Human Factors in Marketing
Consumer behavior is aimed at studying the different aspects of human psychology that can be understood and targeted by marketers to present their products and services to the consumers. Consumer’s motivation, cognition and learning are some of the variables that are important to study to understand the psychology of consumers (Bayton, 1958). Marketers primarily observe the personalities, lifestyles and self-concepts of the consumers to have a closer look at the consumer’s motivation, cognition and learning processes. Marketers do a profound research to assess their needs and wants and to influence them that they have the solutions that would fulfil these needs and wants. The topic of this paper is to shed some light on the importance of consumer’s personalities, lifestyles and self-concept.
Though there is no one definition to the term personality, in the field of consumer behavior, Babin & Harris (2015, p.121) define human personality in a way that appeals to marketers. Personality has been defined as the sum of a person’s thoughts, emotions, intentions and behavior that is eminent during the adaptation process to the environment. Human emotions, thoughts and intentions influence their behavior and motivation to act the way they do. Acting to adopt to the environment can be interpreted in many different ways in my opinion. For example from a marketer’s point of view, adopting to environment for a school going child could be wanting a baseball bat as his/her other friends have one. The question here is how marketers can target this “adaptation”. According to Maslow (1943), motivation is the result of fulfilling (five) basic human needs. Marketers study the needs that motivate humans, in our example they study the needs of the child and then make advertising plan to influence the child to buy a specific baseball bat.
Babin & Harris (2015, p.121) make it easy for marketers and consumer behavior experts to understand consumers lifestyles. Their definition provides a plan to them to devise strategies to spend their money and time on the products and services they have on offer. According to Babin & Harris (2015, p.121) lifestyle is: “The distinctive modes of living, including how people spend their time and money”. The word “distinctive” is really important to understand here. Consumers have different lifestyles. I am not sure if there is any categorization of consumer’s lifestyles as I think that each consumer has a unique lifestyle to an extent. The way marketers may target lifestyles is to understand how people with different or may be similar lifestyles come together and form a group so to speak. It would then become comparatively easy for marketers to target the lifestyle factor.
If I have to talk about the concept of self-concept, I would say that it’s who I am and what I can be. It is some kind of a call of motivating yourself to be better than what you are. Kind of exploring your capabilities and capacities to get the desired state of satisfaction you need. In Maslow’s words, moving up the ladder of the hierarchy of needs which starts from fulfilling your psychological needs like food and water and reach to the level of self-actualization where you find your “ideal self”. I believe that this concept is greatly utilized by marketers. For example when a shampoos is advertised with a football player, what does it mean? In my opinion it calls for the internal desire of the viewers to be identified with the footballer. It is a fact that most of us cannot be like the footballer that is shown in the advertisement but using the shampoo can somehow fulfil our “dream” of identifying ourselves with the footballer.
I was able to learn a valuable lesson from the above discussion. That is the importance of understanding human personality, motivation, their behavior, lifestyle and what they think of them in the field of consumer behavior, especially marketing. I am able to understand what the advertisers intend to do with their advertisement. I would not be able to observe closely TV advertisement and understand the probable human behavioral factors that are intended to be influenced.
Babin, B. & Harris, E. (2015). CB7. Mason, Ohio: South-Western.
Bayton, J. A. (1958). Motivation, cognition, learning: Basic factors in consumer behavior. The Journal of Marketing, 282-289.
Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological review, 50(4), 370.