Applying Individual Difference Variables to the Segments
Individual Difference Variables
Individual difference variables are those factors unique to the individual that may influence behavior. The three that are most prevalent are personality, self-concept,and psychographics. It is important to note that while these factors deal with individual behavior, marketers attempt to group consumers who share the same personality traits, self-concept, and/or psychographic profile into segments that are large enough to be targeted. Personality can be thought of as those thoughts, feelings, traits, emotions, and characteristics that identify us as individuals. Although personality has its limitations, understanding the facets of a consumer’s personality may assist marketers in anticipating general classes of behavior. For example, knowing a consumer’s personality may provide a reliable indication of their likelihood of purchasing a sports car or a Volvo, health foods or junk foods, loud flashy clothes or more conservative dress.
Self-concept, while an elusive concept, essentially describes all of the thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves. Self-concept is not one-dimensional. In fact, at least nine types of self-concept have been identified. The significance of self-concept is that consumers tend to behave in a fashion consistent with their self-concept. Marketers can use self-concept in several different ways. Symbolism is one such application. Consumers often buy products based on symbolic value rather than functional benefits. Typically, these products enhance or reinforce a consumer’s self-concept.
Psychographics is the final individual factor affecting behavior. This concept attempts to understand consumers based on their lifestyle, i.e., how they live, work, and play. Psychographics also examine an individual’s attitudes, opinions, and interests. Consumer profiles are developed based on this information. Market segments can then be developed whereby consumers with similar psychographic profiles are grouped together to form segments. VALS and VALS 2 are examples of this approach to segmentation based on these profiles.

For this online conference, review the individual difference variable discussion above as well as the material in chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7 of your text. These discussions address the significance of individual difference variables (or internal factors) and how they affect consumer behavior.

Consider these variables and develop discussion points that focus on how these variables may affect consumer behavior. Also, consider how they might be used by marketers in segmenting markets. Give specific examples based on what you have observed and experienced in the market place.
Author: Solomon, M
Title: Consumer Behavior, 9th ed
Publisher: Prentice Hall
ISBN: 0558708374

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