4 types of consumer behaviour in marketing

Creating your marketing strategy may seem to be an overwhelming task at first. You stare at a blank page in your Google Docs and you have no idea where to start from. Determining the purchase behaviour of your customers may be a great starting point. We make buying decisions based on many conscious and subconscious factors and we don’t buy a cup of coffee in the same way we buy a cruise trip.

There are four main consumer buying behaviours and in this article we will discuss shortly each one of them.


Complex buying behavior

Let’s say you want to make your first steps in snowboarding. You had your first lessons and it’s surely your thing, in your dreams you see yourself doing front flips and backside grabs (with French Alps in the background and everyone around in awe). Now the only thing you need is the right 

gear. You have to learn a lot about differences in snowboard boots flex, the types of bindings and the size of the board itself. And about brands too, you are not going to put your money into some no-name gear. You are investing a pretty penny and you want to make sure that it’s not going to get wasted. 

To put it shortly: This consumer behaviour is infrequent, a consumer is very involved and goes through a learning process

What should marketers do: facilitate the process, create educational materials. Your customers may be lost in the beginning, so make them more confident and show your expertise on the product. 



Dissonance reducing buying behaviour

You have your snowboard and now it would be nice to have a roof rack so that you could test different ski arenas in the neighborhood. There are just a few brands that manufacture this kind of accessories for your car and you need to make a decision within a certain budget. But you know, that after all, a roof rack is a roof rack, you just need it to not fall from your car and have a lock, that’s it. You choose one of 5 that make sense for you. 

To put it shortly: This consumer buying behaviour is infrequent, a consumer is involved, but doesn’t see much difference between brands. 

What should marketers do: Remarketing is a king. Try to cross-sell and build brand fidelity. Someone bought a roof rack for their skiing and snowboarding gear? Great, they are active and they may need a bicycle rack in the summer. Make sure you have their email address (and it’s GDPR-compliant in the EU) and keep in touch with them!


Habitual buying behaviour

The winter is coming, and you need to brace yourself. Your brand new snowboard is in your brand new roof rack and you just need to stop by a supermarket and get a shampoo and some snacks to nibble on one the way. What do you get? Probably the same thing as last time. You know

 these brands, you saw their ads on TV, you tried them and they were okay, so without much thinking you put to your cart a small shampoo bottle, a Coke Zero and M&M’s (you’ll burn the calories doing back flips and looking awesome on your snowboard anyway)

To put it shortly: This consumer behaviour is frequent and based on brand familiarity. A consumer is not much involved in the purchase, but sticks to the brands he knows and likes.

What should marketers do: Build brand familiarity. Make sure the logo, taglines and other brand elements are present in your customers’ everyday life.


Variety seeking buying behaviour

So, you have arrived at your ski resort and tried your (brand new) snowboard gear. You are not doing backflips yet, but you surely will by the end of your stay. Time for the apres ski! You and your friends go to a bar, what will you choose? Normally you’d get a bottle of beer, but here everything looks awesome and new and you feel like experimenting, so you go for Aperol Spritz. 

To put it shortly: This consumer decision-making model is frequent and based on novelty-seeking, curiosity and boredom. A consumer is not very much involved in making a decision and not very attached to a particular brand.

What should marketers do: Work closely with the product managers. Launch limited editions to give your consumers a thrill of excitement. Make sure there is enough exciting seasonal marketing going on to keep your customers excited. 


As you can see the outcome of this consumer behavior research is a conclusion, there are two dimensions that matter here: a purchase involvement and brand fidelity: 

  • Complex buying behavior – high involvement and high brand fidelity
  • Dissonance reducing buying behavior – high involvement and low brand fidelity
  • Habitual buying behavior – low involvement and high brand fidelity
  • Variety seeking buying behavior – low involvement and low brand fidelity


If you want to know more about building a brand strategy, read this article: Building Brand Awareness.