Unit 37 Consumer Behaviour and Insight

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This unit is designed to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of the consumer’s decision-making processes, from needs recognition through research, the evaluation of alternatives, purchase and post-purchase evaluation. While students will learn the underpinning theories and frameworks, they will also be expected to relate these to real-world examples, including their own personal experiences.

  • How do we buy products and services?
  • What motivates us to seek out a particular product or service?
  • What research do we undertake prior to making a decision?
  • Do we seek out other people’s opinions, perhaps through social media?
  • To what extent do other people’s opinions influence our own?
  • How do we feel after we have made the purchase?

These are the types of questions to which organisations seek to gain answers. An important part of marketing is understanding the processes behind how a consumer makes the decision to purchase a product and/or service. This is applicable as much to Business to Business (B2B) as it is to Business to Consumer (B2C).The knowledge, understanding and skill sets that students will gain on successfully completing this unit will enhance their career opportunities; whether setting up in business independently or being employed by an organisation.

Learning outcomes

LO1 Demonstrate the ability to map a path to purchase in a given category, including the decision-making process

Introduction to consumer decision-making:

  • Model of consumer decision-making. The five stage process

The value of mapping a path to purchase:

  • the consumer decision journey from pre-purchase, purchase, receive and post-purchase.
  • Levels of consumer decision-making – extensive problem-solving, limited problem-solving and routine response behaviour.

Four views of consumer decision-making:

  • economic, passive, emotional and cognitive.

Factors that influence decision-making:

  • The influence of heuristics on decision-making
  • The influence of elements of the marketing mix on decision-making.
  • The influence of new technologies (e.g. e-tailing, online transactions and purchasing, eBay and the rise of C2C purchasing).
  • Model for organisational decision-making.
  • Different buying stages.

LO2 Evaluate appropriate forms of research to understand influences on the decision-making process (B2C and B2B)

Researching different stages of the decision-making process:

  • The differences between B2C and B2B decision-making processes.
  • How does market research differ between B2B and B2C? This covers skills sets, research methodology, sample sizes, the importance of tele-depth interviews and applying the Pareto principle.

Influences on the decision-making process:

  • Personality, self and motivation.

Measures of consumer learning:

  • recognition and recall, attitudinal and behavioural.
  • Understanding aspects of consumer perception: dynamics, imagery and risk.

LO3 Evaluate how marketers influence the different stages of the decision-making process (B2C and B2B)

Approaches to consumer learning: behavioural and cognitive:

  • Influence of culture and sub-culture on consumer behaviour.
  • Patterns of buyer behaviour.
  • Role of opinion leaders in influencing purchasing decisions.
  • How organisations use an understanding of buyer behaviour to influence the decision-making process within both a B2C and B2B context.
  • The use of digital audience research developments to understand and influence consumer behaviour.


  • EAST, R., WRIGHT, M. and VANHEULE, M. (2013) Consumer Behaviour: Applications in Marketing. 2nd Ed. London: Sage Publications.
  • SHIFFMAN, L. and WISENBLIT, J. (2014) Consumer Behaviour. 11th Ed. London: Prentice Hall.
  • SZMIGIN, I. and PLACENTINI, M. (2014) Consumer Behaviour. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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