According to research done by Elizabeth Sproles and George Sproles (1990) in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, there is a significant link between peoples learning styles and their “consumer styles”.
The perfectionist consumer style, which describes a consumer that searches carefully and systematically for the best quality in products tend to learn through serious, analysis and through both active and observation oriented learning. These types of consumers are highly goal oriented.
The brand conscious, price equals quality consumer tends to be oriented toward buying the more expensive, well known brands tend to find choosing known brands an expedient strategy that replaces thinking and learning in their consumer choices.
The novelty and fashion conscious consumer seems to line new and innovative products and gains excitement from seeking out new things. This consumer tends to not be concerned with the implications or consequences of purchasing new or innovative products and services.
The recreational shopping consumer finds shopping a pleasant activity and engages in it because it’s fun. This consumer engages in shopping as a social experience or because they like to be involved in their shopping.
The price value consumer tends to focus on sales and lower prices balanced against quality. This consumer tends to focus on active, fact acquisition. This consumer tends to shop the market in-depth and do many comparisons to find the proper balance of low price and quality.
The impulsive consumer buys at the spur of the moment and are unconcerned with how much is spent. This consumer does not want to be bothered with new information or learning about products or services..
The confused-by-overchoice consumer perceives too many brands and stores and experiences information overload in the market. This person is overly detailed and fact oriented in their consumer process and becomes mentally overloaded, especially in a complex multichoice market.
The habitual, brand loyal consumer repetitively chooses the same brands and stores. This consumer engages in a serious learning process to find products and services that provide them with positive experiences and then stick with them.
Know thy consumer. This research indicates how important it is to develop a psychological profile of your ideal consumer. You need to know what consumer frequents your market and from this you can begin to develop, first intuitively, then through ongoing research, a profile of your target customer’s consumer style.
For instance if you sell your product or service over the internet you can be pretty sure that you are marketing to people who operate out of a limited number of consumer styles such as the perfectionistic; the novelty/fashion; and
the price conscious consumers. These are all information oriented consumers who engage in seeking information before they purchase.
If you are marketing to other businesses then you’re once again probably going to need to market with an orientation to providing sound information coupled with powerful and relevant benefits because you’ll be dealing with perfectionist and price conscious consumers.
Also, realize that with this information you can work to turn people from one style to another. For instance you may be able to convert a price conscious consumer to one who is brand loyal by providing consistent quality for a lower price. You may be able to convert the confused-by-overchoice consumer into a brand loyal consumer by providing simple, straight forward information combined with quality that cuts through the information overload.
Study your target market and actively work to know how they think and this will open up new marketing creatives that will better target their particular consumer style. This should prove to increase your bottom line if done thoughtfully and consistently.
Sproles, Elizabeth & Sproles, George (1990). Consumer Decision-Making Styles as a Function of Individual Learning Styles. The Journal of Consumer Affairs. Vol. 24. Issue 1.