What Are the Different Models of Consumer Behavior?

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In order to successfully sell your goods or services, you need an idea of why consumers behave the way they do when they make purchases. For example, knowing how much your customers have to spend and what their most important needs are can help you create product selection and pricing strategies that lead to more sales for your business. Additionally, learning about the psychological and sociological aspects of your customer's buying choices can give you insight on how they see your brand and how loyal they are to it.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

There are several models of consumer behavior including the economic model, the learning model, psychoanalytical model, and the sociological model.

The Economic Model of Consumer Behavior

The economic model of consumer behavior focuses on the idea that a consumer’s buying pattern is based on the idea of getting the most benefits while minimizing costs. Thus, one can predict consumer behavior based on economic indicators such as the consumer’s purchasing power and the price of competitive products. For instance, a consumer will buy a similar product that is being offered at a lower price to maximize the benefits; an increase in a consumer’s purchasing power will allow him to increase the quantity of the products he is purchasing.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

This model is based on the idea that consumer behavior is governed by the need to satisfy basic and learned needs. Maslow stated that people base their actions based on fulfilling certain needs and that they have to satisfy the lower level needs before reaching for the higher ones. Lower level needs include food, clothing and shelter, while higher ones include having a feeling of prestige. Thus, a consumer will have a tendency to buy things that will satisfy their needs and provide satisfaction. A hungry customer may pass up on buying a nice piece of jewelry to buy some food, but will later go back to purchase the jewelry once her hunger is satisfied.

The Psychoanalytical Model

The psychoanalytical model takes into consideration the fact that consumer behavior is influenced by both the conscious and the subconscious mind. The three levels of consciousness discussed by Sigmund Freud (id, ego and superego) all work to influence one’s buying decisions and behaviors. A hidden symbol in a company’s name or logo may have an effect on a person’s subconscious mind and may influence him to buy that product instead of a similar product from another company.

The Sociological Model

The sociological model primarily considers the idea that a consumer’s buying pattern is based on his role and influence in his society. A consumer's behavior may also be influenced by the people she associates with and the culture that her society exhibits. For instance, a manager and an employee may have different buying behaviors given their respective roles in the company they work for, but if they live in the same community or attend the same church, they may buy products from the same company or brand.

Consumers will buy goods based on a number of different types of behavior. Knowing these behaviors is key when developing marketing strategies for your business.

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About the Author

Marcus Paine started writing in 2002 and has worked with some popular publishing houses in Gloucestershire like Edward Elgar Publishing and Nelson Thornes. His work, "Exploring Cheltenham" was featured in Elgar Publishing's weekly newsletters. Paine earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in mass communication from the University of Gloucestershire and London Metropolitan University, respectively.