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Buying - Introduction

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

An important part of the marketing process is to understand why a customer or buyer makes a purchase.

Without such an understanding, businesses find it hard to respond to the customer’s needs and wants.

Marketing theory traditionally splits analysis of buyer or customer behaviour into two broad groups for analysis – Consumer Buyers and Industrial Buyers

Consumer buyers are those who purchase items for their personal consumption

Industrial buyers are those who purchase items on behalf of their business or organisation

Businesses now spend considerable sums trying to learn about what makes “customers tick”. The questions they try to understand are:

• Who buys?
• How do they buy?
• When do they buy?
• Where do they buy?
• Why do they buy?

For a marketing manager, the challenge is to understand how customers might respond to the different elements of the marketing mix that are presented to them.

If management can understand these customer responses better than the competition, then it is a potentially significant source of competitive advantage.

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