January 22, 2017

Wheel of consumer analysis – Forming marketing strategy after analysing customers

Whenever you form a marketing strategy, there are many things that you have to consider. Over a period of years, many concepts have been put forward for marketing strategy and how to implement the same. One of such concepts is the Wheel of consumer analysis.

Most marketing strategies are based on the analysis of the business market. Wheel of consumer analysis is an excellent tool which helps in forming a marketing strategy after taking the consumer’s in consideration. Overall, there are 3 aspects of the consumer which are analysed. And once these 3 aspects give an overall outlook to the consumer mindset, then the marketing strategy is made.

The 3 aspects which are considered for analysis of consumer’s are

  • Affect and Cognition
  • Consumer behavior
  • Consumer environment

Wheel of consumer analysis

Let us look at each of the aspects of the consumer which is studied to make the final marketing strategy.

1) Affect & cognition – These are two things which are studied at once. Although they are one of the wheel of consumer analysis, for the sake of understanding, we can break it down to 2 parts.

a) Affect – Affect is how people feel things. I feel positive about the future of the share market. Or I might feel negative about the same. So overall, the affect has to be taken into consideration to analyse consumers. Depending on how consumers feel about something, they will take decisions accordingly.

b) Cognition – Cognition means what people are thinking about. Recently, there has been a lot of noise for E-commerce brands and that it’s the new type of shopping in the market. As if have to get my material from the market, and have to take efforts to purchase anything, I am thinking of buying from E-commerce portal the next time. Similarly, there are many thought processes which runs in a human mind. The marketing strategy has to target one such thought process. So studying cognition is important to form the wheel of consumer analysis.

2) Consumer behavior – There are many things which influence consumer behavior. However, in this case, we are already studying all parts of consumer behavior separately. Affect and cognition is treated as separate and influences are treated as separate.

So when we study consumer behavior in this case, we just see how he behaves and what are the actions he takes. In this case, consumer behavior is completely observational and can be measured.

So continuing the same above E-commerce example, some customers behave very fast. They open various tabs in their browsers and compare products, take a decision and leave. Other customers like to compare the products with each other. These are 2 different behaviors shown by 2 different customers. Thus, based on this behavior, most E-commerce sites show product comparison nowadays.

Consumer behavior involves studying the physical actions of a customer, irrespective of his background and thought process. This consumer behavior is influenced separately to increase sales and improve turnover.

3) Consumer environment – Consumer environment has a major role on the thinking process, and therefore on the consumer behavior as well as on consumer affect and cognition. Consumers are influenced by the environment they are present in.

If someone is present in a 5 star restaurant, and the cost of dishes is very high, they might go with a half filled stomach. On the other hand, another customer is a millionaire & he will probably bring 5 other friends and all of them will go with a full stomach. This millionaire customer won’t even think of entering an “All you can eat buffet”.

This is because the first customer was coming from a poor environment whereas the second was coming from a rich environment. This made an immediate difference in their affect and cognition, as well as their consumer behavior. You can literally see how the first customer will go through the menu 5 times whereas the second richer customer will order whatever he feels like.

Building the marketing strategy in the wheel of consumer analysis

So, now that you know about how the customer feels and thinks, you have seen how he behaves, and you have targeted the background he is coming from, you can form the marketing strategy based on the wheel of consumer analysis.

  1. Affect and cognition can help you decide which types of customers you want to target, and what should they be feeling and thinking about your brand. This is critical for most premium brands where branding is the USP.
  2. Consumer behavior can help you decide how to alter your store layout or your business so that the customer can easily take decisions and you can also push him to purchase more. This is mostly used in retail markets.
  3. Consumer environment matters because the background of the customer, his demography and his geography play a major role in his decision-making. Most regional players will always take consumer environment into consideration.

Although different examples have been given for each of them, still all the three consumer analysis factors have to be used while plotting the wheel of consumer analysis, irrespective of the business your sector is in.

Nature of the 3 factors of consumer analysis

1) They are dynamic in nature – All the three factors are consistently changing. The consumer environment can change at any time, and so can his behavior and affect and cognition. The same consumer might behave differently in another purchase.

So the dynamic nature of the 3 factors has to be taken into consideration while performing the study.

2) They are reciprocal – This basically means that change in one element can cause changes in another element as well. If the consumers feelings and thinking changes, his behavior might change. Similarly, if his environment changes, then his behavior will change and so will his affect and cognition.

3) Multi level – It is not necessary that consumer analysis be done after picking individual consumers only. This analysis can be done on various levels. The 4 most common levels in consumer analysis are

  1. Society level – What society is thinking, how it is behaving and how the environment is.
  2. Industry level – Analysing the same at the industry level.
  3. Segment level
  4. Individual level

As we can see, the wheel of consumer analysis can be studied at various level, each of its 3 wheels are important in forming the marketing strategy. More soever, the final marketing strategy formed considers the thought processes of consumers, their environment as well as behavior. So the success ratio of such a marketing strategy will be high.

Wheel of consumer analysis is applicable even today and you can apply it to your businesses as well. You just need to observe your customers, and in general look at the background and environment they are coming from and their thought processes and feelings for your brand (do a small market research). Thus, you can change your marketing strategy to adapt to the customers you are targeting.

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About Hitesh Bhasin

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