Possibly the most challenging concept in marketing deals with understanding why buyers do what they do (or don’t do). But such knowledge is critical for marketers since having a strong understanding of buyer behavior will help shed light on what is important to the customer and also suggest the important influences on customer decision-making. Using this information, marketers can create marketing programs that they believe will be of interest to customers.
As you might guess, factors affecting how customers make decisions are extremely complex. Buyer behavior is deeply rooted in psychology with dashes of sociology thrown in just to make things more interesting. Since every person in the world is different, it is impossible to have simple rules that explain how buying decisions are made. But those who have spent many years analyzing customer activity have presented us with useful “guidelines” in how someone decides whether or not to make a purchase.
In fact, pick up any textbook that examines customer behavior and each seems to approach it from a different angle. The perspective we take is to touch on just the basic concepts that appear to be commonly accepted as influencing customer behavior. We will devote two sections of the Principles of Marketing Tutorials to customer behavior. In this section we will examine the buying behavior of consumers (i.e., when people buy for personal reasons) while in the Business Buying Behavior tutorial we will examine factors that influence buyer’s decisions in the business market.