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Why Marketers Need to Understand Consumer Behavior

Contributor: Oluwatobi Adekunle

I have been thinking of the next article to write since I wrote the last one about two weeks ago. Nothing was coming to mind, and I didn’t want to force it as I have other important things I am doing, so this particular write-up emanated out of a conversation that ensued between my wife and my daughter. My wife has been making efforts to ensure the children speak the Yoruba language. On different occasions, she will teach them how to greet in Yoruba and demonstrate some respectful gestures of the Yoruba culture.

The Story

On this particular day, in the evening, my wife just casually asked my daughter, “What subject did you enjoy most in class today?” and she responded and said, “Yoruba” She became excited that our daughter has an interest in Yoruba. However, she further asked , “Why Yoruba, what did you enjoy in it?” and she immediately responded with this “I enjoyed it because we usually don’t have to write anything in class.” That simply implies that she enjoyed the Yoruba class because they didn’t bore them with writing or scribbling anything; innocently, my wife was there thinking the young girl was embracing the culture already at a tender age.

Practitioners Current Realities

This is what happens to a lot of marketing professionals and brand managers. We often sit in the comfort of our desks in our cozy offices, thinking we know our customers well enough because we interact with them on a daily or weekly basis; we generally believe we have data at our disposal to make informed decisions about them. We often demonstrate enlightened arrogance when we conduct research that makes us feel we have everything going well with our target customers, when in reality, our data is already skewed based on our judgment, just like my wife.

Any business that does not understand consumers’ intent and buying behavior is not ready to compete in the marketplace. The study of consumer buying behavior is most imperative for marketers as they can understand the expectation of the consumers. It helps them understand what makes a consumer buy a product, use a product, and like it. Marketers can no longer rely on their judgments and “manipulated” data to make business decisions; there is a need for a deeper customer engagement that will help elicit qualitative data that some questionnaires and field research will not cover.

Another Case Study

I recollect the story of a washing machine brand I heard in one of the masterclasses I attended, how the washing machine was selling so fast in a particular country and the brand couldn’t fathom why, so they planned to carry out a research to understand why the product was selling fast in that country and if there is anything they could learn and replicate in other markets. The company sent their marketing manager to the country to see what is happening there and guess what? the first ice cream store the marketing manager entered after he got into the country, he saw them making ice cream with their brand of the washing machine. Just like you are amazed right now, he was also stunned, he could have thought it was a particular sales or marketing strategy that was working perfectly in that country, not knowing their product has been put to another use.

Importance of Understanding Consumer Behavior

Understanding consumer behavior is essential for a business to find success for its current products and new product launches. Every consumer has a different thought process and attitude towards buying a particular product. If a company fails to understand a consumer’s reaction towards a product, there are high chances of product failure.

Due to emerging trends, technology advancement, living style, disposable income, and similar other factors. A marketer has to understand the changing factors so that the marketing efforts can be aligned accordingly.

Understanding customer behavior in-depth and consistently would enable a business to know about the needs and expectations of their customers. This would invariably help them design products and put together services that would be of greater value to the customers, drawing them closer to the organization.

Understanding customer behavior enables the company to ascertain a price point for particular customer segments, put together the most effective promotions and incentive schemes, and serve the customers in a way that would encourage repeat business and referrals.

Therefore, understanding customer behavior ensures customer retention and a better hold on the relationship between both sides. Understanding customer behavior should not be restricted to or end once they make a purchase. Future business and the success or failure of the relationship would also depend on how consistently and well an organization can understand and predict its customer’s behavior. Understanding customer behavior would help a company to predict whether they would buy from the company in the future.

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