The theory of planned behavior tries to predict an individual’s intention to engage in a behavior at a specific time and place. It has been used with applications on health behavior concerns such as drinking or smoking. However, this also has deep importance for consumer behavior marketing.

Understanding what changes behavior can be applied to introduce new products. For example, new technologies. When a new technology requires new behavior, it’s important to evaluate this theory on the marketing strategy.

Therefore, on this post we will discuss the elements of this theory and how marketers can use this theory.

Theory of planned behavior elements

According to the theory there are three elements that predict our future behavior:

  • Attitudes: They are predisposed favorable or unfavorable interest in performing an action. For example, being interested in buying a restaurant product because you like some ingredients. However, a positive or negative attitude is not a perfect indicator of behavior.
  • Subjective norms: How others behave and/or how others expect us to behave. For instance, if everyone wants to watch a movie, you might feel pressure to watch it with your friends.
  • Perceived behavioral control: It refers to the individual perception of the possibility of performing an action. For example, I could want to buy a luxury car; however, my finances would be strain from doing so. Therefore I won’t. Otherwise, if it’s a low-cost snack, I will be more inclined to buy it.  

In summary, the higher attitudes, subjective norms, and greater the perceived control then more likely a person will have an intention to perform an action.

How can marketers use this theory

The consumer decision process in the EBK model is Problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase. By combining this approach with the theory of plan behavior, we can focus on information search, alternative evaluation, and purchase stages.

For instance, on the information search and alternative evaluation, we should consider what are the attitudes of our audience towards our product and brands, as well as their attitudes toward our competitors. How can we improve that? Could we associate with an influencer, social responsibility campaign, or improve our brand image for a more positive attitude?

Secondly, how is public opinion on our product? How do we handle our social media and customer service? Managing customers complain effectively while focusing on delighting our customers will play in our favor with subjective norms by generating positive reviews on social media, blogs, and general word of mouth.

Finally, on the perceived behavioral control and the purchase stage, we should look at our 4p. Is our product placed in convenient stores for our customers, are our delivery times and conditions acceptable for the needs of our customers? Is the price viable for our target market? These are some of the questions to do when working the theory of planned behavior in your strategy.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you wish to learn more about emotions and branding, you can visit my last week’s post on Brand emotions: Why we love (or hate) brands. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash