What is The Theory of Planned Behavior

Have you ever thought about why you follow through with purchasing an item? Perhaps you’ve been eyeing a new car, a designer handbag, or even deciding which primary care physician to select. Marketers use a social phycology principle called the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to establish if a consumer will follow through with action- in marketing, it would be the consumption of a product or service. This TPB model is based on three types of factors that work in conjunction to form a behavioral intention, which will ideally lead to a behavior. When marketing to consumers, it’s essential to recognize and forecast your target market’s likeness to actually purchase or use the products. The TPB states that a person is more likely to buy a product if behavioral attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control are positive towards the item.

Behavioral Attitude

Behavioral attitude refers you a person’s internal thoughts that find a particular behavior positive or negative. For instance, some people believe that doctors are more trained and knowledgeable than nurse practitioners to make high-level medical decisions over a patient’s health. This belief infers that the more extensive training physicians undergo equals better care healthcare. Believing that choosing a physician is a more positive behavior that choosing a nurse practitioner.

Subjective Norms

Subjective norms are the concept that our family and friends’ beliefs and thoughts toward specific behaviors influence our own behavioral intentions. If our trusted social networks view choosing a nurse practitioner as less quality care, we are more likely to view it as unfavorable.

Perceived Behavioral Control  

Perceived behavioral control regards an internal belief that we have control in taking action on a specific behavior. If a person thinks that nurse practitioners are easier to get appointments with because doctors are in higher demand from patients, they could think that choosing a doctor is out of their control. The thought that you won’t get an immediate appointment with a doctor could affect you selecting a physician over the nurse practitioner. If your practice sees that this is a concern, you could target your potential patients with communications stating a wider availability with after-hours care and weekend appointments.

The TPB works off the assumption that if one factor is weaker than the rest, it will reduce the planned behavior’s chances to come to fruition. When evaluating the three elements, areas that seem to have less positive effects on behavioral intention can be influenced by marketing communications to boost consumption.

Next Steps

If a practice already has an established patient base, they will make the perfect samples to use when assessing the practice’s attitudinal factors. The business can utilize the assessment results to target current patients to increase word of mouth referrals or learn what areas to target potential new patients in. If you haven’t yet, read my last blog on brand love.