Understanding the Consumer brings together marketing theory and practice in a truly consumer-centric approach. It challenges the lip service usually paid to this concept and demonstrates that a fundamental understanding of the consumer is critical to the future of effective marketing. Drawing on cutting-edge developments in the literature it reconceptualizes how consumers respond and act in the marketplace with particular attention to: - relationships with suppliers, products and brands - their innovative, creative and resistant behaviour - the complexity and unpredictability of their consumption behaviour - their increasing need to get closer to production. The book challenges existing functionally driven marketing thinking and shows how a more holistic approach to the marketplace will drive better theory and practice. It combines a jargon-free approach to the subject with an illustration of the relevant theory using practical, topical examples from the marketplace as well as drawing on other business related disciplines including sociology and economics to support its arguments.

New Products and Their Meanings

New products and their meanings

Many studies of consumer facilities and habits bear uncanny resemblance to detective novels: in the stories told of the birth and ascendancy of consumer society, the plots tend to grind relentlessly towards the unmasking of the scheming culprit(s). There is hardly a piece without some singly or severally acting villains – be it a conspiracy of merchandisers, the sly intrigues of their advertising henchman or brainwashing orchestrated by media moguls, explicitly or implicitly, the shoppers. Consumers emerge from the story as victims of collective brain-damage: gullible and duped victims of crowd hypnosis. (Bauman, 2001: 18)


So far, the argument of this book has been that the notion of relationships between supplier and consumer as promoted by marketing ...

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