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3.2 The factors which influence consumer behaviour

A large number of factors influence our behaviour. Kotler and Armstrong (2008) classify these as:

  1. Psychological (motivation, perception, learning, beliefs and attitudes)

  2. Personal (age and life-cycle stage, occupation, economic circumstances, lifestyle, personality and self concept)

  3. Social (reference groups, family, roles and status)

  4. Cultural (culture, subculture, social class system).

Below you will see Figure 1, which adapts the above factors to a health behaviour context, providing a model which also explicitly emphasises, together with cultural factors, other features such as the economic environment as an element of the wider social context.

Figure 1
Source: Hastings (2007)
Figure 1 The wider determinants of health behaviour

As you can see, the immediate environment approximates to Kotler's social factors. Many studies of both commercial and social marketing emphasise the influence of family, friends and others on our decisions. Peer group pressure is an important influence and may be negative or positive.

Figure 1 illustrates an approach known as social-cognitive theory which is based on the proposition that our behaviour is determined by both personal and environmental factors.