Influences of Personality on the Consumer Decision Process

Perception

Perception in marketing is described as a process by which a consumer identifies, organizes, and interprets information to create meaning.

Learning Objectives

Describe the characteristics of perception as a part of the consumer buying decision process

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Perception is a psychological variable involved in the Purchase Decision Process that is known to influence Consumer Behavior.
  • elective Perception is the process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages and disregard the rest.
  • Seymor Smith, a prominent advertising researcher, found evidence for selective perception in advertising research in the early 1960s, and he defined it to be “a procedure by which people let in, or screen out, advertising material they have an opportunity to see or hear.
  • Selective perceptions is categorized under two types: Low level – Perceptual vigilance and High level – Perceptual defense.
  • Perception can be shaped by learning, memory and expectations.

Key Terms

  • Consumer Behavior: The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs; and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society.
  • Purchase Decision Process: The decision-making processes undertaken by consumers in regard to a potential market transaction before, during, and after the purchase of a product or service.
  • Perception: The organization, identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment.

Perception

Perception can have various meanings but in marketing, it is often described as a process by which a consumer identifies, organizes, and interprets information to create meaning. A consumer will selectively perceive what they will ultimately classify as their needs and wants.

a 3d rectangular box and a rubin vase in black and white

Necker Cube and Rubin Vase: These are two optical illusions that illustrate how perception may differ from reality. On the left, we see a cube when in fact it is a flat image on our screen. On the right, the vase actually resembles two faces looking at each other.

Perception is a psychological variable involved in the purchase decision process that is known to influence consumer behavior. Other variables included in this consumer process include: motivation, learning, attitude, personality, and lifestyle. All of these concepts are crucial in interpreting the consumer buying process and can also help guide marketing efforts.

Selective Perception is the process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages and disregard the rest.

Seymor Smith, a prominent advertising researcher, found evidence for selective perception in advertising research in the early 1960s, and he defined it to be “a procedure by which people let in, or screen out, advertising material they have an opportunity to see or hear. They do so because of their attitudes, beliefs, usage preferences and habits, conditioning, etc.” People who like, buy, or are considering buying a brand are more likely to notice advertising than are those who are neutral toward the brand. This fact has repercussions within the field of advertising research because any post-advertising analysis that examines the differences in attitudes or buying behavior among those aware versus those unaware of advertising is flawed unless pre-existing differences are controlled for.

Selective perceptions is categorized under two types: a low level of perception, known as perceptual vigilance, and a higher level of perception, known as perceptual defense.

Perception can be shaped by learning, memory and expectations.

Motivation

Motivation is a psychological incentive or reason for doing something.

Learning Objectives

Review the methodology of motivation as it applies to the consumer buying decision process

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Consumer behavior is strongly influenced by many internal and external factors.
  • Internal conditions include demographics, psychographics, personality, motivation, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings.
  • External influences include culture, sub-culture, locality, royalty, ethnicity, family, social class, past experience reference groups, lifestyle, and market mix factors.
  • An individual’s motivation, perception, attitude, and beliefs are considered psychological factors.

Key Terms

  • External, or extrinsic Motivation: The performance of an activity in order to attain an outcome, which then contradicts intrinsic motivation.
  • Intrinsic Motivation: The incentive to undertake an activity based on the expected enjoyment of the activity itself, rather than external benefits that might result.
  • motivation: The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal directed behaviors.

Consumer behavior is strongly influenced by many internal and external factors, including:

  • Internal conditions: demographics, psychographics (lifestyle), personality motivation, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings
  • External influences: culture, sub-culture, locality, royalty, ethnicity, family, social class, past experience reference groups, lifestyle, and market mix factors

An individual’s motivation, perception, attitude, and beliefs are considered psychological factors. Other factors such as income level, personality, occupation, and lifestyle are categorized as personal factors. Motivation is versatile enough that it spans multiple areas, including physiological, behavioral, cognitive, and social.

Motivation may be rooted in a basic human need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, and it may include specific needs such as eating and resting. However, motivation is ultimately linked to emotion.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Motivation can originate from oneself (intrinsic) or from other people (extrinsic).

  • Internal, or intrinsic motivation ismotivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure. Intrinsic motivation is based on taking pleasure in an activity rather than working towards an external reward. Intrinsic motivation has been studied since the early 1970s.
  • External, or extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards, like money, and the threat of punishment. Competition is extrinsic because it encourages the performer to win, not simply to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. A cheering crowd and trophies are also extrinsic incentives.

Widely Recognized Motivational Theories

  • Incentive Theory: A reward, tangible or intangible, is presented after the occurrence of a behavior, with the intent of causing the behavior to occur again. Incentive theory in psychology treats motivation and behavior of the individual as though they are influenced by beliefs, such as engaging in activities that are expected to be profitable.
  • Escape-seeking dichotomy model: Escapism and seeking are major factors influencing decision making. Escapism is a need to break away from a daily life routine, whereas seeking is described as the desire to learn or gain some inner benefits through travelling.
image of Clark Hull

Drive-Reduction Theory: Clark Hull was the behaviorist who developed the drive-reduction theory of motivation.

  • Drive-reduction theory: Individuals have certain biological drives, such as hunger. As time passes the strength of the drive increases if it is not satisfied (in this case by eating). Upon satisfying a drive, the drive’s strength is reduced.
  • Cognitive dissonance theory: Cognitive dissonance occurs when an individual experiences an inconsistency between their views of the world around them and their own personal feelings and actions.

Learning

Learning in marketing is known as a psychological variable that can significantly affect the purchase decision process for consumers.

Learning Objectives

Review the characteristics of learning as it relates to the consumer buying decision process

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Learning is the process of acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences. This process may involve synthesizing different types of information.
  • Learning is considered to have a psychological influence on consumer behavior, along with motivation and personality, perception, values, beliefs, and attitudes and lifestyle.
  • There are three main categories of learning theory: behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.

Key Terms

  • Learning: The process of acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences. This process may involve synthesizing different types of information.
  • Purchase Decision Process: The decision-making processes undertaken by consumers in regard to a potential market transaction before, during, and after the purchase of a product or service.

In consumer marketing, learning is known as a psychological variable that can significantly affect the purchase decision process for consumers. Learning is the process of acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences. This process may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals, and some machines.

Learning is considered to have a psychological influence on consumer behavior, along with motivation and personality, perception, values, beliefs, and attitudes and lifestyle.

Types of learning include:

  • Simple non-associative learning (habituation and sensitization)
  • Associative learning
  • Imprinting
  • Observational learning
  • Episodic learning
  • Multimedia learning
  • E-learning
  • Rote learning
  • Informal learning
  • Formal learning
  • Tangential learning
  • Dialogic learning

There are three main categories of learning theory: behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Behaviorism focuses only on the objectively observable aspects of learning. Cognitive theories look beyond behavior to explain brain-based learning. Constructivism views learning as a process in which the learner actively constructs or builds new ideas or concepts.

Merriam and Caffarella (1991) highlight four approaches or orientations to learning: behaviorist, cognitivist, humanist, and social or situational. These approaches involve contrasting ideas as to the purpose and process of learning and education, in addition to the role that educators should take.

David Kolb’s model

David Kolb's Model with inscribed elipss and a rhombus with each corner aligning with an axis.

David Kolb’s model: The David A. Kolb styles model is based on the experiential learning theory.

The David A. Kolb styles model is based on the experiential learning theory, which was explained in his book Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development (1984). The ELT model outlines two related approaches toward grasping experience: concrete experience and abstract conceptualization, as well as two related approaches toward transforming experience: reflective observation and active experimentation.

According to Kolb’s model, the ideal learning process engages all four of these modes in response to situational demands. As individuals attempt to use all four approaches, however, they tend to develop strengths in one experience-grasping approach and one experience-transforming approach. The resulting learning styles are combinations of the individual’s preferred approaches. These learning styles include:

  1. Converger;
  2. Diverger;
  3. Assimilator;
  4. Accommodator.

Convergers are characterized by abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. They are good at making practical applications of ideas and using deductive reasoning to solve problems.

Divergers tend toward concrete experience and reflective observation. They are imaginative and are good at coming up with ideas and seeing things from different perspectives.

Assimilators are characterized by abstract conceptualization and reflective observation. They are capable of creating theoretical models by means of inductive reasoning.

Accommodators use concrete experience and active experimentation. They are good at actively engaging with the world and actually doing things instead of merely reading about and studying them.

Kolb’s model gave rise to the Learning Style Inventory, an assessment method used to determine an individual’s learning style. An individual may exhibit a preference for one of the four styles—accommodating, converging, diverging, and assimilating—depending on his or her approach to learning via the experiential learning theory model.

Attitude

Attitude is a psychological variable that is known to affect the purchase decision process of consumers.

Learning Objectives

Illustrate how attitude impacts the consume buying decision

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • An attitude can generally contain a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, event, activities, ideas, or anything in the environment.
  • Carl Jung ‘s definition of attitude is a “readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way”.
  • Attitudes can be difficult to measure because attitudes are ultimately a hypothetical construct that cannot be observed directly.
  • Attitudes can be measured by the use of physiological cues like facial expressions, vocal changes, and other body rate measures.

Key Terms

  • Carl Jung: (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of the extraverted and the introverted personality, archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, literature, and related fields.
  • attitude: an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event (the attitude object). Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport once described attitudes “the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology. “

Attitude is a psychological variable that is known to affect the purchase decision process of consumers. Other variables are perception, learning, personality, and lifestyle.

An attitude generally contains a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, event, activities, ideas, or anything else in the environment. However, people can also be conflicted or ambivalent toward an object, meaning that they might at different times express both positive and negative attitudes toward the same object.

Attitude is one of Carl Jung’s 57 definitions in Chapter XI of Psychological Types. Jung’s definition of attitude is a “readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way.”

Carl Jung full body image

Carl Jung: Carl Jung developed a definition of attitude as it relates to the field of Psychology.

Attitudes can be difficult to measure because attitudes are a hypothetical construct that cannot be observed directly. Attempted measures may include the use of physiological cues like facial expressions, vocal changes, and other body rate measures. For instance, fear is associated with raised eyebrows, increased heart rate and increase body tension.

Attitudes can be changed through persuasion in response to communication. Experimental research into the factors that can affect the persuasiveness of a message include:

  1. Target Characteristics: These are characteristics that refer to the person who receives and processes a message. One such trait is intelligence – more intelligent people seem to be less easily persuaded by one-sided messages. Another variable that has been studied in this category is self-esteem.
  2. Source Characteristics: The major source characteristics are expertise, trustworthiness, and interpersonal attraction or attractiveness. The credibility of a perceived message has been found to be a key variable here; if one reads a report about health and believes it came from a professional medical journal, one may be more easily persuaded than if one believes it is from a popular newspaper.
  3. Message Characteristics: The nature of the message plays a role in persuasion. Sometimes presenting both sides of a story is useful to help change attitudes. When people are not motivated to process the message, simply the number of arguments presented in a persuasive message will influence attitude change, such that a greater number of arguments will produce greater attitude change.
  4. Cognitive Routes: A message can appeal to an individual’s cognitive evaluation to help change an attitude. In the central route to persuasion, the individual is presented with the data and motivated to evaluate the data and arrive at an attitude-changing conclusion. In the peripheral route to attitude change, the individual is encouraged to look not at the content but at the source. This is commonly seen in modern advertisements that feature celebrities.

Lifestyle

In consumer marketing, lifestyle is considered a psychological variable known to influence the buyer decision process for consumers.

Learning Objectives

Indicate how lifestyle or personality influences buying decisions

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Lifestyle is also referred to as a buyer characteristic in the Black Box Model, which shows the interaction of stimuli, consumer characteristics, decision process, and consumer responses.
  • The Black Box Model considers the buyer’s response as a result of a conscious, rational decision process, in which it is assumed that the buyer has recognized the problem.
  • The Black Box Model is related to the Black Box Theory of Behaviorism, where the focus is not set on the processes inside a consumer, but the relation between the stimuli and the response of the consumer.

Key Terms

  • Buyer Decision Process: the decision making processes undertaken by consumers in regard to a potential market transaction before, during, and after the purchase of a product or service.
  • Black Box Model: shows the interaction of stimuli, consumer characteristics, decision process and consumer responses.

Lifestyle can be broadly defined as the way a person lives. In sociology, a lifestyle typically reflects an individual’s attitudes, values, or world view. A lifestyle is a means of forging a sense of self and to create cultural symbols that resonate with personal identity.

A family sits in the living room and watches television.

Television and Obesity: Lifestyle choices, like increasing sedentary behaviors, can lead to obesity.

Not all aspects of a lifestyle are voluntary. However, in consumer marketing, lifestyle is considered a psychological variable known to influence the buyer decision process of consumers.

Lifestyle is also referred to as a buyer characteristic in the Black Box Model, which shows the interaction of stimuli, consumer characteristics, decision process, and consumer responses. The Black Box Model is related to the Black Box Theory of Behaviorism, where the focus is set not on the processes inside a consumer, but the relation between the stimuli and the response of the consumer.

In this theory, the marketing stimuli ( product, price, place and promotion) are planned and processed by companies, whereas the environmental stimuli are based on the economical, political, and cultural circumstances of a society. The buyer’s “black box” contains the buyer characteristics (e.g., attitudes, motivation, perception, lifestyle, personality, and knowledge) and the decision process (e.g., problem recognition, information research, alternative evaluation, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior) which determine the buyer’s response (e.g., product choice, brand choice, dealer choice, purchase timing, and purchase amount).

The Black Box Model considers the buyer’s response as a result of a conscious, rational decision process, in which it is assumed that the buyer has recognized the problem. However, in reality, many decisions are not made in awareness of a determined problem by the consumer.

Shaping Public Policy and Educating Consumers

Companies can use marketing to educate consumers on a particular issue in an effort to help shape public policy.

Learning Objectives

Discuss the elements of public policy and the education of customers

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The study of consumer behavior can be applied to improving marketing strategies, shaping public policies, influencing society, and improving consumer knowledge.
  • Public policy, as government action, is generally known as the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs.
  • Shaping public policy is a complex and multifaceted process that involves the interplay of numerous individuals and interest groups competing and collaborating to influence policymakers to act in a particular way.
  • Social marketing applies a “customer oriented” approach and uses the concepts and tools used by commercial marketers in pursuit of social goals like anti-smoking campaigns or fund raising for NGOs.
  • Health promotion is broadly defined as the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health. It occurs through developing healthy public policy that addresses the prerequisites of health such as income, housing, food security, employment, and quality working conditions.

Key Terms

  • Social Marketing: the systematic application of marketing, along with other concepts and techniques, to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good.
  • public policy: the set of policies (laws, plans, actions, behaviors) of a government; plans and methods of action that govern that society; a system of laws, courses of action, and priorities directing a government action.

The study of consumer behavior can be applied to improving marketing strategies, shaping public policies, influencing society, and improving consumer knowledge.

Public policy, as government action, is generally known as the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In the United States, this concept refers not only to the result of policies, but more broadly to the decision making and analysis of governmental decisions. Public policy is commonly embodied in constitutions, legislative acts, and judicial decisions.

Shaping public policy is a complex and multifaceted process that involves the interplay of numerous individuals and interest groups competing and collaborating to influence policymakers to act in a particular way. These individuals and groups use a variety of tactics and tools to advance their aims, including advocating their positions publicly, attempting to educate supporters, opponents and consumers, and mobilizing allies on a particular issue.

Social marketing can help persuade and educate consumers on societal issues with the ultimate goal of helping to shape public policy. For example, social marketers, dealing with goals such as reducing cigarette smoking or encouraging condom use, have more difficult goals. They must make potentially difficult and long-term behavioral change in target populations by educating them. Social marketing applies a “customer oriented” approach and uses the concepts and tools used by commercial marketers in pursuit of social goals like anti-smoking campaigns or fundraising for NGOs.

An anti-smoking message painted on a pedestrian crossing in the Orchard Road area in Singapore.

Anti-Smoking Campaign : The purpose of an anti-smoking campaign is to educate consumers about health risks associated with smoking.

Health promotion is broadly defined as the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health. It occurs through developing healthy public policy that addresses the prerequisites of health such as income, housing, food security, employment, and quality working conditions. There is a tendency among public health officials and governments—and this is especially the case in liberal nations such as Canada and the USA—to reduce health promotion to health education and social marketing focused on changing behavioral risk factors.