of those is that
we are studying processes.
In other words,
consumer behavior is not something
that happens instantaneously.
It is the culmination of actually
a fairly complex set of behaviors,
and cognitions, and emotions.
And we may only see
the surface of that
when a person
actually makes his transaction.
But the reality is that
to truly understand consumer behavior,
we want to look at the process
We want to remember that
we often speak of individual consumers
but, in fact, in many cases
a consumption decision
or a consumption experience is actually
something that is done in a group,
that is it maybe done in a dyad,
like a married couple,
or a very large group
such as the buying center
in a major corporation.
It's also about not just purchasing
as I noted earlier,
but also how we select
the product initially.
How we use it after the purchase,
which has become increasingly important.
And in today's society
how we dispose of the product
is an equally crucial question.
We want to remember that
it's not just about products
like a can of peas,
but rather we can apply the same
principles to think about services,
like financial services and so on,
ideas such as democracy,
or religion, or politics,
and certainly experiences,
such as the thrills
that we might get on a jungle safari
or perhaps appreciating a painting.
And finally, we want to
satisfy needs and desires,
so we come back full circle
to marketing one-on-one
that is the basic marketing principle,
which is that marketers are
all about satisfying needs and desires.