Influence of Advertising on Consumer Behaviour
This project work outlines the influence of advertising on consumer behavior with a case study of a transport company.
1.1 Background Study Of The Influence of Advertising on Consumer Behaviour
Public transportation is an essential part of human activities and in many ways form the basis of all social-economic interactions. Basically, it provides mobility to individuals who do not have any private means of transportation. Indeed, no two locations will interact effectively without a viable means of movement. (Ben-Akiva, 1981).
In most communities, a large number of people travel daily in one form of vehicle or the other to and from work. Goods are also shipped over a long distances to provide those materials which are part of the expected standard of living. Advances in transportation have made possible changes in the way we live and the way societies are organized. However, transportation system is expensive to maintain, for example building, maintaining and operating the transport system including construction of roads and bridges and provision of road safety measures are not easy to come by. These have brought about deficiencies in transportation systems.
Since the attainment of independence in 1960, the problem of Nigeria transport systems include bad roads, inadequate fleets of buses or trucks, lack of trained transport managers and planners, ineffective traffic regulation, indiscipline, corruption and poor driving habits. These are some common features of the developing world which the National Bureau of Statistics (2004) described “as a norm rather than exception”.
Several measures have been proposed to improve transportation systems in Nigeria which include: provision of good road networks, public enlightenment on the need for regular maintenance of vehicles, use of appropriate tyres, correct driving habits, eradicate the sale of adulterated and leaded fuel, set up emission standards for imported vehicles, promote research, provision of alternative energies such as solar energy etc. (Oni 2002). Oni, further stated that the type of available transport and how they are used, tell a great deal about a community and its values. A good transportation system can enhance the productivity and quality of life of a community if properly planned and managed (Akinbami and Fadare 1998).
We have three major transport systems. They include: water, land, and air. The waterways have been means of transport for people and goods since ancient times; rivers which penetrate deep into the heart of a country and manmade canals have linked the interiors with the coastal parts. As men ventured farther from their own shores, stable seagoing ships had to be developed to withstand the rigors of long journeys on the open oceans. The land transport on wheels developed rapidly, necessitating the building of surface roads and bridges. These were built by highly sophisticated civil engineering companies.
The advent of railways in most parts of the world in early nineteenth century brought a social as well as a commercial revolution. For most countries, railways provided an efficient, safe and speedy means of transportation. In Nigeria, for instance, these railway networks enabled exports to be brought to the coast for shipment, and imports to be distributed to the hinterland cheaply. Apart from movement of goods, people travelled freely through the railways.
In recent times, air transport has brought about a revolution as great as that of the railways several decades ago. Transport and communications are now possible to previously inaccessible areas. Where great distances have to be covered speedily in remote and difficult terrain, airplanes are the common means of transport (Oluikpe, 2001).
Road transport is the most commonly used mode of transportation in Nigeria and accounts for more than 90% of the sub-sector’s 3% contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (The New Nigerian 2009).
Road transport activities involve the conveyance of passengers in mass or in small numbers, the transportation of animals, farm produce and merchandise and the rendering of mobile services.
“Nigeria has the largest road networks in West Africa and the second largest south of the Sahara, with the national network currently estimated to be 194,200km of which 34,120km (17.6%) are federal roads and 129,580km (66.7%) local and rural roads. However, the federal roads network carries 70% of freight in the country (The New Nigeria 2009)”.
In Ebonyi State, road transport is the most commonly used mode of transportation. The roads networks are poorly maintained and overused since alternative modes of transport are poorly developed. These notwithstanding, many transport companies still operate in Ebonyi State. The transport companies compete irrespective of the poorly developed infrastructure in a bid to attract commuter’s patronage. They employ several strategies including advertising to influence commuter’s choice. Quite a number of these transport companies now advertise their services through various media of communication which include radio, television, newspapers, magazines, bill board and through the internet. Other means of advertisement include mouthpiece, and public address system. Some shout a form of advert in their parks and stations to attract commuter’s patronage to their vehicles. Most of these companies recognize the need to advertise and the benefit of doing so, and they are willing to pay a price for it.
After these advertisements, how does a consumer of public transport react? What stages does a consumer pass before making a choice? Why would a consumer choose a transport company over another? What are the factors that influence him? What are the motivations and aspirations that guide him? These are the questions we need to bear in mind because the consumer is a complex individual. His choice behaviour varies greatly depending on stimuli, personal, social or psychological factors. The purchase is only the visible part of a more complex decision process created by the consumer for each buying or services he needs to make.
Basic understanding of this behaviour is a major challenge for a transport marketer in order to meet the expectations and needs of consumers, improve the quality of services rendered to them, build a more effective and targeted marketing strategy and increase consumer patronage and revenues (Perreau, 2013).
Here, the importance of advertising lies in awareness creation. Its goal is to provide enough relevant market data to develop accurate profile of buyers. This involves the study of consumer behaviour: the mental and emotional processes and the physical activities of people who purchase and use goods and services to satisfy particular needs and wants ( Arens, 1996).
SEE MORE TOPICES:
Transport companies use advertising to make their services known to the public and these include the needs of a commuter. “Lovelock (1972) noted that some of the principal needs of a commuter in choice of transport line appear to be safety, reliability, time savings, cost, convenience and comfort.” A commuter who is a consumer of transport services expects his transportation needs to be met for him to continue patronizing. This also involves the study of consumer behaviour: understanding the motivations and drivers of consumers’ behaviour, identify their needs and examine the new consumer trends, as the consumer is the one who will ultimately make use of the advertised products and services.
The mission of advertising is to reach prospective customers and influence their awareness, attitude and behaviour. Alicia and Gerald (2011) pointed out that advertising is a primary tool for firms to affect the performance of their products and services, especially in markets that satisfy the end user such as consumer goods like cars, and services of transporters. These are the reasons why consumers are constantly bombarded by messages inducing them to change their attitudes about products, services, brands, producers or suppliers, events etc. These persuasive attempts can range from logical arguments to expressive images. Advertising has been recognized as one of the most efficient and powerful communication tool often deployed as a marketing strategy to outsmart close rivals. Advertising is therefore defined by Arens as:
“The structural and composed non-personal communication of information usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature about products (goods, services and ideas) by identified sponsors through various media”( Arens 2011:8)
This definition of advertising is apt as it identifies communication as the process through which meaning or information is exchanged between individuals using some systems of symbols, signs, or behaviour. It is usually a very structural form of applied communication, employing both verbal and non-verbal elements that are composed to fill specific space and time formats determined by the sponsor.
“Debra, (2009) asserts that one of the significant strengths of the advertising industry lies in its ability to transfer seemingly mundane objects into highly desirable products.” Debra also noted that products and services can transform in values by appreciating once they are placed in advertisement.
Thus the business of advertising covers a wide range of either product or service or even idea or personality ventures with the aim of increasing patronage. For instance, services provided by public transport companies, if well packaged and advertised can increase the rate or level of passenger’s intake by such transport company.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Transportation is a measure of relationship between places. As a means of conveying people, goods and information through places, the provision of its facilities is crucial to the economic, political, social and cultural life of any society.
Public transportation is a highly competitive business in Ebonyi State. Transport companies apply all kinds of strategies to influence commuters to patronize their company including advertising. An obvious reason for advertising is simply to inform people of the existence of products or services they might be interested in buying, for no one will buy something he does not know of its existence; there is no doubt about that. When more people know about a product, more of it will be sold. Judging by the extensive use of praise for products in ads, advertisers do expect that people will be influenced by the positive valuation. So apparently, a significant amount of people do believe the praise is somehow real.
Many Transport Companies in Ebonyi State advertise their services
through the traditional media of communication and through other means, while others do not advertise their services. This study examined the level of influence advertisements have on consumer behaviour in Ebonyi State transport companies. It is understood that various factors exist that can influence commuter patronage to a transport company such as the quality of service it could render, the cost of service, proximity, managerial skills, including economic, social, biological, psychological and demographic factors. Yet, it is advertising that creates awareness by portraying the good qualities of a company, because no one will buy products (goods, services and ideas) he does not know of its existence.
Transport industry which renders services to the public is passing through a difficult stage, but huge investment by government, wealthy individuals and groups in the provision of better public transport system networks is increasing by the day and every person stands to be a potential beneficiary. These consumers of transport services form an important segment of the transport service market. “However, if there’s no public enlightenment about the existence of such services by way of advertising, the business may fail (Hauser, 1981).”
The overall purpose of this work is to gain deeper understanding of the influence of advertising as it relates to the level of patronage of commuters in transport industries or companies with particular reference to those existing in Ebonyi State.
1.3 Objectives of the Study on Influence of Advertising on Consumer Behaviour
This research work was undertaken to generally examine the influence of advertising on consumer behaviour: A study of Public Transport Companies in Ebonyi State. Consequently, the specific objectives are:
1. To ascertain the extent to which Transport Companies in Ebonyi State advertise their transport services.
2. To find out how advertising the services of transport companies influence the choices of passengers.
3. To ascertain the nature of relationship between transport companies and commuters in Ebonyi State.
4. To determine the communication medium that makes the greatest impact on the choice of transport in Ebonyi State.
1.4 Research Questions on Influence of Advertising on Consumer Behaviour.
The following research questions were asked by the researcher:
1. To what extent do transport companies in Ebonyi State advertise their transport services?
2. To what extent does advertising the services of transport companies influence the choices of passengers?
3. What nature of relationship exists between transport companies and commuters in Ebonyi State?
4. What medium of communication makes the greatest impact on the choice of commuters in Ebonyi?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:
1. HO: transport companies in Ebonyi State do not advertise their transport services.
2. HO: advertising the services of transport companies in Ebonyi State do not significantly influence the choices of passengers.
3. HO: significant positive relationship does not exist between transport companies and commuters in Ebonyi State.
4. HO: there is no marked differences in the impact of medium of communication in the choice of transport in Ebonyi State.
1.6 Significance of the Study on the Influence of Advertising on Consumer behavior
This study offered the basis for understanding the motivating factors behind commuter’s patronage of transport companies in Ebonyi State. It is therefore the mandate of this work to serve an immense useful purpose to its potential and prospective users. For instance, this research work is an eye opener and a reminder to a commuter who is a consumer of public transport services of his needs requirement which must be met by transport managers. He should get all the information and inquiries from the company and ensure he is satisfied before patronizing the company. Transport companies also stand to gain in this study as they require managerial skills in order to operate effectively. According to Mfonobong,(2002:27),
“Strategic management is considered as a dynamic process that involves a complex pattern of actions and reactions. It involves planning for the present and pre-empting the future.”
Mfonobong also stated that most business organisations fail because of defective and dysfunctional strategic planning, rational decision-making and improper management. Without strategic planning, organizations are incapacitated, lack focus, new direction and vision to be in consonance with changing global business environment. Moreover, transporters should ensure that vehicles for the conveyance of commuters are in order before taking off, because passengers’ lives have to be protected at all cost.
National policy makers, also stand to gain in this study as they have obligations which they must fulfil in order to satisfy both transporters and commuters. Some of the obligations required from policy makers include: construction of good road networks and regular provision of safety measures to ensure protection of life and property on the road. Advertisers on the other hand should learn a lot from this study, by avoiding deceptive advertising to deceive the public. They should always give useful and truthful information about products. Another argument levelled against advertising which must be discouraged is its effect on competition. Aghonifoh in Makata (2012) states: “advertising encourages monopoly since large firms use it as a weapon for competing smaller ones out of business.” In transport industries for instance, advertising is everywhere, especially for those of them who are rich enough to advertise. The resultant effect is that some transport companies do not advertise at all or at best they shout out their services in their packs and stations or make use of mouthpiece or public address systems. Moreover, advertisers have a lot to learn in this study regarding the behaviour of consumers. The knowledge of consumer behaviour will help public transport advertisers develop accurate marketing strategy which will help increase consumer patronage.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this work is restricted to land transportation whereby transport vehicles are used to convey people and goods. Thus the population is bifurcated to include all registered transport companies in Ebonyi State and commuters who ply the transport vehicles. But the fact is that there are inadequate resources to extend the survey to all local government areas in the state, therefore, ten communities in five local government areas of the state was targeted for investigation as the sample areas. This research work was carried out in the year 2015.
1.8 Limitations of the study
Studying the influence of advertising on consumer behaviour with reference to transport companies in Ebonyi State was tedious and tasking for a single researcher. The researcher toured the ten communities in five selected LGAs and collected information for the study, despite bad roads in the communities. Another constraint is that some of the respondents were illiterates. The enumerators were compelled to interpret the questions and complete the questionnaires on their behalf. Moreover, some few cases came up, where some of the respondents displayed a nonchalant attitude in their responses to the questionnaires in spite of the entreaties of the enumerators. The difficulties emanated from the fact that, research work in a well competitive transport sector of Ebonyi State is a rarity, a situation accentuated by tribal concerns associated with divulging of information.
1.9 Operational Definition
Effect- In this study, effect means a change that results after a commuter received advertising messages. This result could change the commuter’s view positively or even negatively towards the transport company by patronizing or not to patronize.
Advertising- Here, advertising means information from transportation companies, making their transportation services known to the public. The aim of this advertisement is to attract commuters to the company. These adverts are paid for by the management of the transport company. It is expected that most commuters will be attracted to the company as a result of the advertisement. Advertising can get to commuters through various organs of communication such as radio, television, the internet, cinema, newspapers, magazines, billboards, posters, mouthpiece, Public address system, etc.
Consumer- The consumer in this study is the person who ultimately makes use of the services of a transportation company. The commuter otherwise known as the consumer pay the management of a transport company for their services and at the same time expect maximum satisfaction for their money in order to continue patronizing the company.
Behaviour- Behaviour is a response of a commuter towards a commercial transport company. Many factors could be responsible for a consumer’s behavioural change, e.g. the quality of services which may include comfort or discomfort in the buses or vehicles, increase or decrease in transport fare, attitude of drivers and conductors to commuters, general receptiveness of the management of the transport company, and most importantly the social, economic, biological and psychological variables.
2.0 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1 The Nature of Advertising
Advertising is based on the assumption that words have the power to produce a change, a change in thinking, attitudes, beliefs and ultimately, behaviour. Advertising that does not accomplish this change or aid in accomplishing it is worthless (Stovall, 2006). Stovall also pointed out:
“Advertising pervades every part of the society. The products we use in our homes, the cloths we wear, the programs we watch on television, the books we read, the places we shop and go for recreation – all of these things are affected by advertising.”
In line with this, Agee, (1979:350) noted that:
Advertising is the counterpart in distribution of the machine in production. By the use of machines, our production of goods and services has been multiplied. By the use of mass media, advertising multiplies the selling effort. Advertising is the greatest accelerating force in distribution.
Agee, further noted that advertising reaches many people rapidly at low cost, speeds up sales, turns prospects into customers in large numbers and at high-speed. Hence, in a mass-production economy, advertising has the greatest responsibility for finding customers.
According to Charles, (1992:18): “advertising is the activity of telling people about products or events in order to make them want to buy the products or go to the events” For effective advertisement of goods and services, the advertising agents must choose efficient mass media. Aligwe (1999:1) has rightly pointed out that “newspapers and magazines are the most popular members among the print media family and that they constitute important media of mass communications before the advent of radio and television”.
However, long before the emergence of the print media, there were other means of advertising. In the words of Okoro, (1995:26), “advertising in Nigeria is traced to one of the earliest forms of mass communication namely: town crying”. Okoro further stated that town criers were used in the dissemination of information about important ceremonies and events, such as inter-tribal wars, disasters, marriages, births, deaths and so on. Even today, town criers are still being used in many villages in Nigeria to communicate vital information to the village dwellers. Nwosu, (1996:13) defined advertising as “the paid form of non-personal communication about goods, services, ideas or institutions by an identifiable sponsor whose aim is usually to sell”. Advertising gets to us through various organs of communication such as radio, television, the internet, cinema, newspaper, magazines, billboards or posters. Aliede, (2002:99) argued that “most advertisements are persuasive in order to win converts, who are lured to patronize the goods, services or ideas advertised”. According to Agee, (1979:368),
“The advertising world is made up of people who have creative analytical selling and management abilities … they must be constructively optimistic because they are called on to originate ideas and to initiate action – to visualize in full operation something that has not yet started”.
Decker, (2011:46) also adds, “advertising is creative in nature and strategic in design and media placement, but it is also an expensive promotional tool”. Indeed, advertising came from one of the branches of the marketing mix. Nwite, (2012:148) has this to say:
“Advertising consequently is a promotional tool and it is within that context that it performs a marketing function, like other promotional tools. Advertising is used primarily to promote the brand to the target market. It is by far the most significant of all the tools. Indeed, successful advertising people must be constructive, innovative adaptable and eternally curious”.
Pictorial communication is also an effective means of advertisement.
Okoro, (2000:139) has this to say:
“Across time, pictorial communication has remained the most vivid of all communications. It not only delivers its message in spilt seconds, it makes a longer-lasting impression on the viewer”.
Also, television advertisement is also unique, as it not only informs, it entertains the viewer. Makata, (2012:100) pointed out that “television advertising makes use of camera which is very vital in the television transmission process.” Newspapers and magazines advertisement also serve a specific function of permanence. Ogbuoshi, (2003:46) noted that “individuals, groups, organisations, institutions, etc do place advertisements on the pages…”
As a communication phenomenon, advertising plays a key role in the advancement of the human society. The vital role manifests easily in the sphere of information, which is central to the advancement of humanity. The American experience offers a very good example. In the words of Okoro, (1995:32)
“Advertising in America is unique because it caught up with the nation just as she was entering a growth era: increase in population, multiplicity of factories fast development of the transportation systems”.
J. Davis Dan Forth, former executive vice president of one of the largest advertising agencies, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, Inc., took a look at the future in speech before an advertising group, and declared:
If our national productivity increases, as most economist predict, advertising will have to grow to move the mountain of goods which will be produced. New colour television sets, fuel injection automobiles, hundreds of new appliances that are in laboratory stages now, millions of new homes with advanced radiant heating and cooling equipments, and the astonishing new furnishings that will go into them . . . And we’ll have to help sell them all…everybody is going to live longer – maybe even advertising men…(Agee 1979:352)
2.2 Criticism of Advertising
Advertising has been criticised by so many people because of the way it disseminates information. According to Dominick (2011:344), the most outspoken critics of advertising, charged that “advertising stimulates greed, envy, and avarice.” Dominick further holds that advertising promotes materialistic values and lifestyles, and persuades us to evaluate others not by who they are, but by what they possess. The people whom advertising present as models to be emulated are not those who possess admirable personal qualities instead, consumers are compelled to emulate people who drive fancy or powerful cars, wear expensive jewellery, write with the best pen , wear the trendiest cloths, or watch TV on the biggest set.
In addition, after heavy advertisements made by transport companies to promote the good qualities of their companies, commuter’s needs are yet to be met by various companies. For example, Hausa, (1981:91) “noted that several observation indicate that individual and community needs are not well met by existing public transportation systems”. Furthermore, Nwanze (2002:190) has this to say:
“critics of advertising condemn it as promoting economic waste, diverting attention from needful public services to private consumption of social irresponsibility, and of manipulating people psychologically to buy things they cannot afford…critics also charged that advertising is downright untruthful and present only positive information about products.”
According to Aghonifoh, in Makata, (2012:103),
“Advertising is accused of being wasteful since the heavy advertising embarked upon by different competing firms tends to cancel out. The basic contention in this regard is that more is spent on advertising than what is needed to provide consumers with useful information about the product.”
Another economic argument levelled against advertising according to Aghonifoh, is its effect on competition. It is accused of encouraging monopoly since large firms use it as a weapon for competing smaller ones out of business. Advertising has also been accused of pollution. By introducing foreign values, taste and products, it is said to dilute and in fact pollute our culture.
The nature of advertising demands that certain rules have to be obeyed. For instance, Ewelukwa (2004) pointed out that “advertising can be legal or illegal”, and the “legal advertisements are those advertisements that are done within the law; while illegal advertisements are those that offend the law”.
On the issue of illegal advertisement, various trade organisations the world over have stipulated guidelines for correct advertising practices. For instance, The United State Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defined deceptive advertising as “any ad that contains misrepresentation, omission, or other practices that can mislead a significant numbers of reasonable consumers to their detriment” (Arens, 2011).
Also, the Nigeria communications Commission Guidelines regarding the control of deceptive and illegal advertisements states:
“No advertisement or advertisement for promotion shall contain any obscenities or profanities unsuitable for younger persons and children or contain any racial or prejudicial content relating to national origin, religion, sex, gender or age”. (The Nigerian Communication Commission 2003).
For advertising to be successful, it must identify target audience, it must not encourage status quo, it must have a clear distinct message, it must encourage originality and ingenuity through creativity, and it should be entertaining, informative and educative (Nwanze, 2003).
2.3 Purpose and Scope of Advertising
The Purpose of Advertising
For an individual or firm to advertise its services, it must be for a purpose. According to Nwanze (2003:189), “there are at least four main factors that may motivate a firm to advertise its product or services, depending on the firms marketing objectives”.
These factors are:
1. To introduce a new product model into the market
2. To facilitate or increase the sale of present or current products
3. To enlighten the public as to the feature and uses of the products.
4. To create or enhance company goodwill thereby maintaining or increasing present and future market receptiveness to the company’s products or services.
Moreover, advertising offers the consumer many advantages which include:
1. It helps the consumer develop mental image of brands that will appeal to different audiences or segments.
2. It encourages innovations and helps in marketing of new products.
3. It makes available many products and gives the consumer the choice to choose.
4. It creates more jobs and gives job opportunity to those seeking job.
The Scope of Advertising
Advertising business has evolved four distinct groups. The two main ones are the advertisers and the agencies. The advertisers are the companies- like Transport companies, Coca-Cola or a supermarket- that sponsor advertising for themselves and their product or services. Advertising range in size from small independent businesses to huge multinational firms, and in type from service organisations to industrial manufactures to local charities and political action committees. The second group, the advertising agencies, help the advertisers plan, create, and prepare ad campaigns and other promotional materials (Arens, 2011).
Others according to Arens, are the third and the fourth groups. The third groups are the suppliers, which include the photographers, illustrators, printers, digital service bureaus, colour film separators, video production houses, web developers, and others who assist both advertisers and agencies in preparing ad materials. Suppliers also include consultants, research firms, and professional services that work with both advertisers and agencies. The fourth group the media, sell time (on radio and TV) and space (in print, outdoor, or digital) to carry the advertisers message to the target audience.
While every company has some sort of advertising department; its importance depends on the company’s size, the size of the advertising programme, the role advertising plays in the company’s marketing mix, and most of all, the involvement of top management.
Henry, (1993:70-79) outlined four main types of advertisers, they include: Local Advertisers, Cooperate Advertisers, Regional /National Advertisers, and Transnational Advertisers.
1. Local Advertisers: Henry stated that most ads placed in local media are products, institutional, or classified advertising and each serves a different purpose. For instance, product advertising promotes a specific product or service and stimulates short-term action while building awareness of the business. On the other hand, Institutional advertising attempts to create a favourable long-term perception of the business as a whole, not just of a particular product or service. Examples of this type of business include: Transport, Stores, restaurants, Banks, Professional firms and Hospitals. In Classified advertising, advertisers use classified advertising in the newspaper for many reasons: to locate and recruit new employees, offer services or sell merchandise.
2. Cooperative Advertisers: As a service to their distributors and dealers and to ensure proper reproduction of their products, wholesalers, manufactures, and trade associations often provide local advertisers with ready-made advertising materials and cooperative advertising programs where the costs are shared. There are two key purpose of Cooperative (co op) advertising: to build the manufactures and help its distributors, dealers or retailers to make more sales. The manufacturer provides the complete ad and shares the cost of the advertising time or space.
3 Regional/ National Advertisers: This type operate in one part of the country, in one or several states and market exclusively within that region, such as Banks, Transport vehicle dealers, Telephone or mobile phone companies, etc. The basic principles of advertising are the same in both local and national advertising. However, local advertisers have special challenges stemming from the day-to-day realities of running a small business. As a result, local and national advertisers differ in terms of focus, time orientation, and resources. National advertisers are concerned about building their brands, so their advertising tends to focus on the competitive features of one brand over another. Local merchants or dealers often carry hundreds of different brands, so they focus on attracting customers to a particular point-their place of business.
National and local advertisers also have different time orientations. National companies think long term. They develop five-year strategic plan s and budget for annual advertising campaigns. Local advertisers worry about this week or last week advertisements. On resources, national advertisers have more resources available-both money and people. Local advertisers have little money to spend and few people to work with.
4 Transnational Advertisers: Companies advertising abroad typically face markets with different value systems, environments, and language. Their customers have different purchasing abilities, habits, and motivations. The companies will therefore likely need different advertising strategies. But they face a more basic problem: How would they manage and produce the advertising? Would they use a foreign agency or set up a local advertising department?
Advertising agency is an independent service rendering organisation. It delivers various services and performs many functions for their clients, who are advertisers; it is mainly involved in activities like planning, preparing and placing of ads in media. It also performs non- advertising functions for them. It offers them advisory and creative services. It does so to make a profit Akrani, (2013). In addition, Arens, (2011) noted that advertising agencies are typically classified by their geographic scope, the range of services they offer, and the type of business they handle.
2.4 Public Transportation Services
Public transport is inadequate both in quality and quantity, giving the rate of population growth and economic condition of average Nigerian. Importation of new automobile vehicles is very expensive. Similarly, the price of motor parts had risen so much that many Nigerians could hardly maintain their old transport vehicles which further compounded the mobility problems. Unfortunately, most of the urban trips in Nigeria are made on roads. According to Oyesiku (2002:89), “more that 95% of all urban public transport journeys in Nigeria are provided by private operators using mainly taxis and paratransit buses”.
It is important to note that most commuters in rural and urban communities in Nigeria are not satisfied with the service delivery of public transport operators in Nigeria. Unfortunately, most of the research work carried out on the mode of operation of public transport services in Nigeria do not consider the quality of transport services, comfort availability, safety, and income level which are of importance to mobility pattern of transport services in any country of the world.
In Ebonyi State, high income earners travel by their personal cars to different activity patterns while the low income earners commute by foot for short distances and rely on public transport services for which exorbitant fares are charged.
Transport services vary, depending on the nature of operations. Services can also be classified into basic types based on route length, frequency, purpose of the use and types. Each town in Ebonyi State has at least one motor park full of mini buses and taxis that serve the main transport deport, usually conductors shout out a form of advertisement, calling on those that need to feel the buses. Minibuses in parks don’t run any schedule, but depart when full.
Apart from this grade of minibuses and taxis that operate in motor parks, there are other well established public transport companies in Ebonyi State. Some of the companies make use of Luxurious buses while others don’t. They convey passengers to and fro all parts of Nigeria. They run a well organized schedule, including booking passengers online through various Nigerian banks. Those that make use of luxurious buses include Ifesinachi, ABC, Chisco, The Young Shall Grow, etc. According to Horton, (1972:411),
“Public transport bus services are generally based on regular operation of transit buses that move along a route, and meet at agreed bus stops based on public transport timetables.”
The background of some transport companies in Ebonyi State that make use of organized schedule include:
Peace Mass- Peace Mass Transit (PMT) ltd was formed in the year 1995 to give services to the general public within Enugu, Nsukka, Onitsha and many other places including Abakaliki in Ebonyi State. Dr. V.O. Eze is the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the company. The company has a five-man Board of Directors who manages the affairs of the company. Peace Mass Transit Started operation with two buses at inception. Today, PMT has about two thousand buses in its fleet. PMT initially acquired buses from Foton International of China. As at today, PMT acquires its Hummer buses from Toyota Nig. Ltd, while some other range of buses is acquired from outside the country. When PMT acquired new buses, the buses are first put on distant routes such as Lagos to Abuja, Lagos to Nsukka, and Enugu to Ibadan. After twelve months of operation on these long routes, these set of buses are withdrawn to local routes such as Nsukka to Enugu, Enugu to Abakaliki, Enugu to Onitsha, Nsukka to Enugu-Ezike, etc. Twenty four months later, the buses are finally taken off the road. PMT has regular staff strength of 600 and contract staff of 2000. PMT uses both radio jingles and bill board to advertise its services. (www.peacegroup.ng.net/…/peace-mass-tra…)
Ebonyi Transport Service (Ebotrans) –Ebonyi transport service (Ebotrans) is owned by Ebonyi State Government. It was established in the year 2003 by Governor Sam Egwu with a fleet of over 20 buses in addition to the ones they inherited from Abia State Government. The purpose is to give services to the people of Ebonyi State and other parts of Nigeria. It operates with a range of mini buses. The acting General Manager of the company is Mr. Agha Okoro. Earlier on, Ebonnyi State Government has dismissed the former acting General manager Mr. John Chukwu for alleged misappropriation of N18.2 million. The company has a total number of about 170 staff according to the acting manager. The company is passing through a difficult times as most of the vehicles had been grounded waiting for replacement (Guardian Newspapers 2004).
Imo Transport Cooperation (ITC): Imo Transport Cooperation is a government owned Transport Company. The Headquarter is located in Owerri Imo State, but carryout transport business all over the country including Ebonyi State. The transport company was established in 1984. The current managing Director of the company is Mr. Emeka Duru. At inception, Imo State Government procured 50 brand new 30-seater Coaster buses to boost its operations.
At a point, the company was grounded, but was latter resurrected as a result of concessional agreement with Global Ginikana Services Limited, with over N3 billion investments by the State Government which made it possible for the company to expand its operations within the country. According to a statement from the Special Assistant to Governor Okorocha on media (print) Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, who disclosed that the new management of Imo Transport Cooperation (ITC) has made it possible for the state government to generate over 200 million Naira from ITC, and to procure over 200 Hiace new buses, 50 Coaster buses as well and opening of additional 70 loading bays in the country. This has resulted in the provision of over 1000 job opportunities for Imolites, in addition to the implementation of safety measures with maximum comfort. These according to management have so far placed ITC as one of the best government owned transport companies in the country (Onyeukwu 2013).
2.5 Transport and Communication
Transport and communications occupy an important place in the economy and social development of a country. A country cannot develop so fast without a developed transport and communication systems. According to Oluikpe, et al (1999:17), “efficient, up-to-date transport and communications systems are essential for the smooth working of a modern complex economy”. Writing on the importance of transport and communications to commerce, the authors went on to assert that:
“Transport is in many ways the life-blood of a nation’s economy; without it, no interchange of goods or people would be possible, and that the necessity that such interchange should become as cheap and safe and quick as possible has caused increasingly dramatic developments over countries in both transportation methods and routes: from the slow, vulnerable camel caravans crossing the deserts of Africa and Asia to modern jet planes circling the world in twenty-four hours”.
Mass production will have little economic value if the products cannot be distributed safely and quickly to potential buyers. The British Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was as much a revolution in transport as in industrial techniques. One could not have taken place without the other. The present complex system of production in highly industrialized nations is only possible because of the improvement in means of transport which accompanied each stage of industrial development.
Transport and communications are closely related. According to Olewe (2001:72), communication is the act of passing, transmitting or exchanging information…by talk, writing, radio, television e.t.c”. In the olden days, communicating with a distance audience always involved the transportation of a traveller who would carry the message. Today, such distant communications can be achieved by means of radio, telephone, television e.t.c. Proving this point, mass communication dictionary (2007:68), noted that communication is now “a transaction involving the meaningful exchange of information between sender and receiver. It entails a process by which messages are encoded, transmitted and decoded and how the message is transformed by this process.”
Communication performs lots of functions in the development of human society, as Nwabueze, (2005: 31), “pointed out that communication skill by communicators largely determines the success of the mass media in the performance of their development roles in a society”. Supporting this view, Arens et al (2011:10) states:
“Throughout our lives, survival and success in achieving our goals depend on our ability to inform others or persuade them to take some actions. As we develop, we learn to listen and respond to others messages.”
Also, Charles, in Eyutchae (2002:37), defined communication as:
“the mechanism by which human relation exists and develop – all the symbols of the mind together with the means of transmitting them through space and maintaining them in time”.
Besides relatively slow means of communication such as letters, messages, etc. fast and efficient means have been developed. According to Onnu (2004:1), “our modern life depends to a very large extent, upon fast and reliable communications.”
The underlying objective behind all forms of speech and advertising is to communicate effectively. To achieve this, the communicator must understand what he wants to communicate, have the ability to evaluate the effect of the communicated message on his audience, and know the principles underlying all speech situations (Ngwu, 2002).
To some extent, every talk is persuasive because the speaker is demanding to be heard. The speaker strives to motivate his audience to do something. This is best achieved by persuading the audience to accept the speaker’s point of view (Ngwu, 2002). On his view, Hybel, (2004:78) notes:
“When messages are misunderstood or when a communication has no effect on listener, it may be the language of the speaker that is at fault. And no matter how skilful it may be in other ways, any communication that is not understood cannot be successful.”
Talking about transportation, people all over the world are generally concerned whenever the word transportation is mentioned. This is because transportation just like communication makes the world go round, everybody makes good use of them. However, some factors may affect the choice of Transport; some of the factors are discussed below
1. Quality of Service
The quality of service a company could render differs in so many aspects depending on the nature of the company. In transport companies for instance, the quality of service may include how commuters are welcomed, the comfort in the buses, and the atmosphere of the company generally. All these are to be determined by the commuter who wants to patronize the company. Although, a review of transportation research findings suggests that consumers are willing to trade off some attributes against one another (e.g., they will pay a premium fare for a faster or more comfortable service). According to Anyanwuocha, (1993:4),
“Each individual is assumed to have a scale of preference”. This is because economic theory assumes that people always behaves rationally and would satisfy their most pressing wants first. A scale of preference may not be a written list. It could be a mental list.”
On top of the preference list, we could expect to find what the individual regards as his most pressing wants. He would satisfy wants near the top before those near the bottom of his scale.
2. The Cost of Service
Cost remains the most important factor a commuter must consider before making a trip. In economics, opportunity cost underlines the basic economic problems of scarcity and choice, and is relevant to the behaviour of individuals or consumers, firms or producers, and of the government (Anyanwuocha 1993).
Anyanwuocha argued that every human activity involving an economic decision entails some real cost measured in terms of forgone alternatives. The individual is faced with the problem of scarcity of resources, and so he has to make a choice. The concept of opportunity cost is therefore relevant to him. It helps him in deciding how to spend his scarce resources.
The fact is that cost of service may affect the performance of a transport company. However, Hanson (1973:59) noted that first law of supply and demand, states that “the lower the price of a commodity, the greater the quantity that will be demanded.” But, in exceptional demand curves a few exceptional cases may arise whereby- the quantity demanded of a commodity may be greater at a higher price. In Transport Company for instance, some commuters may prefer paying higher prices to achieve convenience and comfort, while others may prefer lower prices and save their money.
3. Managerial Skill
To manage a Transport Company requires managerial skills in order to operate effectively. Mfonobong, (2002:27) has this to say:
“Strategic Management is considered as a dynamic process that involves a complex pattern of actions and reactions. It involves planning for the present and pre-empting the future. It is observed that most business organizations fail because of defective and dysfunctional strategic planning, rational decision-making and improper management.”
Mfonobong stressed the need to have strategic planning. Without strategic planning, organizations are incapacitated, lack focus, new direction and vision to be in consonance with changing global business environment.
Planning here is the process of determining an organization’s objectives as well as selects a course of action to accomplish such objectives. It is not enough to invest money in public transportation, the real challenge is the marketing: how do we persuade people to use it, and that is when advertising comes in. Transportation managers simply cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that unless public transport is well patronized, many of the benefits claimed for it will never be achieved.
A brief description of the tasks facing transport planners and managers will suffice to indicate why an understanding of consumer behaviour is so important in this field of activity. At the outset, it is essential that transport services be designed (or redesigned) to appeal to those who account for the bulk of car or bus travel in towns and cities. This task requires obtaining information on what characteristics consumers would ideally like to find in a transportation mode for various types of journeys, and then develop new or improved transport services which come as close as possible to meeting this ideal. Subsequently, the resulting services must be advertised in such a way as to change consumer behaviour. In order to bring about a behavioural change, transport advertisers must learn more about the criteria which commuters employ in making decisions relating to travel modes, as well as the relative importance of these criteria.
The management of a transport company therefore should endeavour to find the most effective means of communicating with different segments of the market for new transport services together with the most appropriate appeals to employ in seeking to change the behaviour of consumers. Finally, acquiring the techniques of planning in all aspects of management is very crucial so as to offset future uncertainties through a systematic reduction in all forms of risks and circumvention of all constraints surrounding an organizations operations e.g. adverts, as this would go a long way in providing overall directions to the whole enterprise and a source of attraction to commuters who want to patronize the company.
Kleppner (1979) as quoted in Okunna (2002:85) states that advertising “seems to be a part of human nature evidenced since ancient times”. In villages and communities, children would sing recognizable songs to announce availability of goods and services (Ekwelie 1980) as quoted in Okuma (2002:86). Ekwelie maintained that “before the emergence of cities… villages and little neighbourhood had ways of advertising their wares, even in cities today, one can still hear the matins songs of pap sellers.” In our villages, even in cities, traders would sell their wares that are wide spread on the ground by sitting behind them. But Omu in Okunna, (2002:86) have a different view as he notes:
“The view that traders were satisfied with the spreading of their wares on the ground waiting for customers to make their first advance is entirely misleading. Traders called the attention of prospective customers to the excellent quality and quantity of their goods and sometimes coin slogans to give added effects to their usual exaggerated claims.”
But today, advertising has gone far beyond that, to modern methods whereby radio, television, newspapers, magazines and very recently the internet are used by companies to advertise their goods and services. Other methods include: posters, billboards, pamphlets, public address systems etc. These modern methods of advertising have been wisely employed by Transport Companies in advertising their services. Advertising is a major factor in the choice of a transport company as a result of its awareness creation.
Nearness is a very important factor in the choice of a transport line. One does not need to go a far distance in order to board a vehicle. Therefore, transport companies should take advantage of this and establish parks and garages within accessible areas.
Consequently, we limit our investigation on the influence of advertising on consumer behaviour with particular reference to transport companies in Ebonyi State. In doing this, we have assumed that the performance of a transport company is determined by the number of people patronizing the company. These numbers can only be determined through accurate data in the course of our investigation.
2.6 Consumer Behaviour Influences
The buying decision is not made in isolation by the individual alone. Instead, it is a process of interaction between purchasers, reference group, information search, his or her self-concept, the environment and other like factors (Sajid 2008). The purchase is only the visible part of a more complex decision process created by the consumer for each buying decision he makes. Understanding of people’s purchasing behaviour or service patronage requires knowledge of the consumer. The knowledge of the consumer behaviour helps identify the basic processes by which consumers evaluate and select transportation alternatives. However, Consumer behaviour is a complex discipline; therefore it is essential to start with a contemporary definition. According to Solomon, (2006:6).
“Consumer behaviour…… is the process involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires”.
Also, according to Schiff man, (2007:3),
“Consumer behaviour is the behaviour that consumers display in searching, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services that they expect will satisfy their needs”.
Consumer decision making has long been of interest to researchers. For example, marketing research provides methods to ensure the aspects of consumer behaviour identified as relevant to transportation and ensures accurate input to the models of the transportation consumer.
The decision making process of consumers are influenced by both internal/external/environmental variables. Transport marketers must learn more about the criteria which consumers employ in making decisions and how this decisions influence their behaviour. Therefore, an analysis of the basic variables influencing consumer behaviour will be much useful to the transport marketers so as to frame suitable marketing strategies which will help understand the behaviour of commuters in transport industry. Consumer behaviour theories broadly classified the factors into Economic factors, Sociological factors and behavioural factors (Gandhi 1991).
Sociological and Behavioural Determinants:
Sociologists and social psychologists attempted to explain the behaviour of a group of individuals and the manner in which it influences and conditions an individual’s behaviour in the market place. According to Gandhi (1991:95), “they emphasized the influence of family members, reference groups, opinion leaders, social class, caste and culture on the consumer behaviour”.
Family: The family is maybe the most influencing factor for an individual. It forms an environment of socialization in which an individual will evolve, shape his personality, and acquire values. But also develop attitudes and opinions on various subjects, such as politics, society, social relations or himself and his desires. “Every single member of the society belongs to the family” Nwani (2003:49). Gandhi adds that consumer researchers revealed that, for every family there is a role specialization and every member of the family has a specific role to play in making the family purchase. It is possible that the buyer may be influenced by the preferences of the other members of the family group. For a marketing man, it is important to identify these members and their respective buying roles.
The Reference Group: Reference groups are those groups that provide to the individual some points of comparison more or less direct about his behaviour, lifestyle, desires or consumer habits. According to Olewe (2001:245), “The environment is conditioned by the group for there is a culture peculiar to each group.” In 1942, Hyman originated the concept of reference group, to describe the kind of group used by an individual as a point of reference for his own judgement, beliefs and behaviour. Hyman stated that reference group will affect the level of aspiration and type of behaviour through establishing conventional patterns of personal expenditure. An understanding of the points of reference of the target consumers of company’s products is relevant in formulating effective marketing strategies/programmes.
Opinion Leaders: It was scholars like Klapper (1960) who argued that several other mediating factors exert considerable influence, as related in Bittner (1989). The concept of opinion leadership is the work of Lazarsfeld and Gandet in (1940’s). This theory stated that consumers often make a reference to an individual (opinion leaders) in order to formulate his/her behaviour pattern. For the marketers it is necessary to identify those leaders who influence and condition the others behaviour, so that they can formulate the promotional strategies based on that.
Culture: Culture is a whole way of life of a people, their basic values, perceptions and wants. It is a behaviour learned by a member of a society from family and other institutions. The factors mentioned have deep influences on consumer behaviour. For a brand, it is important to understand and take into account the cultural factors inherent to each market or to each situation in order to adapt its product and its marketing strategy. As these will play a role in the perception, habits, behaviour or expectations of consumers. Howard and sheth model viewed culture as selective manmade way of responding to experience. The authors noted that cultural aspects go a long way in conditioning the purchase behaviour of Indian consumers.
Social Class: Social classes are defined as groups more or less homogenous and ranked against each other according to a form of social hierarchy. Even if it’s very large groups, we usually find similar values, lifestyles, interests, and behaviours in individuals belonging to the same class. According to Nwani (2003:19), “In any human interactions, there is the tendency for the individuals’ behaviour to be changed by the behaviour of others”. Social class is a relatively permanent and ordered division whose members share similar values, interests, and behaviour. Social class is determined by factors like income, occupation, education, wealth, and other variables. Marketers are interested in social class because people within a given social class tend to exhibit similar buying behaviour. Howard and sheth acknowledged that several research studies carried out in USA and elsewhere, suggest that influence of class affiliates is visible on product, and store choices of consumers.
Individual determinant s of consumer behaviour
In addition to external factors, consumer behaviour is influenced by personal and psychological characteristics of the individual. In line with this, Ahamefule (2003:11), states:
“In their attempt to explain the causes of human behaviour, psychologists take different perspectives or approaches, three major view points are overriding here. These include the biological, intra-psychic, social environmental/behavioural viewpoints”.
Marketers cannot control or regulate these variables but can tune or mould their marketing strategies by identifying these factors. The personal characteristics of the individual includes: age occupation, economic situation, life style, personality and self. The psychological characteristics include: perception, learning, beliefs, attitude and motivation (Gandhi 1991).
Age: The buying patterns and habits of consumers change over their life time. Change in cloths, fashion, and recreation are all age related factors. A consumer does not buy the same products or services at 20 or 70 years. His entire life style, values, environment, activities, hobbies and consumer habits evolve throughout his life. Moreover, consumers face different stages of family life cycle as they mature overtime. Gandhi observed that marketers often define their target markets in terms of different consumer segments and family life cycle stage and develop appropriate products and marketing plans for each stage and segment. It is important for a marketer to identify, understand, measure and analyze the criteria and personal factors that influence the behaviour of their customers in other to adapt.
Life Style: The life style of a consumer will have influence on his purchasing decisions. Life style is a person’s pattern of living as expressed in his or her psychographics. It is the expression of the way he or she chooses to spend time and money and how his or her values and taste are reflected in consumption choices. Life style research is useful in tackling social consumption preferences and also to position specific products and services to different segment.
Personality: Personality is the set of traits and specific characteristics of each individual. It is the product of the interaction of psychological and physiological characteristics of the individual that result in constant behaviour. Personality is a stable set of characteristics and commonalities peculiar to an individual which are used to describe, prescribe and predict an individual in a given situation (Alport 1960). The concept of personality refers to a person’s unique psychological make-up and how it consistently influences the way a person makes choices or respond to his or her environment. Marketers have met with little success when it comes to strategies based on personality differences.
Self: Self concept is the image that the individual has – or would like to have – of himself which he conveys to others. It greatly influences the individual in his choice and his way of being in everyday life, including his behaviour in choice of Transport Company. It is made up of the conclusions you draw about yourself (Hybel 1986). Consumers’ self-concepts are reflections of their attitudes towards themselves. Whether these attitudes are positive or negative, they will guide and possibly influence many purchase decisions. Consumers do not just buy products based on their needs or for their intrinsic features, but they are also looking for products that are consistent and reinforce the image they have of themselves or they would like to have.
A person’s buying choices are further influenced by various psychological factors which include: motivation, perception, learning belief and attitudes.
Motivation: Motivation is what will drive consumers to develop a purchasing behaviour. It is the expression of a need which became pressing enough to lead the consumer to want to satisfy it. It is working at a subconscious level and is often difficult to measure. The psychological theories of Sigmund Freud and Abraham Maslow focused on the need for identifying motivational aspect of consumers because as many factors affect motivation. Hoffmann (2007) stated that motivation is used to investigate the psychological reasons why individuals buy specific type of merchandise, or why they respond to specific advertising appeals, and to determine the base of brand choices and product preferences. Motivation tends to be greater when consumers see something that is personally relevant to them. Other things are seen as relevant because they relate to our needs, values, and goals. Highly motivated consumers may fail to achieve goals if other opportunity to do so is limited. To increase sales, and encourage consumers to purchase, brands should try to create, make conscious or reinforce a need in the consumer’s mind so that he develops a purchase motivation. By so doing, he will be much more interested in considering and buying the products.
Perception: Perception is the process by which people select, organise, and interpret information to form a meaningful picture of the world. According to Hybel (2006:29), “our perceptions of the world change with knowledge and experience.” People can form different perceptions towards same stimulus because of three perceptional processes i.e. selective attention, selective distortion and selective retention. For example, an average person may be exposed to very larger number of ad’s in a single day, some may have the capacity to retain the information while others may screen out most of the information they are exposed to meaning that marketers have to work hard to attract consumers attention. People have tendency to interpret information in a way that will suit their belief (selective distortion). Therefore marketer must try to understand the mindset of consumers and how these will affect interpretations of advertising and sales promotion. People tend to retain information that supports their attitudes and beliefs (selective retention).
Learning: Learning is through action. When we act, we learn. It implies a change in the behaviour resulting from experience. Learning changes the behaviour of an individual as he acquires information and experience. If you have good experience with a product or service, you will have much more desire to try it next time. Learning theorists pointed out that most human behaviour is learned. Learning occurs through the interplay of drives, stimulus, cues, responses and reinforcement. Learning describes changes in an individual behaviour arising from experience. “Ahamefule (2003) noted that behavioural learning is a relatively permanent change in behaviour that is brought about by experience”. “Davidoff (1987) also remarked that learners acquire new association information insight, skills, habits and the like.” The practical significance of learning theory for marketers is that they can build up demand for a product by associating it with strong drives using motivating cues and providing positive reinforcement.
Beliefs: A belief is a conviction that an individual has on something. Through the experience he acquires, his learning and his external influences (family, friends, etc…), he will develop beliefs that will influence his buying behaviour. A belief links an object to an attribute (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975). People have certain beliefs towards certain products and services. Belief is a descriptive thought that a person has about something. Marketers are interested in the belief that people formulate about specific products and services because these beliefs make up products and brands images that affect buying behaviour. If some of the beliefs are wrong and prevent purchase, the marketer will launch a campaign to correct them.
Attitudes: Attitude is a feeling, an assessment of an object or idea and the predisposition to act in a certain way towards that object. Attitudes allow the individual to develop a coherent behaviour against a class of similar object or ideas. According to Secord and Bachman, (1964:94), “attitude refers to certain regulation about individual’s feelings, thought and predispositions to act towards an object, event and/or a person in his environment.” Attitude is a person’s consistently favourable or unfavourable evaluation of feelings and tendencies towards an object or an idea. Attitudes are difficult to change. When attitudes fit into a person, to change it may require difficult adjustments. Thus a company is supposed to try to fit into existing attitudes rather than attempts to change attitudes.
It can be concluded that there are a number of forces that influence consumer behaviour. Consumer choices redetect from the complex interplay of cultural, social, personal, and psychological factors. Although, many of these factors cannot be influenced by the marketers, they can be useful in identifying interested buyers and shaping products and appeals, to serve consumer needs better.
2.6.2 Consumer Buying Decision Processes
The consumer decision-making process describes the process a customer goes through before he buys a product or makes use of a company services. Understanding your customer’s buying process is not only very important for a marketer, it will also enable you to align your strategy accordingly (Johnson, 2013). The process has been interpreted by many scholars over the year; however, the five stage framework remains a good way to evaluate the customer’s buying process. John Dewey first introduced the following five stages in 1910.
1. Need Recognition
According to Arens, (2011: 159) “The moment someone recognizes a need or want that might be satisfied by a purchase, he begins what marketing scholars call the consumer decision process”. Need recognition is the first and most important step in the buying process. If there is no need, there is no purchase. The recognition happens when there is a lag between the consumer’s actual situation, the ideal and the desired one (Perreau 2013). However, not all the needs end up as a buying behaviour; it depends on the level of importance he attributed to the need. The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs developed by the eponymous psychologist specifies that an individual is guided by certain needs that he wants to achieve before seeking to focus on the others.
Many reasons can be attributed to consumer need recognition. These include:
• Internal stimulus: (physiological need felt by the individual as a result of hunger or thirst) which opposes the external stimulus such as advertisement, the sight of an expensive bus for transportation, the sight of a pretty dress in a shop window.
• Functional need: the need may be related to a feature or specific functions of the product or services which happens to be the answer to a functional problem. Like a new, comfortable transport vehicle with air condition, which can travel far distances at the shortest possible time, or a washing machine that responds to the needs of a householder, by cleaning cloths without the use of hands.
• Social need: the need comes from a desire for integration and belongingness in the social environment or for social recognition. Like buying a new fashionable bag to look good at school or choose a luxury car to show that you are successful in life.
• The need for change: the need ha its origin in a desire from the consumer to change. This may result in changing a particular transport company which you have been travelling with, to another company or change of your travelling bag to a new one.
2. Information Search
Once the need is identified, the consumer now seeks for information about possible solutions to the problem. He will search for more or less information depending on the complexity of the choices to be made. The consumer will try to make his opinion guide his choice and his decision-making process:
• Internal information: this information is already present in the consumer’s memory. It comes from previous experiences he had with a service or product brand and the opinion he may have of the brand.
Internal information is sufficient for the purchasing of everyday products that the consumer knows – including Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) or Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). But when it comes to a major purchase with a level of uncertainty or stronger involvement and the consumer does not have enough information, he must turn to another source, which includes:
• External information: This is information on product or brand received from and obtained by friends and family, by reviews from other consumers or from the press. Not to mention, of course, official business sources such as an advertising or seller’s speech.
During his decision-making process and his Consumer Buying Decision Process, the consumer will pay more attention to his internal information and the information from friends, family or other consumers. It will be judged more objective than those from an ad, a seller’s speech or a commercial brochure of the product (Stephan, 1996).
3. Alternative Evaluation
Once the information is collected, the consumer will be able to evaluate the alternatives before him, evaluate the most suitable to his needs and choose the one he thinks it’s the best for him.
In other to do so, he will evaluate their attributes on two aspects. The objective characteristics such as the features and functionalities of the product or services and also the subjective such as perception and perceived value and reputation of the brand to the consumer.
Each consumer does not attribute the same importance to each attribute for his Consumer Buying Decision Process. It varies from one consumer to another. According to Dychtwald, (1990: 62-73) “The consumer will make use of the information previously collected, together with his perceptive image of the brand”. This will enable him establish a set of evaluation criteria, to classify the different products available and evaluate which alternative has the most chances to satisfy him.
4. Purchase Decision
Now that the consumer has evaluated the different solutions and products availability which will respond to his needs, he will be able to choose the product or brand that seems most appropriate to his needs. He will then proceed to the actual purchase.
His decision will depend on the information and the selection made in the previous steps based on the perceived value, product’s features and capabilities that are important to him. For example, a consumer committed to the idea of patronizing a well-known transport company could change his decision if he has an unpleasant experience with the management of the company.
5. Post-purchase Behaviour
Once the product is purchased and used, the consumer will evaluate the adequacy with his original needs. The consumer will evaluate whether he has made the right choice in buying this product or making use of this service. He will feel a sense of satisfaction for the product if satisfied or, on the contrary, a disappointment if the product has fallen far short of expectations. This is an opinion that will influence his future decisions and buying behaviour. If the product has brought satisfaction to the consumer, he will then minimize stages of information search and alternative evaluation for his next purchases in order to buy the same brand, which will produce customer royalty. On the other hand, if the experience with the product was average or disappointing, the consumer is going to repeat the 5 stages of the Consumer Buying Process during his next purchase.
The post-purchase evaluation may have important consequences for a brand because a satisfied customer is very likely to become a loyal and regular customer. On the other hand, Paul (1996:554) “stated that a negative consumer will also share his opinion on the brand either in his family or by word-of-mouth”. On a much broader scale, the consumer can share his opinion on social networks or on consumer product review websites. A tendency not to be overlooked because now with the internet, an unhappy customer can have a strong power to harm a brand.
This is the important reason why companies should have the knowledge of consumer behaviour. A company should have efficient customer service and a specific call centres to help post-purchase behaviour of consumers, in case if there is any dissatisfaction or trouble with the product or service it renders to the public.
2.7 Consumer Behaviour Theories
1. Utility Theory
About 300 years ago, early economist led by Nicholas Bernoulli, John von Newman and Oskar Morrgenstem, started to examine the basis of consumer decision making Richarme, (2007). This early work approached the topic from an economic perspective, and focused solely on the act of purchase Loudon, (1993). The most prevalent model from this perspective is ‘Utility Theory’ which proposes that consumers make choices based on the expected outcomes of their decisions. Consumers are viewed as rational decision makers who are only concerned with self-interest. (Schiffman,1992).
In addition, Zinkhan, (1992) noted that utility theory views the consumer as a ‘rational economic man’, where contemporary research on consumer behaviour considers a wide range of factors influencing the consumer, and acknowledges a broad range of consumption activities beyond purchasing. These activities commonly include, need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, the building of purchase intention, the act of purchasing, consumption and finally disposal. This more complex view of consumer behaviour has evolved through a number of new research methodologies and paradigmatic approaches being adopted. While this evolution has been continuous, it is only since 1950’s that consumer behaviour has responded to the conception and growth of modern marketing to encompass the more holistic range of activities that impact upon the consumer decision ( Blackwell, 2001).
A number of different approaches have been adopted in the study of decision making, drawing on differing traditions of psychology. Writers suggest different typological classifications of these works with five major approaches emerging. Each of these five approaches posits alternate models of man, and emphasizes the need to examine quite different variables Foxall, (1990). The five major approaches will be briefly introduced in turn.
• Economic man
Economic Man: As mentioned above, early research regarded man as entirely rational and self-interested, making decisions based on the ability to maximize utility whilst expending the minimum effort. (Richame, 2007) “said that even though work in this area began around 300 years ago, the term ‘ economic man’ was first used in the 19th century”. According to Schiffman, (2007:122)
“In order to behave rationally in the economic sense, as this approach suggests, a consumer would have to be aware of all the available consumption options, be capable of correctly rating each alternative and be available to select the optimum course of action”.
These steps are no longer seen to be a realistic account of human decision making, as consumers rarely have adequate information, motivation or time to such a ‘perfect’ decision and are often acted upon by less rational influences such as social relationships and values Simon, (1997). Furthermore, Herbert Simons Satisfying Theory is of the opinion that individuals often seek satisfaction rather than optimum choices.
Psychodynamic Approach: According to Stewart (1994), Psychodynamic approach is widely attributed to the work of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). This view posit that behaviour is subject to biological influence through ‘instinctive forces’ or ‘drives’ which act outside of conscious thought Arnold (1991). While Freud identified three facets of the psyche, namely the Id, Ego and the Superego, other theorists working within this tradition, most notably Jung identified different drives Ribeaux, (1978). The major tenet of the psychodynamic approach is that behaviour is determined by biological drives, rather than individual cognition, or environmental stimuli.
Behaviourist Approach: John B. Watson in 1920 published a landmark study into behaviour which became known as ‘Little Albert’. This study involved teaching a small child (Albert) to fear objects through repeated pairing with loud noises. This study proved that behaviour can be learned by external events and thus discredited the Psychodynamic approach that was predominant at the time Watson, (1920). Behaviourism is a family of philosophers. They state that behaviour is explained by external events and that all things that organisms do, including actions, thought and feelings can be regarded as behaviours. The philosophers went further to say that the causation of behaviour is attributed to factors external to the individual.
The most influential proponents of the behavioural approach were Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) who investigated classical conditioning, John Watson (1878-1958) who rejected introspective methods, and Buntus Skinner (1904-1990) who developed operant conditioning. Each of these developments relied heavily on logical positivism purporting that objective and empirical methods used in the physical sciences can be applied to the study of consumer behaviour. Eysenck, (2000).
Cognitive Approach: Cognitive approach ascribes observed action (behaviour) to intrapersonal cognition. The individual is viewed as an ‘information processor’ Ribeauxet, (1978). This intrapersonal causation clearly challenges the explicative power of environmental variables suggested in Behavioural approaches, however, an influential role of the environment and social experience is acknowledged, with consumers actively seeking and receiving environmental and social stimuli as informational input aiding internal decision making Stewart, (1994). The Cognitive approach is derived in a large part from cognitive psychology which can trace its roots back to early philosophers such as Socrates who was interested in the origins of knowledge (Plato 360 B.C.), Aristotle who proposed the first theory of memory(Aristotle 350 B.C.) It was not until middle of the 21st Century however that Cognitive Psychology truly emerged as a mainstream and useful field of study with the development of the Stimulus-Organism-Response model by Hebb during the 1950’s Cziko, (1967). From this point, many writers suggested that Cognitivism had taken over from Behaviourism as the dominant paradigmatic approach to decision research Furedy, (1987).
Cognitive Models of Consumer Behaviour: There are two major types of Cognitive Models. One is the analytical model which provides a framework for the key elements that are purported to explain the behaviour of the consumer. These models identify a plethora of influencing factors, and intimate the broad relationships between factors in consumer decision making. Due to their wide ranging scope, such models are often labelled the “grand models” Kassarjian, (1982). Typically, they tend to follow the traditional five steps classifications outlining problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, and choice and outcome evaluation as the key stages in consumer decision processes Erasmus, (2001), and Schiffman, (2007).
According to Howard, (1969) the Theory of Buyer Behaviour and the consumer decision Model are two of the most widely cited analytical models. Secondly, prescriptive models “provide guidelines or frameworks to organize how consumer behaviour is structured” Moital, (2007). These models include the order in which elements should appear, and the effect which should be observed given certain causal factors. As such they promise to be useful to practitioners who can measure what stimuli should be modified or emphasized to attract a certain consumer response.
2. Social Class Theory
The Social Class Theory is an important theory that explains the influence of advertisement on patronage of products and services. The individual consumer is a unique part of many groups such as the family, peer group, fellow workers, neighbours and the like. Therefore, certain behavioural expectations arising from membership in these groups transcends and influences the consumer in many ways. Much of human behaviour and buyer behaviour in particular is shaped by group influence, whether cultural, religious, political, socio-economic life styles, special interest groups, and how family and social groups affect an individual’s behaviour patterns Smith(1997). A social class is relatively homogeneous and members share similar values, interests, and behaviour, and have several characteristics. First, those within each class tend to behave more alike. Second, persons are perceived as occupying inferior or superior positions according to social class. Third, social class is indicated by a cluster of variables – for example, occupation, income, consumption pattern, etc.. Consequently, consumers patronize products or differentiated service in order to remain relevant to their social groups. Thus, they attend to advertising message discriminately to enable them make choices that fit their social class.
3. Learning Theory
This theory is based on the idea of learned behaviour through observation. Individuals observe the performance of behaviour and subsequently imitate it. Albert Bandura, its originator, is a psychologist. The principal understanding of Social Learning Theory is tied to the social context of learning. It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modelling. Bandura has emphasized the fact that people who observe responses of individuals tend to exhibit the same when placed in similar settings.
According to Bandura, behaviours and responses that are repeated, perceived as real, distinct, functional and salient are more likely to be attended to, thus more likely to be learned. When observing an event, which receives some kind of reward like social approval, pleasant experience and when the observer feels confident to perform, its symbolic imitation is facilitated. The social cognitive principle has been widely employed to explain the television effects on a variety of social issues such as aggression, ethnic stereotypes, alcohol attitudes and behaviour. It also stresses the importance of viewer’s cognitive activities when consuming television messages (Bandura, 1977). Mass media, particularly television, plays a crucial role in bringing the outside world into homes. As an important institution, mass media enters the socialization process of an individual.
The Social Learning Theory explains how environment influences the behavior of an individual. DeFleur and Sandra (1989) stated “despite general in nature, Social Learning Theory is particularly relevant to study the impact of mass communication because the description and portrayal of social life is a frequent subject in media contents”. The most common (and pervasive) examples of social learning situations are television commercials. Commercials suggest that drinking a certain beverage or using a particular shampoo will make us popular and win the admiration of attractive people. Depending upon the component processes involved (such as attention or motivation), users may model the behaviour shown in the commercial and buy the product being advertised. Actions of characters in the audio-visual media can serve as a model for others to imitate. Modelling Theory is also useful for describing the application of general Social Learning Theory which explains how new behaviours are acquired by people from media portrayals. An individual observes a character, identifies him/her as a model and remembers actions of model and performs them when confronted with similar circumstances DeFleur and Sandra, (1989). Literature has shown that viewers acquire attitudes, emotional responses and new styles of conduct from media especially from films and television. Bandura (1973), and Liebert (1973). The theory clearly establishes that the media can serve as agents in the socialization process. This theory is laid on four main principles that are:
1) Learning may or may not result in behaviour change.
2) People learn by observing other’s behaviour and the outcome of that behaviour.
3) Cognition plays a role in learning. Being aware and expectant of rewards and punishments can have a major effect on a person’s behaviour.
4) The SLT is a bridge between the behaviourist perspective and the cognitive perspective.
4. Hierarchy of Effect Models
Under the economic man model of the 1940’s, scholars related demand equations to product sales; under the irrational man model of the 1950’s scholars used projective research techniques to search for the subconscious meaning of goods; under the consumer-as-information-processor models that dominated the 1960s and 70s, scholars built hierarchy-of-effect models and studied pre-purchase information seeking and processing: under the cognitive miser models of the 1980s.
The Hierarchy of effect model was created in 1961 by Robert J. Lavidge and Gary A. Steiner. Hierarchy of effect model is one of the prime theories in the marketing communication framework which logically explains the sequential tasks of marketing message influence. In other words, it affects the consumers’ awareness to purchase action which is assumed that the relative step would ideally push through to the next process. First process is cognitive part which means that consumers have received the message and like the awareness.
Second process is affective part which shows that attitude and reaction to the promotion messages have been generated in the step. The final process is behaviour part which is the actual purchase to the promoted brand (De Pelsmacker, 2004). According to these three main processes, many different models have been created and AIDA is one of the models and often to be referred. The hierarchy of effect approach is grounded on the base that to be effective and achieve the desired response, several steps has to be completed and passed. Any piece of persuasive communication must carry the audience through the series of stages that has been drawn. These stages are placed so that a customer has to climb them, and one step cannot be reached until the previous is completed (Mackay, 2005).
They are varieties of the hierarchy of effect model. Such models present a learning process by which consumers’ progress through a series of predetermined functions to complete the buying process. These models assume that a purchase will only be made when all the steps in the hierarchy of effects have been completed. The model is dynamic in that each single step in the sequence depends upon the preceding step. They include AIDA model which was developed by Colley (1984) and built around four stages of communication results: awareness, comprehension, conviction, and action. Colley argued that it is possible to pick the appropriate stage in the communication process and use it to define advertising objectives.
Preston and Thorson (1983) noted that the most often cited hierarchy model was posited by Lavidge and Steiner (1961). They believed that advertising was an investment in a long-term process that moved consumers over time through a variety of stair-step stages, beginning with product ‘awareness’ and moving ultimately to actual purchase. Their view of the stages of the advertising hierarchy is implicitly a causal one. However, by recognizing that advertising is essentially a ‘long-term’ process, it suggests that a causal influence between stages must occur only in the long-run, although it may not be found in the short-run. The argument that a favourable response at one step is necessary, but not sufficient condition for a favourable response at the next step which is central to the idea of advertising hierarchy of response models to this day.
Whatever the variety, a hierarchy of effects models is based on the assumption that people first learn something from advertising, then form feelings about the product in question, and finally take action(for example, purchasing a product). This order of stages is often called the learn-feel-do sequence Bovee, et al (1995). While the stages are enjoyed because of their simplicity, advertising does not always work in such a clear, straightforward, and logical manner.
Linda Karlsson (2007) opined that the main criticism on the hierarchy-of-effects models is the way they are being built up. Most of the existing criticism on the models rests upon the base they have been built on. The literature discusses the linear way of passing the different steps within the models and claims that the steps not always have to be passed in a hierarchy sequence. This is something that the interviewee seems to share the same opinion on. He says that all the customers not always pass the steps in a linear way. They may just as well go back one or several steps before moving back up through the steps in the process. He also says that the time period of passing the different steps in the process differs from time to time. No one can say how long it will take a customer to pass through the process.
The consumers have had different opinions on the use of these models. According to the authors, it is hard to say if they can be applied to the real buying process that customers actually go through.
2.8 Theoretical Framework
This study adopted the social categories theory. The theory was the work of Lazarsfeld and his colleagues in the 1940s, which was called the people’s choice. The theory maintained that the mass media had little or nothing to do with people’s attitudes, decisions and behaviour. According to this theory, many other factors could prevent mass communication from having direct and powerful effects on people. Okunna, (2002:19) pointed out that there are mediating factors, which determine how people react to media messages and how much impact these messages would have on their attitudes and behaviours. These mediating factors are also called intervening variables.
The position of this model is that instead of direct conversion of the audience, mass media merely reinforces or strengthens existing attitudes and behaviour. The few people whose attitudes changed did so as a result of opinion leaders in the course of intrapersonal communication.
To arrive at this knowledge however, researchers had to make use of survey research polling, and other social science methods which were championed by Austrian immigrant Paul Lazarsfeld. The researchers were in fact his students and colleagues. Lazarsfeld (1941) argued that mere speculation about the impact of media was insufficient to explain the complex interaction that mass communication comprised. Instead, well-designed, sophisticated studies of media and audiences would produce more valuable knowledge (Baran, 2011). Baran, further noted that researchers using Lasarsfeld’s work identified those individuals and social characteristics that led audience members to be influenced (or not) by media. What emerged was the view that media influence was limited by individual differences (for example in intelligence and education), social categories (such as religious and political affiliation), and personal relationships (such as friend and family). The theories that emerged from this era of the systematic study of media effects, taken together, are now called limited effects theories.
This theory suggests that the influence of advertising on consumer behaviour in transport industries depend very much on other influencing factors or intervening variables, those who determine how much impact these messages would have on attitude and behaviour. Here, the importance of advertising therefore is its ability to create awareness.
2.9 Summary of Literature
This study reviewed empirical works on the Influence of Advertising on Consumer Behaviour. The review looked at the efforts of various authors as they searched to understand the buying behaviour of individuals and how advertising affects this behaviour. For example, Alicia Barroso and Llobet, undertook a study to assess the dynamic effect that advertising expenditure have regarding which products consumers include in their choice sets. It was discovered using discrete-choice model that consumers face choice sets that evolve according to their awareness of each product. Advertising expenditures have a dynamic effect in the sense that they raise consumer awareness of a product, and increase present and future sales. To estimate this effect, the authors explicitly modelled the firms’ dynamic advertising decisions and illustrate the model using data from the Spanish automobile market. The results show that the effect of advertising on awareness is dynamic and that accounting for it is crucial in explaining the evolution of product sales over its life cycle. Furthermore, they provided evidence to show that the awareness process can be significantly sped up by advertising. Thus, they concluded that there is a great heterogeneity in the awareness process among products depending on the level of advertising expenditures Alicia, (2011).
Alicia evaluated the effect of advertising on consumer awareness process. The study developed and estimated a structural model using Spanish automobile data in which the consumer purchase decision was specified using a discrete choice model with variation in the choice set, according to the information diffusion of the new products. The study also modelled the optimal price and advertising decisions of the firm, taking into account the dynamic effect of advertising on future sales via an increase in the proportion of consumer’s awareness of the product. The results suggest that the dynamic effect of advertising significantly enhances the information diffusion of new products, the awareness process of which can be significantly sped up. The authors estimate that this process takes time but it all depends on the level of advertising expenditure.
Kwek, Choon Ling, (2010) investigated the determinants of consumers’ attitude towards advertising among tertiary students in a private higher education institution in Malaysia. A total of 263 undergraduate business students from a private university in Malaysia participated in this research. Multiple regression analysis was employed to analyze the data generated through sampling of questionnaire. The outcome shows that credibility, information, and hedonic/pleasure, are good for the economy and positively relates to consumers attitude towards advertising.
Several authors carried out research in this area, Chakrabortty, through a survey research design investigated the effects of sales promotion and advertising on consumer’s purchase behaviour. The study found out that sales promotion and advertising is much more effective in low involvement category products where a simple promotional signal can lead the consumer to buy a product. Also, the outcome of the study also suggest that sales promotion is most effective on consumers who travel through the peripheral route and lead the consumer’s mind to brand switching. The study recommends that marketers should be aware of the new or unknown products, as sales promotion could have strong negative effects on consumers’ internal price reference and perceived quality. They concluded by highlighting the importance of integrating advertising with different promotional activities to improve the growth of sales of a product. Chakrabortty, (2013).
The study analyzed the views of experts on the influences of consumer behaviour. Sociologists and social psychologists undertook studies to investigate the behaviour of group of individuals and the manner in which it influences and conditions an individual’s behaviour in the market place. Gandhi (1991) noted that both emphasised the influence of family members, reference groups, opinion leadership, social class, caste and culture on consumer behaviour. On human psychological aspects, Sigmund Freud and Abraham Maslow focused on the need for identifying motivational aspect of consumers as it is used to investigate the psychological reasons why individuals buy specific merchandise, or why they respond to specific advertising appeals (Hoffman 2007).
GET THESE CHAPTERS ON PURCHASE.