You’re only as old as you feel—and the things you buy.Viola Ng –– CC BY-ND 2.0.Yourchronological age, or actual age in years, is one thing. Yourcognitive age, or how oldyou perceive yourself to be, is another. A person’s cognitive age affects his or her activitiesand sparks interests consistent with his or her perceived age (Barak & Gould, 1985). Cognitiveage is a significant predictor of consumer behaviors, including people’s dining out, watchingtelevision, going to bars and dance clubs, playing computer games, and shopping (Barak &Gould, 1985). Companies have found that many consumers feel younger than their chronologi‐cal age and don’t take kindly to products that feature “old folks” because they can’t identifywith them.LifestyleIf you have ever watched the television showWife Swap, you can see that despite people’ssimilarities (e.g., being middle-class Americans who are married with children), their lifestylescan differ radically. To better understand and connect with consumers, companies interview orask people to complete questionnaires about their lifestyles or their activities, interests, andopinions (often referred to as AIO statements). Consumers are not only asked about productsthey like, where they live, and what their gender is but also about what they do—that is, howthey spend their time and what their priorities, values, opinions, and general outlooks on theworld are. Where do they go other than work? Who do they like to talk to? What do they talkabout? Researchers hired by Procter & Gamble have gone so far as to follow women aroundfor weeks as they shop, run errands, and socialize with one another (Berner, 2006). Other com‐panies have paid people to keep a daily journal of their activities and routines.A number of research organizations examine lifestyle and psychographic characteristics ofconsumers.Psychographicscombines the lifestyle traits of consumers and their personalitystyles with an analysis of their attitudes, activities, and values to determine groups of con‐sumers with similar characteristics. One of the most widely used systems to classify peoplebased on psychographics is the VALS (Values, Attitudes, and Lifestyles) framework. UsingVALS to combine psychographics with demographic information such as marital status, edu‐cation level, and income provide a better understanding of consumers.Psychological Factors
MotivationMotivationis the inward drive we have to get what we need. In the mid-1900s, AbrahamMaslow, an American psychologist, developed the hierarchy of needs shown inFigure 3.4“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”.Figure 3.4 Maslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsMaslow theorized that people have to fulfill their basic needs—food, water, and sleep—beforethey can begin fulfilling higher-level needs. Have you ever gone shopping when you weretired or hungry? Even if you were shopping for something that would make you the envy ofyour friends (maybe a new car) you probably wanted to sleep or eat even more. (Forget the car.