Consumer Behavior

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Each day across the globe consumers are making decisions that impact the lives of all of us. While these choices may seem inconsequential; their impact is far reaching. Behind each purchase is drive and motivation. This drive and motivation is what moves the global market place. This paper will seek to define the term consumer behavior as it relates to marketing, as well as provide a recent example of how the four P’s affected the purchasing decisions of the author.

Consumer behavior can be defined as the study of processes people use to obtain products, experiences, purchases and services that satisfy their needs, as well as the impact of these processes on the consumer and society (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007).

The study of consumer behavior plays an important role in the implementation of marketing campaigns. Companies and organizations use this information to gain a better understanding of how to reach the consumer. Marketing campaigns are generally used to promote a product, a public policy or some form of social marketing. While each of these applications is distinct, each has its roots in consumer behavior. By better understanding the thought process of the consumer, organizations can better market to them. For example, food companies know that people are more likely to buy food products when they are hungry. Because of these companies such as McDonalds, Wendy’s and Burger King will play commercials around breakfast and dinner time. By understanding the consumer companies are able to use their advertising dollars more effectively (Perner, n.d.).

Recently the author of this paper made a purchase at a local Starbucks. This purchase consisted of a vanilla latte, two bottles of water and a fruit cup. While this purchase seemed spontaneous and unplanned, the four P’s of marketing played an important role.

At first glance one may assume that product played an important part in this particular purchase. The author may have purchased this product based on the brand name, packaging and quality. Starbucks does provide a quality product at a reasonable cost. Although, so do Tully’s and Seattle’s Best. Based on the equal product quality of Starbucks competitors one could conclude that the author did not make this purchase based solely on the Starbucks product aspect of the marketing mix.

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