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Consumer behavior

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  1. Introduction
  2. Children as consumers
  3. The mature consumers
  4. Implication for Marketing policy

This essay is going to focus on the 'age' variable. Marketers can segment their marketing in age subcultures, or support, its members who have shared childhood and young adulthood experiences that influence their customs, rituals, and behavioural processes. People of the same generation will have undergone similar experiences, and will therefore share memories and values. They will be influenced by similar internal and external stimuli in their behaviour. Here, the influence of the various stimuli will be analysed relating to consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour is the process involved when individuals or groups select, use or dispose off products, and services to satisfy their needs and desires. Internal and external influences affect this process. Models of consumer behaviour, such as Howard and Sheth (Oliver, 1986), recognise their importance in consumer decision making and to its output, which may be to buy or not to buy, or to search for more information. It is important for marketers to understand the strengths of these influences, in order to manipulate them to translate people's general needs in wants for their particular brand. The attention will be placed on two particular cohorts: children and mature adults. Although consumers can be externally influenced by many stimuli, such as friends, reference groups, the environment, religion, culture and income; and internally by factors such as learning, memory, attitudes, beliefs and self perception; here the focus will be placed on the role and impact of parents, peers and advertising as sources of external influences; on motivation, needs and perception, the external influences. Finally, the implication of these differences for marketing policy will be analyzed, specifically in relation to advertising and the retailing environment.

[...] Information printed in dark colours on white backgrounds allows customers to better read the messages. Eye-level displays increase perception of goods by customers who have a decreased peripheral view. Displays should also be neat and simple, as mature consumers have problems with cluttered shelves (Anonymous, 1999). Failing to address all the elements of the marketing mix in a manner consistent to the positioning strategy will result in a business failure. Understanding consumer's needs is essential in marketing. This should be the underlying principle in the formulation of policies. [...]

[...] Peer influence is usually important in affecting consumer behaviour. This, however, seems to be less true for the mature consumer. Corlett (1998) notes how ageing brings release from peer pressure: ?Older consumers need to keep up with no one. They may choose to vacation in a four star resort and then seek out budget motels with the best senior discounts for weekend travel. ( ) Now they have more time available and they devour information before they purchase' ( p.480) Mature consumers appear to have acquired individuality with age. [...]

[...] Consumer socialisation is the process by which children learn skills, knowledge and attitudes which will enable them to act in the marketplace (Solomon et al., 2002). According to McNeal (1993), children learn to be consumers by undergoing a five-stage process. Up to the age of two, they just ?observe' what their parents do when accompanying them in their shopping trips. From the age of two till the age of three and half, they start making requests by pointing and gesturing at objects. [...]

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