Discover the mental processes that lead consumers to purchase a product.
In the highly commercial world we live in, it is essential to understand the mental processes that influence consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Consumer psychology investigates that. How do we make decisions regarding the purchase of a product?!
Many factors affect the consumer’s decision-making process. As Maslow defined, there are, among others, physiological, social and psychological needs. Today we would like to focus on the latter. That is to say, needs, that are not the result of a primary necessity but rather of a mental process that triggers the purchase decision. Such decisions are often impulsive, triggered by external inputs that leverage the individual’s personal and psychological gaps.
To analyze the consumer’s purchase decision, one must examine his needs as an individual.
In that sense, every human being has:
- Personal Aspects: Characteristics that differentiate one from another.
- Cognitive Components: The ideas and thoughts that influence us.
- Behavioural Elements: how we act throughout the entire purchasing decision-making process.
- Social Aspects: Social elements that lead us to the purchase decision.
- Emotional Elements: The emotions that a product generates and what emotions lead to the purchase of a product.
These aspects are those in which this branch of psychology acts in the moment of elaborating marketing strategies or analysis.
Moreover, Consumer Psychology considers factors such as the group to which the individual belongs. In this sense, three categories of group membership can be described:
- Primary Group. Our family members.
- Secondary Group. Friends, girlfriends and colleagues.
- Tertiary Group. Means of communication (Social Media, TV, Radio etc ..)
All of these factors have a decisive influence on our conduct as consumers.
In the family environment, from the earliest years of age, beliefs and habits developed as a result of education. During adolescence at first, and then in adulthood, aspirations, desires and dreams mature in ourselves. In addition to this, more or less throughout the course of our life, the means of communication and the sources of information from which we decide to be contaminated shape our vision of the world.
Apart from the above-mentioned aspects, other crucial elements to take into consideration are:
- Culture. Traditions, uses, and customs. Of course, cultural aspects play a big part in purchasing decisions.
- Status. By this, we mean the social class and membership group at the social and professional levels.
- Feelings. As human beings, we often react equally to some common situations.
The analysis of all these components allows Consumer Psychology to determine what the consumers’ purchasing needs are and how to influence them. In this sense, this discipline is becoming central in supporting big brands to create Bio Personas, user/consumer profiles to identify as the target audience.
By exploring the types of consumer behaviours we can distinguish 4 main behaviour paths.
- Complex Buying Behavior. The customer delays a lot in the purchase decision, and the differences between multiple brands or products are not clear or apparently of little relevance. Normally the cheapest product will be chosen, hoping not to regret the choice.
- Dissonance-reducing Buying Behavior. The customer delays a lot in the purchase decision, and the differences between multiple brands or products are not clear or apparently of little relevance. Normally the cheapest product will be chosen, hoping not to regret the choice.
- Habitual Buying Behavior. Characterized by little or no involvement with the brand. Such as buying fruit, vegetables or similar items.
- Variety Seeking Behavior. Actions dictated by the intention to try something different/new.
As we have mentioned, brands take consumer psychology very much into consideration when launching their marketing strategies. On the other hand, consumers are often influenced by advertising inputs when making a purchase decision.
For example, Sensorial Marketing is used more and more in the modern era to increase both online and in-store sales.
We can see this phenomenon at all business levels.
So, it happens that in the morning we wake up and walking down the street, we come across a bakery that exposes old baguettes outside the shop, leaving the windows wide open to corrupt our sense of smell.
Emotional Marketing is now a constant in brand strategies. The use of perfumes, music and visual effects in stores. Create advertisements that generate emotions in the user, including joy, melancholy, but also fear and compassion. As a matter of fact, Guerilla Marketing techniques, that is the use of unconventional strategies to advertise one’s brand, are increasingly present in all major cities worldwide.
See some of these amazing ads.
In conclusion, we can say that marketing is evolving enormously in recent years, integrating itself more and more into people’s lives and leveraging their personal and cultural feelings and characteristics. Nowadays, in order to correctly position their advertising campaign, brands need a deep analysis of the target audience with respect to their market positioning. All of this could determine whether a marketing strategy will be positively perceived by the consumer, guaranteeing their loyalty to the brand.