The Self-Concept in Buyer Behavior

O'Brien, Terrence V.; Tapia, Humberto S.; Brown, Thomas L.
October 1977
Business Horizons;Oct77, Vol. 20 Issue 5, p65
Academic Journal
Findings from this study and related studies support the use of a self-concept approach to understanding buyer motivation. The generalizations that can be drawn from these particular results are obviously limited, but the implications are important for comprehensive marketing strategy decisions based on self-concept research tailored to a specific situation. Because a consumer's perception of, preference for, and purchase of products are related to his self-concept, firms should identify their markets in terms of differentiated self-concept groups. Each consumer perceives products as "fight" or "wrong" for him; therefore, identifying how consumers perceive a product as being fight or wrong for themselves certainly increases the efficiency of the marketing management effort. The intermediate expected self-concept may be more realistic than the ideal as a target guiding product design and promotion. For example, some individuals might have significant reservations about consuming alcoholic beverages, but they expect to do so in the future. In this case, distillers would have to identify and promote supportive factors in order for persons to discover ways to increase mixed drink consumption. Generally, the self-concept approach permits marketers to understand motivational components of buyer decision making and to view them from the individual consumer's perspective; ideally, both marketing efficiency and customer satisfaction would benefit. The relationship between self-concept and consumer behavior is not a simple one. This study sought only to explore the content of that relationship. Future research should be directed at more precise measurement of the self-concept construct and its relationship to the various dimensions of consumer behavior. Much more work is needed in exploring self-concept development over time and its impact on buyer motivation.


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