Signup for email updates!

Email signup

External And Internal Factors That Impact Consumer Behavior Decisions

External and internal factors that impact consumer behavior decisions

A good marketing strategy is one that uses a set of specific ideas and actions comprising both external and internal influences that guide consumer decisions.  The external and internal influences are used to develop the best way to create, distribute, promote, and price a product or service.  For example, successful marketing strategies must be based on more than just the internal influences of the consumer; it must also consider governmental regulatory policies, e.g., the Truth in Advertising Laws, Section #52-54 of the Federal Trade Commission Act that deals with false advertising.

Ҥ 52. Dissemination of false advertisements

  • (a) Unlawfulness

It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, or corporation to disseminate, or cause to be disseminated, any false advertisement:

  1. By United States mails, or in or having an effect upon commerce, by any means, for the purpose of inducing, or which is likely to induce, directly or indirectly, the purchase of food, drugs, devices, services,  or cosmetics; or
  2. By any means, for the purpose of inducing, or which is likely to induce, directly or indirectly, the purchase in or having an effect upon commerce, of food, drugs, devices, services, or cosmetics. (b) Unfair or deceptive act or practice The dissemination or the causing to be disseminated of any false advertisement within the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in or affecting commerce within the meaning of section 45 of this title.”;  Federal Drug Administration Website, retrieved from the World Wide Web, February 10, 2006.

Also see:;  Federal Trade Commission Website, retrieved from the World Wide Web, February 10, 2006.

Using or promoting marketing strategies that don’t comply with the regulatory laws of this country will quickly get a company into trouble and the more effective a false marketing strategy is, the quicker that trouble will appear on the company’s door step.  For a “real life example” of how these regulatory laws can come back to haunt a company, see , website, copyrighted 2004, retrieved from the World Wide Web, February 10, 2006.

Some examples of internal influences that impact consumer buying behavior are:

  • the level of intensity of interest in the product or service that the consumer has, (e.g., having a strong level of interest for health care products)
  • the consumers problem-solving process that is used when they are purchasing frequently, low priced items that require little decision effort (e.g. the preference for a particular brand)
  • whether the consumer searches for information internally or externally (e.g., does the person use the Internet or friends and family to get information about a product or service, or does the individual just rely on their own personal observations)
  • how the consumer evaluates alternative choices, or chooses one product or service over another. What techniques and approaches the consumer uses to evaluate other possibilities
  • how the consumer goes about doing a “post-purchase” evaluation, (e.g., what the buyer does when they have “buyer’s remorse,” or are pleased with their purchase)

Influences that impact the buying decision process.

A consumer’s buying decision is affected by three major areas of influence:

  1. Situational Influences
  2. Psychological Influences
  3. Social Influences

Each of the three plays an interlocking and supporting role to each of the other influences.

Situational influences include the consumer’s reaction to their physical and social surroundings; the time when the purchase decision is being made; the reason for making a particular purchase; and the buyer’s mood at the time.  Psychological influences include the consumer’s perception, motives, learning, attitudes,  personality and self-concept, and lifestyle.  Social influences include the consumer’s role in making the decision,  their family values, the reference groups that they belong to, the opinion of people that they respect, their social class (real and perceived) and the culture and subcultures that they belong to.

These three factors (situational,  psychological and social influences) are involved in varying degrees when a consumer makes a purchasing decision.  These influences determine the outcome of the buying decision process that a consumer goes through (sometimes in great detail and sometimes quite quickly) when purchasing a product or service, and all three must be considered when developing a marketing strategy.

Each of these three influences needs to be considered at each point in the buying process decision.  For more information on how these influences apply to consumer behavior patterns, see the PowerPoint presentation at:  This PowerPoint Presentation is copyrighted by Marketing Teacher, 2005 and was downloaded from the World Wide Web on March 7th, 2006.


  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. next
Ask An Expert: Real Questions, Expert Answers

Ask your Question