A Career Roadmap
Simply put, consumer psychology is a scientific field that aims to find out what drives consumers to buy and use certain goods and services. Today, it behooves every successful company to hire a specialist, who would be thoroughly enlightened on the issues of consumer psychology, so as to improve its products and marketing strategies, thereby bolstering sales. Consumer psychology is a relatively new and growing area of psychological research, meaning that a new generation of specialists with specific credentials is needed. To become a seasoned consumer psychologist, a person should have a strong interest in the respective field and undergo an extensive life-long training. The present paper illuminates the subtleties and perquisites of employment in the sphere of consumer psychology, offers a review of relevant literature and segues into a debate of what it takes to build a successful career in consumer psychology. For the author of this paper consumer psychology is of special interest because of its profound and complex nature.
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It is incumbent on each and every person to be eager in the area of career specialization to become an eminent representative of the chosen profession. I have always wondered what really motivates people to purchase certain products and disregard others of similar quality. Early in the halcyon days of my childhood, I realized that there had to be something that imbued people with enthusiasm to show preference for some products and ignore others. I always wanted to obtain an insight into how customers and clients feel, think, reason and choose. Actually, I did not comprehend it at that time, it appears that I have always had a passion for consumer psychology.
There is enormous, untapped and acknowledged potential in the sphere of consumer psychology, meaning that new specialists can both reach success and explore largely uncharted areas of consumer psychology. It is apparent that an intrinsic connection exists between marketing and consumer behavior, but further research is needed to establish regularities of such interconnection. For instance, by gaining a firm grasp of the unstudied areas of consumer behavior, psychologists will help companies design and present their services to potential consumers in an attractive fashion, thereby building up loyal satisfied clientele.
For the purposes of the present paper, Rumbo’s (2002), Kacen and Lee’s (2002), Chartrand and Fitzsinos’ (2010), and Pham’s (2013) articles have been briefly reviewed in a chronological order. Although all articles deal with different aspects of consumer behavior, they allow one to gain a valuable insight into the rudiments of consumer psychology. Kacen and Lee (2002) have determined that individual cultural factors present in different countries have a strong impact on impulsive buying behavior in consumers. The researchers reckon that scientific research conducted from the Western point of view is often insufficient to explain consumer impulsive buying behavior, because it ignores cultural idiosyncrasies inherent in non-occidental countries (Kacen & Lee, 2002). The authors’ findings indicate that cultural differences are significant aspect and should be taken into consideration to improve the existing theories of consumer behavior. Rumbo (2002) has shown on the example of the Canadian-based The Adbusters Media Foundation that anti-consumerist organizations have a salubrious impact on resistance efforts. Rumbo (2002) argues that the omnipresent effects of advertising often motivate consumers to develop ad-avoidance strategies and otherwise resist the blandishments of advertisers in order to protect their psyche.
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Chartrand and Fitzsinos (2010) explain the main whys and wherefores of nonconscious consumer behavior. The researchers have discovered the existence of the whole array of factors outside of people’s conscious awareness that have a bearing on consumption behaviors. Chartrand and Fitzsinos (2010) conjecture that there is a close interaction between subliminal and conscious processes and subliminal processes inter se. Pham’s (2013) article is the most generalized and offers a long and disturbing litany of caveats and limitations in consumer psychology research. Thus, Pham (2013) pinpoints seven fundamental challenges facing consumer psychologists. Foremost among these challenges, Pham (2013) argues, is the problem of applying a narrow set of theoretical lenses in studying consumer psychology. He further opines that overcoming these fundamental challenges would give a valuable effect on the quality of consumer psychology research (Pham, 2013).
Undoubtedly, I will have to go through an advanced training program to become a densely erudite consumer psychologist. However, undergoing a general psychological training in the university will not be enough to refer to oneself respectfully as an expert of consumer psychology. Usually, degree programs in consumer psychology are available at the master’s level. Once plunged into the rarefied, albeit staid, atmosphere of university, students can avail themselves of the bountiful opportunities to deepen their knowledge. Alternatively, students can matriculate in the additional training courses and workshops offered by various advanced psychology institutions. A master’s degree program in consumer psychology covers topics ranging from research methods to marketing and consumer habits. In some cases, an internship may be necessary to complete a degree. Having completed a master’s degree, I will have all the hallmarks of a professional psychologist and able to work in the field of market research. However, it is sophistic to believe that the knowledge earned in the university will be enough to retain a successful career of a consumer psychologist. I will most certainly need to deepen my knowledge and hone my skills throughout my life. Additionally, it may be necessary to take out a license to provide one’s services. However, bearing in mind that consumer psychologists work in non-clinical settings as a rule, licensure is generally not required. Although non-clinical psychologists are exempt from licensure, some government agencies may set forth licensing requirements.