Buyer Behavior Models

To achieve success in the modern marketing, the marketing manager has to study consumer behavior because he can create, maintain and increase the demand for his companies’ products only when he understand the feelings, desires, and buying motives of his consumers. Thus, the buyer behavior models are broadly classified into the following categories:

Economic model

According to the economic model of buying behavior, the buyer is a rational animal and his buying decisions are totally depended on the concept of utility. In other words, it explains an economic perspective of the customer. Here, consumer analyzes the pros & cons of purchasing a product. He considers the price, utility, quality, durability, reliability, service etc., of the product and then takes a decision. He purchases only those goods and services which are useful to him and available at reasonable prices. Thus, this type of model is also known as rational product buying motive.

Learning model

Learning is an act of perception, reasoning, thinking and information processing about a particular product. It refers to the changes in consumer behavior and also the central topic in the study of human behavior. All theories of buyer behavior have been basically based on learning model namely, Stimulation- Response (or more popularly known as SR model). The SR theory is very useful to modern marketing and marketers. According to the SR theory, learning depends on drive, cue (stimulus), response and reinforcement. People have needs and wants. They are driven towards products and services (stimuli and cues), which they purchase (response); they expect a satisfying experience (rewards and reinforcements) and repeat behavior would depend on reinforcement received. The model is also called as psychological model or Pavlovian learning model.  The SR model of Pavlovian learning is made clear by given figure:

Psychoanalytic model

This model draws from Freudian psychology. It states that the individual consumer has some deep motives that drive him to make certain buying decisions. The buyer has some hidden fears, hidden desires and subjective longings (personal wishes). His buying action can be affected by appealing to these desires. The psychoanalytical theory is credited to the work of noted psychologist Sigmund Freud. Freud introduced personality as a motivating factor in human behavior. According to this theory, the mental framework of a human being consists of three elements, namely: ID, super ego and ego.

  • The id (or the instinctive or pleasure seeking element): It is the group of inborn desires that a man is born with. It includes the aggressive, destructive and sexual drives of man.
  • The superego (or the internal filter): It presents to the individual the behavioral expectations of society.
  • The ego (or the control device): It maintains a balance between the id and the superego. The theory believes that a person is not able to satisfy all his needs within the boundaries of the society.

These unsatisfied needs create tensions in an individual which have to be taken care of.

Sociological model

According to the sociological model, the individual buyer behavior is influenced by society, close groups, social classes, population, income, castes, communities, family life cycle and other cultural aspects. The buying decisions of individuals are not totally based on utility; he has a desire to follow the environment. Thus, as a part of sociological model the two important models are Nicosia model and Howard Sheth. The Nicosia Model and the Howard Sheth Model belong to the category of systems model, where a human being is analyzed as a system with stimuli as the input to the system and behavior as the output of the system. The Nicosia model of buyer behavior was presented in 1966 by motivation and behavior expert Mr. Francesco Nicosia. The Howard Seth Model was presented in 1969 by John Howard and Jagdish Seth. The Sociological model is made clear by given figure:


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