Analysing consumer behavior is difficult because there are many factors which influence consumer’s behavior. However, if you ask these 12 basic questions, then the going can be easy. These 12 questions will help you build a consumer profile, and will also determine the different types of customers which buy your product and the influences which make them buy.
1) Who buys your products and services? – Is it male, female, children, poor, rich or exactly what would be the type of customer who will buy your product. First get an idea of the ideal customer you would like to target.
2) Who makes the decision to buy the product? – Many a times, the purchase may be made by someone but the decision is not theirs. For example – an office may buy good looking interiors for themselves but the decision for these interiors was made by the architect or the interior designer.
3) Who influences the decision to buy the product? – The best example of influencers are children. A dad may buy the product on the decision of the mom, but the main influencer is the child who wants a specific thing or a specific toy. Hence, toy companies always advertise on children’s TV channels to make them their influencers.
4) How is the purchase decision made? – With the above children’s example, the child goes to his mother and asks a particular toy. The mom then communicates to dad or buys it herself. Thus, the process is that the influencer influences the decision maker, and then the purchase is made. This orderly fashion of making the purchase decision should be known to the marketer.
5) Why does the customer buy? – What are the customer’s needs due to which he is buying the product? In the above case, the mother is buying a toy for her child. In the example of interior designers making decisions, the client wants a beautiful office. So each customer is buying a product for different reasons and you can analyse consumer behavior on the basis of WHY they are buying that product.
6) Why is the consumer preferring one brand over another? – The best analysis of consumer behavior is when we analyse their decision making. Many consumers have their own brand preferences. If you analyse why the customer is preferring one brand over another, you will find many features and characteristics which the customer prefers and hence he is inclined towards one brand more than the other.
7) Where do customers go to buy the brand? – Are they buying the product online, or are they buying through a convinience store? In fact, are the customers taking quotations from 10 different suppliers and then choosing a single one? What is the manner in which the customer is buying a brand, tells a lot about how far the customer is ready to go to buy the brand. This aspect of consumer behavior will be different for each customer and give insight for consumer behavior analysis.
8) When do customers buy a product? – In the above two examples, the client is buying new interior design equipments for his office because he is building his new office. Similarly, the mom is buying a toy for her child may be because its his birthday, or may be because the child is really pestering her after seeing the AD on TV. So these are the stimulus due to which the customer has decided to buy the product. You need to know whether the stimulus is seasonal, is it external or internal.
9) What is the product’s perception? – Is the product perceived as a value for money product or is it perceived as premium? In fact, the product can face a problem if it is neither VFM nor premium, because this means that the product does not have a clear target audience. The perception of the product plays a major role in generating word of mouth and you want a positive perception for your product so that the customer recommends your product to someone else.
10) What social factors influences the purchase decision? – Many people have never been able to understand why people buy an Audi or a BMW. But most of these people belong to a conservative mindset. On the other hand, ask a high net worth individual to buy a common toyota car and he will scoff at you. He has to maintain his “Social standards”. Similarly, if you ask the conservative one to buy street clothes instead of buying branded clothes, he will scoff at you too. Social factors are a major factor in influencing consumer behavior and they are important to analyse consumer behavior as well.
11) What is the role of consumer’s lifestyle in his behavior? – I like to write. I know many people who like to read. The reader is more likely to buy a Kindly or a similar reading decide. I am more likely to buy an electronic typewriter. Just like the reader and the writer lead two different lifestyle’s, so does each consumer vary in his lifestyle. Some people love rock climbing, others love swimming, and yet others love sports like cricket, football or badminton. You need to analyse your customers lifestyle to analyse consumer behavior.
12) What role does personal or demographic factor play in purchase decision? – What if the toy company mentioned above were to show its toys on a news channel? On the other hand, what if the interior designer service offer its services to a startup company who are controlling costs? Wouldn’t they fail in capturing their customer’s attention? The goals of each individual and the objectives of each company is different. Similarly, the variance is also observed when there are demographic factors at play. An elderly person will buy completely different products as compared to a youngster. Similarly, a blue collared worker will have different needs as compared to a white collared one.
As can be seen above, answering each of the above 12 questions is not easy and will differ from company to company and sector to sector. However, these 12 questions form a fine framework to analyse consumer behavior.