In today’s world of various products and services, businesses aim to excel and lead the competition by marketing the most number of consumers, which is a full time endeavor of business. To survive in the market, a firm or an organization has to be constantly innovating and understand the latest consumer trends and tastes. Marketers need to understand consumer behavior because the decision-making process for consumers is anything but straight forward. Consumers’ behaviors and their purchasing patterns is a huge advantage to understanding the way customers think and the reason for their purchases.
Therefore, the study of consumer behavior is important because it allows the marketers to understand the factors which influence the customer’s thoughts while buying any products or services. There are many factors that can affect this process as a person works through the purchase decision, such as external, internal, and marketing influences. For example, culture, group, or purchase situation are just a few of external influences.
Perceptual, attitude, personality, lifestyle, roles, and motivation are a few of internal influences that can affect a consumer’s purchase decision.
Marketing strategies, such as price, product, place, and promotion influences the consumer as well. The number of potential influences on consumer behavior is endless. However, by understanding the key influences, marketers can adapt and improve their efforts to take advantage in a way that will satisfy both the consumer and marketer. Not only is understanding consumer behavior importance to marketers, it should be important to the consumer as well. Personal consumption journals are just one of the tools that consumers can use to understanding their own behavior.
From the personal consumption journal many observations lead to crucial insights to make a better and informed consumer. For example, a crucial insight could be understanding motivation for the purchase. Motivation is the reason for behavior. A motive is a construct representing an unobservable inner force that stimulates and compels a behavioral response and provides specific direction to that response. A motive is why an individual does something. The terms need and motivation are often used interchangeably.
This is because when a consumer feels a gap between a desired state and his or her actual current state, a need is recognized and experienced as a drive state referred to as motivation. Needs and motives influence what consumers perceive as relevant and also influence their feelings and emotions (Hawkins, 2010). This is important for consumers to understand because it possibly could reduce over-spending or impulse shopping. For instance, after observations from my personal consumption journal, I noticed that I am mainly an impulse shopper.
However on line 5, page 1: March 12, 2012, I had a need for an oil change for my vehicle and wanted to see if anything else was wrong or could go wrong with my vehicle. In this situation, there was the need for consistency to save money and achieve my other plans for the vehicle. Cognitive motives focus on the person’s need for being adaptively oriented toward the environment and achieving a sense of meaning (Hawkins, 2010). The Need for Consistency (active, internal) is a basic desire to have all facets of one consistent with each other. These facets include attitudes, behavior, opinion, self-images, view of others, and so forth.
Understanding the need for consistency is also important for marketers to structure advertising messages relating to attitude change. A need for internal consistency means consumers are reluctant to accept information that disagrees with existing beliefs. Thus, marketers wishing to change attitudes must use highly credible sources or other techniques to overcome this (Hawkins, 2010). In this situation, that is exactly what GMC did. Even though I believe that car dealerships over-price for their service repairs, I heard a radio advertisement offering all the services I needed for the same price ($35. 9) as an oil change at other local places. Ultimately, I ended up paying $116. 87 dollars for the oil change, replacement of windshield wipers, and labor fees. Now, I will be more reluctant to ever go back to another car dealership for maintenance even if they are offering some kind of special. Since I was so unhappy with the results of this purchase situation, I experience consumption guilt, which occurs when negative emotions or guilt feelings are aroused by the use of a product or a service. Affective motives deal with the need to reach satisfying feeling states and to obtain personal goals (Hawkins, 2010).
Another shopping situation on my personal consumption is line 15 page 2, April 14, 2012, my family on an impulse spent $143. 07 dollars on recreational products. Even after this shopping situation, I could not understand how or why I allowed my family that is trying to save money spend so much of it. However slowly understanding our purchasing behaviors, I can understand that it relates to the need for tension reduction and some hedonic shopping motives. People encounter situations in their daily lives that create uncomfortable levels of stress.
In order to effectively manage tension and stress, people are motivated to seek ways to reduce arousal. Recreational products and activities are often promoted in terms of tension relief (Hawkins, 2010). After closely observations of my consumption journal, I think most of our purchasing situations might stem from the need for tension reduction. Although this shopping situation, everyone in my family I think experienced a different hedonic shopping motive. For my husband, this shopping situation was more gratification shopping to reduce stress. As for me, it was more social shopping to bond with my family.
As for my two young boys, it was more adventure shopping filled with excitement and suspense to see what they were going to find and be allowed to take home. People are often motivated to act in certain ways because they were rewarded for behaving that way in similar situations in the past (Hawkins, 2010). The Need for Reinforcement is one way to explain page 1 line 14, $26. 83 dollars’ worth of snacks for my kids. My kids are picky eaters, so to get them to eat; I tell them they could have a snack of their choice when they are finished eating their breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Therefore, this was more of a utilitarian need as well. In addition to using reinforcement to convince my kids to eat, I am solving a problem. Consumer purchasing decisions are often affected by factors that are outside of their control but have impacts on how we live and what we consume. One example of this is cultural factors. Culture is the complex whole that includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by humans as members of society (pg. 42).
Cultural values are widely held beliefs that affirm what is desirable. These values affect behavior through norms, which specify an acceptable range of responses to specific situations (Hawkins, 2010). For example, page 1 line 11, March 23, 2012; my family spent $73. 85 on crawfish because during the religious tradition called Lent, we do not eat meat on certain days. This purchase is such a norm and cultural value in our house whole that if would eat meat during Lent, if we would not “obey” it would seem unnatural. Another purchase made could stem from cultural factors.
Per the consumption journal, page 1 line 13; March 24, 2012, I spent $92. 37 dollars on a pool for my kids Easter present. In my family, it is tradition to celebrate Easter by giving presents to the children. There is a sanction, such as disapproval from my family members if presents are not included in the celebration. The situation in which a purchase is made can influence consumer behavior. Marketers must understand how purchase situations influence consumers in order to develop marketing strategies that enhance the purchase of their products (Hawkins, 2010).
Temporal perspectives are situational characteristics that deal with the effect of time on consumer behavior (Hawkins, 2010). Time as a situational factor is always included in my purchase decisions. For example, the purchase on line 22, page 2 on April 25, 2012; I spent $692. 17 dollars on GoodWrenth tires. This was a planned purchase; I researched prices and quality of tires between the brands at Wal-Mart and Sam’s. I choice those two stores to compare because I always have at least one of my kids with me during my purchases.
These stores offer convince and saves me time if I have other shopping to get done. For instance, line 23 page 2, April 25, 2012; I spent $2. 38 on food for my son while we were waiting for the tires to be changed in the store. Line 24, page 2, April 25, 2012; I spent $138. 58 on groceries. Since, I decided to replace my tires at Sam’s; it allowed me to do some grocery shopping at the same time. This grocery shopping situation was very much influenced by my son. The items on my list increased, the brands changed, and the price I normally am willing to pay changed.
I had time to waste because my truck was not done; therefore, we had more time to browse for more items. People often seek variety and difference out of a need for stimulation. Such variety-seeking behavior may be a prime reason for brand switching and some so-called impulse purchasing. The need for stimulation is curvilinear and changes over time. That is, individuals experiencing rapid change generally become satiated and desire stability, whereas individuals in stable environments become bored and desire change (Hawkins, 2010).
The need for stimulation is the best way to describe the next few purchases. Line 28, page 2, April 26, 2012; I spent $94. 00 dollars on an alignment and brake check at Sears for my vehicle. I went to Sears because it was convenient at the time and I received a coupon for $5. 00 dollars off any department purchase. That is when the need for stimulation influenced my next purchase. Line 27, page 2, April 26, 2012; I spent $25. 92 dollars on clothes for my kids. This purchase was a complete impulse because I was just trying to waste time while my truck was having maintenance done.
Line 26, page 2, April 26, 2012; I spent $6. 30 dollars on cookies because my kids and I were bored while waiting for the maintenance to be finished on the truck. Impulse shopping is very important for marketers to understand because there is no preconceived notion in the mind of the consumer. Therefore, they will have to become creative with product features, packaging, and promotional schemes to force consumers to buy them. The most challenging concept in marketing could possibly be understanding why consumers do what they do or don’t do.
But such knowledge is critical for marketers since having a strong understanding of buyer behavior will help shed light on what is important to the customer and also suggest the important influences on customer decision-making. Having this knowledge, marketers can create marketing strategies that they believe will be of interest to customers. Therefore, understanding consumer behavior is a good way for marketers to thrive in good times and survive in bad times.
Hawkins, M. (2010). Consumer behavior, building marketing strategy. (11 ed. , pp. 42-44,360-480). New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.
Cite this Personal Consumption Journal Project
Personal Consumption Journal Project. (2017, Jan 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/personal-consumption-journal-project/