Free Essay Example: The Consumer Learning Theories

Published: 2023-02-15
Free Essay Example: The Consumer Learning Theories
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Advertising Marketing Sales Human behavior Customer service
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1475 words
13 min read

Consumer behavior theories are based on the observable responses that take place after exposure to something. They forecast how consumers make decisions on purchasing goods and services to help marketers in capitalizing on predictable behaviors. Learning theories explain the process by which individuals' behavior continually changes as they acquire new knowledge. They include classical conditioning and experimental theories. Cognitive learning theory describes how consumers process information and how they store, recall and retrieve it. Learning takes place as a result of consumer thinking. This paper focuses on discussing why learning theories are essential within consumer behavior theories and how they are useful to marketers. It also focuses on developing an advertisement for a product.

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Learning theories are significant in predicting customers' behaviors. In classical conditioning, Ivan Pavlov looks at how people learn by associating an item over another mentally over time. The response is prompted when a stimulus evoking a reaction is combined with another (Quester, 2007). The fundamental concepts, in theory, are repetition, stimulus discrimination, and generalization. Stimulus discrimination may lead to loss of memory of the advertisement, while repetition improves recollection. For example, when one watches an advertisement for a luxurious brand of shoes from a recognizable logo, one begins to associate the shoe and logo with money.

Marketers can capitalize on the classical conditioning theory by applying it to help them in creating an image for their products that will evoke the desired response from their customers (Quester, 2007). They implement the learning behavior by helping to create an association between a particular image and ideas that makes the consumers recognize and associate with their brand. Additionally, the marketers utilize classical conditioning theory by using advertisement music that is repetitive and vibrant to capture the minds of consumers. It ensures that the consumers unconsciously remember a product whenever they hear the advertisement. To enhance learning, there should be enough exposure to the advert for the consumer.

Operant conditioning explains that individuals learn from the consequences of something. It suggests that consumer behaviors are influenced by positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment. Individuals tend to learn to repeat actions when the results are positive. When the results are negative, the individual is not likely to happen the action again. For example, when a person uses a product that satisfies their need, they are likely to purchase the product back (Quester, 2007). When there are negative results, there won't be a repeat purchase for the product.

Marketers utilize the concepts of the operant theory by ensuring that the experience of buying their product meets customer satisfaction. They also apply it to create a system that rewards consumers for making them recognize the brand and want to go for it again. For example, a brand that awards loyalty points for every item bought makes the consumer continue purchasing (Quester, 2007). They may also offer free samples hoping to influence the consumers' behavior from the positive outcome of using their product. Quality is also maintained so that the use of the product to meet consumer need is reinforced.

Cognitive learning theory emphasizes that learning occurs as a result of customer thinking. It explains the process of information synthesis and how consumers store, recollect, and regain data - the brain stores visual and verbal information. Consumers learn and remember the information when making buying decisions. Involvement theory explains that consumers go through a range of information synthesis from comprehensive to narrow problem-solving depending on the importance of buying the product (Leckie, 2016). Passive learning takes place in the consumer's minds by watching an advertisement. People process more information when they purchase goods that are relevant to them. However, they process limited information when the purchase is not essential to them. Marketers utilize the theory by providing information to different consumers depending on their retention power. People who are not informed about the brand are given more attention than the consumers who are aware of the product's existence. It also helps them in saving efforts and resources as they do not provide information beyond what a consumer can retain.

According to Motivation theory, Maslow suggests intentions hierarchy from fundamental to advanced needs. It is based on the needs and goals of the consumer. It occurs when a consumer has a requirement that they want to satisfy. It is relevant to marketers as they apply it to discover the motives of a consumer and teach the consumers how the product can fulfill their needs (Hutchinson, 2018). In perception, a consumer selectively perceives what they refer to as their needs and wants. Preferences, habits, and beliefs result in selective influence perception. Attitude change suggests that consumer behavior can be negative or positive on the same product. Self-concept refers to an attitude towards oneself. The way people dress and the products they buy depends on how they want to perceive themselves. People like using products that match their personality. Marketers can change the attitude and perception of consumers towards a product by persuading them about it. Marketers, therefore, identify a marketing channel that has a significant impact on consumers.

Despite the changing customer consumption patterns and growth of online communication, the learning theories are still crucial for the marketers. Even nowadays, consumers have mental associations to products that are as a result of learning. They continue to change behaviors based on the theories. The knowledge acquired forms the basis of their future behavior. Marketers consider the likes and dislikes of the consumers so that they can satisfy the consumer (East, 2016). Nowadays, companies are concerned with the establishment of brand equity. To create brand equity, companies rely on conditioning theory. Companies intend to teach their customers through advertising. Teaching is done through communication channels such as print advertising, radio, or magazines.

Moreover, nowadays, consumers may discriminate stimuli. The learning theories are therefore relevant for marketers in that they form the foundation for brand positioning, which endeavors to create an exceptional image for the product in the minds of clients. Positioning helps in increasing the customer base for the product (East, 2016). There is also a differentiation of the products from the competition by adding features that are relevant to customers. However, marketers can also add attributes that are not meaningful to consumers. Companies that were first in the market have a strong base of customer commitment.

Designing an Advertisement

A lipstick line from Harry Lippieslefttop

The advert aims to persuade consumers to buy the lipsticks from Harry Lippies. They have been relatively low purchases as the product has not stayed for long in the market. It's facing competition from other recognizable brands such as Kylie Cosmetics (East, 2016). The advert will be a great resource in influencing more consumers to try the product.

This advertisement will be useful for consumer learning in that there is a discount on the products. The discount will act to reinforce the behavior of consumers, making them likely to continue using it. Due to the quality of the lipsticks, consumers will also continue buying them even when discounts are no longer available. The consumers will be willing to pay more due to positive results from the lipsticks. The advertisement will also attract those who have dark lips as they will feel the need to buy the product to achieve their goal of improving the condition of their lips (Lefrancois, 2018). Consumer learning from the advertisement will significantly affect the decision making the process of the customer to purchase from Harry Lippies.

Conclusively, consumer behavior is molded by the experience individuals go through in learning. For marketers, the main goal for consumer learning is increased market share and a strong base of brand loyalty among consumers. If a consumer repeatedly engages in the purchase over some time, it will result in a loyal customer base that all brands want to attain. It is, therefore, important for marketers to know how consumers learn from behaviors and cognitive learning processes. By applying the learning theories, the marketer can make it easy for a customer to recognize and purchase the products. When deciding the strategies to use when promoting a product, the marketers should consider the level of knowledge of the learners, their desired outcome, and their thought processing demands.


East, R., Singh, J., Wright, M., & Vanhuele, M. (2016). Consumer behavior: Applications in marketing. Sage. Retrieved from

Hutchinson, J. W., & Eisenstein, E. M. (2018). Consumer learning and expertise. In Handbook of consumer psychology (pp. 117-145). Routledge

Leckie, C., Nyadzayo, M. W., & Johnson, L. W. (2016). Antecedents of consumer brand engagement and brand loyalty. Journal of Marketing Management, 32(5-6), 558-578.

Lefrancois, G. R. (2019). Theories of human learning. Cambridge University Press.

Quester, P., Neal, C., Pettigrew, S., Grimmer, M. R., Davis, T., & Hawkins, D. (2007). Consumer behavior: Implications for marketing strategy. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from

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