Consumer Behavior and the Four P's of Marketing

Consumer Behavior and the Four P’s of Marketing Essay Sample

Consumer behavior is the how, what, when, and why people buy, a blending of psychology, sociology and economics. Attempting to understand a buyer’s decision-making process both individually or in groups can at times be impossible. Understanding peoples wants and needs to transform those into marketing a product the consumer wants and needs is what product, price, promotion and place are all about.

Defining Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior is defined by Hawkins et al. (2004): “As the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy the needs and the impacts that these process have on the consumer and society.”

Product, Price, Promotion, and Place

Product, price, promotion, and place the four P’s of the marketing mix. This mix recognizes that marketing is customer focused and products are developed to meet the desires of groups of customers. Management of the product and product marketing are the specification of the goods or service and how it meets the customer’s needs and wants. What product does the company sell? The answer to the question should speak about a customer desires and wishes not what research and development have come up with (Armstrong & Kotler 2005)

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps a marketer understand the significance of what an individual needs to what customer behavior is. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is triangular. Moving up towards the top of the triangle fewer satisfy high-level needs. At the bottom of the triangle is physiological needs, this is air, food, water and the basic needs to survive. Then second is security needs, humans have a place to live and protection from the elements and predators. The third level is social needs, this is were marriage, and friends come into play plus the state of being comfortable and accepted in a place or community. These last two levels are the levels that fewer satisfy; they are esteem needs, achievement,¬†recognition, and personal satisfaction. Following is self-actualization, this is something very few realize, a person is one of a small number to do something. (Maslow 1943)

Pricing is the process of applying prices to a product or a service. Once an item is priced, the price should do three things: achieve the profitability of the company, have customer’s buying at the price set, and sustain the merchandises position. Placement is how the product is released and offered to the public. This may consist of the site of a store either brick and motor or online and delivery. Promotion is how the product or merchandise is priced or its availability to the target market, how the product is presented to the public. Promotion does consist of packaging, representation, name, trade name, logo, and branding. Placement is how the merchandise is distributed and how obtainable the product is to the public. This can include the location of a store, or online presence and delivery. Is the merchandise handy to order or buy? (Armstrong & Kotler 2005). Creating the correct recipe using product, price, promotion and place should ensure a successful marketing campaign to sell a product.

Purchasing a new pink Motorola Razr, with a pink bluetooth headset and pink car cord is not a product satisfies the basic level of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Having a cellular phone would mean a person’s basic needs have been taken care of. The cellular phone does help satisfy the security needs, the second level of Maslow’s Hierarchy. A cellular phone can be used to call 911 while out on the road or in a place a person has never been before. The phone allows not only the person using and owing the phone the comfort of being able to reach someone in an emergency, but those associated with the owner of the cellular phone. Having the latest cellular phone does help satisfy a person’s social needs. When a person has the latest cellular phone he or she may feel like they belong to part of the group, some people might feel the next level of Maslow’s Hierarchy, esteem.

The very last level self-actualization is not achieved, it could only be achieved if a person were the first to own a cellular phone or one of just a couple of people who did. Verizon does a very good job of placing the phone in the stores; all phones are placed according to manufacturer. The price of the Razr is not outrageous and is affordable, becoming cheaper with a signed contract. Verizon has the latest newest phones they carry in a case when customer first comes into the store; the pink Razr stands out. Promoting the phone with adverting in the newspapers, on Television, and the Verizon website, of course, a pink phone is not for everyone, but for those that want to have something unique.


Taking and using product, price, promotion and place, along with remembering Maslow’s Hierarchy will help a company answer the questions why consumers make the choices they make, what factors influence those purchases and the changing factors in our society. A firm needs to analyze buyer behavior for the buyer reactions to the marketing strategy, which will impact the firms success. The marketing concept stresses that a firm needs to create a marketing mix that satisfies customers, so the firm will have to analyze the what, where, when and how consumers buy. Marketers will be able to better predict how the consumers will respond. These steps help persuade the customer to buy a company’s product thus increasing profitability.


Armstrong, G., & Kotler, P., (2005). Marketing Management (7th ed.) [University of Phoenix

Custom Edition e-text]. Upper Saddle River: New Jersey. Retrieved July 20, 2006 from University of Phoenix, Resource, MKT/421 Marketing Website;

Maslow, A (1943) A Theory of Human Motivation. Originally published in Psychological

Review, 50,370-376. [Christopher Green, York University, Toronto, Ontario, 2000, Classics in the History of Psychology] Retrieved October 1, 2006 from

Hawkins, D, Best, R. & Coney, K. (2004). Consumer Behavior (9th ed.) [University of

Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. McGraw Hill, New York, NY. Retrieved September 27, 2006 from University of Phoenix, Resource, MKT/463Marketing Website;

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