Application of the three decision-making models, the seven decision-making strategies, and the two marketing theories can be seen in current efforts by marketing practitioners and academicians to tease apart the complex decisions made by consumers. For example, choice models and conjoint models are multivariate analysis techniques based on these understandings. Consumers are presented with choices in controlled environments that, hopefully, control for other confounding variables, and then the choices are decomposed to understand both the conscious and unconscious elements driving the consumers' choices. One caveat for practitioners is important to address at this point. When one is attempting to manipulate marketing variables such as price or promotion, or even conduct research into consumer decision-making, it is critical that a solid theoretical base be used. Without this base, the surveys have the potential of producing contradictory or misleading answers, and the attempts to manipulate the variables at hand may produce less than satisfying results. In summary, this area of investigation is complex and uncertain, though extremely promising. The fields of economics, psychology, sociology, and marketing are all deeply involved in trying to move this research forward, with often-conflicting research streams and terminology. However, the end result—gaining a better understanding of how consumers make decisions—is of great theoretical and practical value to all involved. As such, it will continue to be a major research area in all the above fields. Note: Both information and insights were provided for this paper by Dr. Daniel Levine, Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at Arlington.
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