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Critiques Of Consumer Decision Making Model

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 1760 words Published: 12th May 2017

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This assignment will discuss the marketing theories and practices relating to consumer decision making and market segmentation. As per Question 1 of the assignment, it will discuss the theory of consumer decision making and model related to it. Question 2 of the assignment will look at theory of market segmentation and will discuss the segmentation base that can be used for the iPad Market.

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Every day, consumers have a lot of choices to choose from while making decision. Even if customers go to a supermarket or a shop to purchase any item, they would consider various factors before deciding to make the final purchase. However, there are some products for which customers do not have to think a lot because they have a fixed image about that one product which they purchase on a regular basis (Bhasin, 2010). The consumer decision making process is shown in figure 1.1 as he/she goes through various stages while purchasing a product.


Source: (Bhasin, 2010)

Need Recognition

This is where the consumer feels the need of a product or service. He/she feels that the product or service will be able to solve the problem of the consumer. But he/she also looks at the risks and benefits attached with purchasing the product or service. The need recognition can be as simple as purchasing a milk bottle or as difficult as deciding to purchase a laptop (Lamb, et al., 2010).

Information Search

After the need is recognized, the consumer will start looking for the information on where to purchase the product from. He/she would look into sources like websites, magazines, local shops, supermarkets, word of mouth etc. However, there are a few products or services for which the consumer does not have to think much before purchasing the product. There are two types of information search being internal and external information search (Lamb, et al., 2010).

Internal information search relates to remembering what has been purchased before, the most frequently purchased product. There are some products for which the customer does not have to search a lot as that product or service has been bought by the consumer on a regular basis. Examples of products where consumers use internal information search are milk, bread, salt, ketchup and many more (Lamb, et al., 2010).

External information search is used when the consumer has insufficient knowledge about the product or has had a bad experience of purchasing a product in the category before. These types of search can also be used where the consumer thinks that the risk of taking a wrong decision is high. Products that require external information search include laptops, tablet pc, mobile phones, gadgets, printer, washing machine, television and many more (Lamb, et al., 2010).

Evaluation of Alternatives

Once the customer has searched for the information he requires, the next step would be to choose from the different alternatives or selections that he has made. The way a customer evaluates alternatives would depend on the risk or involvement of the customer with the product. If the product has high involvement of the customer i.e. if the product or service that the customer is thinking of purchasing is expensive such as car, house, then this would involve extensive evaluation. In case of products which are reasonable and are bought on a regular basis such as cold drinks, salt, bread, this would involve a simple evaluation process (Lamb, et al., 2010).

Purchase Decision

This is where the actual purchase will be made by the customer. The product or service that the customer decides to purchase would depend on when and from whom the purchase is to be made. The customer would also look at his/her past experience of purchasing that product, whether it has a return policy and price of the product. Other factors that can affect a customer’s purchase are the environment of shopping at the store and customer service. If a customer is happy with the purchase from the store, he/she is likely to return to the same store while the same brand can be bought from some other store (Lamb, et al., 2010).

Post Purchase Evaluation

This is the final stage of the consumer decision making process. Once the product has been purchased and brought home, the customer would then evaluate whether the product has satisfied his/her needs and expectations. If a customer has purchased the brand for the first time, he/she would compare it with other brands bought earlier. If the customer is satisfied with the product and if the product meets his/her expectations, the customer would purchase the same brand again and would also be a source of marketing as he/she would recommend the product or brand to his/her friends (Lamb, et al., 2010).


The advantage of this model is that it has made it easy for marketers to decide on how to satisfy the customers’ expectations. They know how to behave with customers when they come for a purchase. It also shows a detailed picture of the consumption level of customer towards a product (Erasmu, et al., 2001).

The first criticism of the model is that it considers all customers to be the same who spend a lot of time in information search, choosing from the different alternatives and then finally choose the product that would satisfy their expectation. There are various scholars who have said that there are products for which the customer does not have to think a lot and does not have to choose from various alternatives. There are situations where the customer at times does not engage in all the stages of the consumer decision making process (Bozinoff, 1982).

The next criticism of the model is that it assumes that all customers go through all the stages while purchasing any product. The model has made purchasing a product a very complex process but there are situations where the customer would skip some stages and would decide by observing a product whether he/she should purchase the product or not and whether that product would satisfy their needs (Burns & Gentry, 1990).


There are situations where the customer would not have to go through all the stages of the consumer decision making process. For example: – purchase of milk, bread, salt. The customer when sees that milk, salt or bread is about to finish, he/she would not search for information on where to purchase the product from and then choose from different alternatives. He/she would go visit the local store and purchase the desired product.

When a customer is thirsty and feels like having a drink, he/she would purchase the product directly without going through all the stages in the process. Going out for dinner may not involve searching for information on where to eat for some customers as they would be know what to eat and where to get the meal from. In the U.K., when guests are invited for dinner, there is a tradition to take flowers or a bottle of wine with them. In cases, where customers taste is known, he/she would not look for information as he/she would know where to purchase the wine from and thus would not spend time on choosing from different alternatives.


Market segmentation basically refers to dividing the market into different groups. Each group will have unique features. This would help the marketer to apply the same marketing mix to one set of group as they will have similar features. Figure 2.1 shows an example of a market that has been segmented. Everyone in the market is a customer of any company but they vary in terms of needs and wants, financial matters, likes, dislikes, age, gender, race, social background, culture and status. This is the reason why any market needs to be segmented as it can help the marketer to provide a group of customers with the right product or service (Jain, 2009-10).

Figure 2.1 Example of Market Segmentation


Source: (Smithson & Ltda, 2008)

There are various definitions by different authors on market segmentation. Philip Kotler defines market segmentation as “dividing the market into uniform set of groups, where any group chosen can be targeted with the same marketing mix”. According to Alan A. Robert, the term market segmentation refers to “a strategy of dividing the market in order to take over them”. American Marketing Association defines market segmentation as “dividing the mixed market into small groups of customers who have similar characteristics so that the firm can satisfy their needs and expectations” (Jain, 2009-10).




London, U.K.


8.1 Million

Density of Area




20 and above


Male and Female







Those who are eager to explore something new


Modest risk





Status, Style and quality


Target family

Youngsters, Teenagers, Bachelors, Newly married couples


Medium Level

Loyalty of Brand


When can it be used

Work or leisure


Anywhere as it is portable


Long lasting, good value of money and good status in the society


Segmenting the market can be considered to be the backbone of marketing. It plays an important role in the life cycle of a product. Market segmentation can never be ignored by any company and is one of the important practices by organization. It brings benefits not only to the company but also to satisfy customers. A company can design their marketing strategy based on market segmentation as it will help them to determine their right target audience. It is one of the best exercise through which companies can get closer to their audience, modify their product features and marketing mix to satisfy their needs.


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