COMM 362 - Consumer Behaviour

Making good business decisions requires an understanding of the consumer. Failure to consider adequately the factors and forces shaping consumer behaviour has led to many ill-fated business strategies. Conversely, many well-known companies have demonstrated that a detailed understanding of consumers can serve as a long-term competitive advantage.

Consumer behaviour is the study of human responses to products and services, and to the marketing of these products and services. This course will adopt the perspective of a marketing scientist/practitioner who seeks to understand the psychological processes involved when consumers evaluate, choose, purchase, use or dispose of goods, services, and experiences. We will utilize research from psychology, marketing, and other fields to learn why consumers behave in the ways that they do.

The course focuses on three general topics.

  1. An investigation of consumers’ basic psychological processes. It explores how concepts such as attention, perception, memory, feelings, and attitudes help us understand consumer behaviour.
  2. How we, as consumers, make decisions and how we are influenced by marketers, friends and family. How do demographic factors (age, sex, race, etc.) and other differences (e.g., lifestyle and personality) influence our behavior?
  3. Throughout the course we will consider the ethical implications arising from the way consumers’ minds work, the tactics marketers employ, etc. Finally, we will examine the implications for public policy making in areas such as medical marketing and targeted marketing.

Since consumer behaviour is an applied discipline rooted in other social sciences, you will be exposed to multiple concepts, frameworks and theories. Your job is to master those concepts and use them to organize, explain, and predict consumers’ judgments and choices. Ultimately you should be able to identify a consumer behaviour problem, select a relevant theory to explain and examine the problem, and apply the theory properly to aid in a managerial decision.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • develop a strong understanding of concepts related to consumer behaviour.
  • be able to apply consumer behavior concepts to marketing problems in the real world and suggest profitable, efficient and ethical marketing strategies.
  • develop a better understanding of their own behaviour as consumers.

Prerequisite: One of COMM 296, COMM 396.

Note: COMM 362 was formerly titled Buyer Behaviour.

Course credits:
3

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