Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior

In this Section, We will focus on the internal Dynamics of Consumers. In this Day and age, where ever we go, or whatever we do,  we are constantly bombarded with marketing schemes that influences our buying behavior. in this Section, we will look at aspects on how consumer make choices which Is important to understand although some of it may be invisible to others.

3.1 Perception

 Sensation refers to the immediate response of our sensory receptors (Eyes, Nose, Ears, Mouth, Fingers, and Skin) to basic stimuli such as light, color, sound, odor, and texture.

Nose for Smell
Mouth and Tongue for Taste
Eyes for Sight
Skin for Temperature
Ear of Hearing
Hands and Fingers for Texture

Perception  is the process by which people select, organize, and interpret these sensation. The study of Perception focuses on what we add to these raw sensations to give them meaning.

Sensory Inputs are the raw data that begin perceptual process. Sensory data from the external environment can generate internal sensory experiences.

Hedonic consumption are the multisensory, fantasy, and emotional aspects of consumers’ interactions with products. The sensations we experience are context effects that subtly influence how we think about products we encounter.

Sensory Marketing is a marketing strategy which focuses on the impact of sensations in product experiences. (Vision, Scents, Touch, Sound, Taste)

Stages of Perception

  1. Exposure occurs when a stimulus comes within the range of someone’s sensory receptors.
    1. Sensory Threshold is the point at which it is strong enough to make a conscious impact in his or her awareness.
    2. Absolute Threshold refers to the minimum amount of stimulation a person can detect on a given sensory channel.
    3. Differential threshold refers to the ability of a sensory system to detect changes in or differences between two stimuli.
    4. Subliminal Perception – Refers to a stimulation below the level of the consumer’s awareness. 
Sensory Threshold
Subliminal Perception
Absolute Threshold
Differential threshold
  1. Attention refers to the extent to which processing activity is devoted to a particular stimulus.

Personal Selection Factors

Perceptual Vigilance – means we are more likely to be aware of stimuli that relate to our current needs.

Perceptual Defense – means we that we tend to see what we what to see and we don’t see what we don’t want to see. If stimuli threatens us in some way, we may not process it, or we may distort its meaning so that it’s more acceptable.

Adaptation – is the degree to which consumers continue to notice a stimulus overtime. The process of adaptation occurs when we no longer pay attention to a stimulus over time.

Factors that can lead to Adaptation:

  1. Intensity – Less intense sensory, habituate because they have less sensory impact.
  2. Discrimination simple stimuli habituate because they do not require attention to details.
  3. Exposure – Frequently encountered stimuli habituate as the rate of exposure increases.
  4. Relevance – Stimuli that are irrelevant or unimportant habituate because they fail to attract attention.

Stimulus Selection Factors
Novelty – Stimuli that appear in unexpected ways or places tend to grab our attention. Package that stand out visually on store shelves have an advantage. 

  1. Interpretation

– refers to the meaning we assign to sensory stimuli. The meaning we assign to a stimulus depends on the schema.

Schema – are set of belief to which leads us to compare the stimulus to other similar ones we encountered in the past.

Fried Chicken?

Peach Manggo Pie?


Stimulus Organization

Interpretational Biases: The eye of the beholder

Gestalt Psychology – Gestalt roughly means whole, pattern, or configuration, and we summarize this term as “the whole is greater than the sum parts”.

The Gestalt Prospective provides several principles that relate to the way our brains organize stimuli:

  1. Closure Principle states that people tends to perceive an incomplete picture as complete. That is we tend to fill in that blanks based on prior experience.
  2. Similarity Principle – states that consumers tends to group together objects that share similar physical characteristics.
  3. Figure-Ground Principle – states that one part of a stimulus will dominate, and other parts recede into the background.

Semiotics: The meaning of meaning

Semiotics is a discipline that studies the correspondence between signs, symbols and their roles in how we assign meaning.

Hyperreality – refers to the process of making real what is initially simulation or “hype”.

Perceptual Positioning

  • Lifestyle
  • Price Leadership
  • Attributes
  • Product Class
  • Competitors
  • Occasions
  • Users
  • Quality

Reference: M. R. Solomon, Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having and Being, Twelfth Edition, Pearson Publishing


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