Essays on Consumer Decision Making - Internal Factors Coursework

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The paper 'Consumer Decision Making - Internal Factors" is a good example of marketing coursework.   In an effort to understand the role of consumer behavior in shaping marketing strategies, marketers have extensively relied on the theories and practices advanced in behavioral sciences. Consumer behavior broadly refers to the conduct of consumers when buying and consuming goods and services. The study of consumer behavior provides information that is critical to strategic decision making especially in regard to segmentation of markets, positioning of brands, new product development, advertising, and distribution strategies. The variation in the preferences and tastes of consumers across the world requires firms to understand consumer behavior so as to develop effective strategies in response to varied market demands.

Studies in consumer behavior are aimed at providing marketers with skills and knowledge that are essential in undertaking consumer behavior analyses useful in the development and implementation of effective marketing strategies (Hamansu, 2008) Introduction A comprehensive evaluation and understanding of the factors that influence consumers decision-making process enable marketers to be proactive in assessing the efficacy of their marketing strategy in a given market segment. The consumer decision-making process is influenced by both internal and external factors.

Internal factors concern the long-term and short-term emotional concerns of the consumers. With reference to the fast-food industry, this study seeks to explore the internal factors and the theoretical and conceptual tools of consumer behavior that contribute to the development and execution of feasible strategic marketing initiatives. Concepts and Theories Several theories and concept have been advanced to explain consumer behavior. In Engel and Blackwell’ s model on consumer behavior, they describe the decision-making process based on fives stages: Need Recognition Need recognition happens when a consumer realizes there is a gap between their ideal situation and the real situation.

The ideal situation is what the consumer expects based on the mental constructs, which can be in conflict with the perceived situation that is imposed by external factors. Consumers are motivated to take action to minimize the state of tension created by the perceived gap between expectations and the real situation (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2000). The Theory of Hierarchy of Needs: The theory of the hierarchy of needs was advanced by A. Maslow who proposed the concept of a hierarchy of needs.

Foremost in this hierarchy are physiological needs, such as hunger and thirst. Security concerns come second in priority, where individuals seek protection and dependence. Thirdly, individuals switch attention to affective or social needs, such as the need for family and friends. In fourth place are esteem needs, where focus turns to need for self-respect, success, prestige and assuredness. Lastly, individuals seek to satisfy the needs of actuality, which involve personal fulfillment and efflorescence. The Psychological Field Theory: The Psychological Field Theory was advanced by Kurt Lewis.

The argument in this theory is that feelings and beliefs are caused by external environmental factors. Behavior is thus influenced and shaped by social influences that form the psychological field. The psychological field is thus the source of the tension that motivates individuals to take action. The Cognitive Dissonance Theory: In this theory, L. Festinger argues that individuals assume a state of cognitive dissonance when their behavior does not conform to their attitudes and opinions. Individuals are then motivated to take action to minimize the tension brought about by this dissonance.

Individuals hence transform their attitudes and opinions to justify their behavior.

References

Bateman, T. S., & Snell, S. A. (2004). Management: The new competitive landscape [2nd Ed.]. McGraw-Hill: New York, NY.

Hirschman, E.C. (1985). Cognitive processes in experimental consumer behavior. Research on Consumer Behavior, 1, pp. 67-102.

Hamansu, S. M. (2008). Consumer behavior

[cit. 05.12.2010] Available at http://knol.google.com/k/consumer-behaviour#

Macdonald, E., & Sharp, B. (2000). Brand awareness effects on consumer decision making for a common, repeat purchase product: A replication. Journal of Business Research 48 (1), 5- 15.

Schiffman, L. G., & Kanuk, L. L. 2000. Consumer behavior (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Schlosser, E. (2002). Fast food nation. New York, NY: Perennial.

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