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MKT 420 Consumer Behavior


Syllabus
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March 7, 2012

Course Title
MKT 420 Consumer Behavior

Course Description
This course introduces a wide range of behavior concepts, and explores the strategic implication of customer
behavior for marketers. The course challenges students to explore the realities and implications of buyer
behavior in traditional and e-commerce markets.
Prerequisite
MKT300
Credit Units/Hours
Upon successful completion of this course, you will earn 3 semester hours of college credit. This course
represents the equivalent of learning outcomes normally achieved through 45 hours of student classroom
study or through distance learning instruction.

Course Learning Objectives


Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
Analyze the meaning and influences guiding the decisions and behaviors of culturally driven
phenomenon.
Question the power of individual influences on decision-making and consumption.
Relate internal dynamics such as personality and motivation to the choices consumers make.
Relate group dynamics and the relative influence of various group members to the choices made by
groups of people.
Evaluate the influence of culture and subculture on consumer consumption preferences.
Appraise the applicability of consumer behavior theories to interpreting why consumers behave as
they do.
Assess the components and stages of the individual decision-making process.
Assess the components and stages of the group decision-making process.
MKT 420 Consumer Behavior - Syllabus
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Textbook
Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being
Text Title:
Prentice-Hall
Publisher:
Solomon, M. R.
Author(s):
9th (2011)
Edition:
978-0-13-611092-7
ISBN:
Be sure that you have the correct edition of the course textbook. Check the ISBN number for the most
accurate edition.
Supplementary Readings & Resources
As assigned by the instructor.
Grade Scale
95% +
=A
90 94%
= AA
B
C
D
F

87 89%
83 86%
80 82%

= B+
=B
= B-

77 79%
73 76%
70 72%

= C+
=C
= C-

67 69% = D+
63 66% = D
60 62% = D0 59%
=F
The student exceeded expectations; worked above what is required.
The student met all expectations as specified for the class very well.
The student met minimum class requirements satisfactorily.
The student met minimum requirements poorly.
The student failed to meet minimum requirements.

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Grading Criteria
Lesson 1
Chapter 1: Consumers Rule
Chapter 2: Perception
Discussion
Quiz
Lesson 2
Chapter 3: Learning and Memory
Chapter 4: Motivation and Values
Discussion
Quiz
Lesson 3
Chapter 5: The Self
Chapter 6: Personality and Lifestyles
Discussion
Quiz
Lesson 4
Chapter 7: Attitudes and Persuasion
Chapter 8: Decision Making
Discussion
Quiz
Lesson 5
Chapter 9: Buying and Disposing
Chapter 10: Groups
Discussion
Quiz
Lesson 6
Chapter 11: Organizational and Household Decision Making
Chapter 12: Income and Social Class
Discussion
Quiz
Lesson 7
Chapter 13: Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Subcultures
Chapter 14: Age Subcultures
Discussion
Quiz
Lesson 8
Chapter 15: Cultural Influences and Consumer Behavior
Chapter 16: Global Consumer Culture
Discussion
Final Examination

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Points

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

Total Points

100
400
1,900

Lesson 1

Lesson 1 Learning Objectives


After completing this Lesson, students should be able to understand why:
We use products to help us define our identities in different settings.
Consumer behavior is a process.
Marketers need to understand the wants and needs of different consumer segments.
The Web is changing consumer behavior.
Our beliefs and actions as consumers strongly connect to other issues in our lives.
Many different types of specialists study consumer behavior.
There are two major perspectives on consumer behavior.
Perception is a three-stage process that translates raw stimuli into meaning.
The design of a product today is a key driver of its success or failure.
Products and commercial messages often appeal to our senses, but because of the profusion of these
messages, most of them will not influence us.
The concept of a sensory threshold is important for marketing communication.
Subliminal advertising is a controversialbut largely ineffectiveway to talk to consumers.
We interpret the stimuli to which we do pay attention according to learned patterns and
expectations.
The field of semiotics helps us to understand how marketers use symbols to create meaning.
Lesson 1 Reading Assignment
Read Chapter 1: Consumers Rule
Read Chapter 2: Perception

Lesson 1 Activity
Discussion Questions. Please post in the Discussion Forum by Friday 12:00 am (PST).
1. List the three stages in the consumption process. Describe the issues that you considered in each of
these stages when you made a recent important purchase.
2.

3.

4.

Read Case Study Will Consumers Consume? (p.48) and answer questions at the end of the case.

Do you believe that marketers have the right to use any or all public spaces to deliver product
messages? Where would you draw the line in terms of places and products that should be off-limits?
Read Case study The Brave New World of Subway Advertising (pp. 88-89) and answer the
questions at the end of the case.

Lesson 1 Assignment
Online Quiz: Complete Online Quiz for Chapters 1 and 2 and post to Dropbox by Sunday 12:00 am
(PST).

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Lesson 2

Lesson 2 Learning Objectives


After completing this Lesson, students should be able to understand why:
It is important to understand how consumers learn about products and services.

Conditioning results in learning.


Learned associations with brands generalize to other products, and why this is important to
marketers.
There is a difference between classical and instrumental conditioning, and how both processes help
consumers to learn about products.
We learn about products by observing others behavior.
Our brains process information about brands to retain them in memory.
The other products we associate with an individual product influence how we will remember it.
Products help us to retrieve memories from our past.
Marketers measure our memories about products and ads.
It is important for marketers to recognize that products can satisfy a range of consumer needs.
The way we evaluate and choose a product depend on our degree of involvement with the product,
the marketing message, and/or the purchase situation.
Our deeply held cultural values dictate the types of products and services we seek out or avoid.
Consumers vary in the importance they attach to worldly possessions, and this orientation in turn
has an impact on their priorities and behaviors.
Products that succeed in one culture may fail in another if marketers fail to understand the
differences among consumers in each place.
Western (and particularly American) culture has a huge impact around the world, although other
people in other countries do not necessarily ascribe the same meanings to products as we do.
Lesson 2 Reading Assignment
Read Chapter 3: Learning and Memory
Read Chapter 4: Motivation and Values

Lesson 2 Activity
Discussion Questions. Please post in the Discussion Forum by Friday 12:00 am (PST).
1. What is the difference between an unconditional stimulus and a conditioned stimulus? Give an
example of a halo effect in marketing. How can marketers use repetition to increase likelihood that
consumers will learn about their brand?
2.

3.
4.

Some die-hard fans were not pleased when the Rolling Stones sold the tune Start Me Up for about
$4 million (USD) to Microsoft, which wanted the classic song to promote its Windows 95 launch. The
Beach Boys sold Good Vibrations to Cadbury Schweppes for its Sunkist soft drink. Steppenwolf
offered his Born to Be Wild to plug the Mercury Cougar, and even Bob Dylan sold The Times They
Are A-Changin to Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers). Other rock legends have
refused to play the commercial game, including Bruce Springsteen, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin,
Fleetwood MAC, R.E.M., and U2. According to U2s manager, Rock n roll is the last vestige of
independence. It is undignified to put the creative effort and hard work to the disposal of a soft drink
or beer or car. Singer Neil Young is especially adamant about not selling out; in his song, This
Notes for You, he croons, Aint singing for Pepsi, aint singing for coke, I dont sing for nobody,
makes me look like a joke. What do you think about this issue? How do you react when one of your
favorite songs turns up on a commercial? Is this use of nostalgia an effective way to market a
product? Why or why not?

Core values evolve over time. What do you think are the three to five core values that best describes
your culture today?

Read Case Study Campaigning for More Than Beauty (pp.160-161) and answer the questions at the
end of the case.

Lesson 2 Assignment
Complete online quiz for Chapters 3 and 4 and post to Dropbox by Sunday 12:00 am (PST).
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Lesson 3

Lesson 3 Learning Objectives


After completing this Lesson, students should be able to understand why:
The self-concept strongly influences consumer behavior.
Products often play a key role in defining the self-concept.
Societys expectations of masculinity and femininity help to determine the products we buy to meet
these expectations.
The way we think about our bodies (and the way our culture tells us we should think) is a key
component of self-esteem.
Our desire to live up to the cultural expectations of appearance can be harmful.
Every culture dictates certain types of body decoration or mutilation.
A consumers personality influences the way he responds to marketing stimuli, but efforts to use this
information in marketing contexts have been met with mixed results.
Psychographics go beyond simple demographics in helping marketers understand and reach
different consumer segments.
Consumer activities can be harmful to individuals and to society.
Lesson 3 Reading Assignment
Read Chapter 5: The Self
Read Chapter 6: Personality and Lifestyles

Lesson 3 Activity
Discussion Questions. Please post in the Discussion Forum by Friday 12:00 am (PST).
1.

2.
3.
4.

List three dimensions that describe the self-concept. Compare and contrast the real versus the ideal
self. List three products for which a person is likely to use each type of self as a reference point when
he/she considersr a purchase. Do Eastern cultures view how people think of self differently from
Western cultures?

How might the creation of self-conscious state be related to consumers who are tying on clothing in
dressing rooms? Does the act of preening in front of a mirror change the dynamics by which people
evaluate their product choices?

Behavioral targeting techniques give marketers access to a wide range of information about a
consumer when they tell them what Web sites he/she visits. Do you believe this knowledge power
presents any ethical problems with regard to consumers privacy? Should the government regulate
access to such information? Should consumers have the right to limit access to these data?
Read Case Study The Magic of iPod (pp. 250-251) and answer the questions at the end of the case.

Lesson 3 Assignment
Complete online quiz for Chapters 5 and 6 and post to Dropbox by Sunday 12:00 am (PST).

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Lesson 4

Lesson 4 Learning Objectives


After completing this Lesson, students should be able to understand why:
It is important for consumer researchers to understand the nature and power of attitudes.
Attitudes are more complex than they first appear.
We form attitudes in several ways.
A need to maintain consistency among all our attitudinal components motivates us to alter one or
more of them.
We use attitude models to identify specific components and combine them to predict a consumers
overall attitude toward a product or brand.
The communications model identifies several important components for marketers when they try to
change consumers attitudes toward products and services.
The consumer who processes a message is not necessarily the passive receiver of information
marketers once believed him to be.
Several factors influence the effectiveness of a message source.
The way a marketer structures his message determines how persuasive it will be.
Audience characteristics help to determine whether the nature of the source or the message itself
will be relatively more effective.\ Consumer decision-making is a central part of consumer behavior,
but the ways we evaluate and choose products (and the amount of thought we put into these
choices) varies widely, depending upon such dimensions as the degree of novelty or risk related to
the decision.
A purchase decision actually is composed of a series of stages that results in the selection of one
product over competing options.
Decision-making is not always rational.
Our access to online sources is changing the way we decide what to buy.
We often fall back on well-learned rules of thumb to make decisions.
Consumers rely upon different decision rules when they evaluate competing options.
Lesson 4 Reading Assignment
Read Chapter 7: Attitudes and Persuasion
Read Chapter 8: Decision Making

Lesson 4 Activity
Discussion Questions. Please post in the Discussion Forum by Friday 12:00 am (PST).
1.

2.
3.

4.

How can an attitude play an ego-defensive function? Describe the ABC model of attitudes. List the
three hierarchies of attitudes, and describe the major differences among them. How do levels of
commitment to an attitude influence the likelihood that it will become part of the way we think about
a product in the long term?

A marketer must decide whether to incorporate rational or emotional appeals in its communications
strategy. Describe conditions that are more favorable to one or the other.

Technology has the potentionl to make our lives easier as it reduces the amount of clutter we need to
work through in order to access the information on the Internet that really interests us. However,
perhaps intelligent agents who make recommendations based on what we and others like us have
chosen in the past limit usthey reduce the chance that we will stumble on something (e.g. a book
on a topic weve never heard of before or a must group thats different from the style we usually
listen to). Will the proliferation of shopping bots make our lives too predictable by only giving us
more of the same? If so, is this a problem?
Read Case study Dominos Dilema (pp. 339-340) and answer the questions at the end of the case.

Lesson 4 Assignment
Complete online quiz for Chapters 7 and 8 and post to Dropbox by Sunday 12:00 am (PST).

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Lesson 5

Lesson 5 Learning Objectives


After completing this Lesson, students should be able to understand why:
Many factors at the time of purchase dramatically influence the consumer decision-making process.
The information a store on a website provides strongly influences a purchase decision, in addition to
what a shopper already knows or believes about a product.
A salesperson often is the crucial connection to a purchase.
Marketers need to be concerned about a consumers evaluations of a product after the person buys it
as well as before.
Getting rid of products when consumers no longer need or want them is a major concern both to
marketers and to public policy makers.
Other people and groups, especially those who possess some kind of social power, often influence
our decisions about what to buy.
We seek out others who share our interests in products or services.
We are motivated to buy or use products in order to be consistent with what others do.
Certain people are especially likely to influence others product choices.
The things that other consumers tell us about products (good and bad) are often more influential
than the advertising we see.
Online technologies are accelerating the impact of word-of-mouth communication.
Social networking is changing the way companies and consumers interact.
Lesson 5 Reading Assignment
Read Chapter 9: Buying and Disposing
Read Chapter 10: Groups

Lesson 5 Activity
Discussion Questions. Please post in the Discussion Forum by Friday 12:00 am (PST).
1.

2.

3.
4.

Is the customer always right? Why or why not?

Conduct naturalistic observation at a local mall. Sit in a central location and observe the activities of
mall employees and customers. Keep a log of the non-retailing activity you observe (e.g., special
perfromances, exhibits, socializing, etc.) Does this activity enhance or detract from business the mall
conducts? As malls become more like high-tech game rooms, how valid is the criticism that shopping
areas only encourage more loitering by teenage boys, who dont spend a lot in stores and simply
scare away other customers?.
Name two dimensions that influence whether reference goups impact an individuals purchase
decision. List three types of social power, and given an example of each. Which tend to influence our
behavior more: large formal groups or small informal groups? Why?

Although social networking is red-hot, could its days be numbered? Many people have concerns
about privacy issues. Others feel platforms like Facebook are too overwhelming. As one media
executive contends, Nobody has 5,000 real friends. At the end of the day it just becomes one big
cauldron of noise. What is your opinion? Can we have too much of a good thing? Will people start to
tune out all of these networks?

Lesson 5 Assignment
Complete online quiz for Chapters 9 and 10 and post to Dropbox by Sunday 12:00 am (PST).

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Lesson 6

Lesson 6 Learning Objectives


After completing this Lesson, students should be able to understand why understand why:
Marketers often need to understand consumers behavior rather than a consumers behavior.
Companies as well as individuals make purchase decisions.
Our traditional notions about families are outdated.
Many important demographic dimensions of a population relate to family and household structure.
Members of a family unit play different roles and have different amounts of influence when the
family makes purchase decisions.
Children learn over time what and how to consume.
Both personal and social conditions influence how we spend our money.
We group consumers into social classes that say a lot, about where they stand in society.
Individuals desires to make a statement about their social class, or the class to which they hope to
belong, influence the products they like and dislike.
Consumers lifestyles are key to many marketing strategies.
Identifying patterns of consumption can be more useful than knowing about individual purchases
when organizations create a lifestyle marketing strategy.
Lesson 6 Reading Assignment
Read Chapter 11: Organizational and Household Decision Making
Read Chapter 12: Income and Social Class

Lesson 6 Activity
Discussion Questions. Please post in the Discussion Forum by Friday 12:00 am (PST).
1.

2.
3.
4.

The promotional products industry thrives on corporate clients that order $19 (USD) billion per year
of T-shirts, mugs, pens, and other branded items in order to keep their organizations at the forefront
of their constomers minds. As a result of the voluntary ban on these products by the pharmaceutical
industry, these businesses will lose aobut $1 billion (USD) per year in sales. What do you think about
this initiativeis it fair to deprive an industry of the livelihood in this way? Why or why not?

Read Case study Children: The Final Frontierfor Cell Phones (pp. 448-449) and answer the
questions at the end of the case.

Define discretionary income. How have women contributed to the overall rise in income in your
society? How does consumer confidence influence consumer behavior?

Read Case study Affording Junk Food (pp. 484-485) and answer the questions at the end of the
case.

Lesson 6 Assignment
Complete online quiz for Chapters 11 and 12 and post to Dropbox by Sunday 12:00 am (PST).

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Lesson 7

Lesson 7 Learning Objectives


After completing this Lesson, students should be able to understand why:
Our identification with micro-cultures that reflect a shared interest in some organization or activity
influences what we buy.
Our memberships in ethnic, racial, and religious subcultures often guide our consumption behaviors.
Many marketing efforts appeal to ethnic and racial identity.
African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans are the three most important
ethnic/racial subcultures in the United States.
Marketers increasingly use religious and spiritual themes when they talk to consumers.
We have many things in common with others because they are about the same age.
Teens are an important age segment for marketers.
Baby Boomers continue to be the most powerful age segment economically.
Seniors continue to increase in importance as a market segment.
Lesson 7 Reading Assignment
Read Chapter 13: Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Subcultures
Read Chapter 14: Age Subcultures

Lesson 7 Activity
Discussion Questions. Please post in the Discussion Forum by Friday 12:00 am (PST).
1.

2.

3.
4.

How is a sub-culture different from a micro-culture? What is the difference between a high-context
and low-context culture? Provide an example of this difference. What is acculturation? How does it
differ from enculturation?

Several years ago R.J. Reynolds announced plans to test market a menthol cigarette called Uptown
specifically to African-American consumers. According to the company, about 70% of African
American smokers prefer menthol, more than twice the average rate. After market research showed
that blacks tend to open cigarette packs from the bottom, the company decided to pack Uptowns
with the filters facing down. Reynolds cancelled its plans after private health groups and government
officials protested. Does a company have the right to exploit a sub-cultures special characteristics,
especially to increase sales of a harmful product such as cigarettes? What about the argument that
virtually every business that follows the marketing concept designs a product to meet the needs and
tastes of a preselected segment?

List three basic conflicts that teens face, and give an example of each. What are tweens, and why
are so many marketers interested in them? What are some of the most efficient ways for marketers
to connect with college students?

Read Case study Scions Quest to Crack Gen Y (pp. 534-535) and answer the questions at the end of
the case.

Lesson 7 Assignment
Complete online quiz for Chapters 13 and 14 and post to Dropbox by Sunday 12:00 am (PST).

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Lesson 8

Lesson 8 Learning Objectives


After completing this Lesson, students should be able to understand why:
Culture is like a societys personality and shapes our identities as individuals.
Myths are stories that express a cultures values, and how in modern times marketing messages
convey these values.
Many of our consumption activitiesincluding holiday observances, grooming, and gift-givingare
actually rituals.
We describe products as either sacred or profane, and why some products move back and forth
between the two categories.
Styles are like mirrors that reflect underlying cultural conditions.
New products, services, and ideas spread through a population and why different types of people are
more or less likely to adopt them.
Fashions follow a cycle.
Some products that are successful in one culture may fail in another if marketers fail to understand
the differences among consumers in each place.
Western (and particularly American) culture has such a huge impact around the world, although
people in other countries do not necessarily ascribe the same meanings to products as Americans do.
Lesson 8 Reading Assignment
Read Chapter 15: Cultural Influences on Consumer Behavior
Read Chapter 16: Global Consumer Culture

Lesson 8 Lesson Activity


Discussion Questions. Please post in the Discussion Forum by Friday 12:00 am (PST).
1.

2.
3.

4.

If your culture were a person, how would your describe its personality?

Interview a person(s) who collect some kind of object(s). How do they organize and describe their
collection(s)? Do you see any evidence of sacred versus profane distinctions?

Read Case study Mobile Phones Invade the World (pp. 568-569) and answer the questions at the
end of the case.

Because of higher competition and market saturation, marketers in developed countries try to
develop markets in lesser developed countries. Asian consumers alone spend $90 billion (USD) a
year on cigarettes, and U.S. tobacco manufacturers push relentlessly into these markets. We find
cigarette advertising that often depicts glamorous Western models and settings, just about
everywhereon billboards, buses, storefronts, and clothingand tobacco companies sponsor many
sporting and cultural events. Some companies even hand out cigarettes and gifts in amusement
areas, often to pre-teens. Should governments allow these practices, even if the products may be
harmful to their citizens or divert money poor people should spend on essentials? If you were a trade
or health official in a lesser developed nation, what guidelines, if any, might you suggest to regulate
the import of luxury goods from developed nations? Provide rationale behind your decisions.

Lesson 8 Assignment
Complete Final Examination and post to Dropbox by Sunday 12:00 am (PST).

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