Personal Reflection on Consumer Behavior
Through consumer behaviour unit, what is selected as a core subject, I have learned and read some interesting topic and articles which have impacts on my understanding of consumer behaviour. By looking at the first lecture, Dr. Maxwell presented the main keys of consumer behaviour definition and theories, cognitive and behavioural theories. As the first dissection of consumer behaviour definition, it is, in general, consumer purchasing or buying. But, more specifically consumer behaviour is “the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires” (Solomon, Russell-Bennett & Previte 2010). In the beginning, I am very confused about consumer behaviour, and when I think that, yes I get the logical fact, then the other idea and theory is logic and acceptable as well. Therefore, I think, both theories work effective in marketplace, and help marketers to understand consumer behaviour and the reaction of the consumer. Despite there are a lot of arguments and conflicting point of views, those arguments encouraging me to recognize the differences between the theories, cognitive and behavioural theories. I am going to discuss my reflection of consumer behaviour unit during this semester, and how my understanding and knowledge have improved. I am going to cover three main sections, which they have impact my reflection, first; the reflection of the first assignment, and the interesting reading that I have read during the semester, then I conclude the reflective journal with the future implication of consumer behaviour in marketplace and marketing managers.
The first assignment:
By understanding behaviour of consumer, marketers and practitioners in marketing field can reach the consumer with appropriate strategy. However, consumer behaviour is a complex field to understand it because the behaviour has changed overtime and a consumer affects by several factors such as psychological, social and cultural elements. Therefore, understanding the motivation of consumer to buy a product is the main function of marketers to stimulate that motivation or in other words how marketers can affect and change consumer behaviour to buy particular brand or product. This is the question of the first assignment which was difficult for me to answer it and, I think, the answer did not have specific direction and it was a wide answer. I discussed the ability of marketers to effect consumer behaviour in two main points; first the behaviour of consumer is changed by stimulating a consumer to buy a brand and contacting with him/her through sensory system. The examples to explain this point are, first the effecting colour in consumer reaction and their meaning in consumer mind such as green is relaxing”, “environmentally and friendly, red is grape attention and stimulate quick decision making” and yellow can “drive an attention. The other example is the positive relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing (Chen, Chen & Huang 2012). Second is capturing consumer loyalty which was poorly covering in the assignment. But the argument is that marketers face difficulties to reach consumers in global environment because they are affected by cultural element (Mooij 2003). The other challenge is to capture customer loyalty within strong competition and diversity of products and brands and consumer is usually spit loyalty according to Barnard and Ehrenberg (1997). If I will answer this question again, I am going to focus on consumer behaviour theories and how they work to understand how marketers can change consumer behaviour through these theories. Specifically, answering that question in short essay is by explaining both cognitive theory, which is explaining and specifying the “behaviour by internal processing of information or action of mental traits”, and behavioural theory is focusing on behaviour and looking at thought and feeling as effects not causes (Winchester 2012).Then, I will provide some evidences to support one of these theories, to be honest; I usually tend to agree with cognitive theory.
There are several reading articles I have read during the semester, and they have made my understanding more clearly. First, I would like to start with the most interesting article which is (Advertising: Strong force or weak force? Two views an ocean apart) for John Philip (1990). My group and I selected this article from WebCT as the main article for our presentation in week 11. I preferred this topic because it is related with our topic in marketing management subject last semester so, I familiar with it or I have enough idea about it, that I though. However, it is very difficult for me to link it with consumer behaviour or how advertising works with and affect consumer. Jones (1990) present very interesting debate between two views what are strong theory and weak theory or US point of view and UK point of view. I thought and believed that advertising strong enough to change behaviour of consumers and persuade them thus I believed that it works thorough strong theory. But, after reading and studying this topic and this article, now, I am tending to and convinced with weak theory. Jones argues strong theory with first point which I like it, which is, the outcome of advertising is less than expectation by comparing with its expenditure for example, in US in 1998, “more than 70 billion was spent on advertising”. In addition, Jones presents the argument of Ehrenberg what is advertising nudges the behaviour of consumer rather than persuades him/her because first, consumer does not care to watch or listen to advertising very much so the information is limited importance. Second, consumer is not persuaded by thirty second and limited words. Furthermore, consumer is learned and affected more by promotion and word of mouth. To explain this argument, I need to know how advertising works through this theory, what was difficult for me to understand in the beginning. But by finding the other interesting and useful article which is (Brand Advertising as Creative Publicity) for Ehrenberg et al (2002), I could clearly understand this argument. According to this article advertising publicise and reinforce a brand to be salience, and salience means “presence and richness of memory traces that result in the brand coming to mind in relevant choice situation”. Therefore, advertising it reminds consumer about advertised brand as a result it works through consumer memory, long term memory. Also, I found that example of Sharp (2010) of Coca Cola very useful to explain the reaction of light and heavy buyers about advertising, which is no reflection and reaction on light buyers because they already buying the brand every day. Heavy buyers are reminded about the brand by refreshing their memory; however, the profit probably will not be increased by this recalling and reminding. Therefore, the main objective of advertising is maintain market share rather than boost and increased profit. In addition, I have read other two interesting reading which were selected from last semester in Marketing Management unit and they help me to understand the topic of advertising. They are (Differentiation or Salience 1997) and (Advertising: Strongly Persuasive or Nudging 1997), they are both associated and confirming with weak theory. Further, both articles belonging to Ehrenberg and Barnard, and Scriven participated with the authors in the first article. In the first article explain that why a brand should be salience. Marketers attempt to keep the brand different from other competitive brands by developing innovative idea. However, competitors have copied that idea and developed their brand in the same way, therefore, a consumer select and purchase a brand what is similar with other brands, because that brand is more salience than other. Moreover, consumer is usually split loyalty more than he or she loyal to one brand. Consequently, according last article, the main functions of advertising are first advertising reinforce your brand’s customers’ existing propensities to buy it as one of several, second it “nudge” them to perhaps buy it somewhat more often, and then get other consumers perhaps to add your brand as an extra or substitute brand to their existing brand repertoire. For me, I think, I am satisfied about this topic because I understand it, and I select more logical argument and opinion.
In addition, the other reading is related with segmentation topic. Despite segmentation is important in marketplace and it instead of using mass communication to reach consumers by grouping them in specific groups have the same characteristic to reduce the cost, and gain high benefits and profits (Kotler, Keller & Burton 2009), it could be charged when marketers apply inappropriate type of segmentation. Don Schultz (2002) suggests that in his article (Behaviour changes: do your segment?) to apply dynamic segmentation which is adjust with change that occur in consumer behaviour. For example, Tesco, which is a supermarket in UK, “reclassify every customer every week” to understand changing behaviour in real time, and this kind of segmentation helps Tesco to be better than other competitors. Therefore, through my reading, I have learned that as marketers have effect consumer behaviour, consumer is also inspiring marketers to modify and improve the strategy to reach consumer in suitable method.
By understanding consumer behaviour, marketers have improved their skills to be professional, and built strategy to meet consumer needs and wants. For example, as mentioned above, changing or modifying segmentation strategy to be dynamic segmentation to gain competitive advantage, and benefits. In addition, they can reach their objectives with low cast. To explain this point, by applying weak theory in advertising strategy, marketers will minimize the spending and achieve the objective rather than push high spend in marketplace with low profit or the profit will be less than the expectation. Therefore, marketing managers should be open mind to listen, know, and understand to all different opinion and argument, and then select the appropriate one to be a foundation and bases to their strategy and tactics. As well as marketers should focus on both heavy and light buyers to build a relationship and the best way to communicate with them to keep heavy buyer in the same level of purchasing and convert light buyers to be loyal (Kotler, Keller & Burton 2009). Todays, technology provides a great chance for marketers to improve their strategy. For example, marketers can easily communicate with their consumer via email or though social network to collect the consumer’s information. However, they have to study electronic consumer behaviour, because they have different characteristic from traditional consumer. For instance, through the internet, consumer looks at promotional product with low price, therefore, they are in some cases are loyal price. By studying these difference marketers can develop offline and online strategy. Through these implications, I can say that consumer behaviour is a science in practical method.
Consumer behaviour is very complex unit because it is associated with human though, feeling and behaviour and the several factors effect a consumer such as; social, cultural and psychological. This is a reflective journal of my reflection about consumer behaviour subject which was selected as a core unit. This piece of paper has been divided into three main sections. First my reflection of first assignment and how I answered the question which is “how marketers can change consumer behaviour? My reflection is about developing my understanding and my knowledge of the theories of consumer behaviour, cognitive and behavioural theories and the argument between these theories. Second, it has been discussed the most interesting readings and how influence and change my though about advertising and segmentation topics. I discussed five reading articles; first four are about the argument of advertising between strong and weak theories, and how advertising works within cognitive structure. This topic is very interesting for me. Third section is about the implication of consumer behaviour in the future of marketing, and marketing managers and they should improve their skills and knowledge to understand consumer behaviour and how they affect them in different method. In addition, how marketing should concern traditional and electronic consumer behaviour and the differences between of them. Finally, although consumer behaviour is a very complex subject to understand, it is also very interesting topic.
Barnard, N, Ehrenberg, A 1997, ‘Advertising: strongly persuasive or nudging’ Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 21-31, viewed 3 May 2012.
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Chen, C, Chen, P & Huang, C 2012, ‘Brands and consumer behavior’, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 105-114, viewed 1 March 2012.
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Ehrenberg, A, Barnard, N, & Scriven, J 1997, ‘Differentiation or Salience’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 7-14, viewed 2 May 2012.
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Schultz, D 2002, ‘Behavior change: do your segment?’, Marketing News, 22 July, p. 5, viewed 22 March 2012.
Sharp, B 2010, How brands grow: what marketers don’t know, Oxford University Press, Sydney, NSW.
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