'Why is it so important for academics and marketing managers to understand the impact of external influences on consumer behaviour?'

Essay by gurugobinsinghUniversity, Bachelor'sB, February 2003

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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...