Forming and changing of consumer attitudes and behaviour

Seminar Paper, 2003

20 Pages

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Table of Contents

Table of Figures

1. Introduction
1.1 Problem description
1.2 Purpose
1.3 Methods
1.4 Limitations

2. Theory
2.1 Consumer Behaviour
2.1.1 Consumer behaviour process
2.1.2 Marketing Mix
2.1.3 Individual and Environmental Factors
2.1.4 Attitudes
2.2 Practical Example

3. Conclusion


Table of Figures

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1. Introduction

1.1 Problem description

Nowadays, the habits of consumers are changing more often as it was decades ago. What was “in” yesterday is “out” today. Being able to identify and understand the subliminal triggers that are responsible for specific customer actions and reactions is a key factor for companies when creating effective solutions. If they have technology at their fingertips to interact in the marketplace in new ways, we will be remiss, as marketers, if we do not prepare for that technology. Being oblivious to customer behaviour is not a viable option for businesses.

There are many factors that influence human behaviour. The decision-making process is affected by cultural and social factors, for example through the individual’s family and friends. Our childhood, what we learned and how we perceived during this time, has a fulminant impact on our decision. Moreover, it is influenced by the personnel characteristics (e.g. age, lifestyle) and psychological factors (e.g. motivation, beliefs and attitudes).

Consumer behaviour refers to the process of acquiring and organizing information in the direction of a purchase decision and of using and evaluating products and services. The Internet is more the key which the customer can use to get information according to his attitudes. A major factor for successful competing in today’s business word for a company is the understanding of consumer behaviour.

Behaviour occurs either for the individual, or in the context of a group (e.g., friends influence what kinds of clothes a person wears) or an organization (people on the job make decisions as to which products the firm should use).

To take adequate actions in the area of marketing, one must understand how people perceive for example advertising, how they learn to consume, how they make decisions and how personality affects those decisions.1 One must also analyse what motivations influence the individuals’ decisions, how attitudes are formed and how groups affect the consumer behaviour.

The analyses of this phenomena requires the consideration of various processes, internal and external to the individual.2 Hence, to understand the purchasing behaviour one need to examine

the complex interaction of a lot of elements, present at different stages, from arousal to decision, as well as from purchase to post-purchase experiences.

1.2 Purpose

The aim of this essay is to give a view on customer behaviour and answer the following given question:

“How attitudes are formed and changed? Analyse the forming and changing of attitudes when consumers are likely to devote a lot of effort to processing information and making decisions.”

1.3 Methods

First, we choose to understand what customer behaviour is. It will be described and explained in part 2.1. Hereon follows a description of the consumer behaviour process, which includes a short presentation of the marketing mix, an extensive characterization of the individual and environmental Factors, and a description of attitudes, which impacts the behaviour process.

In the conclusion, we come back to our problem and we are come up with proposals, how attitudes are formed and changed. The authors collected the information for the theory part from books, articles and lecture material. The books are partially form the library and private ones. The articles that we use are from different databases and from different websites. Most of articles were found by the help of a special search-tool, which is called Copernic 2001 Pro.

1.4 Limitations

Since we have a limited time frame and limited resources, we have some limitations to mention:

➢ We are not going to have a look on Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
➢ Some theories are only short explained.

2. Theory

The following part presents a general overview on consumer behaviour and attitudes. By using the model of consumer behaviour process the different levels of a buying decision should be described. According to this model the buying decision is influenced by several factors. This factors are described nearer in this theory part.

2.1 Consumer Behaviour

Since consumer behaviour is one of the most important areas in marketing there are many different theories and definitions. We select the following definition:

“Consumer behavior is the study of individuals, groups or organizations in obtaining, using and disposing of products and services, including the decision processes that precede and follow these behaviors.” 3

2.1.1 Consumer behaviour process

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: A Model of the Consumer Behaviour Process. Source: Own creation according to Prof. Dr. M. Zerres.

The model works as follows. When stimuli, often information from companies, reach a supposed customer the decision and evaluation process begins.4 By a complex interaction between the individual factors (Personal and Psychological factors), environmental factors (Cultural and Social factors), and the marketing mix the consumer evaluate the stimuli. When having finished the process the consumer have reached a decision about the product or service.5

But even if the decision is positive it does not automatically mean that the consumer actually will buy the product or service.6

2.1.2 Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is the set of marketing tools a company uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market.7 The most common way to look at the marketing mix is through the eyes of the seller. One then originally talked about the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. When looking at the marketing mix from the buyer’s point of view you get the 4Cs: Customer needs and wants, Cost to the customer, Convenience and Communication. The companies that can meet the 4Cs will be winners.8

2.1.3 Individual and Environmental Factors

There are a lot of factors that control the consumer behaviour process. Most of these are quite impossible to influence for a marketer. Therefore they have to concentrate even more on the factors they can influence. The most important factor one can use to influence is perception.9 The stimuli that information gives is therefore the factor that initiate the process that leads to the consumer’s decision. This makes it very important to formulate the message in the information

in the best possible way. There are many major factors that influence a consumer’s buying behaviour. In the paragraphs below the model of Kotler should be described. Many of these factors can used to segment the market.10

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Factors Influencing Behaviour.

Source: Bliemel, F., Kotler, P., Marketing-Managemen t.


The broadest and deepest influence on consumer behaviour is cultural factors. Roles played by culture, subculture and social class is of great importance.11


The most fundamental determinant of peoples wants and behaviour is culture. While growing up one acquires values, perception, preferences and behaviours by looking, listening and learning from family, school, friends and so forth.12


Subcultures are smaller proportions of cultures that provide a more specific identification and socialisation for its members. Examples of subcultures are:

➢ Nationalities,
➢ Religions,
➢ Racial groups and
➢ Geographic regions.



2 Engel, J.F.; Blackwell, R.D.; Miniard, P.W., Consum e r Beha viour.

3 Gibler, Karen M., Nelson Susan L., Consumer behavior applications to real estate education.

4 Zerres, M., Marketing, p.56 et sqq.

5 Zerres, M., Lecture slides Marketing I., 2001.

6 Smith, R., Psychology, p. 579.



9 Howard, J., A., Buyer Behavior in Mar ket ing Strat e gy, p. 110.

10 Bliemel, F., Kotler, P., Mark eti ng-Management, p. 280 et sqq.

11 Thogersen, J.; Ölander, F, Introdu cti on to Consumer Behaviour and Mar ketin g S t rategy.

12 Meffert, H., Grundlagen mar k torien ti erter Unternehmensführung, p. 122 et sqq.

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Forming and changing of consumer attitudes and behaviour
Växjö University
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Thorben Wienholtz (Author)C. Zerres (Author)M. Brattig (Author)J. Marcyzk (Author), 2003, Forming and changing of consumer attitudes and behaviour, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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