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Consumer behavior - the psychology behind marketing

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €399 per programme


“Your behavior is a choice; it isn’t who you are.”
Vanessa Diffenbaugh

“We change other people’s behavior by changing our own.”

The best myth within marketing is that consumers think they are in control. That they are immune to the marketing messages and the stimuli all around us, that their buying is rational. It is not, it is a myth.

It is a basic misunderstanding about the forces that shape shopping behavior. Consumers believe that they act rationally to maximize their personal best interests when making purchase decisions. And even marketers assume that consumer shopping decisions are based on rational evaluation of the features and attributes of the products they sell – aided, of course, by communications and other brand promotion activity. Well, to some extent, it is but the marketing instruments (all the P’s) are just the outcome of a more profound insight: the insight of the psychological part of marketing. The part that drives behavior. The part that makes it very reasonable to wait in line for hours to buy the newest I-Phone from the shelf, the part that explains why we do not notice many changes in the short period of time, the part that makes us order the same meal in the same restaurant. Every single time.

Consumers are more dualistic than ever before so catching their attention is becoming the hardest part within marketing. Just offering them sales and lower prices does not cover it anymore. We need to know hoe people learn, how they forget, how the sensory systems operate, how people make decisions and more importantly: based on what? We have to get inside the people’s head to understand them. More in-depth, more profound. In this interactive online course we will focus on the psychological part of marketing to understand what the effect is on the stimuli. What triggers us to buy or to ignore although we are the right target group? What is the effect of social media, how do we form attitudes towards brands and what can we learn from experiments like the Milgram experience? So let’s start digging!

Course Duration and Dates
This is a four week part-time online course running from the 14th of September until the 14th of October, 2020. The courses will be scheduled in Central European Time [CET] so it is possible that some time slots are not ideal for people in certain time zones. However, when scheduling the courses, we will try to take into account the different time zones as much as we can.

The number of credits earned after successfully concluding this course is the equivalent of 3 ECTS according to Maastricht University’s guidelines. For further information see the MSS terms and conditions

The course has the following objectives:

• Understanding how perception translates raw stimuli into meaning.
• Applying the concept of the sensory thresholds for marketing communications.
• Applying semiotics to create meaning.
• Understanding how the various self-concepts influences consumer behavior.
• Understanding how motivational conflicts influences purchase decisions.
• Understanding the impact lifestyles and values can have within behavior.
• Applying the learning theories into behavior.
• Understanding the effect memories have in purchase decisions.
• Understanding how attitudes are formed.
• Applying the power of attitudes in purchase decisions.
• Understanding how consumers process a message.
• Understanding and applying the various methods to make a decision.
• Understanding how various social power influences consumers in their decision.
• Understanding the power of opinion leaders.
• Understanding the importance of social media in learning and behavior.
• Understanding that culture is the accumulation of shared meanings and traditions
• Understanding the importance of myths and rituals in purchase decisions.

A general knowledge of marketing is helpful but not necessary. Of course, a marketer will get more profound knowledge but also those who have a genuine interest in behaviourism, those who want to stretch their knowledge within psychology and/or those who wants to grow as an entrepreneur or salesperson are more than welcome to join. Enthusiasm and effort might compensate for the lack of background knowledge.

Recommend literature
Consumer behavior (A European Perspective), Solomon, 6th edition

Teaching methods
▪ Assignments ▪ Lectures – Papers ▪ PBL ▪ Presentations ▪ Research ▪ Skills ▪Trainings ▪ Work in subgroups

Assessment methods
▪ Attendance ▪ Final paper ▪ Participation ▪ Portfolio ▪ Presentation

Apply now! Fall semester 2020/21
Application deadline
Sep 3, 2020 23:59:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Sep 15, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2020/21
Application deadline
Sep 3, 2020 23:59:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Sep 15, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States