Products are made for consumers and thus, a direct corollary to this fact is that businesses must have an understanding of consumer behavior. This is easier said than done as consumer behavior is complex. Different consumers react differently to the same product (Solomon, 2016) and hence, finding out a common or general pattern is not an easy task.
Advertisements are made to attract consumers and are part of the promotional mix of marketing. Ads usually have a very small time window 15-45 seconds to attract a consumer’s attention. If they do not connect with consumer pulse in this time frame, the purpose of advertising will be lost and the product may not be lapped up by consumers as is intended.
Consumer behaviour has to be mapped to the consumer journey. Consumers in different stages of the purchase cycle will behave differently towards a brand or product. These different stages and their corresponding behaviors can guide an advertiser to the purpose of their advertising. For example, a consumer with no knowledge about a product or brand needs to first be entertained and attracted towards the brand or product. At this stage, the consumer needs a hook to be enthused to explore the brand or product further. Hence, a catchy or interesting television or radio ad which entertains the consumer would fulfil the purpose.
Once the consumer knows about the brand, the next stage is to engage the consumer with the brand and at this stage, the advertising needs to become informational. These purposes can be fulfilled by print and online ads with a specific call to action. After the purchase, the consumer either needs after-sales service or may have some feedback to provide. The ads must then focus on these aspects of the brand.
Plugging in the feedback loop in the advertising channel helps the brand to grow as well as become a part of the consumer’s daily life. It is through a thorough understanding of the consumer’s needs and desires that will determine the failure or success of a brand. Marketers are often stumped by why consumers may choose one brand over another, which spurs their decision-making process and how they are impacted by the surrounding environment.
Consumer behavior is impacted by several factors which can be categorized as – social, cultural, personal and psychological. All these aspects must be clearly understood by marketers to create advertising that will have an impact. Instituting consumer behavior studies or consulting with agencies who specialize in consumer behavior help guide marketers in creating more effective advertising strategies.
For students looking at advertising careers, an advertising management course from a reputed college will help them gain the necessary knowledge and expertise in consumer behaviour and its impact on advertising.