Behaviorist approach to consumer behavior

Consumer behaviour refers to how people behave when they purchase goods to fulfil their needs and desires. Consumer behaviour, seen in a broader sense, refers to the actions people take before selecting, purchasing, utilizing, and discarding goods and services. The experiences that consumers go through while attempting to obtain value from products are also a part of consumer behaviour. Understanding consumer behaviour is essential for assisting a business in making decisions that will affect its management and marketing tactics. In essence, a customer's purchase type may help categorize their behaviour. The behaviour of consumers is explained using a variety of models. These models are largely based on the characteristics that the consumer has inside of them and the impact of their surroundings. Such models include learning, economic, sociological, and psychoanalytical models.

The behaviourist approach holds that consumers' behaviour is conditioned as a result of external stimuli. These stimuli cause responses, and feedback from the environment as a result of previous behaviours; whether perceived as positive or negative acts as reinforcement, strengthening or weakening subsequent responses in accordance. As a result, consumers are motivated to repeat behaviour that they perceive to have worked. For instance, if a consumer has a positive experience using a product or service, they are more likely to buy it again, whereas if they have a negative experience, they are more likely to steer clear of it.

John B. Watson, the father of behaviourism, thought that people could be conditioned and that this could be used to influence them to buy specific products and brands. Classical conditioning (CC) and operant conditioning (OC) are the two main types of conditioning.

Classical conditioning is a learning process that is characterized by a repeating stimulus that is presented at the same time as a specific behaviour, with the goal of permanently associating the stimulus and behaviour. This was first demonstrated by Pavlov with his salivating dog (Jansson-Boyd 2010). It is evident that businesses market their products in the ways listed below when examining consumer behaviour using CC methods: Using catchy music in the background of adverts, using celebrity endorsements, using certain events for the adverts - sporting events and through the use of the words sale.

Companies that sell drinks can ensure that methods of advertising their products are associated with this US by using key words and images throughout to create a conditioned stimulus that signals thirst through the idea of the US, and over time a consumer will process this as a conditioned response when seeing advertisement and will then need to go and buy a drink, for example, by knowing an unconditioned response (UR) such as thirst to an unconditioned stimulus (US) such as exercise. With regard to alternative marketing strategies, over time, consumers would link elements like a song or a celebrity to a product, making them more likely to purchase it.

Second, OC is defined as a process of learning where the learner is rewarded for making the right choice. Through his experiments it can be closely related to consumer behaviour because whether a person has a positive or negative experience with a service affects whether they return or not. This is related to positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment. Marketers will employ OC by; loyalty cards – rewards for shopping, free samples, and test drives for cars. Overall, both approaches provide some justification for how the behaviourist approach can examine consumer behaviour in terms of marketing and they provide some perceptive insights for marketers, helping them to be able to condition consumers into buying their products and repeating this behaviour. The reaction that some customers have when they hear the word "sale" is an application of the behaviourist approach. Even when there is no immediate need, it can cause a desire to shop.

The theory may also apply to particular brands. Following repeated marketing campaigns and/or interactions with the brand or product, a consumer may begin to associate it with a particular perception.

With this information, marketing professionals can better connect with their target audience and add value to employers. So, when someone needs to buy something - say, let's clothing - they go to a store, where they are stimulated by the display of clothes by their colour and style, and they end up buying it. When he uses it and decides he likes it, the sale occurs, and he is pleased and satisfied with his purchase. He returns to the same store and also tells his friends about it. The learning process is thus a crucial component of consumer behaviour, and the seller works to forge a positive impression of the product in the buyer's mind to encourage repeat business.


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