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How Marketing Influences Consumer Behavior in 2024

How Marketing Influences Consumer Behavior in 2024

10 min
30 May 2022

Introduction

Maintaining long-term sales stability is more than producing a successful product or service. A product won’t sell well unless it meets your customer’s needs. Understanding and connecting with your customers is crucial to grab their attention. To make this happen, marketers must employ various tools like reports and studies to comprehend one key factor: consumer behavior.

Understanding consumer behavior is crucial for every marketer. Marketers who use this knowledge effectively tend to see the highest sales results. But what exactly is consumer behavior, and why does it matter for your business? Keep reading to find out.

What Is Consumer Behavior?

Looking at this concept broadly, we find that the root of consumer behavior lies in psychology. Consumer behavior is an analysis of how people psychologically navigate their purchasing decisions. Several factors encompass consumer behavior, including:

  • The feelings a customer has about specific businesses, products, or services.
  • Triggers that lead a consumer to choose one product over another and the reasoning behind it.
  • Influences from a consumer’s surroundings that impact purchasing decisions or brand opinions, along with the reasons behind these influences.
  • The processes by which consumers make decisions, whether on their own or within groups.
An infographic showing how factors influence consumer behavior.

Factors Affecting Consumer Behavior and Decisions

Marketers must study consumer purchase habits at every point of the customer journey. Among the various influences on decision-making, four primary factors stand out:

Cultural Factors

Cultural aspects can include nationality, religion, geography, or group affiliations. For example, a consumer from the Midwest may buy ranch dressing alongside their pizza when they make a purchase at the grocery store. This is an example of a cultural preference.

Social Factors

Social factors are elements of an individual’s surroundings or upbringing that shape their purchasing decisions. These factors include family, friends, and other social circles whose approval matters to the consumer. For instance, a consumer might choose a particular brand because it’s what their parents used to buy for the family when they were growing up.

Personal Factors

This category encompasses an individual’s age, occupation, financial situation, marital status, lifestyle, and personal values. For instance, a single mother in her twenties may purchase an SUV instead of a minivan because she associates minivans with middle-aged mothers. This illustrates how personal opinions influence consumer behavior.

Psychological Factors

These factors pertain to how individuals perceive products or services. A person’s beliefs and motivations play a significant role in shaping purchasing decisions and preferences. For example, a consumer who enjoys exercising will spend more money on fitness classes or home gym equipment. On the other hand, consumers who do not like exercising will put much less money towards those same services or products.

Why Is Consumer Behavior Important to Your Business?

According to a Salesforce study, 66% of consumers anticipate that companies will acknowledge their needs and preferences. If your brand doesn’t recognize consumers’ wants, they will take their business elsewhere.

Studying consumer behavior is vital because it helps marketers comprehend the factors driving purchasing decisions. This information enables businesses to identify gaps in the market and determine which products are no longer in demand. Consumer behavior also allows marketers to find the best ways to introduce consumers to their products or services.

What Should a Consumer Behavior Analysis Include?

A good consumer behavior analysis should reveal the following details:

  • What consumers believe and how they feel about several options (brands, products, etc.).
  • Factors that impact consumers when selecting between many alternatives.
  • Consumers’ behavior while surveying and shopping.
  • Ways consumers’ environment (friends, family, media, etc.) impacts their behavior.
  • The psychological analysis of consumer needs and wants.
  • Familiarity with consumer buyer behavior and how consumers reach a purchase decision eventually. 
  • Evaluating personality factors that concern how a consumer feels about a brand, product, or service and what stimulates them to prefer one brand over the other.

Aside from the psychological factors, the consumer decision procedure emanates from social media, personality factors, and prior customer ordeals. A good example is how a young single woman will prefer a hatchback or sedan rather than a truck, or a minivan, because of understanding that a minivan or truck fits a male or someone middle-aged best.

An infographic of the customer funnel.

Why is a Consumer Behavior Analysis Important?

Marketers must grasp the aspects of consumer buying behavior and motivation to understand why consumers choose certain products over others. Studies like the S&P 500 Index show that companies prioritizing customer experience outperform those not considering consumer feedback.

Furthermore, insights from a 2020 McKinsey report emphasize the relevance of understanding consumer behavior. Consumer behavior insights have the following benefits:

  • It reinforces positive perceptions associated with products and services.
  • It shapes the formation of new habits.
  • It reinforces habits related to consumer purchasing decisions.
  • It ensures that messages align with the consumer’s perspective.
  • It enables a thorough assessment of consumer beliefs and behavior.

Consumer Behaviors and Marketing Strategy

Rather than solely relying on their own ideas to generate products and marketing plans, successful brands incorporate external information to understand customer preferences. This allows brands to tailor their approach to effectively engage customers.

This approach underscores the importance of fostering a positive customer experience (CX). If you need more proof, Qualtrics reports that consumers are 3.5 times more likely to purchase more from a brand after a positive customer experience.

How Can Marketing Affect Consumer Behavior?

Marketing significantly influences consumer behavior by shaping perceptions, preferences, and purchasing decisions. Effective marketing strategies can create emotional connections with consumers and influence their attitudes toward products or services. The following factors can contribute to a brand’s successful use of consumer behavior data.

1. Emotional Audience Response

Marketing campaigns that evoke consumer responses are more effective. Increased engagement leads to more conversations about the brand, ultimately enhancing the likelihood of purchases.

2. Branding and Message Consistency

Utilizing imagery and language that resonates with the target audience can draw attention to the brand. For instance, using trendy phrases and memes can appeal to younger demographics. This can help that age group associate the product with enjoyable or entertaining things.

3.  Brand Memory Recall

Marketing that triggers nostalgia or fear can significantly influence consumer behavior. Positive associations with childhood memories can enhance brand loyalty and drive purchasing decisions. Conversely, fear-inducing campaigns may lead consumers to seek products for security and peace of mind.

Understanding consumer trends is crucial for managing consumer behavior because it constantly shifts. What customers valued a decade ago may not align with their current tastes. Now, let’s check out some of the behavior trends expected to impact purchasing decisions in 2024:

1. Transparency

In recent years, consumer preferences have increasingly favored transparency in the companies they support. Consumers are quick to turn away from businesses with questionable practices or leadership they politically oppose. They are more inclined to support brands aligning with their beliefs and values. This means that companies must be transparent about their histories and operations to earn the trust of their consumers.

2. Ecommerce Capabilities 

During the COVID-19 lockdown, people were confined to their homes, leading to a surge in online shopping. Now that restrictions are over, this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Businesses must meet consumers where they are, and increasingly, that place is online. Creating a user-friendly ecommerce platform is crucial when devising strategies to influence consumer behavior, both in-person and online.

3. Security/Anonymity

With numerous businesses operating online, many consumers are increasingly concerned about the security of their data. They prioritize anonymity and are cautious about sharing excessive information with companies. Consumers prefer to provide only essential details for transactions. Businesses must adapt by respecting consumers’ privacy concerns and accommodating those who prefer to limit the information they share.

An infographic displaying the importance of security.

4. Environmental Friendliness

Consumers are increasingly seeking out businesses that prioritize environmental sustainability. This preference is expected to grow even stronger in the future. Companies can attract consumers who value sustainability by adopting clean and green practices. Overall, brands offering environmentally friendly products can influence consumer purchasing decisions.

Principles of Influence According to Robert Cialdini

Robert Beno Cialdini is an American psychologist and academic specializing in consumer behavior. Drawing from years of research on social influence, Cialdini identified six universal principles that shed light on consumer behavior and how to influence it. These principles offer valuable insights into the fundamental dynamics of consumer behavior and which strategies are most effective in driving results. 

1. Reciprocity

Consumers often feel compelled to reciprocate favors or kindness. Offering free samples or generous discounts can elicit a positive response from these consumers.

2. Commitment

Once individuals become deeply involved in something, they are more likely to develop loyalty. When consumers start using a product or service, they are more inclined to continue paying for it.

3. Consensus

Consumers tend to follow the actions of others, especially when they observe widespread adoption. Brands that demonstrate popularity or satisfaction among a broad customer base attract additional consumer patronage.

4. Authority

People are more inclined to trust and follow the advice of experts. While group mentality is important, endorsements from credible experts are crucial for attracting new consumers.

5. Liking

Consumers are more easily persuaded by individuals who share similarities with them. Pay attention to those who belong to similar demographics. Socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, or shared interests are effective connections to consider in consumer behavior.

6. Scarcity

Certain individuals are drawn to items they perceive as limited or difficult to obtain. Consumer interest is heightened by implying that the item will soon be unavailable if not acted upon promptly, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.

An infographic CTA for Adspace.

Now armed with these six principles of influence, you can more effectively guide potential consumers and convert more sales. However, Cialdini warns against crossing the line between influence and manipulation, as the latter could harm your business in the long term. 

He emphasizes the importance of authenticity in employing these principles, stating, “No one wants to be a purveyor of influence. Pretending to be an authority figure or exploiting power dynamics will eventually backfire. Instead of solely relying on economic incentives, we should also consider utilizing psychological motivators, such as those discussed here, to drive consumer behavior.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, every business owner must stay informed about consumer behavior trends. To stay updated, conduct customer surveys, organize focus groups, and review trade association and industry research reports. Additionally, communicate with retail partners to stay aware of emerging technologies that could impact your products. For further guidance in navigating the realm of consumer behavior, reach out to Adspace for expert insights and assistance.

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