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4.5: Summary

  • Page ID
    • John Burnett
    • Global Text Project

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    In this chapter, the rudiments of buyer behavior were presented. The chapter is divided into two parts: consumer behavior and organizational behavior. In the case of consumer behavior, the discussion began with six stages in the consumer decision-making process. These stages include need identification, information search and processing, evaluation of alternatives, product/service/outlet selection, purchase. and post-purchase behavior.

    Following the material was a discussion of the factors that influence this decision-making process. The situational influences consist of the complexity, market offerings, and demographics. External influences include the culture, social class, reference groups, and the family. Finally, the internal influences identified were learning/socialization, motivation, personality, lifestyles, and attitudes.

    The final section of the chapter dealt with issues germane to how organizations make buying decisions compared to how consumers make buying decisions. Discussion began with a description of the characteristics of organizational buying. The section concluded with a description or the stages followed in organizational buying. These stages were problem recognition, general need description, product specification, supplier's search, proposal solicitation, supplier selection, order-routine specification, and performance review.

    Key terms

    Market A group of potential buyers with needs and wants and the purchasing power to satisfy them.

    Need A basic deficiency given a particular situation.

    Want Placing certain personal criteria as to how a need should be fulfilled.

    Information search Involves the mental as well as physical activities that consumers must perform in order to make decisions and accomplish desired goals in the marketplace.

    Attitude An opinion we hold toward a person, idea, place, or thing.

    Cognitive dissonance Negative feelings the consumer has after purchase.

    High-involvement decisions Decisions that are important to the buyer because they are closely tied to self-image and have an inherent risk.

    Low-involvement decisions Decisions that are not very important to the buyer because ego is not involved and risk is low.

    Culture A large group of people with a similar heritage.

    Social class People grouped together because of similar occupation, wealth, income, education, power, and prestige.

    Reference groups Individuals who share common attitudes and behavior.

    Family lifecycle Predictable stages experienced by families.

    Learning Changes in behavior resulting from previous experiences.

    Socialization The process by which persons acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that make them more or less able members of their society.

    Motivation An inner drive or pressure to take action to satisfy a need.

    Personality A term used to summarize all the traits of a person that makes him/her unique.

    Lifestyle A profile of an individual as reflected in their attitudes, interests, and opinions.


    ➢ Discuss several reasons why marketers continue to have a hard time understanding, predicting, and explaining consumer behavior.

    ➢ Based on your understanding of motives, develop some general guidelines or directives for practicing marketing.

    ➢ How can marketers influence a person's motivation to take action? How can they facilitate learning?

    ➢ Define an attitude. Discuss the components of an attitude. What are the implications for marketing?

    ➢ Distinguish between high-involvement and low-involvement decision making.

    ➢ Present a diagram of the consumer decision process. What is the role of marketing in each stage of this process?

    ➢ What are the differences between the consumer decision-making process and organizational decision-making process?

    ➢ Assume that you are training a salesperson to sell industrial products. Although this salesperson has a strong track record, she has been selling consumer products. What would you emphasize during training?

    ➢ Explain how complexity of the product influences the buying decision process.

    ➢ Why are opinion leaders so important to marketers? Discuss how marketers could use this type of individual in prompting a decision.

    ➢ How can marketers use the Internet to influence consumer buyer behavior? Organizational buyer behavior?

    ➢ How has business-to-business (B2B) commerce affected purchasing transactions?

    ➢ What new factors or influences do you foresee impacting consumer buyer behavior? Organizational buyer behavior?

    ➢ What ethical considerations (if any) do advertisers face when they try to influence buyer behavior?

    ➢ What risk do airlines take when all of them have the same goal-improving service quality?

    ➢ Should the airlines focus on business travelers or consumers? Why?


    Locate an individual who has purchased a new automobile during the last year. Using the six-step decision-making process, ask this person to indicate how he or she accomplished each step.

    Case application

    Customer satisfaction still matters

    To many American travelers, airline quality is an oxymoron. Ted J Kredir, director of hobby sales for Dallas-based trading card company, Pinnacle Brands, Inc., complains of frequent flight cancellations, late arrivals, and lousy food. To the surprise of skeptical passengers, the gripes are not falling on deaf ears. After years of focusing on paring expenses, such major airlines as American, Delta, and Continental are stepping up their quality efforts. Cost-cutting "diverted our attention from the nuts and bolts of out business,” concedes American Airlines Chief Executive Robert L Crandall. "Our customers have noticed."

    American Airlines, which once dubbed itself the "on-time machine” placed a dismal ninth among 10 carriers in on-time rankings for the third quarter of 1996. So Crandall told managers at the next meeting that leading all industry-quality ratings is their top job for 1997. An American spokesperson will not provide specifics, but says: "We are talking about a lot of operational things like customer comfort on board airplanes."

    At Delta Air Lines, Inc., customer complaints have nearly doubled since 1994; CEO Ronald W Allen blames the pursuit of lower costs. "In some cases we did cut too deeply," he says. Trans World Airlines, Inc., now in the cellar for on-time and customer complaint rankings by the Transportation Department, is getting the message too. After on-time arrivals dropped under 50 per cent during the holidays and cancellations climbed, managers warned workers to get back to basics.

    Underscoring the quality drive is the stunning turnaround at Continental Airlines, Inc., where for two years CEO Gordon M Bethune has hammered away at the theme. Once near the bottom of transportation rankings, Continental now has one of the best ratings for on-time performance, baggage handling, and customer complaints. In 1996, they won the prestigious J D Power & Associates, Inc., award for the highest customer satisfaction on long-haul flights. Bethune claims to be grabbing marketing share among business travelers from American and others. "We have been kicking their butts," boasts Bethune.

    Jaded coach passengers, however, are not expecting first-class treatment anytime soon. ''The product is bad, and it is going to stay that way as near as I can tell," says Ed Perkins, editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letters. It is up to the airlines to prove such doubters wrong.


    1.Henry Assael, Consumer Behavior and Marketing Action, 3rd ed., Boston: Kent Publishing, 1987, p. 84.

    2.James Bettman, An Information Processing Theory of Consumer Choice, Reading, Mass: .Addison Wesley, 1979.

    3.Richard E. Petty, John T. Cacioppo, and David Schumann, "Central and Peripheral Routes to Advertising Effectiveness: The Moderating Role of Involvement," Journal of Consumer Research 10, September 1983, pp. 135-146.

    4.L. Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1957.

    5.Richard Petty and John T. Cacioppo, "Issue Involvement as a Moderator of the Effects on Attitude Advel1ising Content and Context," in Advances in Consumer Research, ed. K. B. Monroe, Vol. 8, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1981.

    6.William O. Bearden and Michael G. Etzel, "Reference Group Influence on Product and Brand Choice," Journal of Consumer Research, September 1982, pp. 183-194.

    7.C. N. Coffer and M. H. Appley, Motivation: Theory Research, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1964.

    8.Martha Farnsworth Riche, "Psychographics for the 1990's," American Demographics, July 1989, pp. 25-6, 30-2.

    9.William A. Dempsey, "Vendor Selection and the Buying Process," Industrial Marketing Management 7, 1978, pp. 257-67.

    This page titled 4.5: Summary is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by John Burnett (Global Text Project) .

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