Communicating a fascination for the everyday activities of people, this leading book on consumer behavior examines how our world is influenced by the action of marketers, and considers how products, services, and consumption contribute to the broader social world we experience. Its incredibly interesting and dynamic content proves hip and engaging, while reflecting the latest research. KEY TOPICS A four-part organization looks at consumers as individuals, consumers as decision makers, consumers and subcultures, and consumers and culture. For brand managers, marketing research analysts, and account executives.
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Michael R. Solomon, Ph.D., is Human Sciences Professor of Consumer Behavior in the Department of Consumer Affairs, College of Human Sciences, at Auburn University Prior to joining Auburn in 1995, he was Chairman of the Department of Marketing in the School of Business at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. He earned B.A. degrees in Psychology and Sociology magna cum laude at Brandeis University in 1977, and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981. He received the Cutty Sark Men's Fashion Award for his research on the psychological aspects of clothing. In 1996 he was awarded the Fulbright/FLAD Chair in Market Globalization by the U.S. Fulbright Commission and the Government of Portugal.
Professor Solomon's primary research interests include consumer behavior and lifestyle issues, online research methodologies, the symbolic aspects of products, the psychology of fashion, decoration, and image, and services marketing. He has published numerous articles on these and related topics in academic journals, and he has delivered invited lectures on these subjects in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Australia, and Latin America. His research has been funded by the American Academy of Advertising, the American Marketing Association, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. He currently sits on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Consumer Behaviour and the Journal of Retailing, and he was elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Marketing Science. Professor Solomon was ranked as one of the fifteen most widely cited scholars in the academic behavioral sciences/ fashion literature, and as one of the ten most productive researchers in the field of advertising and marketing communications.
In addition to his academic activities, Professor Solomon is a frequent contributor to mass media. He is the author of Conquering Consumerspace: Marketing Strategies for a Branded World, which was published in 2003. His feature articles have appeared in such magazines as Psychology Today, Gentleman's Quarterly, and Savvy. He has been quoted in numerous national magazines and newspapers, including Allure, Elle, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Mirabella, Newsweek, New York Times, Self, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal. He has been interviewed numerous times on radio and television, including appearances on Today, Good Morning America, CNBC, Channel One, Inside Edition, Newsweek on the Air, the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, and National Public Radio. Professor Solomon advises numerous companies on issues related to consumer behavior, services marketing, retailing, and advertising and he is a Director of Mind/Share, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in online consumer research. He frequently addresses business groups on strategic issues related to consumer behavior. Professor Solomon currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, with his wife, Gail, their three children, Amanda, Zachary, and Alexandra—and Chloe, their golden retriever.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I love to people-watch, don't you? People shopping, people flirting, people consuming... Consumer behavior is the study of people and the products that help to shape their identities. Because I'm a consumer myself, I have a selfish interest in learning more about how this process works—and so do you.
In many courses, students are merely passive observers, learning about topics that affect them indirectly if at all. Not everyone is a plasma physicist, a medieval French scholar, or a marketing professional. But we are all consumers. Many of the topics in this book have both professional and personal relevance to the reader, whether he or she is a student, professor, or businessperson. Nearly everyone can relate to the trials and tribulations associated with last-minute shopping, primping for a big night out, agonizing over an expensive purchase decision, fantasizing about a week in the Caribbean, celebrating a holiday, or commemorating a landmark event, such as a graduation, getting a driver's license, or (dreaming about) winning the lottery.
In this edition I have tried to introduce you to the latest and best thinking by some very bright scientists who develop models and studies of consumer behavior. But, that's not enough. Consumer behavior is an applied science, so we must never lose sight of the role of "horse sense" when we try to apply our findings to life in the real world. That's why you'll find a lot of practical examples to back up these fancy theories.
WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK DIFFERENT: BUYING, HAVING, AND BEING
As this book's subtitle suggests, my vision of consumer behavior goes well beyond studying the act of buying—having and being are just as important, if not more so. Consumer behavior is more than buying things; it also embraces the study of how having (or not having)'things affects our lives and how our possessions influence the way we feel about ourselves and about each other—our state of being. I developed the Wheel of Consumer Behavior that appears at the beginning of text sections to underscore the complex—and often inseparable—interrelationships between the individual consumer and his or her social realities.
In addition to understanding why people buy things, we also try to appreciate how products, services, and consumption activities contribute to the broader social world we experience. Whether shopping, cooking, cleaning, playing basketball, hanging out at the beach, or even looking at ourselves in the mirror, our lives are touched by the marketing system. As if these experiences were not complex enough, the task of understanding the consumer multiplies geometrically when we take a multicultural perspective.
All of these ideas are supported by intriguing and current examples, showing consumer behavior as it relates to current events. Throughout the sixth edition you'll discover up-to-the-minute topics including bio-terrorism, Internet piracy, consumer behavior post 9/11, identity theft, hype versus buzz, purchase momentum, new religions (Raelians), advergaming, flow states, food cultures, blogging, Web avatars, silent commerce, brandfests, tribal marketing, even Botox parties.
The American experience is important, but it's far from the whole story. This book also considers the many other consumers around the world whose diverse experiences with buying, having, and being are equally vital to understand. That's why you'll find numerous examples of marketing and consumer practices relating to consumers and companies outside the United States throughout the book. You'll find a list of those examples on the end pages of this book. If we didn't know it before the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we certainly know it now: Americans also are global citizens, and it's vital that we all appreciate the perspectives of others—and how others around the world regard us. That's why I'm excited about a feature called The Global Looking Glass that's new to this edition. When you come across these boxes you'll see some fascinating examples of how consumers in other countries view Americans and their products. Some of these views are positive, some aren't. But all of them provide a valuable perspective on the United States and the huge influences—both good and bad—our country exerts on businesses and people around the world.
DIGITAL CONSUMER BEHAVIOR: A VIRTUAL COMMUNITY
As more of us go online everyday, there's no doubt the world is changing—and consumer behavior is evolving faster than you can say "World Wide Web." This sixth edition highlights and celebrates the brave new world of digital consumer behavior. Consumers and producers are brought together electronically in ways we have never before experienced. Rapid transmission of information is altering the speed at which new trends develop and the direction in which they travel—especially since the virtual world lets consumers participate in the creation and dissemination of new products.
One of the most exciting aspects of the new digital world is that consumers can interact directly with other people who live around the block or around the world. As a result, the meaning of community is being radically redefined. It's no longer enough to acknowledge that consumers like to talk to each other about products. Now we share opinions and get the buzz about new movies, CDs, cars, clothes—you name it—in electronic communities that may include a housewife in Alabama, a disabled senior citizen in Alaska,, or a teen loaded with body piercings in Amsterdam.
We have just begun to explore the ramifications for consumer behavior when a Web surfer can project her own picture onto a Web site to get a virtual makeover, or a corporate purchasing agent can solicit bids for a new piece of equipment from vendors around the world in minutes. These new ways of interacting in the marketplace create bountiful opportunities for businesspeople and consumers alike. You will find illustrations of the changing digital world sprinkled liberally throughout this edition. In addition, each chapter features boxes called Net Profit that point to specific examples of the Net's potential to improve the way business is conducted.
But, is the digital world always a rosy place? Unfortunately just as in the "real world," the answer is no. The potential to exploit consumers, whether by invading their privacy, preying on the curiosity of children, or just providing false product information, is always there. That's why you'll also find boxes called The Tangled Web that point out some of the abuses of this fascinating new medium. Still, I can't imagine a world without the Web, and I hope you'll enjoy the ways it's changing our field. When it comes to the new virtual world of consumer behavior, you're either on the train or under it.
CONSUMER RESEARCH IS A BIG TENT THE IMPORTANCE OF A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE
Like most of the readers of this book, the field of consumer behavior is young, dynamic, and in flux. It is constantly being cross-fertilized by perspectives from many different disciplines—the field is a big tent that invites many diverse views to enter. I have tried to express the field's staggering diversity in these pages. Consumer researchers represent virtually every social science discipline, plus a few from the physical sciences and the arts for good measure. From this melting pot has come a healthy "stew" of research perspectives, viewpoints regarding appropriate research methods, and even deeply held beliefs about what are and what are not appropriate issues for consumer researchers to study in the first place.
The book also emphasizes the importance of understanding consumers in formulating marketing strategy. Many (if not most) of the fundamental concepts in marketing are based on a manager's ability to know people. After all, if we don't understand why people behave as they do, how can we identify their needs? If we can't identify their needs, how can we satisfy their needs? If we can't satisfy people's needs, we don't have a marketing concept, so we might as well fold our tents and go home! To illustrate the potential of consumer research to inform marketing strategy, the text contains numerous examples of specific applications of consumer behavior concepts by marketing practitioners as well as examples of windows of opportunity in which such concepts could be used (perhaps by alert strategists after taking this course!). The Marketing Opportunity boxes you'll find in each chapter highlight the fascinating ways that marketing practitioners are (or should be) translating wisdom gleaned from consumer research into actual business activities.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
A strategic focus is great, but this book does not assume that everything marketers do is in the best interests of consumers or of their environment. Likewise, as consumers we do many things that are not so positive either. People are plagued by addictions, status envy, ethnocentrism, racism, sexism, and many other isms. Regrettably, there are times when marketing activities—deliberately or not—encourage or exploit these human flaws. This book deals with the totality of consumer behavior: warts and all. Marketing mistakes or ethically suspect activities are also highlighted in special features labeled Marketing Pitfalls.
On the other hand, marketers have helped to create many wonderful (or at least unusual) things, such as holidays, comic books, techno music, Pokemon, and the many stylistic options available to us in the domains of clothing, home design, the arts, and cuisine. I have also taken pains to acknowledge the sizable impact of marketing on popular culture. Indeed, the final section of this book reflects very recent work in the field that scrutinizes, criticizes, and sometimes celebrates consumers in their everyday worlds. I hope you will enjoy reading about such wonderful things as much as I enjoyed writing about them. Welcome to the fascinating world of consum...
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