Consumer’s Human Side in Marketing Context
The fundamental aspect of marketing is that it is aimed at winning more and more consumers for a certain product or service. Consumers are humans and they have unique personalities, self-concept and lifestyles. The issue here is how can humans be influenced keeping in mind their unique characteristics? Babin & Harris (2015) has briefly described people’s personalities, lifestyles and self-concept in the context of consumer behavior. In my opinion how people describe themselves is largely connected to the three factors and this is what needs to be understood by marketers. In this paper I would be discussing these three human factors that marketers target and how can this targeting be effective to retain existing customers and make new loyal customers.
How and who should define personality? It has been one of the greatest point of debate in the field of psychology for decades (Hofstee, 1994). Babin & Harris (2015, p. 121) provides a concise definition to this question:
“The totality of thoughts, emotions, intentions, and behaviors that a person exhibits consistently as he or she adapts to the environment”
The main point that I would like to extract from this definition is the human adaptation process to the environment. This is where marketers need to understand. Human have an internal mechanism which acts just like a compass that guides them through an intrinsic motivation. Marketers need to conduct scientific researches to know how humans behavior. Only then can they produce products and market them that are in line with personality norm.
Life style has been define by Babin & Harris (2015, p. 121) as:
“The distinctive modes of living, including how people spend their time and money”
We hear a lot about life style in many advertisement. Advertisers and marketers are trying their best to tell us that they have the solution to change our life style. The fundamental question here is does everyone want to change their life style? In my opinion the marketers are doing their best in influencing consumers to spend their money in a certain way but there is huge flaw in this approach. First is there is a lot of misleading and unethical use of technology that present fiction as facts (Griffiths, 2005). Second is why always focus on using manipulating techniques to change people? Why not advertise honestly and help people live better in their current life style?
Babin & Harris (2015, p. 124) has mentioned two term “actual self” and “ideal self” that I believe are greatly related to the concept of self-concept. Self-concept it the total sum of both of these terms i.e. who I am, actual concept and who I want to be in future, ideal self. Marketers target both aspects of self-concept in their advertisement. They would tell you that a certain product is really good for you because it suit who you are or it could make you exactly what you want to be.
I would like to conclude that marketers do have the right to research consumer behavior and target their behavioral factors in their marketing strategies. But this should be done within the ethical and legal frameworks. Using unethical stunts might bring short term benefits, but they would surely hurt in the long run.
Babin, B. & Harris, E. CB7, 7th Edition.
Griffiths, M. (2005). Exploitative, Unethical, Criminal? The Use of Technology in Commercial Marketing. Justice of the Peace, 169(47), 916-917.
Hofstee, W. K. (1994). Who should own the definition of personality?. European Journal of Personality, 8(3), 149-162.