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Louise Ripley

Introductory Marketing
Chapter 6 Armstrong/ Kotler Marketing: An Introduction

Understanding Consumer and Business Buyer Behaviour
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I. Consumer Markets and Consumer Buyer Behaviour

What is Consumer Behaviour?

Model of Consumer Behaviour





Marketing and Other Stimuli
Product, price, place, promotion, external environments

Buyer's Black Box
The Buying Decision Process (called this because we cannot know precisely for every consumer exactly what process goes on in the mind, but it includes Buyer Characteristics and Buyer Decision Process)
Buyer's Response
Choice of product, brand, dealer; Timing and amount of purchase
Black Box
For something you have purchased recently, tell us about what went on in your "black box." What did you purchase, and, as accurately as you can describe, what did you think about while you were deciding whether to buy? 
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Characteristics Affecting Consumer Behaviour

Cultural/Subcultural Factors

Internet Use
Social Class


Two Different Social Classes, Two Different Ads



Measuring Social Class
You can try using this Index to determine what social class you (or your friends!) belong to 

Warner's 1949
Index of Status Characteristics
Still in use today, but we add education and spouse's income and education

Score Occupation Income Source House Type Dwelling Area
1 Professional,   Proprietor of large business Inherited wealth Excellent Old Money
2 Semi-professional, Official of large business Earned wealth  Very good Better suburbs
3 Clerk Profits & fees Good Above average
4 Skilled worker Salary Average Average
5 Proprietor of small business Wages Fair Below Average
6 Semi-skilled worker Private relief Poor Low
7 Unskilled worker Public relief & non-respectable income Very poor Slum

(Note: each vertical category stands alone, related only to the scores 1-7, not to other categories) 

ISC Score = (Occupation x 4) + (Source of Income x 3) + (House Type x 3) + (Dwelling Area x 2) 

Score  Social Strata % of Population
(U.S. in 1949)
12-17 Upper Upper 1.4%
18-24 Lower Upper 1.6%
25-37 Upper Middle 10.2%
38-50 Lower Middle 28.8%
51-62 Upper Lower 33.0%
63-84 Lower Lower 25.0%

Warner, W. L., M. Meeker, and K. Eels (1949) Social Class in America. Chicago: Science Research Associates.

I did my earliest doctoral work in Social Class, until I discovered that at the University of Toronto at that time it was a subject without much interest among the faculty. Now that I have established a niche for myself in my field, I am returning to questions that interested me long ago. Click here to read the paper on social class that I presented at a business ethics conference in November 2000, which was subsequently published (Ripley, M. Louise (2001) “You Wouldn’t Want to Hear – Ethics in the Business Classroom: Gender, Race, But Please Not Class.” Journal of Contemporary Business Issues 8:2 (Fall): 84-92). The paper comes out of my experiences in Administrative Studies classrooms teaching the concept of Social Class. It is dedicated to Professor Dan Greeno, one of my earliest professors in my doctoral programme, who encouraged me to study what I loved best, and to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. 

Social Factors


Primary Secondary Aspirational Reference 
Reference groups influence how important products are to us, depending on whether people we care about see us using them. Bearden and Etzel, two Marketing scholars, wrote an article about this using the terms PU for public and PR for private, and L for Luxury and N for necessity. From an essay exam some years ago, here is BAS graduate Alan Stanbury's explanation of these terms. 
PUL means publicly consumed luxury.

Alan writes: When I was an engineering student, most of my peers bought cheap calculators, and spent what they had left over on beer. Some of us, however, purchased Hewlett Packard calculators, at three times the price. Why? They were a luxury that conveyed status and that I could use in public, at working sessions with my peers. The HP also had an esoteric operating system; unless you were dedicated, you couldn't make it work, so it helped support the image of intelligence I was trying (unsuccessfully) to establish.  

PUN means publicly consumed necessity.

Because I had spent so much on the calculator, I was short of money when my reference group got together at the pub. I bought the least expensive draft beer. It was a necessity, you had to drink something if you wanted to socialize, and I consumed it in public without worrying about the image I was setting.

PRL refers to luxury items consumed in private.

For the now mature engineer, a private luxury: Strathisla scotch whisky, consumed by the fire while studying marketing. Of course Strathisla is hand imported, you can only get it at the Chivas distillery in Scotland where it is made. I consume it in private.  

PRN means privately consumed necessity.

Because engineers work so hard when they are sober, they often sweat profusely. A private necessity for these hard working souls is of course, whole body deodorant. This helps me stay in the reference groups at work and at home.  

Reference Groups
Give an example of a good you bought recently; tell which category it fits into (PRL/PUL/PRN/PUN) and explain why.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Family of Orientation is the the family you were born or adopted into; those you grew up with 
Family of Procreation is those you choose to live with after you leave your family of orientation.

Our society's heterosexual bias used to mean that only traditional families (Mom, Dad, 2.3 Children) were included in these definitions, but recent changes to the law in Ontario and B.C. have meant that gay and lesbian couples may now legally marry; and anyone in any relationship, or single, can procreate, either by natural means, artificial means, or through adoption.

Give an example of how your family (either of orientation or procreation) has influenced your purchase behaviour.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.
Roles and Status
Role - what others expect of us
Status - how others value that role
Cathy, of the cartoon, stands between two new cars beside a car salesman. 

She says, in a series of panels, 

"If I buy the sensible four-door with room for kids, am I opening the cosmic door to having children... or will all prospective men ignore me because I look as though I'm already a mother? 
"If I buy the sporty two-door that screams, 'single and childless' do I look available or do I just look desperate?
"Do I present myself as a fully equipped motherhood package... or as a carefree single gal? Which will my potential mate respond to?? What will appeal to him?? What's he looking for??"
In the last panel, the frustrated salesman is in his boss's office crying, "She's back, and this time she's brought her hypothetical husband." 
Cathy's New Car
Label three elements of social factors at work on Cathy.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group. 

Personal Factors

Age and Life-Cycle Stage
How are your purchases different now from what they were ten years ago? If you were only 8 ten years ago, consider what differences there will be in 10 years.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.


Occupation What influence does your job have on your purchases?
Economic Situation How much have you got to spend?
Lifestyle "Psychographics is putting flesh on demographic bones" 

-- William Wells

What are your: 
How do they affect what you buy?

Personality & Self Concept Who are you & what do your purchases say about you?
Mazda Miata
How does this ad for the Mazda Miata below demonstrate how advertisers make use of age, life cycle, and lifestyle? (That's an old Porsche in the background).
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.
Mazda Miata ad 

Psychological Factors

Freud at the Store

Exercise: Lab
Freud at the Store
Go to the drugstore, grocery store, hardware store, wherever you like to shop. Look around. Find something you'd really like to buy but won't. Take a good look inside yourself; why do you want it so much? Why won't you buy it? 
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.





Self Actualization Golf Clubs "Time is to enjoy"
Esteem Luxury Car "Be in control of the road."
Social Pendant "Show her you care."
Safety Tires "Bounces off hazards"
Physiological Cereal "Natural energy source"
"If it really was lonely at the top, it wouldn't have two seats." 

Perception (true story)

Selective Exposure - You notice an ad on TV for Tom Hank's movie "Cast Away" (Solomon estimates we are exposed to 5,000 ads a day; you can't see them all but you did see this one)
Selective Perception - the ad makes you think about your life-long dream to escape to a south seas island
Selective Retention - the next night, you hurry up dinner and go out to see the film, even though it's snowing badly, because the ad stuck in your mind.  


We don't really know how we learn. We know it has to do with a drive to find something out, cues that we find that keep us going after it, reinforcement from the response we get that encourages us to try again. And so in schools, we never stop studying about learning, and we keep trying different things, offering a variety of learning opportunities, hoping at least one will work for each person. A fairly new idea is the one about learning on one's own using resources available through the Internet.

Beliefs and Attitudes

Good for you
Tastes good
Belief - (another true story)
Not a good car; it averaged me $200/month in repairs for the whole time I owned it
Best car I ever had! I absolutely loved that little car


This difference between Belief and Attitude is a difficult concept. Here, from Kotler's and Roberto's text on Social Marketing used in AK/ADMS4280, is a useful description, with the addition of the term "values." 

Belief "I believe smoking is hazardous to my health." 
Attitude "I believe smoking is hazardous to my health and I would like to quit smoking."
Value "I believe smoking is hazardous to everyone's health and all smokers ought to quit smoking."
Beliefs and Attitudes
Explain why for the woman above with the MG (me some years ago and 30 pounds lighter!) the statement that her " MG is not a good car" is a belief rather than an attitude
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group. 

There are three basic components of Attitude, shown in this table: 

  • Cognitive. Within this component, the customer becomes aware of and learns about the product. This awareness can involve attention, knowledge, learning, and any other response that helps to build the consumer's objective, cognitive perception of the product.
  • Affective. Within this component, the consumer begins to develop a subjective response. This response can include feelings, interests, desires, likes, preferences, and convictions. The consumer's response can start out weak, but must gain strength if he or she is to purchase the product.
  • Behavioral. Within the behavioral component, the consumer is induced to buy. Potential customers may like the product, prefer it to others and believe that it satisfies their particular need or want. However, parting with the money is a big step. Marketers work to encourage the customer to take action in the form of a purchase. Ideally, the customer will then become a regular, loyal buyer. Marketers often use post-purchase or reminder communications at this point to reinforce purchases and to create cognitive awareness of other products, thus hoping to influence attitudes for these additional products.

The Buyer Decision Process

including resolution of cognitive dissonance
(getting rid of that bad feeling that you've spent too much)


Cognitive Dissonance
How have you resolved the dissonance you may have felt after making a major purchase? What have you done to make yourself feel better about spending all that money? 
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

The Buyer Decision Process for New Products
Stages in the Adoption Process

Individual Differences in Innovativeness  

Adoption Rates
Tell us either about a product for which you are in the Innovators or Early Adopters stage - that is, you really were the first on your block to have one, or about a product you didn't buy till everyone else had one and the price had dropped significantly.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Influence of Product Characteristics on Rate of Adoption

Exercise: Plan
Relative Advantage
What relative advantage does your Marketing Plan product offer the consumer? How is it better than what's already out there that might meet consumer needs in a similar way? This will provide the answer to the part of the Plan you have to include that asks you to tell what the gap is between what's out there and what you will provide to meet consumer needs.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

International Conosiderations
Can you advertise all these products the same way in Mozambique that you can in Montreal?

International Consumer Behaviour
Give an example, either from personal experience or what you have read or heard about, of how the purchase of a particular good or service is different in a country other than Canada.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

II. Business Markets and Business Buyer Behaviour
Business Markets

Selling to the business-to-business or industrial market is much like selling to the consumer market in that you still sell to a person. "The Company" does not write up a purchase order; a person does. When Bill Wigley's Auction Service of Calgary markets their services to the oilfield and mining industries, they appeal to potential customers in much the same way that Procter and Gamble appeals to buyers of toothpaste and soap.
 But Business-to-Business Marketing does differ from consumer marketing: 

Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketing also differs from Consumer Marketing in that things are generally less volatile in the Business market in terms of customer's tastes. While industrial marketers change and adapt their products to meet the needs of their consumers, there isn't really an equivalent in the Business Market of the Pet Rock. 
Business Demand
For your Marketing Plan product, give a specific example of how demand for a Business-to-Business product (supplies perhaps) will be driven by demand for a Consumer good.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group. 

Types of Decisions and Decision Process

Business Buyer Behaviour
Major Types of Buying Situations

Straight Rebuy is pretty much routine; Modified rebuy requires a little research; New Task requires a lot of research

Major Influences on Business Buyers

The Business Buying Process

E-Procurement: Buying on the Internet

Exercise: Plan
Your Marketing Plan assignment requires that at least part of your company's business be in e-commerce. By which of these electronic methods might your company do B2B purchasing on the Internet? 
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Other Units

Introduction Strategy Society Environments Research Buyers
Segmentation Product Price Place Promotion The Marketing Plan

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AP/ADMS 2200 3.0 Introductory Marketing
York University, Toronto
© M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.