As you're walking through the supermarket, loading up your cart with groceries for the week, have you everstopped to think about why you buy that brand of milk or that flavor of cereal? In most cases, you're probably not even aware of the variety of factors that go into your decision-making processes even though we spend more time buying and consuming than we do working or sleeping. Marketers, however, spend billions of dollars trying to understand the behaviors associated with what, when, and how people consume products, services, and even entertainment.
In the course MKTG 312 Consumer Behavior, Mason marketing professor Laurie Meamber uses a special method to help students better understand consumer behavior–they watch movies.
According to Meamber, the primary goal of a consumer behavior course is for students to better understand consumer behavior to become more effective marketing managers. In addition, she notes that students will enhance their knowledge of consumer behavior so that they, as consumers, can consume wisely.
Based on this, Meamber divides her class into three distinct components, each focusing on a different aspect of consumer behavior–external influences, internal influences, and decision making. Wanting to tap into all three modules, she came up with the idea to use films as a way for students to analyze and fuse together all the concepts they learn throughout the semester.
"The idea to use films to demonstrate various marketing theories is not a new development, but what is innovative about this project is that students are using the films themselves to demonstrate their knowledge of consumer behavior concepts," says Meamber.
"Most of the traditional exercises and projects used in consumer behavior courses focus mainly on demographics and lifestyles, which ultimately limits students' ability to examine the entire range of internal, external, and situational influences on consumer behavior."