Consumer behavior is the responsiveness of clients towards a product in the market. Influential factors, which dictate consumer willingness to purchase a product, are personal, psychological, cultural, situational, and social factors. The influential factors have a hierarchy based on their influential powers. Personal, psychological, cultural, situational, and social factors are in a hierarchy from the most influential factor to the least influential factor, respectively.
The strategy and process of arriving at the importance of influential factors increase the understanding of their significance in customer behavior. Outside sources and textbooks reveal that influential factors determine consumer behavior and have varying influence. Fundamentally, all influential factors have varying influences and are significant in consumer behavior.
Mind maps are useful in understanding the determinants of consumer behavior. Debates and discussions facilitate the study since they simplify the concept and initiate an exchange of ideas. The surprises encountered include the diversity of opinions concerning the hierarchy of influential factors advanced by marketing scholars. In the study, it is apparent that both meta-ethics and normative ethics are essential as they facilitate the execution of moral marketing activities. External influential factors need elaboration since the study did not cover these factors, yet they are significant, according to several authors and scholars in the marketing field. Effective application of the SWOT analysis increases sales and satisfies consumers.
Consumer behavior is the responsiveness of customers towards a certain product in the market. Essentially, consumers have different influential factors that affect their purchasing behavior. Some of the influential factors that dictate consumer behavior towards certain products include personal, psychological, cultural, situational, and social factors. The impact that influential factors have on consumer behavior may be temporary or lasting (Tyagi & Kumar, 2004).
The influential factors are very important as marketers use them in penetrating markets and delivering products that meet the diverse needs of consumers. Therefore, the essay categorizes influential factors on consumer behavior in the hierarchy and examines mind maps, debates, opposing opinions, surprises, ethics, and SWOT analysis of the influential factors.
Hierarchy of Influential Factors in Customer Buying Behavior
Strategy and Process
Evidently, personal factors have the greatest influence on purchasing behavior as they concern the innate personality and character of a person. The strategy and process of ascertaining the importance and relevance of personal factors such as relevancy, personality, lifestyle, appearance, and suitability rely on their influence on consumer behavior.
Since personal factors are difficult and complex to decipher and change, they have a higher power of influence, and thus, top the hierarchy. Tyagi and Kumar (2004) assert that personal factors are the most complex and powerful factors in determining consumer behavior. Therefore, it is practical that consumers regard their personal tastes prior to other considerations.
Psychological factors rank second after personal factors in influencing consumer behavior. Attitude, durability, and effectiveness of the product take a toll after consideration of personal factors as they relate to the psychological part of a person (Tyagi & Kumar, 2004).
In ascertaining the influence and the positions of psychological factors that include attitude durability, and effectiveness, the strategy, and process employed examine their nature of influence on consumer behavior. The fact that psychological factors are slightly less complex, and changeable implies that their influence is lower than personal factors (Blythe, 2013). Therefore, psychological factors are second in the hierarchical order.
Cultural factors fall into the third category because they are less influential and are subject to societal opinions. The ranking of cultural factors like popularity, originality, and trends follow a strategy and process, which entails scrutiny into their power of influence on consumer behavior. The power and influence of cultural factors relate to external elements like trends, popularity, and originality of the product. When individuals meet their personal and physiological needs, they consider cultural factors.
Once individuals settle for a product, which satisfies their personal, physiological, and cultural needs, situational factors, such as location and social factors, follow as they compound the significance of the product and its level of satisfaction.
Situational factors, which comprise availability, affordability, and application, are not as powerful as other factors since managers can influence them. To establish the niche that situational factors occupy in the hierarchy, scholars and marketers use a strategy and process that investigate their manipulative power on the purchasing behavior of clients. The strategy and process employed places social factors like friends, technology, and age in the lowest level of the hierarchy because they pose low influential power, which marketers can easily dictate.
Outside Sources and Textbooks
Various scholars in the field of marketing have advanced a number of arguments and perspectives concerning the presumed hierarchy and significance of influential factors. The main argument that demonstrates a level of complexity from several scholars, authors, and experts in the marketing environment concerns the power of manipulation that an influential factor has over the other factors.
According to Lamb (2012), consumer behavior is a very complex issue that marketers and scholars in the marketing environment need to ascertain when designing a product. The complexity regarding influential factors transpires since consumers respond towards a product basing on these factors, and thus, a wrong focus leads to reduced revenues.
In the classification of the influential factors, marketers and scholars hold diverse views. Samli (2005) holds the view that influential factors fall into two categories, which are external and internal factors. Scholars, who hold this view, explain that influential factors have a hierarchy, which relates to the ability to determine consumer behavior. An understanding of the hierarchy of influential factors facilitates increased sales and customer satisfaction. Increased sales and customer satisfaction transpire because the understanding enhances organizations to deliver products that match consumer expectations, and thus, meet their preferences.
Evidently, most individuals agree that consumer behavior is an outcome of the influential factors that dictate and determine their willingness to purchase a product in the market. In addition, influential factors, according to scholars, marketers, and authors, have different abilities and powers in terms of customer responsiveness towards a product.
Importance of Each Influential Factor
Influential factors comprise issues such as personal, psychological, cultural, situational, and social factors. Irrespective of their different influences on consumer behavior, all the influential factors are very significant. Personal factors concern the innate elements of a person based on individual perceptions and preferences. When making a choice, individuals select products under parameters like relevance, suitability, and appearance. The product purchased should meet the needs of the subject individuals.
Furthermore, individual or personal influential factors help clients choose products that are not only suitable for the performance of their daily activities but are also presentable in terms of shape color and design. Blythe (213) explains that consumers choose products that meet their likes and preferences in line with color, shape, and design. Therefore, influential personal factors are very fundamental in determining consumer behavior.
The relevance and significance of psychological factors are evident in the fact that they help the client purchase products that are durable, effective, and presentable. Just like personal or individual influential factors, psychological factors focus on the internal traits of a person, and thus, determine what consumers purchase basing on externalities like culture and societal norms.
The prevailing market trends, the originality of the brand, and the recognition power of the brand are some of the elements that increase the willingness of consumers to purchase a product. The location of the product is one of the influential factors that are practical in persuading consumers to purchase a product. Essentially, consumers tend to purchase products, which are close to them as opposed to those products, which are far or distant (Lamb, 2012). A friendly pricing strategy is very crucial as it increases product sales and utility for consumer’s money. The need to be on the social platform is a factor that the influential social factor satisfies and facilitates.
Selected Mind Maps
The selected mind map in figure 1 fits into the new hierarchy since the hierarchy advocates focus on influential factors presented. According to the new hierarchy, influential factors such as personal, psychological, cultural, situational, and social factors have different influences over consumer behavior. The factors highlighted by the new hierarchy are in harmony with those in the mind map. The influential factors are very vital in ascertaining consumer behavior and buying patterns (Samli, 2005). Therefore, the new hierarchy and the mind map agree and explain the significance of influential factors in consumer behavior and the difference influence held by the factors.
Some of the changes that transpire in the comparison and contrast of the mind map and the new hierarchy include the inclusion of needs, necessities, and luxurious. The new hierarchy discusses all the factors and incorporates elements such as needs, necessities, and luxuries in the hierarchy.
Conversely, the mind map highlights that the needs, necessities, and luxuries stand as different entities and have individual influences. Despite the contrasts and differences demonstrated by the new hierarchy and the mind map, the fact that influential factors dictate consumer behavior is evident, and scholars, as well as marketers, cannot downplay their significance in the decision making process.
Discussion of Debates
Debates were very instrumental in expanding my perception of influential factors and their effect on consumer behavior. In essence, the group debates facilitated an understanding of the significance of the levels of influence and the power of each influential factor in the mind map. Out of the groups and debates, my attitudes and understanding expanded and led to the introduction of the new hierarchy of influence. The hierarchy is an outcome of the augmented understanding of the influential factors and their impact on consumer behavior.
Some of the specific points and outside sources brought up from the debates that initiated the new hierarchy were influential factors and consumer behavior. In the group debates, it became apparent that influential factors have an impact on the responsiveness of consumers towards a product.
Tyagi and Kumar (2004) explain that consumer behavior is the responsiveness of a consumer towards products in the market. As a result, I learned that consumer behavior is the responsiveness of an individual towards a product in the market and maybe positive or negative depending on the influential factors.
Some of the surprises that the group came across in the process of compiling the essay include the divergent opinions held by different scholars, authors, and individuals in the marketing field. What surprised most of our colleagues in the group was the complexity and the challenge that influential factors presented to us and the scholars who attempted to delve into it.
Lamb (2012) believes that the classification of influential factors falls into personal, psychological, cultural, situational, and social categories, while Blythe (2013) holds the opinion that influential factors fall into external and internal categories of the marketing environment. Therefore, we realized that some scholars believe that influential factors are in two categories, which are internal and external, whereas others believe that the factors are personal, physiological, cultural, situational, and social categories.
Ethics Required in the Hierarchy
Since ethics are principles concerned with human character individually or in society, influential factors, such as personal, cultural, and social factors, require consideration of ethics for effective marketing. According to Samli (2005), effective product marketing should match the norms and values that society and individuals believe and determine morality in society. Meta-ethics and normative ethics are very crucial in the study and application of influential factors like personal, cultural, and social factors in the hierarchy.
While meta-ethics deals with the morality of statements, normative ethics ascertain the morality of actions. It is fundamental to apply meta-ethics and normative ethics in personal, cultural, and social factors since they facilitate an in-depth development of moral marketing concepts.
An understanding of ethics facilitates the introduction of products that satisfies consumer needs and increases the performance of a product in the market (Tyagi & Kumar, 2004). Therefore, both normative ethics and meta-ethics are crucial in the study of consumer behavior from the perceptive of personal, cultural, and social factors.
Unconsidered Influential Factors
Unconsidered influential factors relate to the external environment. Presumably, the essay left out the environmental factors in the discussion because they extend beyond the local context, which was the focus of the discussion. In the external environment, there are a number of elements, which affect consumer behavior and influence their willingness towards a product in the market.
Politics, international relations, security, natural calamities, and disasters are some of the externalities that determine consumer behavior and responsiveness towards certain products. Some of the external sources that support the influential factors include authors like Blythe (2013), who assert that the external environment is one of the factors that influence consumer behavior. As a result, the external environment of marketing requires elaboration to decipher its influential nature.
Consumer behavior is subject to the influence of personal, psychological, cultural, situational, and social factors. The factors have the power to dictate what consumers purchase in the market, and thus, affect their behavior. Scaffolding assignments helped in breaking down tasks and making them simple and easy to execute. Therefore, an assignment, which was initially complex, became easy and understandable owing to the exposition of the influential factors of consumer behavior.
|Personal factors||They are innate and the most influential factors||Customization of products||It is impossible to influence customers||Modernization|
|Psychological factors||They are influential and stable factors||Marketers can easily influence||They are variable||Dynamic lifestyles|
|Cultural factors||Influence all population||Marketers can easily influence||Some are undesirable||Culture is unstable|
|Situational factors||Are subject to the marketing environment||Creation of favorable situation||Promotes impulse buying||Unfavorable mood|
|Social factors||Easy to manipulate||Consideration of social values, norms, and culture||Very dynamic and unpredictable||Dynamic lifestyles|
Blythe, J. (2013). Consumer Behavior. London: SAGE Publisher. Web.
Lamb, C. (2012). Marketing. New York: Cengage Learning. Web.
Samli, A. (2005). International Consumer Behavior: Its Impact on Marketing Strategy Development. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group. Web.
Tyagi, C., & Kumar, A. (2004). Consumer Behavior. New York: Atlantic Publishers & Distributor. Web.