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There are two models that we will analyze in this essay to see which is the most suitable approach to understand consumer behaviour, they are cognitive and behavioural models, there are actually three models lies within initial decisions of consumer behavior, the third one is reinforcement model but in this case we will not analyze it.

First of all, the way of starting off the essay is by defining both cognitive and behavioural models found from the journals, followed by comparison between the two models, which are the best to understand consumer behaviour, giving advantages and disadvantages of the two models. The third part is to decide which is the most suitable approach to understand consumer behaviour and give reasons to the answer. Finally, we will make an overall conclusion from the analysis that we made to the two models.

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The two models that we will analyze in this case are cognitive and behavioural, which is the most suitable approach to understand consumer behaviour, but before that we need to understand what is consumer behaviour. Generally, consumer behaviour can be defined as a study of when, why, what and how people do or do not buy a particular product, consumer behaviour also involved decision making process and it is also a study of potential influences such as family, friend or advertisement.

Consumer behaviour in most cases can be divided into two types, they are initial decisions and subsequent decisions, the two models cognitive and behavioural that we are analyzing now lies within initial decisions, there is a brief definition about the relation between consumer behaviour and cognitive approach, “Consumer behaviour is widely understood as a problem solving and decision making sequence, the outcome of which is determined by the buyer’s goal directed processing of information.

The ‘cognitive consumer’ is credited with the capacity to receive and handle considerable quantities of information, to engage actively in the comparative evaluation of alternative products and brands, and to select rationally among them. Belief in the cognitive consumer underpins not only marketing but a great deal of economic analysis. It is also central to the analysis of managerial strategy. ” ( East, Robert 1997, p. ) , meaning that consumer will check for all the information that is related and available to them before making a decision to purchase, it is considered time consuming and a complex process since the consumer need to process the all the available information he get, and then compare, calculate and evaluate which is the best alternatives then only make a decision on which to purchase, in simple term the cognitive model is a deliberate decision making, that follows a process.

The second model is the behavioural model, East & Robert (1997, p. 18) describes behavioural model as a model that excludes problem solving or planning before action, but does not imply that consumers are irrational or even unreflecting. Most of the people will not continue to buy a brand that persistently disappoints, instead, they break their habit and try something else, these means that most repeated purchase settles on satisfactory brand, but although people do have good reason for their purchases, these may not be the best reasons.

It is still the nature of habit that it restricts experimentation so that consumers may be unaware of improvements in product ranges from which they could benefit. In simple term behavioural model means that consumer tend to purchase product that they usually buy, they will not spend time breaking their habit and their habits are difficult to change even they are forced, and they are conditioned by their environment, so it is easy for consumer to become habitual.

After defining both the cognitive and behavioural model, we will now compare the differences between the two models, which are more suitable for understanding consumer behaviour, the pro and cons of the two models. Firstly, the cognitive approach, involving high levels of thought processing when make a buying decision, would seem to make a greatest scope for marketer interaction. Fill (2002) suggests that a cognitive based decision making process assumes that individuals attempt to control their immediate environments, in which producers play their part.

This view is backed up by Foxall (1992), as cited in East (1997), who goes as far as to suggest that consumers handle considerable quantities of information when making cognitive based purchase decisions. From decision making that is close to an informed and rational thinking process, therefore marketers generally using media for advertising. Secondly, let begin with the how behavioral explanations work. The classic work in this field was Pavlov and his explanation of salivation in his pet dog. Salivation is an innate response to the smell of food.

Pavlov rang a bell every time the dog was fed the food. Over time the dog came to associate the bell with the smell of food, so when Pavlov stopped pairing the bell with the food, the dog still salivated. This view of consumer behavior is used to design a number of marketing strategies as we shall see. The decision making process is behaviouristic. This process focuses on the idea that a person who has satisfied of past purchase one time with a product will be more likely to purchase that product again because they remember the good results associated with the purchase.

It could be argued that this decision making process can be maintained by marketers by make sure that consumers are left with a good perspective about the product, thus increasing the chances that they will purchase it again. As well, a process known as shaping, Shaping is an essential process in deriving new and complex behavior because a behavior cannot be rewarded unless it first occurs; a stimulus can only reinforce acts that already occur. New, complex behaviors rarely occur by chance in nature.

Shaping is important to marketers since the initial purchase of any new product involves a complex set of behaviors. To gain repeat purchase behaviour is even more complex. One way to reach this final behavior is through a series of successive approximations. For example, ‘Astro’ television channel, the new marketing campaign is give costumer free internet ability on television. By providing incentives to use this service, many consumers will move to behaviour and if browsing internet on television becomes a new behaviour that can be possible the new marketing strategy will be successful.

Each theory would seem to have its place. Michael, Rothschild and William (1981) acknowledge “In high involvement situations where complex cognitive activity would seem to take place, self-perception based strategy may be more appropriate. On the other hand, in low involvement cases where little cognitive activity is necessary for adequate decision making, behavioural learning based strategy may be more appropriate. The two cited studies were low involvement cases; and, therefore, the lack of success in each should be more easily remedied by behavioral learning strategies”.

In low involvement cases, (Kassarjian 1978) has called for a return to simple models of behavior explanation. Self-perception and other cognitive theories assume a high level of involvement. In addition, cognitive approaches emphasise how people store, process and use information and how they create beliefs and form attitudes and values. Behavioural approaches really look at observable associations between behaviours and their environmental stimuli. In recent years the notion of involvement has become popular in consumer behavior (e. . , Houston and Rothschild 1978). Part of its popularity is due to its intuitive appeal as a simpler model of behavior development for unimportant decisions. It is in these cases of decision making when consumers have low involvement and attempt to satisfice, that behavioral learning theory has its greatest potential. As involvement increases, cognitive processes become more complex. In low involvement cases, behavioral learning theory may be most relevant for consumer behavior.

Reference list : Michael, L, Rothschild & William C 1981, ‘Behavioral learning theory. Its relevance to marketing and promotions’, The Journal of Marketing, vol. 45, No 2, pp. 70-78. Athanassopoulos, A 2000, Behavioral responses to customer satisfaction: an empirical study, updated March 2000, viewed 20 May 2011, http://www. londoninternational. ac. uk/current_students/programme_resources/lse/lse_pdf/further_units/141_principles_marketing/141_chpt4. pdf

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