Consumer Behavior | CMKT 403

Consumers are constantly exposed to hundreds or thousands of marketing stimuli, which are designed to inform, persuade, and influence their purchase decisions. These stimuli are constructed based upon the implicit theories that marketers have about how consumers behave.

This course examines social science and consumer behavior research for concepts and principles that marketers can use to better understand customers and meet their needs.

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand consumers’ mental and physical processes of acquiring, consuming, and experiencing products
  2. Understand the mechanisms of influence that are most likely to lead consumers to change their attitudes, their beliefs, and, most importantly their actions
  3. Apply concepts, theories, models, and tools in developing consumer behavior driven marketing strategies

Enrolment is now open for January, April, July, or October. Please contact us for more information.

Course Name | Code: Consumer Behavior | CMKT 403
Pre-requisite: CMKT 402 | The Practice of Public Relations
Course Fees: $775
Delivery: Virtual Instructor-Led
Platform: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or similar
Duration: 11 weeks / 42 hours / 11 weekly sessions / 4 hours per session

This course is one of the eight required courses to obtain the International Marketing Management Diploma. more

Course Outline

SessionTopic  Outcomes
  1Buying, Having, and Being* We use products to help us define our identities in different settings.
* Consumer behavior is a process.
* Marketers need to understand the wants and needs of different consumer segments.
* The Web is changing consumer behavior.
* Our beliefs and actions as consumers strongly connect to other issues in our lives.
* Many different types of specialists study consumer behavior.
* There are two major perspectives on consumer behavior.  
  2  Perception* Perception is a three-stage process that translates raw stimuli into meaning.
* The design of a product today is a key driver of its success or failure.
* Products and commercial messages often appeal to our senses, but because of the profusion of these messages, most of them will not influence us.
* The concept of a sensory threshold is important for marketing communication.
* Subliminal advertising is a controversial—but largely ineffective—way to talk to consumers.
* We interpret the stimuli to which we do pay attention according to learned patterns and expectations.
* The field of semiotics helps us to understand how marketers use symbols to create meaning.  
3Learning & Memory   * It is important to understand how consumers learn about products and services.
* Conditioning results in learning.
* Learned associations with brands generalize to other products, and why is this important to marketers.
* There is a difference between classical and instrumental conditioning, and both processes help consumers to learn about products.
* We learn about products by observing others’ behavior.
* Our brains process information about brands to retain them in memory. The other products we associate with an individual product influence how we will remember it.
* Products help us to retrieve memories from our past.
* Marketers measure our memories about products and ads.  
4Motivation & Global Values* It is important for marketers to recognize that products can satisfy a range of consumer needs.
* The way we evaluate and choose a product depend on our degree of involvement with the product, the marketing message, and/or the purchase situation.
* Our deeply held cultural values dictate the types of products and services we seek out or avoid.
* Consumers vary in the importance they attach to worldly possessions, and this orientation in turn has an impact on their priorities and behaviors.
* Products that succeed in one culture may fail in another if marketers fail to understand the differences among consumers in each place.
* Western (and particularly American) culture has a huge impact around the world, although other people in other countries do not necessarily ascribe the same meanings to products as we do.  
5-6             The Self* The self-concept strongly influences consumer behavior. Products often play a key role in defining the self-concept.
* Society’s expectations of masculinity and femininity help to determine the products we buy to meet these expectations.
* The way we think about our bodies (and the way our culture tells us we should think) is a key component of self-esteem.
* Our desire to live up to the cultural expectations of appearance can be harmful.
* Every culture dictates certain types of body decoration or mutilation.  
7Personality & Psychographics* A consumer’s personality influences the way he responds to marketing stimuli, but efforts to use this information in marketing contexts have been met with mixed results.
* Psychographics go beyond simple demographics in helping marketers understand and reach different consumer segments.
* Consumer activities can be harmful to individuals and to society.
  8Attitudes and Persuasion* It is important for consumer researchers to understand the nature and power of attitudes.
* Attitudes are more complex than they first appear.
* We form attitudes in several ways.
* A need to maintain consistency among all our attitudinal components motivates us to alter one or more of them. We use attitude models to identify specific components and combine them to predict a consumer’s overall attitude toward a product or brand.
* The communications model identifies several important components for marketers when they try to change consumers’ attitudes toward products and services.
* The consumer who processes a message is not necessarily the passive receiver of information marketers once believed him to be.
* Several factors influence the effectiveness of a message source.
* The way a marketer structures his message determines how persuasive it will be.
* Audience characteristics help to determine whether the nature of the source or the message itself will be relatively more effective.  
  9Decision Making* Consumer decision-making is a central part of consumer behavior, but the ways we evaluate and choose products (and the amount of thought we put into these choices) varies widely, depending upon such dimensions as the degree of novelty or risk related to the decision. A purchase decision actually is composed of a series of stages that results in the selection of one product over competing options.
* Decision-making is not always rational.
* Our access to online sources is changing the way we decide what to buy.
* We often fall back on well-learned “rules of thumb” to make decisions.
* Consumers rely upon different decision rules when they evaluate competing options.  
  10Buying and Disposing* Many factors at the time of purchase dramatically influence the consumer decision-making process.  The information a store on a website provides strongly influence a purchase decision, in addition to what a shopper already knows or believes about a product.
* A salesperson often is the crucial connection to a purchase. Marketers need to be concerned about a consumer’s evaluations of a product after the person buys it as well as before. Getting rid of products when consumers no longer need or want them is a major concern both to marketers and to public policy makers.  
  11  Organizational and Household Decision Making* Marketers often need to understand consumers’ behavior rather than a consumer’s behavior.
* Companies as well as individuals make purchase decisions. Our traditional notions about families are outdated.
* Many important demographic dimensions of a population relate to family and household structure.
* Members of a family unit play different roles and have different amounts of influence when the family makes purchase decisions.
* Children learn over time what and how to consume.  
Final Exam

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