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'why Is It So Important For Academics And Marketing Managers To Understand The Impact Of External Influences On Consumer Behaviour?'

2157 words - 9 pages

Consumer's need for goods, both products and services, is affected by three factors: memory, internal (individual) differences and external (environmental) influences. All of these features are important to academics and marketing managers as they help to ascertain the customer's need recognition. However, external influences are probably seen to be the most important as it is the easiest and less time-consuming to study. It has also been noted by researchers that internal differences are influence by the external factors, which override the internal. "perception, motives, personality and attitudes - are modified by social influences and especially, the social groups of which the individual actor is a member," (Foxall, 1977, p.117). Academics, unlike marketing managers, are interested in researching all factors, as it gives them a broader and more accurate understanding of consumer behaviour. In order for marketing managers and academics to get a better grasp on those influences that affect the markets, they use a variety of different methods to investigate the wants and needs of the customers. They do this by using a combination of psychographics, demographics and geographics to try to understand any changes that occur in consumer behaviour. All of these approaches when studying consumer behaviour help marketers and academics to divide the market into segments, so that they can examine certain areas more closely. It has been claimed that there are five main determinants of external influences: situation, family, culture, social class and personal influence. This essay will try to assess the reasoning behind why these factors need to be considered by academics when investigating consumer behaviour.Marketers are looking for quick easy solutions for finding marketing opportunities and avoiding making mistakes and therefore usually only focus on external influences. This includes a heavy emphasis on the group phenomena, as it is usually more predictable than individual actions. Within each group there are conforming pressures from a group leader on the members to their set of values and norms. This allows for marketers to segment the population into reference groups, which are "a construct which has been employed to explain a wide range of human behaviour," (Foxall, 1977, p.119). While managers will be expecting a high level of conformity, academics have learnt that absolute compliance to the norms is unrealistic. Therefore marketing research is not altogether reliable, as there is probably still a large market for those consumers who don't fit into group norms. This may be largely due to the emphasis placed on predominantly external factors by marketers instead of looking at the larger picture. Academics have performed studies on groups to investigate the pressures within them to conform. This can be clearly seen in Asch's experiment, where individuals were asked if there was a difference between the lengths of two lines. All of those assisting...

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