Business School

7 Models of Consumer Behavior

Models of Consumer Behavior
Written by LynkUPP

Exploring the various models of consumer behavior is what we aim to accomplish with this article. And we are going to throughly explore the subject and do justice to it. Let’s begin.

Some renowned professors in the field contend that there have been several attempts to formalize the relationship between the individual firms, and the consumer’s environment. They maintained that these attempts to explain consumer behavior usually involve models, and consumer models are very useful in the study of marketing. All these models emphasize, more or less, the three factors mentioned in the previous article. You can read it here. Thus, it is worthwhile to take a brief look at the different consumer models. 

Nicosia, (1966:21) defines a model as “a mathematical version of a scheme or flow chart, and it consists of one equation or a system of equations”. A model can also be considered to be any simplified expression (in mathematics, words, or symbols) of related phenomena.

Irwin, (1953) in summarizing the advantages of models said that models provide a frame of reference to consider problems, abstract the central issues, simplify by use of symbols, and reduce cost. However, the disadvantages, according to him, are difficulties in manipulating symbols, equating models with actual situation in terms of comparing it with the real world, and the limited evaluation that can be made with a model.

Let’s now examine the different models of Consumer Behavior

A) Andreason’s Model

One of the better-known models of consumer behavior is Andreason’s model. This model is developed around attitude formation and change. There are five major components to this model:

  1. Information
  2. Beliefs
  3. Feelings
  4. Disposition
  5. Overt action

The model operates in the following manner. Input information is taken in through one of the five senses. This information is filtered by the person’s biases. The information is used to form some disposition towards the product. The disposition is affected by the consumers belief and feelings. Based on this disposition, the consumer makes a choice by taking some overt action. Feedback occurs whether the product is purchased or not, and this feedback becomes information that can be used in the next similar decision.

B) Nicosia’s Model

One of the more comprehensive consumer decision models is presented by Francesco M. Nicosia. It presents consumer decisions as a flow chart of decision sequences. The field of the model, “from source of a message to a consumer’s attitude” develops around four sub-fields. 

In subfield 1, the attributes of the firm and the consumer’s attitudes are programmed into the model in much the same manner as a computer program. Based on this information, the consumer in subfield 2 forms an attitude toward the product and begins the search and evaluation. In subfield 3 the consumer, now effectively motivated, purchases. The result is plugged back into the system in sub-field 4 as feedback. The information goes to either the firm’s attributes or the consumer attributes.

The model does more fully demonstrate the complex relationship between the consumer and the business firm.

C) Engel-Kollat-Blackwell Model (EKB) 

This is the latest refinement of one of the most respected views of consumer behavior of the last decade. The scheme depicts consumer behavior as a decision process of five activities which occur over time:

  1. Problem Recognition
  2. Information Search
  3. Alternative Evaluation
  4. Choice
  5. Outcomes 

Although these steps serve as its basic core, the model had been termed multimediational, since it focuses considerable attention on the numerous variables which mediate or influence this decision process. The variables are grouped into five general categories:

I) Information Inputs

ii) Information Processing

iii) Product Brand Evaluations

iv) General Motivating Influences

v) Internalized Environmental Influences

D) Howard-Sheth Model

This model serves as a framework for perhaps the most sophisticated comprehensive theory of consumer behavior. The process starts when the buyer confronts and input stimulus and it achieves attention. The stimulus is subjected to perceptual bias as a result of the influence of the buyer’s predispositions as affected by his or her motive, decision mediators and evoked set.

The modified information will also influence these variables which will in turn influence his other predisposition to purchase. The actual purchase is influenced by the buyer’s intentions and inhibitors which are confronted. A purchase leads the buyer to evaluate his or her satisfaction with it, and satisfaction increases the buyer’s predisposition toward the brand. As the buyer acquires more information about brands, he or she engages in less external search for information and exhibits more routine purchase behavior.

E) Consumer Preference Models

According to Kotler: (1980), This model include the following:-dominance model, disjunctive, lexicographic, determinant attribute, expectancy-value, and ideal-product model.

I) Dominance Model

This model allows the consumer to consider all the salient attributes and to determine those that are dominant for purposes of decision-making. Assuming there are four attributes, and the product involved is a car-price, low fuel consumption, style and length of car . All of these attributes cannot be dominant in then buyer’s consideration. Let us assume further that price is a major consideration; it therefore follows that any car above a given price level may be dropped by the buyer from his evoked set. This model, therefore, allows the buyer to reduce the brand alternatives in the evoked set.

ii) Conjunctive Model

This model allows the consumer to classify the brands in the evoked set into two – acceptable and unacceptable. Those that fall into the unacceptable group are dropped. Let us assume that the buyer wants to buy a TV set. He has established the following minimum attribute levels that a TV set must possess to be acceptable to him.

Nature.             Colour TV

Size.                  20 inches

Style.                 6 points rating out of 10

Cost.                  20,000 Naira

This allows the buyer to drop any TV set that does not possess quality based on these attributes. The attributes are non-compensatory

iii) Disjunctive Model

This allows the buyer to identify some attributes to guide his preference. As long as these attributes are up to or exceed the set levels, other attributes could be anything. Let us assume that the most important attributes for the buyer are the nature and size of the TV set. If as in the previous example the TV must be color, and the size must be 20 inches, then all TV sets that do not possess these two attributes are dropped. It is non-compensatory.

iv) Lexicographic Model

This is a non-compensatory model. This model allows the buyer to rank the attributes in order of importance, and on the basis if this, he selects a brand.In the event of a tie among two brands, the buyer would consider the next important attribute. 

v) Expectancy- Value Model

This model holds that a buyer would form an attitude towards each brand based on the importance he attached to the attributes times his brand beliefs.

vi) Ideal-Product Model Or Ideal-Point Model

This model holds that consumers have or can form an image of the ideal product they want. The closer the existing product to the ideal product, the more attractive it is to the buyer.

The consumer’s concept of an ideal product is influenced by the consumer’s goal and self-concept among others. A major premise is that the consumers choose goods that express or enhance their self concept. A brand space map could be designed showing the position of the ideal brand and the positions of other brands. The brand nearest to the ideal brand will be more preferred. 

vii) Determinant-Attribute Model

This model holds that in buying situations, the attributes that buyers state as highly important are not considered. The point is that competitors match themselves on these important attributes, and therefore, the less important attributes may be more determinant. 

Marketing Implications

The implication is that buyers can form product preferences in many different ways. The ideal product model suggests that marketers should do the following:

-Develop new products

-Modify existing products

-Alter beliefs about company brands

-Alter the attribute importance weights

-Highlight latent attributes

-Shift the ideal products.

In our next article, we will look at factors influencing consumer behavior. 

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