MRKT 324 Consumer Behavior Course Guide

Course Description

Managing in a constantly changing business environment is an essential requirement for business success as the world faces the 21st century. Wide variations in customer needs and intense competition require market-driven business and marketing strategies for competitive advantage. Understanding consumer behavior concepts allows corporations, public-policy makers, and nonprofit organizations to investigate buying habits and make managerial marketing decisions, both nationally and globally. A goal of this course is to provide a foundation from which more advanced courses in marketing management, marketing strategy, and integrated marketing communications (advertising and sales promotion) are developed.

The knowledge objectives are to develop an understanding of consumer behavior concepts and theories with emphasis on the consumer as an individual, to expand the students’ understanding of market segmentation strategy, and to develop an understanding of the application of consumer behavior concepts in the business environment. The skills objectives include the continued development of your written and oral communication skills, the continued development of your group interaction and decision-making skills, and to develop your ability to apply and synthesize course content in project work.

Catalog Description

Consumer Behavior is an advanced marketing course designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge of the fundamentals of consumer behavior, with emphasis on the consumer in the marketplace, consumers as individuals, consumers as decision makers, and consumers as influenced by culture and subculture. A critical examination of consumer behavior theories and research will be undertaken. Further emphasis will be placed on understanding the application of consumer behavior concepts in a competitive, dynamic, and global business environment.

Specific, Assessable Learning Outcomes

  1. To understand the fundamentals of consumer behavior, with emphasis on the consumer in the marketplace, consumers as individuals, consumers as decision makers, and consumers as influenced by culture and subcultures.
  2. To develop your understanding of the consumer as an individual with emphasis on various psychological theories of motivation, learning, personality, and perception. To understand, discuss, and apply these theories to advertising design.
  3. To expand your understanding of market segmentation strategy, focusing on sociological segmentation variables including social class; cultural, sub-cultural, and cross cultural influences, changing values and demographics; and traditional vs. modern family influences.
  4. To understand the application of consumer behavior concepts in a competitive, dynamic, and global business environment.
  5. To understand how consumer behavior highlights concerns about ethics and social responsibility in the marketplace.
  6. To continue the development of analytical and communication skills.
  7. To further develop your ability to perform thorough research, compile information in a meaningful way, and present information effectively in both a written and oral fashion.
  8. To further develop your group interaction skills and the ability to perform effectively in a group context.

Course Content

Consumer Research
The Consumer as an Individual:
   Learning and Memory
   Motivation and Values
   The Self
   Personality and Lifestyles
   Attitudes, Attitude Change, Interactive Communication
Consumers as Decision Makers:
   Individual Decision Making
   Buying and Disposing
   Group Influences and Opinion Leadership
   Organizational and Household Decision Making
Consumers and Subcultures:
   Income and Social Class
   Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Subcultures
   Age Subcultures
Cultural Influences on Consumer Behavior

Recommended Teaching Methodology

This is primarily a lecture course, supplemented by projects and the discussion of readings from text, the Wall Street Journal, and other sources. The primary objectives in this course will be to further develop knowledge and skill from previous marketing courses, and to apply that knowledge and skill to other upper-level marketing courses. Assigned text material will be presented and discussed in class with an emphasis on student-professor interaction. Students will be expected to participate in class discussions of consumer behavior concepts and tools, both asking and responding to questions.

Students will be assigned to teams for the completion of a group project and presentation. Students will be expected to meet as a team to assign tasks and complete the group project. Further, they are expected to prepare an oral presentation that summarizes their project for their peers.

Additionally, students are expected to complete an individual project that allows them to apply the consumer behavior concepts and theories discussed in class. It is recommended that this project be shared with peers in some manner, such as a poster session or presentation.

Professors teaching this course will be encouraged to work together in the development of syllabi, assignments, and assessment measures. The intent is not that all professors will utilize a common teaching strategy. Collaboration is essential, however, to assure consistency in expectations, content, rigor, and assessment. Teaching faculty will be encouraged to meet and discuss teaching strategies and assessment results. Such meetings will afford professors teaching this course opportunities to exchange ideas, strategies, and innovations that will improve student learning.

Recommended Student Assessment Measures

  1. Exams: Exams covering content areas should be given during the semester.
  2. Individual Project: Each student will be responsible for completing an individual project that allows for the hands-on application of consumer behavior concepts. An example is the advertising portfolio project and poster session summarized below.
  3. Advertising Portfolio: Throughout the semester, you should collect a portfolio of print ads that, in your opinion, do an excellent job illustrating concepts developed in this course. The goal is to collect a set of “award-winning” ads, which stand out above run of the mill ads. When you collect the ads, immediately write down the name of the magazine and issue that they were taken from. Try to get a reasonable representation of both high and low involvement ads and a variety of different audience types. Do not limit yourself to magazines targeting students or to those that target the upscale audience. Look at a variety of magazines including those that target traditional audiences as well as those with an upscale or nontraditional audience. Briefly jot down which concepts and theories are illustrated, and why or how you think each ad is particularly effective. Consider perceptual aspects, use of color, attention, mood, key selling points, appeal, background, and their appropriateness to the audience of the particular media (e.g. magazine, newspaper) they come from. Please minimize overlap in ads that illustrate the same concept. By the second exam, I would like to review a list of 8-10 ads you have collected. The final portfolio is due <date>. The final portfolio will contain the best five advertisements with a short typed description describing what concepts are illustrated and why/how each ad works well (20 lines maximum). You must identify the magazine and issue that the ad was found in (this information does not figure in to the line count). The advertisements and descriptions should be mounted on poster board or a tri-fold. On <date>, we will have an in-class poster session during which all individual project posters will be displayed. As part of this poster session, you will review and evaluate the posters of your peers.
  4. Group Project and Presentation: A substantive group project and presentation should be required. Students will be assigned to a group early in the semester. As a group, students will complete a project that allows for concept reinforcement and the application of consumer behavior principles. A written and oral report will be provided within the guidelines set forth by the instructor.
  5. Individual Class Participation: Students are expected to participate in our discussion of course content and marketing/consumer behavior related current events. The professor will make an ongoing assessment of each student’s contributions to class discussions. Consideration should be given to the quality of comments and questions, to non-verbal feedback, and to demonstrated listening skills.
  6. Final Exam: The decision of requiring a final exam is at the discretion of the faculty member teaching the course. If multiple exams, an individual project, and a team project and presentation are assigned, a final exam is not necessary.


Statement of Expectations

This upper-level marketing course will delve into the topic of consumer behavior in significant depth. To further the learning experience, students are required to complete two substantial projects. As such, not all learning will take place in the classroom. Students are required to invest time outside of the classroom to adequately learn the material. It is expected that, in addition to the three hours spent in class, students will invest approximately six hours per week reading, studying, meeting with their group, and completing assignments.

Academic Integrity

Student-teacher relationships are built on trust. Any student found violating this trust undermines the educational process and is subject to significant disciplinary action.

The concept of academic integrity lies at the very heart of any college. This is particularly true of Siena with its strong Franciscan tradition and its dedication to fostering sound moral growth. In such an environment, academic dishonesty cannot be tolerated. Students who commit such acts expose themselves to punishments as severe as dishonorable dismissal from the college. Academic dishonesty can take different forms, including, but not limited to, cheating (dishonesty in a test situation), plagiarism (dishonesty in the presentation of materials in a paper or report), and computer abuse. In any situation in which a student is unsure of what constitutes academic dishonesty, it is the student's responsibility to raise the question with his or her instructor. It is also the student's responsibility to be familiar with the student guidelines on academic honesty, "Academic Integrity and the Siena Student." Alleging ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or of the College's policy on the subject will not be considered a valid explanation or excuse.

The Siena Committee on Academic Integrity hears cases of alleged academic dishonesty. This student/faculty committee reviews evidence for and against the accused. If the student is found guilty, the committee will determine the appropriate sanction(s), which may include failure of the course, suspension from the College, or permanent dismissal. A statement of the reasons for such sanctions will be placed in the student’s file. Alleging ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or of the College’s policy on the subject will not be considered a valid explanation or excuse.

Although it is presumed that students adhere to all academic integrity guidelines, instructors are to institute specific measures to assure compliance. All submissions will be screened for plagiarism and other violations of academic integrity.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills

This upper level marketing course can be taken during the third or fourth year of the marketing and management degree program. Students must have attained the learning objectives of MKMG-212, Marketing. Specifically, they must demonstrate an understanding of the core concepts of marketing, verbal, non-verbal, and written communication skills, and a basic understanding of marketing ethics and social responsibility. Further, students should be able to function productively in a team, demonstrating leadership capabilities when appropriate. Students must be able to utilize computer software to prepare professional looking documents and presentations.

Specific Prerequisite Course: MKMG-212 Marketing