January 17, 2015

Analysis of Consumer Markets - Kotler's Book Chapter Summary

Firms need to research the consumer market to find answers to the questions:

1. Who constitutes the market? (occupants)
2. What the market buys? (objects)
3. Why the market buys? (objectives)
4. Who participates in the buying?
5. How the market buys? (operations)
6. When the market buys? (occasions)
7. Where the market buys? (outlets)

Consumer analysis can be applied at several levels. It can be used to analyze not only a single consumer but also groups of consumers that make up a target market—a larger group of consumers made up of all the purchasers of a product in an industry—or an entire society. Marketing strategies can be applied at all of these levels and analysis is to be done at all levels. ,

Why Consumer Analysis?

Consumer research and analysis should be key activities for developing marketing strategies. Consumer research includes many types of studies, such as test marketing, advertising pretests, sales promotion effects, analysis of sales and market share data, pricing experiments, traffic and shopping patterns, surveys, and many others.

 A logical sequence is to first research and analyze what consumers think, feel, and do relative to a company’s offerings and those of competitors. In addition, an analysis of consumer environments is called for to see what factors are currently influencing them and what changes are occurring. Based on this research and analysis, a marketing strategy is developed that involves setting objectives, specifying an appropriate target market, and developing a marketing mix (product, promotion, price, place) to influence it. After the target market has been selected based on careful analysis of key differences in groups of consumers, marketing strategies involve placing stimuli in the environment that hopefully will become part of the target market’s environment and ultimately influence its members’ behavior.

Consumer research and analysis should not end when a strategy has been implemented, however. Rather, research should continue to investigate the effects of the strategy and whether it could be made more effective. Thus, marketing strategy should involve a continuous process of researching and analyzing consumers and developing, implementing, and continuously improving strategies.

Marketing Strategy

 From a consumer analysis point of view, a marketing strategy is a set of stimuli placed in consumers’ environments designed to influence their affect, cognition, and behavior. These stimuli include such things as products, brands, packaging advertisements, coupons, stores, credit cards, price tags, salespeople’s communications, and, in some cases, sounds (music), smells (perfume), and other sensory cues.

 Wheel of Consumer Analysis:  The basis for consumer analysis is presented as a wheel.  It is a wheel because it is constantly rotating with changes in consumers and in marketing strategy. Marketing strategy is treated as the hub of the wheel because it is a central marketing activity and is designed by marketing organizations to influence consumers. Around the marketing strategy are the consumer affect and cognition, consumer behavior and consumer environment.

Consumer affect and cognition refer to two types of mental responses consumers exhibit toward stimuli and events in their environment. Affect refers to their feelings about stimuli and events, such as whether they like or dislike a product. Cognition refers to their thinking, such as their beliefs about a particular product.

Consumer behavior refers to the physical actions of consumers that can be directly observed and measured by others. It is also called overt behavior to distinguish it from mental activities, such as thinking, that cannot be observed directly.

 Behavior is critical for marketing strategy because only through behavior can sales be made and profits earned. Although many marketing strategies are designed to influence consumers’ affect and cognition, these strategies must ultimately result in Overt Consumer Behavior to have value for the company. Thus, it is critical for marketers to analyze, understand, and influence overt behavior.

The consumer environment refers to everything external to consumers that influences what they think, feel, and do. It includes social stimuli, such as the actions of others in cultures, subcultures, social classes, Reference Groups, and families, that influence consumers. It also includes other physical stimuli, such as stores, products, advertisements, and signs, that can change consumers’ thoughts, feelings, and actions.

 The consumer environment is important to marketing because it is the medium in which stimuli are placed to influence consumers. For example, marketers run commercials during TV shows that their target markets watch to inform, persuade, and remind them to buy certain products and brands. Marketers can send free samples, coupons, catalogs, and advertisements by mail to get them into consumers’ environments. Stores are located close to populated areas to get them in the proximity of consumers. Web sites become part of a consumer’s environment if they are contacted.

 Clearly, marketing strategies should be designed not only to influence consumers but also to be influenced by them. For example, if research shows that consumers are disgusted (affect and cognition) with  advertisements for a product, the company may want to change its ads to better appeal to the market. If research shows that consumers in the target market do not shop (behavior) in stores where a company’s product is featured, the distribution strategy may have to be changed. If research shows that consumers want to be able to get information from a company’s Web site (environment) and none exists, the company may want to create one. Thus, marketing strategies should be developed, implemented, and changed based on consumer research and analysis.

 Levels of Consumer Analysis

 As noted, consumer research and analysis can be conducted at several different levels. The Wheel of Consumer Analysis is a flexible tool that can aid in understanding different societies, industries, market segments, or individual consumers. It can be used fruitfully by both marketing strategists  to understand the dynamics that shape each of these levels.

Consumers are the focal point in the development of successful marketing strategies. Marketing strategies both influence and are influenced by consumers’ affect and cognition, behavior, and environment. Analysis of consumer in the three areas should help marketers develop informed answers to questions about marketing strategies such as the following:

1. What are some effective ways to segment markets?
2. How can products be effectively positioned?
3. What are the relationships between product strategies and consumers?
4. What are the relationships between promotion strategies and consumers?
5. What are the relationships between channels of distribution and consumers?
6. What are the relationships between pricing strategies and consumers?
7. What consumer variables affect the success of a marketing strategy?
8. How can a firm develop brand-loyal consumers?
9. What is the role of consumer satisfaction in developing successful market offerings?
10. How does nonstore consumer behavior differ from behavior in stores?

Changes in what a society believes and how its members behave can be analyzed with the Wheel of Consumer Analysis. For example, a recent change in our society involves greater concern with health and fitness. How did this change occur? Surely, consumers were always concerned with living long, happy lives. A growing body of medical research indicated people could be healthier and live longer if they ate properly and exercised regularly. This research may have changed attitudes of some consumers about their eating and exercise habits. As these consumers, particularly those on the West Coast, changed their attitudes and began living more healthful lifestyles, many other consumers copied these beliefs and behavior patterns. In addition, healthy, well-toned people are considered more attractive in our society. This belief may have accelerated the health and fitness movement. Also, because a variety of health-related industries, such as health foods, exercise equipment, and sports apparel, developed and promoted proper eating habits and regular exercise, consumers were increasingly exposed to the concept and benefits of an active lifestyle.

The Wheel of Consumer Analysis can be used to analyze the relationships of a company and its competitors with consumers in specific industries. For example, consider the effects of health concerns on the beer industry. Lite beer from Miller took advantage of the health movement and created the market for reduced-calorie beer. Miller Brewing Company became the light-beer market leader by being the first to offer a product that was consistent with a change occurring in society, and it also, through developing and marketing the product, helped accelerate the change. Thus, a change in consumer beliefs and behavior concerning calorie intake influenced a marketing strategy to introduce and spread the change in consumer beliefs and behaviors. The success of the product influenced competitors to also offer light beers, further changing demand for this product category.

 However, another change in this industry is the concern with responsible drinking, which decreases demand for alcohol products in general. This change has led to the development and marketing of nonalcoholic beers and, for many consumers, abstinence from any alcoholic beverages. Consumer groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Drunk Driving have also influenced many members of society to reduce their alcohol consumption. Although being drunk and boisterous was considered acceptable behavior some years ago, many consumers no longer find it so. Similarly, smoking was at one time considered a sign of maturity and “coolness,” whereas today fewer and fewer public places tolerate smoking.

 At the industry level, changes in consumer cognition, affect, and behavior can threaten existing products and can also offer opportunities to develop products more consistent with new values and behaviors. Successful marketing strategies depend on analyzing consumer–product relationships not only for the company’s products but for those of competitors, and creating an advantage over competitive offerings.

The Wheel of Consumer Analysis can be used to analyze groups of consumers who have some similarity in cognition, affect, behavior, and environment. Successful firms in an industry usually divide the total market into segments and try to appeal most strongly to one or more of them. For example, the emphasis on health encouraged many consumers to become involved in sports. However, specific shoes designed to play each sport effectively were not always available. Today consumers can find many varieties and styles of shoes for running, bicycling, soccer, basketball, and other sports. These shoes vary in design, features, and price ranges to appeal to groups of consumers that are similar in some ways.

Finally, the Wheel of Consumer Analysis can be used to analyze the consumption history, a single purchase, or some aspect of a purchase for a specific consumer. Lands’ End, a catalog marketer, carefully analyzes individual consumers in terms of their previous purchasing history. The company can then target individual consumers with specialty catalogs of the types of merchandise previously bought.

More Detailed Analysis Consumer Behavior

A consumer's buying behavior is influenced by cultural, social, and personal factors.

Cultural Factors

Cultural factors exert the broadest and deepest influence.

Culture is the fundamental determinant of a person's wants and consuming behavior. A culture includes behavior, values and assumptions. Culture is generally thought be associated with societies.  A child growing up in the United States is exposed to the following values: achievement and success, activity, efficiency and practicality, progress, material comfort, individualism, freedom, external comfort, humanitarianism, and youthfulness. Product offerings and marketing and selling practices have to be different or must have appropriate variations for different cultures.

Culture of a society is not monolithic and there will be subcultures. Subcultures in USA are based on nationalities, religions, racial groups, social classes and geographic regions. When people following a  subculture are large in number and affluent, companies often use them as target market segments  and design specialized products and marketing programs to serve them.

Subculture also emerge due to social classes. In USA, seven social classes are described in a classic study. 1. :Lower lowers  2. Upper lowers  3, Working class  4. Middle class  5. Upper middle class  6. Lower uppers  7. Upper uppers.

Persons within each class tend to be more alike in dress, speech patterns, transport facilities and entertainment avenues used.

Social Factors

Group Membership: Groups in which a person is a member have an influence on his consuming behavior. People are members of primary groups like family, friendship groups, neighbors, coworkers where interaction is very frequent. They also participate in many secondary where interaction is less frequent. People also have aspirational groups in which they are not members but want to be members. Similarly, they have dissociative groups which they disapprove.

Groups have opinion leaders and marketers have to influence opinion leaders to influence the members of the groups.

Importance of the family can be gauged by a finding that says as much as 47% of American household spending in 2005 amounting to more than $700 billion is influenced by children under 14. The influence is direct where the child demands the products and brands and indirect where parents try to buy what they think their children like or want.

Personal Factors

The personal factors that have an influence on consumption patterns and behavior

Age and Stage in the Life Cycle

Occupation and Economic Circumstances

Personality and Self Concept

Lifestyle and Values

A new life style of Health and Sustainability has emerged in recent days. It has been named LOHAS. Within this life style there are five segments.

Sustainable Economy
Healthy Lifestyles
Ecological Lifestyles
Alternative Health Care
Personal Development

Key Psychological Associated Consumption Behavior

Motivation: Theories of Freud, Maslow, and Herzberg.

Freud: Unconscious motives for behavior
Maslow: Hierarchy of needs
Herzberg: Dissatisfiers and Motivators


Perception is the process by which we select, organize,and interpret information inputs to create a meaningful picture of the world. People can emerge with different perceptions of the same object because of three perceptional processes; selective attention, selective distortion, and selective retention.  Subliminal perception is also a concept of interest.


Learning induces changes in behavior of people and hence it changesin consumption behavior and consumer behavior. Learning theorists proposed that learning is produced through the interplay of drives, stimuli, cues, responses, and reinforcement. Classical conditioning and operant (instrumental) conditioning are two classical approaches to learning.


A brand has to go into memory people so that it forms part of the awareness set. Hence marketer have to understand the process of memory development. Marketing has to be way of making sure consumers have to the right types of product and service experiences to create the right brand knowledge structures and maintain them in memory.


Marketing Management by Kotler, Philip (9th Edition),
Marketing Management by Kotler, Philip and Kevin Keller, 13th Edition


Planned Revision schedule for marketing chapters is in February and March

Updated  17 Jan 2015, 3 Dec 2011


  1. Hi,

    This was a really Nice post. thanks for providing this info. Thanx :)

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  2. I just read your article, i recently came across it on Bing, interesting read, I'll sure be coming back to this blog again. Your analysis of Consumer Markets is brilliant, Thumbs up for your brilliant work.

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