The basic principle of consumer behavior is the individual-product-situation relationship. The consumer behavior principle states that the dynamics of the market can only be understood iff the consumer, the product purchased, and the complexity of consumer behavior is appreciated. First, the customer recognizes a need or responds to a marketing stimulus (Lantos, 2011, P.359).
Consumers buy the products that they are strongly motivated to buy. Motivation is the imbalance between the consumers current and desired states, the wider the gap the stronger the motivation. Motivation is related to previous experience and level of product involvement. The more complex the decision making process the more diversified the consumer’s desire for information. Therefore, marketing managers are required to analyze the marketing mix more keenly when the consumer is involved, and the complexity of the decision making process is high (Ellwood, 2002).
Involvement is the feeling of importance or the personal interest associated with the product at a given situation. Involvement is a state of arousal or interest driven by current external variables and past internal variables. It impacts searching, processing and decision making. It is a reflection of the importance of a specific product to an individual in a given situation. Involvement is a function of the risk that customers associate with the buying of a product, with more risky products getting greater involvement (Hennig-Thurau, 2000, P.176).
Functional risks have the most impact on customer behavior. the risk is the possibility that a product does not meet customer expectation. Customers mitigate this risk by gathering information on the product or turning to a known entity that has a good reputation.