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MKTG 3471 Consumer Behaviour

Assignment Overview:

Historically, we have had a strong basis of theory and research to draw upon for insights into how consumers think and behave. Organizations’ marketers have been able to use that insight to design marketing concepts to encourage purchase decisions. But, things are changing and flux, dynamism and complexity are the norm. Technology and globalization among other things have impacted consumer psychology and behaviour in a number of ways, resulting in a different consumer with different expectations. While these changes are occurring, opportunities to study consumers have increased and changed, as have opportunities for organizations to leverage current circumstances and insight to adapt to and influence consumer psychology and behaviour and influence purchase.

Assignment Purpose:

The purpose of this assignment is to give students opportunities to gain deep exposure to a wide variety of topics and issues in the realm of consumer psychology and behaviour. Students will practice other skills such as doing extensive secondary research and synthesizing that research into an initial draft of a literature review as well as developing analytical skills by thinking deeply about the topic from multiple perspectives.

From an academic perspective, students will note the strengths and limits of existing theory and research for understanding current topics and issues, identifying remaining questions and providing new understandings and / or charting the way forward. From a practical perspective, students will examine challenges related to the topic or issue being examined for organizations and marketers, highlighting remaining questions and doing necessary research to highlight remaining questions and providing new understandings of practical implications of the topic or issue and charting the way forward.

Assignment Instructions:

Each group of students will sign up for a topic in the sign-up sheet tab (first come first served) in Blackboard (topics are described below) and will prepare a lesson to present to peers using the best choice of media to communicate content. Students may use Microsoft SWAY*, Prezi, PPT, Google Slides, or a combination of these with video, podcast and other multimedia tools. As you prepare your lesson, make sure the presentation is accessible to students in the class (i.e. that it is produced using accessible formats), that they make the best choice for transmitting the type of information being produced in the student lesson and that it will not be overly complicated for me to post in the module (don’t give me 20 files to post in a particular order – I need to do this for multiple groups the night before the module goes live). Also keep in mind students will be watching many presentations in the two weeks, so keep presentations to about 15-20 minutes max.

Assignment Topics
Topics and guideline questions are as follows:
  • Mood-based purchasing – Do people purchase based on mood? How do we know, and what does this look like? Does how this work vary in an online versus physical purchasing environment? If so, how? And how can/should organizations use this knowledge in their marketing efforts? Be sure to consider ethics of leveraging mood to encourage purchase.
  • Values-based marketing – We are seeing indications that organizations are seeking to appeal to consumers based on commonality of values and opinions (i.e. sustainability and green-washing, political opinions, cause-based marketing, etc.). Explore the role of values in marketing, examining when, whether and how values should enter marketing and impacts. Ethics of values-based marketing should be considered.
  • Perception management – What is perception and how does it apply in the realm of consumer psychology and behaviour? Research the concept of perception and consider how perception can be managed and levered by organizations to their advantage. Ethics of perception management should be considered.
  • Fear-mongering in marketing – More and more we are seeing the use of fear as a tool to motivate purchase decisions. Think about the role of fear in marketing, and do extensive research to provide examples of how fear is used, when it is more and less effective and the ethics surrounding fear-mongering.
  • Senses and Consumer Psychology – Colour and sound have been used by companies in physical environments to encourage purchase decision. Do research on how these concepts have been used traditionally, taking care to capture any advancements in this realm. How do these concepts apply in an e-commerce setting? Be sure to examine the ethics of sensory manipulation for marketing.
  • Personalization, Identity and Individuality – A major assumption in the study of consumer behaviour is that individuals are increasingly seeking to express themselves through their consumption patterns of products, services and (more and more) experiences. Prepare a literature review in which you consider this idea, being sure to indicate was customers seek to individuate (i.e. customization, personalization) and provide concrete examples of organizations that are succeeding and failing in their efforts to provide consumers the opportunity to individuate through consumption patterns. Be sure to consider the benefits and challenges organizations might have as they aim to live up to this trend.

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