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How Perception Works


The Perception of someone is the recognition, understanding and interpretation of something based on what they see, hear, taste, feel, smell or become aware of through their senses.

Customer Perception

Customer perception is very important to a marketer as the people, being different individuals, tend to see the world in their own ways. These individuals act and react on the basis of their nature, attitude and philosophy of life, but not on the basis of reality. The knowledge on customer perception would help to determine what factors influence consumers to make buying decision

Elements of perception

There are three elements of perception


The sensation is the immediate and direct response of the sensory organs to stimulus.

The sensitivity of a stimulus depends on the quality of sensory receptors, the amount of stimulus to which the individual is exposed, and the environment within which the perception takes place. The process of transforming any sensation.

Absolute sensation

It is the level at which an individual can differentiate between something and nothing.

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in the case of an advertisement based on sensory adaption, the consumer get too much exposed to a particular message about certain brands that he/she no longer wishes to see such ads. To cope up with this problem, marketers try to either decrease or increase the sensory input by significant amount by changing the advertisement setup, message, package design, etc. from time to time.

Just noticeable difference (JND)

JND is the minimum apparent difference between two stimuli as observed by the consumer.

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Weber’s law states that the stronger the stimulus, the greater the change required for the stimulus to be seen as different. One critical phenomenon is that the higher the original price of an item, the greater the markdown required to increase the sales or, in general, how to make a market realize the relative price.

Subliminal perception

People can perceive stimuli without being consciously aware that they are doing so. Subliminal perception occurs whenever the stimuli presented below the threshold for awareness are found to influence thoughts, feeling, or actions. A subliminal message is a signal or message embedded in another medium designed to pass below the normal limits of the human mind’s perception. These messages are unrecognized in the conscious mind, but in certain situations, can affect the subconscious mind and can influence subsequent thoughts, behavior attitudes, beliefs and value systems.

Nature of Perception

In fact, perception refers to the manner in which an individual experiences the world as every individual approaches the life differently. One hears, as per one’s perception, not what was really said. People buy what they think is best to them, not what is best. An individual’s own needs, objectives, problems, interests and background controls his perception in each situation. Every individual has a perceptual world that he’s selective and partially concentrating on his interest and likings. Understanding the difference between the perpetual world and real world is important to the study of consumer behavior as well as human relations.

Factors Affecting Customer Perception

Internal factors

Need and Desire: Prof. Maslow has given needs hierarchy what effects individual perception like basic need, safety and security needs, love and affection needs, ego and esteem needs and finally self-fulfillment needs.
Personality: One’s personality has got deep impact on one’s perception. Individuals who have a strong and secure personality perceive others as warm and secure. Individual weak in certain aspects tends to find faults in others. Self-accepting individuals perceive themselves as liked, wanted and accepted by others. A person having confidence and faith in their individuality, perceive things favorably.

External factors

  • Size: Size takes that the larger the object, the more likely it will be perceived. Bigger machines, larger building and pictures get more attention than smaller ones.
  • Intensity: Intensity normally attracts to increase selective perception. Strong and high in-tensity likes leads to high.
  • Motion: The principle of motion states that people will pay more attention to moving ob-jectives in the field of vision.
  • Repetition: Generally repeated external stimulus attracts more attention than a single time.
  • Status: It is seen that one’s perception is also influenced by the status of perceiver.
  • Contrast: The contrast principle states that external stimuli which stand out against the background will attract more attention.

Stimulus factors

  • Similarity: The principle of similarity states that the greater the similarity of the stimuli, the greater tendency to perceive them as a common group.
  • Proximity: Things being equal, things near to each other tend to be perceived as belonging together.
  • Principal of Continuity: The principle of closure and continuity emphasis that an individual tends to fill gaps in complete pattern of stimuli in ways that make them meaningful.
  • Principle of Context: In the perception the principle of context is of immense importance. Different words, symbols, gestures, pose, etc. have got different meaning in different con-text. Other factors like past experiences, expectations, current psychological state, situation, etc. also effect customer perception.

Perceived risk

Many consumers feel uncertainty in deciding what products or services to buy. Perceived risk refers to the degree of uncertainty perceived by the consumer about the consequences (outcome) of a specific purchase decision. An individual consumer’s perception of risk varies with product categories and it is also affected by the shopping situation (e.g. traditional stores, door-to-door sales, modern outlets).

Impact of Marketing on Customer Perception

Marketing is a consumer-oriented process: A business exists to satisfy human needs. Therefore, it is essential that the organization must first find out the customer needs. Only such goods should be produced which best satisfy consumer needs.

In the words of Levitt, instead of trying to market what is easiest for us to make, we must find out much more about what the consumer is willing to buy. To sum it up all, it is mandatory for business to conduct market research and understand consumer perception to better position themselves in the competition and drive in-creased customers and sales.

Cite this page

How Perception Works. (2020, Sep 18). Retrieved from

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