Consumers and their needs are at the core of marketing. The past decades have witnessed a shift from a mere sales- and product-oriented approach (whereby marketing was a matter of pushing already existing product lines and creating awareness for those products) to a consumer-oriented approach (whereby products fit identified needs of well-delineated consumer segments, i.e. products need to be “positioned”). In order to be able to anticipate today’s rapid changes in consumers’ motives and needs, a decent understanding of the underlying mechanisms is a sine qua non. The objective of this course is to introduce the student to the principles of consumer behaviour. We start from formal theories and concepts and discuss their usefulness in developing effective marketing strategies. Most sessions will be organised around the consumer’s purchase decision process, consisting of Need Arousal, Information Search and Processing, Brand Evaluation and Attitude Development, Purchase, Consumption and Postpurchase Evaluation. Other sessions address specific consumer-specific or environmental variables that affect this decision process.
Consumer Behaviour aims at providing students with a better understanding of basic consumer buying behaviour in order to be able to describe, explain, and predict how consumers will behave under various marketing conditions and actions.