The consumption habits of individuals can transform an entire society. A very clear example is the advances in information and communication technologies. The study of **consumer psychology **allows us to understand and analyze the phenomenon of consumption.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, marketing has undergone a profound change. Before, its objective was the distribution of goods and considered the consumer only a final recipient. Now, he focuses on emotions during the purchase process. Consumer psychology tries to explain what is the process that people follow and what factors intervene in that process.
Consumer psychology is the study of habits, attitudes, motives, personality, environment and perceptions that determine the purchasing behavior of a product (Gómez and Sequeira, 2015). It focuses on the physical and psychological processes that the individual experiences when deciding to acquire a good or service, whether they are rational or irrational.
Analyzing consumer psychology helps us design service environments and communication strategies, as well as build brands that are better positioned in the consumer's mind. It also allows us to analyze the effects of marketing strategies . His study includes:
- Purchase or acquisition behavior. It covers activities aimed at obtaining a good or service, including payment.
- The internal and external factors to the individual that influence the purchase process, as well as the use or consumption of the purchased product.
- The behavior of use or final consumption of the goods and services acquired by oneself or by third parties.
The consumer is the center of all marketing activity . Therefore, there is no doubt about the importance of understanding how you motivate yourself, how you buy and how you use the products you purchase. Knowing consumer psychology allows us to:
- More effectively identify current and future needs.
- Improve the ability to communicate with customers.
- Earn their trust and ensure their fidelity.
- Plan business strategies effectively.
Taking advantage of the knowledge offered by the study of consumer psychology allows us to implement more effective specific strategies, according to our objectives. In this way, we can develop interactions in social networks or make use of big data marketing , for example, and obtain the highest revenue.
Motivation and emotion form the non-cognitive part of the human mind. These elements are very important in the study of consumer psychology . The motivational approach tries to explain the subjective processes and their role in the purchase decision. Let us see the findings of the most relevant authors in this area.
Well known is Abraham Maslow's theory of needs. This author identified five different levels of needs, arranged in a pyramid. The basic needs are below, and the superior or rational needs are above (Sergueyevna and Mosher, 2013):
Applying the concept of Maslow's pyramid to consumer psychology , a company that sells luxury products will try to reach the highest step of the pyramid, that of self- realization .
According to David McClelland, motivation can start from three bases: achievement, power or affiliation (Sergueyevna and Mosher, 2013):
- Achievement. It is the desire to achieve high standards of performance in certain activities. For example, a person who practices recycling may seek to master the process of reducing, reusing, and recycling, rather than a reward. In this case, the motive is focused on achieving personal achievement.
- Membership. A person can eat and drink not because he is hungry or thirsty, but for social reasons. Similarly, some consumers choose a brand and style of clothing to feel belonging to a social group.
- Can. The search for power may be behind certain consumer behaviors. For example, when they buy luxury items such as cars or jewelry from prestigious brands.
According to Locke (Sergueyevna and Mosher, 2013), a goal is defined as what a person strives to achieve. The author states that the intention to achieve a goal is a basic source of motivation. Goals are important in any activity, as they motivate and guide people's actions.
Dweck (Soler et al. , 2016) posits that the individual is perceived as an intentional organism, directed by objectives towards a goal that operates rationally. In this context, a fixed belief makes us think that we can change reality, but only to a small extent.
Instead, the incremental belief leads us to think that, with effort, help, rectifying errors, patience, generating alternatives and with short-term goals, we can make a difference. Dweck argues that an incremental belief allows for a positive emotional reaction to failure.
For Javier Alonso Rivas (Monter, 2019), the behavior of buyers may depend, to a large extent, on variables of external origin. Thus we have, on the one hand, the demographic and economic singularities of the environment, which includes:
Economic position and characteristics of the population.
Transformation of the population and its economic effects.
Function of changing demographic environment.
Another variable is culture, which must be understood as a “mental program”. Individuals retain thoughts, actions, or judgments that they acquired in childhood and that will possibly guide their decisions throughout their lives. An aspect to understand in consumer psychology.
If we want to take advantage of the study of consumer psychology , it is crucial to identify the purchase situation in which our potential customers find themselves, as well as the phase in which they are in their decision process (Senise, sf). In this way, we will be able to implement the most appropriate metrics for the development of our strategy.
Special attention should be paid to the first five phases of the buying process. They are the ones that have the greatest impact on the marketing strategy .
The marketing opportunity in a new purchase situation depends on the prospect's early recognition of the problem. This allows us to provide you with the necessary information and assistance quickly.
Information, technical assistance and possible alternatives should be provided. Marketing effort should be geared toward accepting the seller's involvement in the problem-solving process.
The strategy, in this phase, should focus on influencing the determination of the specifications that favor our products or services. It is very important to identify the people who make the purchasing decisions, in order to concentrate the marketing efforts on them .
We must demonstrate to potential customers our technical ability, good reputation, speed of service and financial responsibility. In short, our organization must be taken into account as a potential supplier.
In this phase, the marketing strategy should be aimed at knowing the specific details of the potential customer's problems. In this way, technical help can be provided to solve them.
Elements that must be taken into account for an effective strategy together with consumer psychology
Once the phase of the purchase process has been identified and the marketing strategy has been designed , what follows is the development of specific content. We present four key factors that you should take into account during this phase (Naranjo, 2015).
Buying decisions are not just rational. First of all, the brain responds emotionally. It's important to focus on generating those emotional responses. This way you will win over the consumer and get better recall.
Music is not just a thread to accompany the purchase, but an element that can make people buy more, make them faster or indulge in a relaxed visit in a store. The best thing to do is to make a combined sensory marketing effort.
We must avoid starting any relationship with the consumer by talking about "us" or launching a speech about the characteristics of our brand. They will react to how you will help them. You have to be simple and direct.
Do not stay with what you think you know. What a brand needs to do to find out what users really want is to ask their brains. To do this, it is necessary to measure their reactions and their responses to different stimuli.
The best marketing strategy starts from a full knowledge of our market. And of course, this knowledge must include all the variables and factors that influence their behavior. It does not matter if you are looking for growth hacking or if you want to develop a storytelling strategy ; If you aspire to success, it is imperative that you do so based on the findings of consumer psychology .