Consumer behaviour is the study of how, when, why, and where people do or do not source for goods or services (Baker & Hart, 1999, p. 46). It attempts to assess the influence on the consumers from external factors such as high salaries and income, growth of urban lifestyle and many others. It is a common practice for consumers to purchase goods and services for a number of reasons. These reasons may include: reinforcing self-concepts, maintaining a given lifestyle, becoming part of a particular group or gaining acceptance in a group they already belong, and or expressing cultural identity.
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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Abraham Maslow (1943, p. 372) developed the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and suggested that people have desires and want that affect their behaviour. Since there are many needs, they are categorized according to the importance, and the person advances to the next level of needs only after he or she achieves the lower needs. The higher the hierarchy of needs, the more psychologically healthier a person becomes (Maslow, 1943, p.372). The five needs are physiological needs, security needs, love self-esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. Physiological needs are the most basic needs, including the need for food, water, sleep, etc.
When the basic needs are satisfied, people advance to the security needs (against danger, or job security). When these needs are satisfied, a person moves on to the next needs for love and a sense of belonging. People at this level are always looking for friendship and desire to belong to a group. Subsequently, people need the recognition and appreciation of others. In other words, the need for self-esteem and self-respect. Finally, it is the self-actualization needs which people look to fulfil themselves and in the pursuit of self-development, job satisfaction, and creativity. In the past, consumers were rewarded based on the physiological needs and security needs, while currently, the consumer reward system has chosen to satisfy the higher needs such as self-esteem needs and self-actualization needs (Maslow, 1943, p.372).
McGuire’s psychological motives
Psychological motives, according to McGuire, are classified into 16 categories. There are two criteria that determine the four major categories, for instance, whether the mode of motivation is cognitive or affective, and whether the motive is centred on preservation or growth. The four major categories are further subdivided into two groups, for instance, whether the behaviour of the consumer has been initiated or is a response, and whether the behaviour of the consumer occurs internally or externally (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best 2007).
The cognitive motives, according to McGuire, include cognitive preservation motives and cognitive growth motives. The cognitive preservation motives include the need for uniformity, which occurs internally and actively; the need to classify, which occurs internally and passively; the need for acknowledgement, which occurs externally and actively; and the need for representation, which occurs externally and passively. On the other hand, the cognitive growth motives include the need for self-sufficiency, which occurs internally and actively; the functional need, which occurs externally and passively; and the need for inspiration, which occurs externally and actively.
The effective motives, according to McGuire, include affective preservation motives and affective growth motives. The effective preservation motives include the need to decrease anxiety, which occurs internally and actively; the need for corroboration, which occurs externally and passively; the need to protect the self-image, which occurs internally and passively; and the need for appearance, which occurs externally and passively. On the other hand, the effective growth motives include the need for contention, which occurs internally and actively; the need for classification, which occurs internally and passively; the need for representation, which occurs externally and passively; and the need for attachment, which occurs externally and passively.
The usefulness of the theories
Affective motives have a major influence on the experiences of the consumers’ consumption process with regard to their judgments on post-purchase satisfaction (Madrgal, 1995, p. 212; Spreng, MacKenzie & Olshavsky, 1996, p. 17; Barsky, 1992, p. 54; Oliver, 1993, p. 422). In this case, it is assumed that the satisfaction of the consumer is dependent on the performance of the product or the perceptions of the consumer in relation to the product, and the motivations that the consumers have. The ratio between the performance and the perception rises as the level of the consumer’s satisfaction also rises (Barsky, 1992, p. 54). The ratio depends on the nature of the experiences that the consumers have in relation to the experience they had envisaged or desired. The dissatisfaction of the consumers come about when there is a major disparity between what the consumers had expected and what they actually experience in terms of the performance of the products.
Characteristics of Opinion Leaders
Very many studies have been carried out to assess the characteristics of opinion leaders. These studies focused on the profile of the opinion leaders. It is a common knowledge that the opinion leaders have a similar social class like non-leaders, but sometimes they can have a higher social status as compared to those in their class (Loudon & Britta, 1992). The various characteristics of opinion leaders are: First, they have the same position in the social class as non-leaders, even though their social status might be higher within the class; their personal influence flow across the various social classes.
Second, they have a wide exposure to mass media, especially the ones that relate to their field of speciality. For example, opinion leaders in the fashion industry for women tend to be exposed to fashion magazines like Vogue or Glamour. In the same manner, opinion leaders in the automobile industry are likely to consult magazines like Motor Trend. When they are exposed to the relevant media, they get access to the necessary information that is appropriate in shaping their leadership capabilities. Fourth, they have much interest and knowledge in the field of their speciality than non-leaders. The interest is very necessary for shaping up their leadership capabilities.
Fifth, the opinion leaders are more outgoing than non-leaders; this is due to the fact that it is mandatory for them to constantly interact with the people that they influence. This makes them be very friendly and pleasant. Sixth, they have a greater ability to innovate than non-leaders; innovating, in this case, means being the first to buy the latest goods. Lastly, opinion leaders hold high esteem to the standards and values of their social group. This is due to the fact that they influence a lot of people who regard them as role models (Loudon & Britta, 1992).
Subcultures occur when the opinion leader carries out a special promotional campaign about a product in a targeted market. The specialized marketing aims at acquiring a large segment of the market. Thus the marketer gains so much by assessing the sub cultural behaviour model of the consumer (Loudon & Britta, 1992). The targeted market in which the marketer has focused on is regarded as a subculture, and therefore it is upon the marketer to come up with a relevant marketing policy that really appeals to the subcultures. There are certain basic behavioural models that exist in the subcultures. However, it is worthy to point out that the different social segments have divergent cultural model. It is easy to pick out subgroups that have the same culture from subgroups that have divergent cultures.
It is important for marketers to be familiar with the subcultures that exist within the domestic market in order to develop the marketing strategies that suit them. A marketing analysis is very necessary at the first stage as it helps in learning and understanding of the behavioural models that exist in the subculture so that their needs can be met in a systematic manner. In order for the product to attract a specific subculture, the strategy adopted for marketing should entail the elements, values, or lifestyle of that specific subculture (Loudon & Britta, 1992).
Marketers should consult very widely before proceeding to select the marketing strategy that suits the subculture. Promotional campaigns are the essentials in marketing strategy as they help to reveal the divergent needs of the consumers. This provides the marketers with the true story on the ground that prompts them to make proper decisions on time.
Marketing ethics refer to the moral principles that govern the operations or regulations of marketing. There are certain sections of marketing ethics (i.e. ethics concerning advertising or promotion) that are connected with media ethics (Loudon & Britta, 1992). Marketing ethics can be analyzed under the framework of value-orientation by looking at the various values that the morals infringe. In addition, the stakeholder-oriented approach also provides a framework for analyzing marketing ethics by checking on who are affected by the ethics.
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Societal marketing approach
The societal marketing approach is an elegant concept of marketing that holds the view that marketing decisions of a company should note the consumer’s interests, the company’s expectations and the society’s requirements (Loudon & Britta, 1992). The company should note the needs and the expectations of the target market in order to come up with the desired satisfaction experience for the society. Societal marketing has quite a variety of advantages and disadvantages.
- When societal marketing is carried out in a better way, many segments of the society can be targeted at once, thus promotes small businesses.
- Societal marketing enables a company to earn a higher return on investment as the companies get good publicity freely.
- Societal marketing does not demand for specialization or a wide range of technical skills.
- Societal marketing is more effective than online advertisements or campaigns (Loudon & Britta, 1992).
- It leads to a reduction in workflow that is introduced by other parts of the organization.
- It introduces an uncertain communication between the supplier and the consumer.
- It introduces a culture on the side of the workforce to work online, thus, influencing the normal working patterns.
- A poor implementation of societal marketing approach can result to great damage to the reputation of the company or the product (Loudon & Britta, 1992).
Societal marketing concept is risky as it influences the normal working of the business. The benefits of societal marketing are not instant, only businesses with high returns gain greatly from this marketing strategy. Societal marketing is an expanding phenomenon and its application increases as time goes by.
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