Explaining why consumers behave as they do, globally, with implicit models

Date of publication: September 1, 1999

Author: Peter Sampson


Implicit Theory principally addresses the marketer’s need for diagnostic problem-solving. It explains why people behave as they do, at different times in different situations on different occasions, in order to satisfy different need states. Also, in the hands of a creative researcher, implicit theory provides some guidance in anticipating needs that consumers might not know they have. The start-out position is the belief that consumer behaviour is not random (not even impulse buying). Rather, it is driven by systematic, dynamic forces within the consumer, that are embodied in human behaviour and human society. There are implicit reasons that drive consumer behaviour. Consumers may not be consciously aware of them. These reasons may not be and, often are not rational. Or, indeed, they may be a mixture of the rational and the irrational or emotional. They result from an internal, dynamic energy that is implicit. In other words, it is inherent and continuously present in human behaviour and in consumer behaviour.

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