Be it Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, BMW, Apple, or Disney, the foundation of an organization's success lies in true insight into how consumers think, feel, choose, and consume. This course is designed to help students become astute discoverers and incisive communicators of business-relevant strategic consumer insights. It provides a comprehensive coverage of frameworks, concepts, tools, and techniques to get into the “hearts, minds and motives” of consumers. Organized around a consumer-centric framework, this course focuses on the consumer as an individual, starting with the question of who the consumer is, and systematically examining the buying process which a consumer takes from pre-purchase motivations and cognition to post-purchase consumption and satisfaction. The topics discussed comprise an examination of basic psychological processes in a logical sequence using a combination of case studies and both individual and group exercises, and each session will focus on a part of this sequence. Additionally, at a more general level, the nature and importance of consumer heterogeneity, social factors, and cultural differences in consumer behavior will be emphasized throughout the course. An important part of the course is a real-life consumer insight field project proposed by a client company; the project provides a hands-on opportunity to apply the concepts and frameworks discussed in the course to address a real-world marketing issue. Past clients include Johnson & Johnson, Publicis, Macy's, Novartis, Coca-Cola, Best Buy, and Deloitte Consulting. The course is targeted at intellectually curious and motivated students who are interested in pursuing careers in general management, marketing, entrepreneurship, business consulting, media and advertising, or consumer-oriented not-for-profit organizations.
Leonard Lee was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 2006 to 2014.