“Peer Pressure” and “In-Group”

The final, but highly important component, of the buying situation or environment is group influence. The phrases “peer pressure” and “in-group” apply to more than how kids make decisions in school or how adults behave in the work place. These are hugely important in understanding consumer buying decisions, particularly the schemas, biases and heuristics held. The impact of reference groups, conformity, self-perception within the group (which can differ from one’s self-perception outside their group influence) over time have resulted in word-of-mouth, viral marketing, and the recognition of opinion leaders within the group. While it is often generalized that peer groups influence most or all buying choices of children.

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More recent research (Grimm, et.al., 1999) has found “Normative social influence is pronounced when affective buying motives are aroused for conspicuous products. Informational social influence, on the other hand, is dominant when buying motives are cognitive in nature regardless of product conspicuousness”.

Now we have arrived at the point in the decision making process in which the consumer is ready to purchase, use and evaluate the product. We look again to our interpretive view of what might cause their actions. Knowing the antecedent states leading to a purchase, such as their emotional state, can help us anticipate their bias and present the product with specific stimuli to evoke a purchase response. Consideration of the consumption situation is important, especially if the consumer’s state of mind is an emotional presence, as these external forces will create both biases and heuristics and participate in low-involvement attitude formation toward our product. In other words, the decision to buy will be emotional, not rational, and possibly impulsive.

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