Chapter 3 – Consumer Behaviour: How People Make Buying Decisions

3.6 Discussion Questions and Activities


  1. How do low-involvement decisions differ from high-involvement decisions in terms of relevance, price, frequency, and the risks their buyers face? Name some examples.
  2. What stages do people go through in the buying process for high-involvement decisions?
  3. Explain what physical factors, social situations, time factors, and/or moods have affected your buying behaviour for different products.
  4. Describe how buying patterns and purchase decisions may vary by age, gender, and stage of life.
  5. How does the process of perception work and how can companies use it to their advantage in their marketing?
  6. Explain what physical factors, social situations, time factors, and/or moods have affected your buying behaviour for different products.
  7. Why are companies interested in consumers’ cognitive ages and lifestyle factors?
  8. How do Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and learning affect how companies market to consumers?
  9. Why do people’s cultures and subcultures affect what they buy?
  10. How do subcultures differ from cultures? Can you belong to more than one culture or subculture?
  11. Explain why it’s important to carefully define the problem or opportunity a marketing research study is designed to investigate.
  12. What sections should be included in a marketing research report? What is each section designed to do?


  1. Why do people in different cultures buy different products? Discuss with your class the types of vehicles you have seen other countries. Why are they different, and how do they better meet buyers’ needs in those countries? What types of cars do you think should be sold in the Canada today?
  2. What is your opinion of companies like Google that gather information about your browsing patterns? What advantages and drawbacks does this pose for consumers? If you were a business owner, what kinds of information would you gather on your customers and how would you use it?
  3. Are there any areas in which you consider yourself an opinion leader? What are they? How are companies getting information about opinion leaders?
  4. What purchasing decisions have you been able to influence in your family and why? Is marketing to children a good idea? If not, what if one of your competitors were successful in doing so? Would it change your opinion?
  5. Name some products or services that have led you feel purchase dissonance. Then categorize them as high- or low-involvement products.
  6. Describe the decision process for impulse purchases at the retail level. Would they be classified as high- or low-involvement purchases?
  7. Explain the relationship between extensive, limited, and routine decision making rel-ative to high- and low-involvement decisions. Identify examples of extensive, limited, and routine decision making based on your personal consumption behaviour.
  8. Why is understanding consumer behaviour so important for companies? Think of examples where you do not think companies understood their consumers.
  9. You want to conduct research on consumer acceptance for a new health app. Describe the process you would use. How would your project change if you want to promote the app for both IOS and Android phones? What would your challenges be if the app is for adults 50 years and older?
  10. Given the way people use social media such as tweeter to comment on their experience with a company, why do companies still need to do marketing research? Why not simply use for example, number of tweets and content to see if service is good?
  11. You are working for an organization that provides clean water technology to communities in Africa. They’ve never worked in Malawi but want to and need to understand how consumers source water, how they prepare it (sterilize or clean it), and how they use it. You know that a study was done on water sources, water preparation, and water uses in Kenya. What type of research would the Kenya study be considered and how would you go about validating its findings for Malawi (a different country in Africa)? How would your answer change if your organization was considering a community in a remote area of Nicaragua?


  1. Go to and click on the tab called Stories. Do the Stories make you more or less inclined to purchase an Osprey backpack?
  2. Select three advertisements and describe the needs identified by Abraham Maslow that each ad addresses. Find an international version of an advertisement for one of the products or services. What differences do you detect in the international version of the ad?
  3. Identify how McDonald’s targets both users (primarily children) and buyers (parents, grandparents, etc.). Provide specific examples of strategies used by the fast-food marketer to target both groups.
  4. Would you like to own an all-electric car? Do you think there is a viable market for such a product? Team up into small groups of three or four people. As a team, use secondary data to research the viability of selling electric cars profitably. Utilize some of the sources mentioned in the chapter. Try to determine the population of electric-car buyers. Lastly, write a research report based on your findings. Each group should present its findings to the class. Do the findings differ from group to group? If so, why?


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Principles of Marketing, 1st Canadian Edition Copyright © by Anthony Francescucci, Joanne McNeish, Nukhet Taylor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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