1. Long answer questions
1) Discuss the Post – Purchase outcomes. How does Leon Festinger’s consumer
dissonance affect consumer buying decision process? Justify your views with
examples and theory.
Leon Festinger claimed that people seek internal psychological consistency in order to operate cognitively
in the outside world in his 1957 book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. When a person has internal
contradiction, they frequently suffer psychological discomfort and are driven to eliminate the cognitive
dissonance. They frequently alter their behavior in an effort to rationalize the stressful actions, either by
adding new components to the cognitive model that is the source of the psychological dissonance or by
avoiding situations and information that might exacerbate the cognitive dissonance. Need to comprehend
why customers make the decisions they do? What elements affect consumers' purchases ?
The social variables that are changing. Consumer buying behavior is the ultimate consumer's purchasing
habits. An organization must examine consumer behavior for: The success of a business is greatly
influenced by how customers respond to its marketing approach. The marketing notion emphasizes that a
business should develop a Marketing Mix (MM) that provides customers with value; as a result, it is
necessary to study the what, where, when, and how consumers make purchases. Marketers are better able
to anticipate customer reactions to marketing tactics. The "cognitive dissonance" idea has a significant
impact on customer behavior, and marketers are very interested in examining how consumers behave after
making a purchase. Contradictions in Consumer Behavior By giving value and meeting consumers'
exchange expectations, marketers have long worked to not only attract new clientele but also keep hold of
their current clientele. Customer satisfaction has been proven to be closely related to customer retention,
and client happiness not only keeps the customer with the business but also influences earnings per share,
revenue, and stock price (Williams and Naumann, 2011). A thorough and in-depth analysis of all of
consumer behavior's facets has become crucial for an organization's success since consumer behavior and
its broad research have been the foundation of every firm's marketing strategy. Thus, the idea of cognitive
dissonance and its impact on consumer behavior has also been covered in a number of important research
papers. It was even hailed as one of social psychology's most important theories by one author (Aronson
1969). According to Sweeney, Hausknecht, and Soutar (2000), dissonance has both cognitive and emotional
components, as implied by the term "cognitive dissonance" and various formulations, including Festinger's
original definition. The ensuing dissonance inspires the person to harmonize disparate pieces and ease
Dissonance might start in one of three ways: Dissonance can be produced by any logical contradiction, to
start. Second, when a person notices a discrepancy between two of his behaviors—or between his attitude
and one of them—he suffers dissonance. Third, according to Loudon & Della Bitta, dissonance can happen
when a deeply held anticipation is not confirmed (2002). Furthermore, dissonance happens after a decision
has been made because, before making a choice, a person could adjust to any attitude or behavior that he
thought was appropriate given his preferences, but after making a choice, the buyer and the consumer have
made a commitment, making it impossible for the person to change their minds and obligated to stick with
1.1 How to Reduce Cognitive Dissonance
There are three key strategies to reduce or minimize cognitive dissonance:
• Focus on more supportive beliefs that outweigh the dissonant belief or behavior.
2. • Reduce the importance of the conflicting belief.
• Change the conflicting belief so that it is consistent with other beliefs or behaviors.
1.2 Why is Cognitive Dissonance Important?
Cognitive dissonance plays a role in many value judgments, decisions and
• Becoming aware of how conflicting beliefs impact the decision-making
process is a great way to improve your ability to make faster and more accurate
1.3 Examples of Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance can occur in many areas of life, but it is particularly
evident in situations where an individual's behavior conflicts with beliefs that are integral to his or her self-
identity. For example, consider a situation in which a man who
places a value on being environmentally responsible just purchased a new car that he later discovers does
not get great gas mileage.
• It is important for the man to take care of the environment.
• He is driving a car that is not environmentally-friendly.
In order to reduce this dissonance between belief and behavior, he has a
Few difference choices. He can sell the car and purchase another one that gets better gas mileage or he can
reduce his emphasis on environmental-responsibility. In the case of the second option, his dissonance could
be further minimized by engaging in actions that reduce the impact of driving a gas-guzzling vehicle, such
as utilizing public transportation more frequently or riding his bike to work on occasion. A more common
example of cognitive dissonance occurs in the purchasing decisions we make on a regular basis. Most
people want to hold the belief that they make good choices. When a product or item we purchase turns out
badly, it conflicts with our previously existing belief about our decision-making abilities.
2) What is consumer motivation? To what extent motivational conflicts affect consumer
buying habit? Explain
3. Needs are the core of the marketing concept. The study of Motivation refers to all the processes that drive
What are Needs − Every individual has needs that are required to be fulfilled. Primary needs are food,
clothing, shelter and secondary needs are society, culture etc.
What are Wants − Needs are the necessities, but wants are something more in addition to the needs. For
example, food is a need and type of food is our want.
What are Goals − Goals are the objectives that have to be fulfilled. Goals are generic and product specific
in nature. Generic goals are general in nature, whereas product specific goals are the desires of a specific
Needs and fulfillment are the basis of motivation. Change occurs as a result of both internal and external
forces. Depending on an individual's personal, social, cultural, or economical demands, needs may be met
or not. Ability in a person to recognize a need and take specific action to meet that need.
Maslow’s Theory of Need Hierarchy
based on the idea that human wants may be ranked in a universal hierarchy A clinical psychologist named
Dr. Abraham Maslow developed a theory of human motivation that is now extensively used. This lists the
five fundamental human wants in order of significance, from the least important to the most important.
According to this notion, it's critical to meet lower-level wants before higher-level ones appear. This idea
contends that customer discontent drives behavior.
Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory
Physiological Needs − Food, clothing, air, and shelter are the first level needs. They are known as the basic
necessities or primary needs.
Safety or Security Needs − Once the first level needs are satisfied, consumers move to the next level.
Physical safety, security, stability and protection are the security needs.
Social Needs − After the safety needs are satisfied, consumers expect friendship, belonging, attachment.
They need to maintain themselves in a society and try to be accepted.
Esteem Needs − Then comes esteem needs such as self-esteem, status, prestige. Individuals here in this
stage want to rise above the general level as compared to others to achieve mental satisfaction.
Self-Actualization − This is the highest stage of the hierarchy. People here, try to excel in their field and
improve their level of achievement. They are known as self-actualizers.
Motivational Theory and Marketing Strategies
Marketers have to understand the motives of their potential customers to enjoy good sales. A buyer has
several motives and each change with various elements. In such cases the marketers can readily help their
customers by changing their marketing strategy so that the conflict is resolved. Following are the major
conflicts that may arise:
Approach Conflict − This conflict arises when a consumer has two different choices of similar products or
services. He gives equal importance to them, but is unable to choose one over the other.
4. Approach Avoidance Conflict − This type of conflict happens when the consumer decides in favor of a
product, but is unhappy with a particular feature of the product and wants to avoid it. Under such
circumstances, the marketer may come up with few modifications in the existing product and make it
suitable for the consumer.
Furthermore, we can justify consumer motivation as an internal mental condition that causes people to
choose and purchase goods or services that satisfy both conscious and unconscious needs or desires.
Customers may be encouraged to make additional purchases after their initial purchase satisfies their
demands. If consumers are not satisfied, they will look for other products and services to more effectively
meet their demands. The most frequent requirements of consumers are physiological and related to
necessities of life like food, shelter, and safety. Higher-level needs include those for social interaction, such
as relationships and love, esteem, such as recognition and status, and self-actualization, such as self-
fulfillment. This paradigm suggests that before being motivated to satisfy higher-level wants, an individual
must first satisfy lower-level needs.
Consumer behavior and motivational conflict go hand in hand. Tension in one's environment might
motivate one. The key driving forces in this scenario are needs and wants. The study of motivation in
consumer behavior is focused on the procedure by which a person perceives a need and chooses a specific
course of action to satisfy that need. Nevertheless, many factors could possibly be in play at once, pulling
the customer in various directions. When this occurs, the term "Motivational Conflict" is appropriate.
“When opposing goals influence a person's decision, there is a motivational conflict.”
Motivational conflict psychology
A motivational conflict situation forces a consumer to choose between competing objectives. Consumers
are motivated to act and make decisions based on positive or negative reinforcement, which is the
foundation of consumer motivation.
Motivational conflict theory examples
A compelling conflict forces the buyer to choose between opposing goals. The idea that customers are
forced to act and make decisions based on whether they receive positive or negative reinforcement forms
the basis of consumer motivation. Marketing professionals need to be able to handle energizing dialogue if
they want a brand to prosper. Maintaining focus on the task at hand requires conflict resolution, or the
“capacity to resist or overcome interference from task-irrelevant distractors.”
There are three different types of motivating conflict that marketing managers need to be aware of:
Motivational conflict approach-avoidance is when two attractive stimuli are presented to the creature for
selection. Someone who enjoys snack foods but is concerned about gaining weight may run into this
problem. The flavor of the food and the resulting high may have pleased them, but not at the expense of
gaining weight (avoidance). Almost every decision customer make comes with some risk or drawback.
Even though we can’t always stop bad things from happening, we must be conscious. By providing free
goods or services, you can decrease the downside.
5. Approach-Approach Conflict
Approach-approach Conflict arises when a customer must pick one good or service from various choices.
When both items have benefits and drawbacks, this happens. There is no clear advantage one product has
over another. It’s possible for someone to feel bad about their decision. You can utilize perceptual maps to
help you overcome this emotion. This enables a business to comprehend what its customers need from its
products and convince customers that it is superior to the competition.
Avoidance-Avoidance When a customer is forced to choose between two undesirable options, motivational
conflict results. The decisions are considered damaging when compared to specific characteristics of the
consumer’s personality characteristics. They offer some advice during the decision-making process to assist
the client in reaching a decision that is in their best interests.
Example Of Approach – Avoidance Conflict
Approach-avoidance motivational conflict example: The Tom families decide to drive a brand-new car to
go by bus or train. It implies that kids can travel on their own and get away from their regular routines. But
the cost of an automobile would put a burden on Tom’s family’s finances. The cost of fuel, maintenance,
insurance, and costly repairs entails substantial financial risk. To overcome this difficulty, automotive
marketers usually stress special features of the car, such as minimal maintenance needs or outstanding fuel
Example Of Approach – Approach Conflict
Approach-approach motivational conflict example: When a customer must decide between two equally
appealing options, an approach/approach conflict results. The fitness industry is significant when two
alluring local clubs are selected utilizing comparative advertising that highlights the club’s key competitive
Example Of Avoidance – Avoidance Conflict
Some customers would have to decide between investing money in new clothes to replace their worn-out
wardrobe and wearing their worn-out clothes despite how uncomfortable they are. In this situation, the
marketer may resolve the conflict by offering the client some suggestions to influence their decision.
Motivational conflicts affect consumer buying habits to a great extent. Motivational conflict is a situation
in which a consumer is driven to decide based on their conflicting goals or we can say that motivational
conflict occurs when a consumer has to choose between the needs that they have and the outcomes that
occur as a result of purchasing the product. Consumers are motivated by a positive or a negative
reinforcement, which forms the basis for the individual's motivation to act and make their purchasing
decisions. The outcomes are not always positive and are quite often negative as there is usually a price to
pay for enjoying something that you long for.
Short Answer questions
1) What is consumer behavior? Discuss its major features with examples.
6. “Consumer behavior is the actions and the decision processes of people who purchase goods and
services for personal consumption” – according to Engel, Blackwell, and Mansard,
Consumer buying behavior refers to the study of customers and how they behave while deciding
to buy a product that satisfies their needs. It is a study of the actions of the consumers that drive
them to buy and use certain products. Consumer buying behavior studies various situations such
as what do consumers buy, why do they buy, when do they buy, how often do consumers buy, for
what reason do they buy, and much more.
For example, consumer buying behavior is studied by consumer researchers and their aim is to
know why women buy moisturizers (to reduce skin problems), the most preferred brand (Olay,
L’Oréal), how often do they apply it (twice a day, thrice a day), where do the women prefer to buy
it (supermarkets, online) and how many times do they buy it (weekly, monthly).
It’s insightful to listen to some of the first cut opinions on Vocalley from consumers on how they
think about various brands and their expectations when it comes to electronic products and gadgets.
1. Consumer Behavior involves Products, Services, Activities, and Ideas:
In the scope of consumer behavior, not only products (like toilet soaps), are included but also the
services (flying by an airliner), and activities (getting children vaccinated for polio), and ideas
(saying no to drugs). Thus consumer behavior rotates around offerings.
2. Consumer Behavior involves more than Buying:
Consumer behavior is not restricted only to buying the offering. It includes buying (acquiring the
offering), using, and disposing. Usage has many connotations – first, it has important symbolic
implications for the consumer. The saree and the jewellery being put on by ladies in the wedding
influence marketing strategies and tactics.
Usage can also influence other behaviors. Secondly, it may also influence other behaviors. Not
satisfied the product or services may lead to consumer complaints and protests. Finally, consumer
behavior also evaluates as how do consumers get rid of an offering, they previously acquired.
In India, people from older generation still do not throw things, once acquired. People still prefer
to use old thing after getting repaired. In case of cars, the car companies attach value to the old
cars taken by the automobile companies in exchange of a new car. However, the new generation
philosophy is to throw the things like that of westerners.
3. Consumer Behavior is a Dynamic Process:
Consumer Behavior is dynamic because the thinking, feelings, and actions of individual
consumers, targeted groups, and the society at large are constantly changing. Maruti Suzuki
produces number of cars, as needs and wants may change at different times for different consumer
7. groups. The sequence of acquisition, consumption, and disposition can occur over time in a
dynamic sequence. The sequence can be over in a matter of hours to years. Suppose a family has
acquired a new Tata Indica car. Its usage will provide the family whether it drives well, is
economical, impresses others, and does minimal harm to the ecological environment – all these
will affect when, whether, how, and why the family will dispose of the car by selling or junking
Disposition of the car will affect when, whether, how, and why its members acquire another car in
the future. Consumer behavior is a process which includes issues that influence the consumer
before, during, and after a purchase.
4. Consumer Behavior involves Interactions among Many People:
Consumer behavior does not mean action of a single individual. Interactions may take place among
a group of friends, a few co-workers, or an entire family. The individuals may take different roles.
For example, to buy a car the adult son may gather the information, the younger daughter may
influence the buying decision, parents may finally be the buyers. The car may be used by one or
all the members in the family. Similarly several family members may be involved in disposing the
5. Consumer Behavior involves Many Decisions:
Consumer behavior needs understanding whether (to acquire/use/ dispose of an offering), what (to
acquire/use/dispose), why (to acquire/use/dispose of an offering or not)), when (time), where
(place), how (ways of acquiring, using, and disposing), how much (volume), how often
(frequency), and how long (till what time) consumers will buy, use or dispose of an offering.
6. Consumer Behavior involves Exchanges:
Consumer behavior involves exchanges between human beings. People give something of value
to receive something of value. Indeed, the role of marketing is to help society to create value
through exchanges by formulating and implementing marketing strategies.
The study of consumer buying behavior is most important for marketers as they can understand
the expectation of the consumers. It helps to understand what makes a consumer buy a product. It
is important to assess the kind of products liked by consumers so that they can release it to the
market. Marketers can understand the likes and dislikes of consumers and design base their
marketing efforts based on the findings.
2) Success of a business firm largely depends on its ability to understand consumer behavior.
Do you agree with this statement? Explain.
8. “Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society
and technology evolve faster than the ability to exploit it. Digital Darwinism does not discriminate.
Every business is threatened. – Brian Solis
Every business deserves to be successful, given the hard work and toil the people involved put into
it. The success of a business depends largely on its customers. Understanding customer behavior
is an important factor in this success, as without it gaining and retaining customers would be almost
impossible. The world of business is highly competitive and those companies that make the effort
of understanding customer behavior would be better equipped to providing customers with
personalized products and customized solutions. A very important portion of understanding
customer behavior is for companies to know that customers buy for a variety of reasons –
emotional and logical – and it would be beneficial for a company to understand these reasons. The
sooner and better a company can grasp these reasons – there understanding customer behavior
would be even more accurate.
Many companies segment their customers by a number of ways to make it easier to understand
their needs and requirements and put together offerings that would be more valuable and beneficial
to them. By understanding customer behavior, a company would be able to forge bonds and build
emotional relationships with their customers, which is extremely crucial to gain customer loyalty,
brand advocacy and referrals. The customer is perhaps the most important part of any business,
since without them there would be no business.
Understanding customer behavior in-depth and consistently would enable a company to know
about the needs and expectations of their customers. This in turn would help them to design
products and put together services that would be of optimum utility to the customers, drawing them
closer to the company. 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 overall serve the customers in a manner that would encourage repeat business and
referrals. The other advantage of understanding customer behavior is that enables a customer to
change the behavior to advantage. It allows a company to mould and veer customer opinion in
their favour, thereby achieving its objectives of more sales, profits and sustainable success.
Understanding customer behavior therefore, 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 a company 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. The customer’s reactions to the company’s offerings would
provide insights into how customers perceive the company – positive feelings would lead to
continued business, while the converse would be true if the feelings were negative.
In today’s competitive business environment, no company could remain successful if they were to
believe that all their customers were happy at all times. Such a thought process would lead the
company to complacency and they would make no effort to know consistently their customer’s
needs. Understanding customer behavior, therefore, is a process and can be managed by getting
feedback from customers through surveys and other means. It would help the company to improve
9. their products, innovate and create products that would be based on what customers want and need.
We say that understanding customer behavior is an on-going and relentless pursuit because
customer preferences and needs keep changing and evolving. To keep pace with them, companies
must be a few steps ahead and be able to predict how customers would behave in the future.
Proactively ascertaining customer needs would require a thorough understanding of customer
The importance of satisfying customer needs and wants consistently further accentuates the need
of understanding customer behavior. Producing goods and services randomly, based on guesswork
of what customers could need, would be a waste of time and the resources of a company. If
customers do not see value in a product, even the best and most carefully crafted products would
go to waste. As we mentioned, customers buy for a variety of reasons and emotions play a great
role – so if customers like a product / brand, they would be willing to pay a high price for it, even
if there were similar products / brands available in the market for a lower cost. Understanding
customer behavior puts the company in control – this means that by creating products that
customers love and putting together services based on customer feedback, a company could
actually alter customer behavior for their benefit.
Understanding customer behavior could help a company to time its promotions, marketing and
other advertising techniques. For example – by observing that a particular customer is more
inclined to buying during end of season, a company could send such a customer its promotional
material informing them of end of season sales and other discounts. Understanding customer
behavior would help a company to differentiate between its customers – for instance, teenagers
would look for fresh and trendy styles irrespective of when these styles come about, while an
office-going person might prefer comfort and sophistication and look for styles that suit their
personality and type of job. Therefore, customer behavior could be governed largely by what
people would want to express about themselves using products.
Some buyers may not necessarily be buying for themselves. They could be buying for someone
else, who would then be the end user of the product or service. In this case, understanding customer
behavior would have two-fold benefit – an understanding of the buyer and the understanding of
the user. A great experience for both these people would lead to a positive effect on two distinct
customer groups – this translates to greater reach and enhanced capability of the company to get
closer to its customers. In addition, another factor that a company should bear in mind is what
products or services these groups consistently buy and use. It would narrow the focus for the
company and allow them to promote those particular product segments to those groups more often.
With so many options and as many channels through which to buy, understanding customer
behavior would enable a company to know which customer prefers shopping online and which
ones would rather make a trip to a physical store to buy. Observing and understanding this buying
behavior would allow the company to provide the customers with more choices and flexibility to
buy from anywhere. The easier a company can make it for its customers to buy, the higher the
probability of them buying from such a company. Such attention and focus would build trust and
dependability, thereby aligning customer behavior with the company’s objectives and needs.
10. Understanding customer behavior is also about keeping a grasp on what kind of information they
would need and could use. Observation of the methods customers use to gain information, who
they are most likely to believe and what data do they use to make their buying decisions, would
significantly increase the company’s chances of gaining favour with the customers.
Success in business, therefore, is not only a factor of producing outstanding products or those that
seem to be ‘the latest fad’. Without an understanding of customer behavior, a company would find
its efforts going to waste and all their accomplishments turning to failure.
3) What do“high- involvement and low- involvement” indicate in consumer buying process?
Consumers buy either products or services. While making such purchases, consumers display high
or low involvement. High-involvement products are those that represents the consumer’s
personality, status and justifying lifestyle; for example, buying a home theatre. By contrast, low-
involvement products are those that reflect routine purchase decisions; for example, buying a
candy or an ice cream.
1. High price:
Where the products are highly priced consumers display high involvement; for example, buying a
designer product. When buying a Mercedes car, a consumer displays high involvement, but not
when buying a second-hand car.
2. Technical features:
When a consumer is buying products having complex features then they spends time in getting
themselves familiarized with the product, which shows high involvement. Such products include
computers, refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, music system, cars, DVDs, and so on.
Manufacturers provide product manuals to facilitate easy understanding of the product.
3. Major differences between alternatives:
High involvement is caused when the consumer notice major differences between alternatives; for
example, Swiss and Chinese wrist watches. Consumers spend more time to evaluate the difference
to arrive at the right decision.
4. Projection of self:
Some consumers are very specific about what they buy; for example, if a con-sumer claims that
he uses only branded products, it means the consumer is ready to pay more for the brand and
convince himself that he is not a run-of-the-mill type buyer.
11. The same behavior is seen while choosing jewellery, cosmetics, perfumes, cars, clothes,
restaurants, and so on. As self-image is more dominating than the price of the product, the
consumer intentionally pays more because he is ruled by variety and money power.
5. Evaluation of risks:
Presence of high risks leads to high involvement. A consumer is interested to evaluate risks to
know how to minimize them and if possible to avoid them; for example, hair dyes contain
chemicals. A consumer evaluates if its use can result in health problem, and if so, how to avoid
such risks. features/Characteristics of High-involvement Products:
4) Why is perception taken as individual determinations of consumer behavior? Discuss.
The perceptions consumers have of a business and its products or service have a dramatic effect on buying
behavior. That’s why businesses spend so much money marketing themselves, honing their customer
service and doing whatever else they can to favorably influence the perceptions of target consumers. With
careful planning and execution, a business can influence those perceptions and foster profitable consumer
Influencing Consumer Perception
Consumers continually synthesize all the information they have about a company to form a decision about
whether that company offers value. In a sense, consumer perception is an approximation of reality.
Businesses attempt to influence this perception of reality, sometimes through trickery and manipulation but
often just by presenting themselves in the best possible light. For example, advertisements often trumpet
the quality and convenience of a product or service, hoping to foster a consumer perception of high value,
which can pay off with increased sales.
Reaching Target Consumers
A key factor in influencing consumer perception is exposure. The more information consumers have about
a product, the more comfortable they are buying it. As a result, businesses do all they can to publicize their
offerings. However, this causes a problem: When every business bombards consumers with marketing
messages, consumers tend to tune out. To influence consumer perception, a business not only must expose
its product to consumers, it also must make its product stand out from the crowd.
Consumer Risk Perception
Consumer risk perception is another factor businesses must take into account when trying to encourage
buying behaviors. The more risky a proposition is, the more difficult it is to get consumers to act. If
consumers aren’t familiar with a brand of product, they can’t assess the risk involved; it could be poorly
built, for instance, or too costly compared to substitutes.
Businesses can overcome this hesitancy by offering as much product information as possible in the form of
advertisements or by encouraging product reviews. Allowing potential customers to handle the product in
stores or test it at home also decreases risk perception, as does offering a flexible return policy.
Customer Retention and Brand Loyalty
12. Successful businesses don’t relax once a customer makes a purchase. Rather, they continue to foster
perceptions that result in profitable behaviors. Once consumers have tried a product, the task becomes
maintaining a good reputation and establishing brand loyalty. Offering superior customer service is an
effective tactic because it maintains the perception that the business cares about its customers’ best interests.
In return, customers become loyal to the business, which secures a consistent revenue stream for the
company and makes it more difficult for competitors to poach customers.