The paper "Internal and External Factors That Influence Consumers' Decisions" is a great example of marketing coursework. Consumers decision making is a complex discipline that has seen many scholars giving their views regarding what factors influence consumers to make decisions to purchase a product or not. Influences can originate from within the individual regarded as internal factors or outside the individual which are normally regarded as external factors. There is a need for marketers to understand the behavioral patterns of consumers and their perceived future behavior together with the psychology surrounding their behaviors.
This paper will focus on both internal and external factors that influence consumers' decisions. These factors will be discussed extensively in the context of Ford Ranger Pickup which is a new model in the market. Introduction The decision on whether to purchase or not is a crucial moment for marketers. Marketers have made the consumer decision process a point of interest in the recent past and it is because of this reason that numerous research studies on consumer decision-making process have emerged. Various approaches have been adopted in the study of consumer decision-making processes and each of these approaches has emerged from psychological customs (Bray, 2008).
These approaches comprise the Economic Man approach, Psychodynamic approach, Behaviorist approach, Cognitive approach and Humanistic approach. As earlier mentioned, each of these approaches traces its roots to the early psychology. In particular, the cognitive approach traces its origins to the early philosophers such as Aristotle, Descartes and Socrates who perceived human beings as processors of information. Scholars have given preference to the cognitive approach over behavioral approach owing to its ability to represent knowledge mentally (Bray, 2008).
According to Foxall (1990), the cognitive approach has four main strengths in giving an explanation of consumer behavior and they include; The cognitive approach gives sensible explanations using the day to day actions of purchasing by the consumers. Consumers are capable of describing their everyday purchasing behavior with regards to their wants, motives, needs and attitudes. It comes along with unity and accord in the inquiry field. Other fields that have made use of cognitive approach such as social science have aided in the abstract development of consumer research. In this regard, the behavior of a consumer in choosing to buy a good is normally determined a range of factors that are believed to have a tremendous effect on intrapersonal processes.
They include; perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotion and motivation (Bray, 2008; Sternberg, 1996). These factors can be categorized into two major groups; internal factors and external factors. Internal factors comprise of perception, learning, motivation, personality and attitude. On the other hand, external factors comprise of group influence and culture. Internal Factors Perception What a consumer perceives of a product is critical in the entire process of bringing a good to the market.
When a consumer is purchasing a new product that he or she is not familiar with and in addition to this, it is costly, the process is quite complex and the consumer normally engages in extended problem-solving in a bid to seek more information about the product (Bray, 2008). Cognitive dissonance takes the centre stage when making such choices of purchasing. For a case of a familiar product, consumer decision-making process differs from that of unfamiliar product and the consumer engage in limited problem-solving.
The search for information involves looking at the visual attributes of the product and available information in the long term memory of a consumer. The image of the product matters to a great extent in this case. According to Sun et al. , (2009) a product with a strong image in the consumers' long term memory is more likely to be purchased when the need arises. The visual outlook of a product is therefore crucial in this case. In this context, the introduction of Ford Ranger into the market upon the careful design of visual appearance is more likely to catch a glimpse of the consumers even if its functionality might be defective.
Consumers' judgments are made based on visually perceivable characteristics (Sun et al. , 2009). Lewaski (1998) similarly highlights the fact that judgments are related to the comprehended attributes which circulate around the desires of the consumer rather than their needs. With regards to information search in the long term memory, the degree of the information search is dependent on the type of problem to be solved; whether it is extended problem solving or limited problem-solving.
Search for information on new products will involve an extensive search of information while familiar products may involve a local search of information with regards to previous behavior (Bray, 2008; Lamb et al. , 2012). An individual will develop an attitude towards a product from the information obtained. The theory of reasoned action which is a revised form of Fishbein model proposes that the overall attitude of an individual will be determined by feelings about the attributes of a product and beliefs surrounding the product (Bray, 2008).
Hence, it is quite clear that perception as a factor of the consumer decision-making process is grounded on two major theories; theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behavior.
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