The Game Changer Model Of Consumer Behavior That You Have To Know About

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Howard and Sheth’s model is one of the highly referred modal in consumer behavior subject. Both Mr. Howard and Sheth proposed this model in 1960. This model attempt to make a clear explanation regarding the rational purchase behavior of a consumer within the limitations of incomplete product information and limited individual capabilities.

There are so many models that discuss consumer behaviour subject. In this article, Howard and Sheth’s model will be discussed and analyzed to have a full understanding of how the model justifies its view on consumers’ behaviour in purchasing decisions.

Howard and Sheth’s model is one of the highly referred modal in consumer behaviour subject. Both Mr Howard and Sheth proposed this model in 1960. This model attempt to make a clear explanation regarding the rational purchase behaviour of a consumer within the limitations of incomplete product information and limited individual capabilities. 

This model explains the purchasing process that starts when a consumer is exposed to an input variable known as stimuli.  Stimuli are an informative indication of the product or the service offering and this information could be related to quality, price, distinctiveness, service, and availability. Once the consumer is exposed to these stimuli, they will begin to form a stimuli ambiguity which means the consumer will start to have a curiosity about the product. 

This curiosity will lead to an overt search where the consumer will start to examine the brand and make a thorough research to understand the product and the brand. This, as a result, makes the consumer pay full attention to the product and thus it leads to perceptual bias. Here in this stage, the consumer can directly dislike the product and walk away, or they might like the product and be ready to move to the next process.  

The next process is, that the consumer will analyze their motive to purchase this product and evaluate the other alternative choice. This forms an attitude towards the brand where the consumer will make a justification for the reason to purchase this brand. This if turns out positive, will lead to a confident attitude, and then finally the consumer will proceed to purchase the brand.

Before we go further, let’s get to know what is consumer behaviour in simple terms. Consumer behaviour is known as the set of behaviour that involves the process of engagement during searching, selecting, purchasing, and disposing of products and services that satisfy consumers’ needs and wants.  Consumer behaviour is a dynamic process where it does not only take place at the moment a consumer obtains and consumes a product but also when a consumer is engaged in decision making. 

Understanding the variables involved in this model is very important and is applicable for the successful implementation of all the consumer behaviour models. The input variables consist of all types of stimuli including after purchase experiences, marketing messages, family or friends’ recommendations, and other external factors. The information processing will take place where stimuli are processed into an understandable and meaningful form of information obtained from the brand’s message. Let’s look at some of the important stimuli or the variables within this model. 


Exposure is the physical stimulation a consumer experiences when their five sense are activated by the initial contact with the product. And then, this experience will be sent to the brain and this perception which was triggered by the sensory stimuli will lead the consumer decision-making process. 


Attention is the process by which a consumer gives their full thoughts on the brand’s message and a product that has relevant information and content will attract the consumer’s attention. Comprehension refers to a process when the product information attracted consumers and then that information will be further evaluated and stored in the consumer’s memory. 

Knowledge and Learning

Consumer behaviour is an important set of knowledge for all marketers because it allows them to understand the consumer purchase decision-making process on a certain product category as well as know-how to persuade customers.  It can also bring a huge improvement in the product’s design based on the needs and wants of consumers. 

Learning is the change in behaviour through experience when information is gathered and stored in memory. Marketers should know the concept of learning about consumer behaviour to make the consumers understand their products and their brands. As a result, they can create a brand image for the product and can stimulate the consumer to have the targeted perception that the business want. 

This learning process can allow marketers to use their established brand name to add new product lines after the initial success of a campaign.  For instance, after APPLE succeeded in the Mac computers, they introduced their iPhone, iPod, and other product categories. Apart from all the factors involved in consumer behaviour, the motivation process is another important variable that stimulates all types of consumers. Motivation takes place when a consumer has an unsatisfied need which results in pressure. The consumer will make all the required efforts to eradicate this pressure to satisfy the need. 


The concept of perception in consumer behaviour is very important because it deals with the area where consumers use a product and interpret their experience through their sensory system. Marketers can take advantage of creating a marketing strategy that carefully incorporates senses like sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste to stimulate and motivate customers to try their products and services. If the outcome is a success, then the product will be well perceived by the consumer and that can create continuous purchasing behaviour towards that brand. 


Motive refers to a tendency for a consumer to purchase a product or service which thought to or already has satisfied their need. A consumer will closely evaluate a product that is developed from a consumer’s past experiences, product traits and the influences of other external factors before all the evaluation give rise to the buying motive. 


Most of the time, discounts and free gifts are the common motivation that can be witnessed in the sales and marketing field.  Sometimes consumers could have a motivational conflict such as requiring lower calories but heavy and delicious food. Marketers must understand the function of motivation so that they can create a strategy to persuade and motivate the consumer to purchase their products.


External influences are culture, social class, reference groups, and family or other influences. Culture is the symbol of values in a society and that too plays a major role in determining the behaviour of a consumer. Certain product purchasing decisions are made solely based on cultural aspects. For instance, the colour of a product can symbolize various meanings to different ethnic groups. 

Another important variable a marketer needs to fully understand is the outputs. After purchasing the product, consumers will experience the product and evaluate it based on their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction a consumer experience depends on the product’s value that meets the consumer’s expectations.

Therefore, marketers must understand consumer expectations and take the post-purchase behaviour as an important indicator to understand what causes consumers to purchase again or reject the product. This is because the information can be used to improve products and services, strategically design an effective targeted promotion to keep the existing customers and attract new ones.

In conclusion, consumer behaviour is a dynamic process that helps marketers to study and understand consumer demand, needs, and wants. The Howard Sheth model is one of the models that discuss the way to solve this problem. From the marketer’s point of view, studying and understanding consumer behaviour can help a brand to better understand a consumer consumption habit as well as act as a guide to building a marketing strategy that effectively satisfies consumers and makes them loyal customers.

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