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Because their job is to match people and products, advertisers are keenly interested in consumer buying behaviour. The objectives of consumer advertising are to motivate, modify, or reinforce consumer attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, and behaviour. This requires the effective blending of the behavioral sciences (anthropology, sociology, psychology) with the communicating arts (writing, drama, graphics, photography). The behavioral characteristics of large groups of people give directional force to advertising aimed at those groups. Thus, advertising uses trends in mass-consumer behaviour to create fashion or habit in specific consumer behaviour.

Social scientists have developed many sophisticated theories of consumer behaviour. They have given the marketing community a wealth of data and a variety of theoretical models to explain the sequence of behaviours involved in making a purchase decision. For our purposes, we shall look at this informa­tion from the viewpoint of the advertiser.

The primary mission of advertising is to reach prospective customers to influence their awareness, attitudes, and buying behaviour. To do this, an advertiser must make the marketing communication process work at its highest level of efficiency.

The moment a medium delivers an ad message to the consumer, his mental computer runs a rapid evaluation program called theconsumer decision-making process. This involves a series of subprocesses that are affected by a variety of influences.

First, threepersonal processes govern the way the consumer discerns raw data (stimuli) and translates them into feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. These include the perception, the learning, and the motivation processes. These processes determine how consumers see the world around them, how they learn information and habits, and how they actualize their personal needs and motives.

Second, an advertiser needs to understand how the consumer’s mental processes and behaviour are affected by two sets of influences.Interpersonal influenceson consumer behaviour include the consumer's family, society, and culture. Nonpersonal influences—factors often outside the consumer's control— include such things as time, place, and environment. All of these further affect the personal processes (perception, learning, motivation) mentioned above.

After dealing with all these processes and influences, the consumer faces the pivotal decision, to buy or not to buy? But taking that final step typically requires yet another process, theevaluation of selection alternatives—where brands, sizes, styles, and colours are chosen. And even if the purchase is made, the consumer’s postpurchase evaluation will have a dramatic impact on all his subsequent purchases.

Like the marketing communication process, the decision-making process is circular in nature. The advertiser who understands this process can de­velop messages that are more capable of reaching and being understood by consumers.


1.Explain, in your own words, why advertising people must understand the complexity of human behaviour.

2.What three processes is consumer behaviour governed by?

3.Explain your understanding of perception, learning and motivation.


T E X T 8


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