What type of Consumer are you?
What is a “consumer”? From Dictionary.com:
- a person or thing that consumes.
- Economics. a person or organization that uses a commodity or service.
- Ecology. an organism, usually an animal, that feeds on plants or other animals.
In the context of marketing, the subject of this blog, the economic definition comes the closest to our needs, but we can dive deeper.
“The term “consumer” can describe either individual or organizational consumers” (Cline, F.K.M.C. 2020). Individual consumers are consuming for themselves, fulfilling their personal needs, or the needs of others. This kind of consumer operates on a smaller scale than organizational consumers, who are consuming to meet the needs of their organization, reselling to individual consumers, or making other goods or services from consumed items. (Cline, F.K.M.C. 2020).
I am an individual consumer now, but I have been an organizational consumer in the past when I owned a small store. As an individual consumer, I purchase items for myself, my family, and friends. As an organizational consumer, I consumed products to help run my store or bought commodities to re-sell. These types of consumers are similar but may have different motivations or needs.
What Influences Buying Decisions?
A variety of factors go into buying decisions such as social, cultural, personal, and psychological factors (Cline, F.K.M.C. 2020) For me, it generally goes something like this:
- What issue am I trying to solve? Is it bothering me enough for me to do something about it?
- How much money am I willing to spend?
- Does this item need to be attractive? Will anyone see it? Do I care?
- How long do I expect this item to last?
The Buying Process- 5 Stages
- Needs Recognition: What’s the problem or need?
- Information Search: Looking up different product specs, asking friends or family, window shopping, looking up reviews.
- Evaluating Alternatives: Decide on your “must-have” criteria, looking at other options or recommendations of similar products, deciding how much you are willing to pay.
- Purchase Decision: Decide what you are purchasing, when, where, and how you will purchase the item.
- Post-Purchase Behavior: You’re happy with the purchase, perhaps you buy another in a different color or upgraded style, or you return the item, sell the item, give it away, or throw it in the garbage. This reaction comes from the level of satisfaction with the item or service.
I tend to spend copious amounts of time in the 2nd and 3rd stages of the consumer buying process researching items and alternatives. Reviews on Amazon or YouTube are imperative for my selection process. I trust other consumers, especially large cross-sections of consumers. These two stages generally lead to my final purchase. Spending time in these stages usually keeps me from being unhappy in the 5th stage of “Post Purchase Behavior.”
Marketing Research and Marketing Design
Marketing Research and Marketing Design are highly influential in the purchases we make. I am a sucker for beautiful and sleek packaging, personally. A beautiful package will help me choose one product over another if everything else is equivalent. I also LOVE a call back to something nostalgic, like the original packaging a product had when I was a child (Doritos, Cheetos), or even a come back of the product itself, like Dunkaroos snacks returning to store shelves recently! Retro packaging has made a serious return. This “Retro-stalgia,” is a trend it seems marketers have picked up on for targeting my segment of millennials.
Post Purchase Behavior- Do I even like this?
There is a wide range of feelings one might have after purchasing an item. They might be satisfied, not satisfied, or even delighted based on how the purchase met their expectations (Cline, F.K.M.C. 2020).
I have felt regret after making a purchase. Sometimes this happens once I have an item in hand (if ordering online) or later after the purchase has failed in some way. Luckily, I am often delighted, as I usually spend so much time researching before I even make purchases. Products meeting my expectations and surpassing them leaves room for making me into a loyal, returning customer who will likely blog somewhere on the internet about said purchase and tell all my friends about it. I love doing Google reviews on restaurants and will share them with friends and family too! So, as a consumer, I have experienced the full range of post-purchase behavior!
To my husband’s great regret, it doesn’t look like I’ll stop buying lots of things any time soon! Got to go, I think I heard the doorbell…
Cline, T. W., Cronley, M. L., Kardes, F. R. (2015). Consumer Behavior. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305161689/