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2014/2015  BA-BHAAI1003U  Undergraduate consumer behaviour and customer analysis

English Title
Undergraduate consumer behaviour and customer analysis

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration Summer
Course period Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Dr. Glen Brodowsky, California State University San Marcos
    Patricia Plackett - MPP
Main academic disciplines
  • Marketing
Last updated on 27-06-2014
Learning objectives
At the end of the course the student should be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theories and models of consumer behaviour.
  • Describe how consumer behaviour patterns can be used to effectively identify and target market segments.
  • Identify consumer behaviours and trends by learning and applying basic qualitative research techniques
Course prerequisites
Students must have completed a Principles of Marketing Course.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Mandatory Mid-term Assignment: Students must describe in a short report their own decision making processes for a major and minor purchase and, using the standard decision-making model, analyze how and why these decisions differ.
4-hour written exam:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Written sit-in exam
Individual or group exam Individual
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 4 hours
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer Term
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Limited aids, see the list below and the exam plan/guidelines for further information:
  • Allowed calculators
  • Allowed dictionaries
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Course content and structure

This course is designed to build upon the overview of consumer behaviour presented in basic marketing courses. It introduces students to marketing and psychological theoretic frameworks that are used for understanding how consumers make decisions. These models focus on behavioural decision-making, self-concept, perceptions, motivation, and learning. The course also examines social and cultural influences on consumer behaviour. In addition, students will be introduced to some qualitative models used for studying and researching consumer behaviour patterns and profiling target markets.
One of the great things about teaching consumer behaviour is that, no matter how theoretical approach one takes, everyone in the classroom is a consumer. We all are potential subjects for researching the subject matter. That is why I rely heavily on experiential learning exercises. Indeed, the Mandatory Mid-term Assignment requires students to apply the standard learning model of decision making to some of their own purchase behaviours.
When people think about consumer research, they immediately think of surveys, focus groups, and copy testing. While these tools are important, they are not as important as the market researcher’s two most important sets of tools:  their eyes and their ears. Smart marketers are sensitive to the changes in the world around them. Indeed, firms now hire “cool hunters” who are paid handsomely to observe how consumers behave, what they wear, and what they eat in search of the next big multi-million dollar idea.
The goal I have for this course is to open up students’ eyes and ears and sensitize them to the information in the world around them. The key is to look for patterns that can be used to predict where the market is going next. Having taught this course many times, I have found that students are not particularly adept at noticing or identifying patterns, but once they learn what to look for, they are able to appreciate how much they actually can see and how they can use this information to make marketing decisions.
Much consumer behaviour theory is grounded in the psychology literature. Models of decision-making and learning, the formation of personality and self-concept, motivation and attitude development, and the influences of social groups are among them. All of these topics are introduced in this course. Students will have the opportunity to apply many of these models during in class activities.
In addition to psychology, another social science that contributes greatly to the marketing discipline is economics. For decades, marketing scholars seem to have divided themselves into two camps: behavioural theorists and economic choice modellers. Economics has traditionally been based upon the assumption of the utility maximizing individual. How, then, could economists explain the seemingly irrational decisions consumers seem to make?
Fortunately, in recent years, much exciting work has been done to unwind such paradoxes as a new sub-discipline, known as behavioural economics has emerged. Many popular authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, as well as economists such as Richard Thaler and marketing scholars such as Barry Schwartz have published books in the popular press that investigate the psychological underpinnings of economicdecision-making. Marketers have been studying these behaviours for many years. These authors offer accessible explanations to very complex phenomena.  Using these types of models helps explain why what may seem to be irrational decisions from a purely economic standpoint actually make a lot of sense. As such they lend themselves to many useful applications in marketing classrooms. There will be a Preliminary Assignment in this course, in addition to the Mandatory Mid-term Assignment, and for it students will read several chapters from these books that are easy to read and stimulate lots of discussion.

Class Schedule

Class Topic
Class 1 Introduction to Consumer Behavior
Class 2 A Consumer Society
Class 3 Preliminary Assignment Due
Behavioral Economics – Explaining the seemingly irrational
Class 4 Shopping, Buying, Evaluating – Individual Decision Making
Class 5 Mandatory Mid-term Assignment
Perception and Self
Class 6 Motivation, Values, and Lifestyles
Class 7 Learning and Memory
Class 8 Attitudes and Attitude Change
Class 9 Group Influences and Opinion Leadership
Class 10 Family Structures, Social Class
Class 11 Culture and Consumer Behavior
Comprehensive Review
Teaching methods
In addition to lectures, students will be complete – either individually or in small groups, a series of experiential and applied exercises during class time. These exercises are included in the supplementary text by Graham listed below. These exercises apply the theories described in the main text by Solomon.
Further Information
Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 3 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.
Expected literature

Solomon, Michael R (2010), Consumer Behaviour: A European Perspective, Pearson Education, Essex, England, UK. Paperback 700 pages
Graham, Judy (2010), Critical Thinking in Consumer Behaviour: Cases and Experiential Exercises,Pearson, Prentice Hall.Paperback 171

Last updated on 27-06-2014