The purpose of this course is to inform future managers, analysts, consultants, and advisors of the psychological processes and biases underlying consumer behavior, with emphasis on how to incorporate such insights into marketing and business strategies. Contemporary approaches to business emphasize the importance of adopting a customer focus. Marketing, in particular, begins and ends with the consumer—from determining consumer needs to providing post-purchase satisfaction.
Of course, successful marketing and business strategies depend on a thorough understanding of how people think, and thus the overarching goal of this course is to help you think differently (and better) about how consumers arrive at judgments and choices and how their choices ultimately affect their well-being. You might think that, because you’re a consumer (we all are), your intuitions about the drivers of consumer behavior (including your own) are well-informed, but in fact, your intuitions about this stuff are often inaccurate. To remedy this problem, this course gives students a broad overview of important results from various behavioral sciences (e.g., cognitive psychology, marketing, economics) that clarifies how and why people perceive and process information, make decisions, and evaluate stuff the way they do.
The greater understanding of consumer psychology provided in this course will help students to develop strategic consumer insights aimed at better meeting people’s needs. Moreover, because this course takes a broad psychological perspective, it highlights novel ideas for grabbing attention, shaping behavior, and changing people’s minds within and outside of traditional marketing contexts. Also, notably, people everywhere (i.e., not only marketers, but almost everybody you know) are trying to influence you all the time. This means that the issues covered in this class are not only of concern to marketing managers, but to you personally, as gaining an understanding of these issues helps you better understand yourself as a target of influence. The premise of the course is that understanding consumer psychology has powerful business and personal implications.
Workload: This class is taught at a relatively fast pace. So, it will be imperative that students keep up with the readings.
Class Meets 8/8, 8/9, 8/11, 8/12, 8/13