Utilising the Theory of Planned Behavior to Predict Customer Intentions


redicting customer behaviour is the holy grail of marketing. While there's no definitive method to completely foresee what a consumer will do next, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) offers valuable insights into understanding and predicting customer intentions that will provide immense value to your overall marketing strategy.

Developed by psychologist Icek Ajzen in the late 1980s, this theory has been extensively applied in various domains, including healthcare, education, and marketing. This article aims to explore how businesses can leverage TPB to influence customer intentions and, consequently, drive sales.

Understanding the Theory of Planned Behavior

The Three Pillars

The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) posits that human action is guided by three kinds of considerations:

  1. Attitude Towards Behaviour: This refers to the individual's positive or negative assessment of performing a particular behaviour, like purchasing a product.
  2. Subjective Norm: This is the perceived social pressure from friends, family, or society at large to perform or not perform the behaviour.
  3. Perceived Behavioural Control: This refers to the individual's perception of how easy or difficult it will be to perform the behaviour, considering factors like availability, affordability, and skills.

Intention as a Mediator

In TPB, these three factors collectively influence an individual’s intention to perform a specific behaviour. Stronger intentions increase the likelihood of the behaviour being carried out. Thus, if you can tap into these three pillars effectively, you can guide consumer intentions and actions in a direction that is beneficial to your business.

Practical Applications in Marketing

Customer Surveys and Feedback

Understanding your audience's attitudes, norms, and perceived barriers can be achieved through detailed customer surveys, focus groups, or even social listening. This data can then be used to tailor marketing messages, product features, or promotions accordingly.

Social Proof

To affect the subjective norm, businesses can use social proof strategies, like testimonials, ratings, and influencer partnerships. This creates a perception that the “norm” is to use your product or service, thereby encouraging positive behaviour toward it.

Simplifying User Experience

To impact perceived behavioural control, businesses must focus on simplifying the customer journey. This could mean offering free trials, uncomplicated return policies, or even an intuitive UI/UX design on the website or app.

Actionable Tips for Implementation

  1. Segment Your Audience: Different customer groups may have distinct attitudes, norms, and control perceptions. Tailor your approach accordingly.
  2. Personalised Marketing: Utilise customer data to offer personalised experiences that align with their attitudes and perceptions.
  3. Promote Ease of Use: Highlight how simple, fast, and hassle-free it is to use your product or service.
  4. Leverage Social Influence: Use testimonials, case studies, and influencer endorsements to shape social norms positively.

The Theory of Planned Behavior offers a robust framework for understanding the intricate psychological factors that dictate consumer action. By tapping into attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control, businesses can predict and influence customer intentions more effectively. While TPB may not provide a fool-proof method for predicting customer behaviour, it certainly equips marketers with the tools to guide intentions in a way that is likely to result in favourable actions.

In any competitive marketplace, understanding and leveraging behavioural psychology can provide you the edge you need to succeed. Contact our Team at LimeHub to find out how we can help you to predict and influence audience behaviours.


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