Robert F. Rhone
Think about the last time you went into a store, to purchase an item like a bottle of soda. You went right to the place in the store that has the beverages, you went to your favorite brand, picked it up, and purchased it. This action, simple as it sounds, is loaded with complexities and questions. For example why did you choose this kind of soda? How did it become your favorite? What made this drink stand out to you? How could other soda companies persuade you to buy their drink? Was it the price? Was it the advertising you have seen since you were ten? How does buying this soda make you feel?
These are the kinds of questions that consumer psychology attempts to answer. You can see that the psychology of consumers would be a very valuable thing for producers to have an in-depth knowledge of. Consumer psychology becomes, as you learn more about it, just as valuable for consumers to understand. If you have a basic understanding of consumer psychology, you can avoid the pitfalls of the marketing world. If you learn anything from reading this unit you will learn to have a good understanding of why advertisers cannot be trusted. You must use your intellect and ignore your instinctual emotions when making purchases if you wish to make the choices that are really in your best interest.
Since early in the conversation about economics, consumers have been seen as a group who can easily be taken advantage of. In the words of Adam Smith, "Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer." Smith was not thinking about marketing tricks, but his aim can be used in this context. He says it is ok to advertise and alter prices for the better of the producer, but not to any extreme.
"Only as far as it may be necessary for promoting that [interest] of the consume.r" Adam Smith is all for advertising, if it means more people can have access to more goods. What I think he would not condone is a system of advertising where producers manipulate the consumers only to promote profits. The situation is not that of a consumption war, but in this unit you will see the psychological principles that producers use to try to persuade consumers to buy their products. The more you know about them, the less you will have that feeling of regret for making that impulse buy. Or that late night infomercial purchase that continues with its five easy payments of $39.95, plus shipping and handling.
The purpose of this unit is to inform students that producers use psychologists' ideas about how humans think and behave to market their products as effectively as they can. Through understanding this idea students become more informed consumers and can make choices that are in their best interest. Of course consumption is necessary in our modern world. We need to buy food if we want eat and clothing if we want to be socially excepted. How we can be most prepared to make the best decision we can when it comes time to shop.