Numerous decisions are made daily concerning every aspect of our lives. These decisions are often made without stopping to think about how we make them, or what is involved in the decision making itself. In the most general terms, a decision is the selection of an action from two or more alternative choices, i.e. there must be a choice of alternatives available.

The four views refer to the general view or perspective of why individuals behave as they do.

loyality Reds TipFour views of decision making
An economic view
In a world of perfect competition, the consumer is often portrayed as economic - the one who makes rational decisions. Consumers rarely have enough information, or sufficient information, or even an adequate degree of involvement or motivation, to make perfect decisions. Consumers operate in an imperfect world and often "settle" instead of maximising price-quantity, marginal utility or indifference curves.

Passive view
The opposite of the economic view is the view that consumers as passive, basically submissive to the self-serving and promotional efforts of marketers. eg. Verimark ads and infomercials.

A cognitive view
This view portrays the consumer as a thinking problem solver. Risk is the key component the problem solver tries to dispel the risk associated with many product choices.

When 'enough' information is gathered, the consumer stops seeking information to make 'satisfactory decisions', eg. motor vehicle adverts or high capital expenditure ads.

An emotional view
Consumers may associate deep feelings or emotions (fun, fear, love, prestige, hope, sexiness, fantasy or a bit of magic). Mr price store with price tags "go for it!". Consumers buy clothes not because they look better but they feel better. Advertisers are recognising the renewed importance of emotional advertising, eg. Alexander Grey advert.

The firms marketing activities is a direct attempt to reach, inform and persuade consumers to buy and use its products. These inputs to the consumer decision-making process constitute the product itself - including its packaging, size, guarantees, mass media advertising, personal selling, and other promotional efforts, pricing policy, selection of distribution channels to move the product from the manufacturer to the consumer.

The impact of the firms marketing efforts is governed largely by the consumers' perception of these efforts and therefore must be alert to consumer perceptions and must not solely rely on the intended impact of marketing messages.

A strategic marketing plan that has researched the needs of the consumer and positions itself so the consumers' decision becomes less risky will have the desired effect to influence the consumer to purchase the product.