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Management Consulting/Consumer behaviour: Men still major decision-makers


Consumer behaviour: Men still major decision-makers
In India, men continue to dominate.
Even today, only 16 per cent of Indian professionals are women. Therefore, consumer decisionmaking
in all areas -- ranging from what cars to buy to what clothes manufacturers to patronize -- is
dictated by men when it comes to the most upscale market segment in India.
'Horizon 2003', a study by BBC World, BBC's 24-hour international news and information channel,
using the latest census as a base, gives some startling insights into the attitudes and activities of
India's leading consumers and decision makers.
The research, conducted by market research agency NFO-MBL across six top metros and profiling
380,000 people, will greatly help media planners, agencies and advertisers to understand this
particular horizon professional.
Life insurance was found to be the biggest financial investment for most Indians, followed by the
stock markets.
Washing machines were the most desirable consumer durable products, followed by cars and desktop
Forty-two per cent of the respondents owned a mobile phone, of which 52 per cent had a Nokia, and
42 per cent of these subscribed to AirTel cellular service.
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For example, more than half of the people surveyed (56 per cent) felt that it was all right to give or
take bribes to get their work done. A slightly smaller number (40 per cent) thought it perfectly
acceptable 'to make money through underhand means/deals.'
Who decides
Self Spouse Joint Family Elders Children
Buying a house 25% 5.8% 20.8% 30.1% 14% 0.4%
Child's marriage 7.7% 5.9% 21.8% 18.7% 11.5% 4%
Own marriage 20.4% 2.5% 6.2% 22.4% 29.7% 0.9%
Child's education 15.1% 6.6% 34% 12.5% 5.6% 4.6%
Taking a loan 31.4% 5% 24.3% 18.1% 9.2% 0.6%
Fixing monthly budget 24.2% 10.3% 33.3% 18.5% 11.2% 0.6%
Buying entertainment durables, like TVs 21.4% 8.2% 33.4% 26.7% 7.4% 1.6%
Buying durables like washing machines 19.3% 10.7% 33.3% 26.2% 8.2% 1%
Deciding on holiday destinations 20.6% 6.1% 28.4% 31.8% 4.5% 5.6%
"It is very difficult to survey this group by using traditional methods," says Jeremy Nye, BBC
World's head of research, in the study. "However, it is important to know the tastes of these
professionals who will be shaping India's destiny."
Adds Dezma De Melo, research manager, BBC World: "All the individuals in this class are rather
alike. They have similar opinions, attitudes and beliefs."
The study showed the emergence of certain definite trends in the area of just who decides what. For
example, the person in question seemed to play a major role in deciding the monthly budget or
whether to take a loan, but when it came to deciding whom he should marry, it was still the older
people in the family who played a key role.
Both, the husband and the wife jointly decided on issues like the marriage of progeny. In a majority
of cases, the whole family got together to decide what kind of house to buy where to go for a holiday.
Alcohol consumption habits indicated that 25 per cent drank alcohol, of which 72 per cent were beer
drinkers. Most executives drank at bars and pubs, while self-employed professionals drank at friends'
homes. Businessmen preferred parties to have a drink or two at.
The research has an entire section focusing on travellers as a separate target audience. This is the first
time that anyone has studied consumer behaviour in this area in such depth.
The study tries to understand the travelling habits -- such as the mode of transport, kind of holidays,
choice of place and media consumption while travelling -- which will be different from normal
household viewership.
The survey sets forth several interesting findings in this area. Sixty per cent people take a holiday in
India, while 5 per cent take a holiday abroad. Eighteen per cent travel on business within India, while
8 per cent travel on business abroad at least once in a year.
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As for international holidays taken in the last one year, people from Mumbai (30 per cent), Bangalore
(35 per cent) and Hyderabad (26 per cent) preferred travelling to the United States, while 35 per cent
from Kolkata and 41 per cent from Chennai travelled to Singapore.
A quarter of the respondents from Delhi went to Nepal for a holiday.
Among domestic business travellers, Jet Airways (60 per cent) is the preferred airline, followed by
India Airlines (53 per cent) and Sahara Airlines (20 per cent). For domestic leisure travel, Jet
Airways and Indian Airlines enjoy an equal share.
Among international leisure destinations, Singapore is the favourite with 23 per cent respondents,
followed by 22 per cent opting to visit the US. International business travellers prefer the US (24 per
cent) followed by Singapore (23 per cent) and the United Kingdom (13 per cent).
Interestingly, people in the six metros surveyed seemed to show entirely different tastes in watching
television. The average number of channels watched was five and an average of 100 minutes of
television is watched a day, with 30 minutes devoted to news.
News and Sports are the most preferred programme genres, followed by general entertainment.
However, 29 per cent of the respondents in Delhi preferred News channels, while only 14 per cent of
those surveyed in Bangalore preferred News. Bangaloreans prefer watching Sports with a high of 34
per cent.
"We look forward to Horizon 2003 being a tool for advertisers and planners to get a better
understanding of this upscale, influential audience. We have been able to offer better solutions on the
channel to advertisers based on the learning of this upmarket audience," Seema Mohapatra, head of
advertising sales for BBC World, says.
The survey also found that 95 per cent of the professionals were proud to be Indians, while 75 per
cent believed risks are worth taking.
Q1) With reference to case above ,define the terms below,and justify how they influence
consumer behaviour?
Cultural and Cross-Cultural Influences
Subculture and Social Class
Reference Groups and Family

**Both, the husband and the wife jointly decided on issues like the marriage of progeny.

**In a majority of cases, the whole family got together to decide what kind of house to buy
**the whole family got together to decide
where to go for a holiday.

**Alcohol consumption habits indicated that 25 per cent drank alcohol, of which 72 per cent were beer drinkers.
**Most executives drank at bars and pubs,

**while self-employed professionals drank at friends'homes. Businessmen preferred parties to have a drink or two at.

**Sixty per cent people take a holiday in
India, while 5 per cent take a holiday abroad. **Eighteen per cent travel on business within India, while 8 per cent travel on business abroad at least once in a year.

**As for international holidays taken in the last one year, people from Mumbai (30 per cent), Bangalore (35 per cent) and Hyderabad (26 per cent) preferred travelling to the United States,

**while 35 per cent
from Kolkata and 41 per cent from Chennai travelled to Singapore.

**A quarter of the respondents from Delhi went to Nepal for a holiday.

**Among domestic business travellers, Jet Airways (60 per cent) is the preferred airline, followed by India Airlines (53 per cent) and Sahara Airlines (20 per cent).
**For domestic leisure travel, Jet Airways and Indian Airlines enjoy an equal share.

**Among international leisure destinations, Singapore is the favourite with 23 per cent respondents, followed by 22 per cent opting to visit the US. International business travellers prefer the US (24 per
cent) followed by Singapore (23 per cent) and the United Kingdom (13 per cent).

**people in the six metros surveyed seemed to show entirely different tastes in watching
television. The average number of channels watched was five and an average of 100 minutes of television is watched a day, with 30 minutes devoted to news.

**News and Sports are the most preferred programme genres, followed by general entertainment.

**29 per cent of the respondents in Delhi preferred News channels, while only 14 per cent of those surveyed in Bangalore preferred News.

1.    Culture  Influences on CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

Given the broad and pervasive nature of culture, its study generally requires a detailed examination of the character of the total society, including such factors as language, knowledge, laws, religions, food customs, music, art, technology, work patterns, products, and other artifacts that give a society its distinctive flavor.
2.   In a sense, culture is a society’s personality. For this reason, it is not easy to define its boundaries.
3.   Culture is the sum total of learned beliefs, values, and customs that serve to direct the consumer behavior of members of a particular society.
4.   Beliefs consist of the very large number of mental or verbal statements that reflect a person’s particular knowledge and assessment of something.
5.   Values also are beliefs, however, values differ from other beliefs because they must meet the following criteria:
a)   They are relatively few in number.
b)   They serve as a guide for culturally appropriate behavior.
c)   They are enduring or difficult to change.
d)   They are not tied to specific objects or situations.
e)   They are widely accepted by the members of a society.
6.   In a broad sense, both values and beliefs are mental images that affect a wide range of specific attitudes that, in turn, influence the way a person is likely to respond in a specific situation.
7.   Customs are overt modes of behavior that constitute culturally approved or acceptable ways of behaving in specific situations.
a)   Customs consist of everyday or routine behavior.
b)   Although beliefs and values are guides for behavior, customs are usual and acceptable ways of behaving.
c)   An understanding of various cultures can help marketers predict consumer acceptance of their products.


1.   The impact of culture is so natural and automatic that its influence on behavior is usually taken for granted.
2.   Often, it is only when we are exposed to people with different cultural values or customs that we become aware of how culture has molded our own behavior.
3.   Consumers both view themselves in the context of their culture and react to their environment based upon the cultural framework that they bring to that experience. Each individual perceives the world through his or her own cultural lens.
4.   Culture can exist and sometimes reveal itself at different perceived or subjective levels.
5.   Those interested in consumer behavior would be most concerned with three “levels of subjective culture:
a)   Supranational level – reflects the underlying dimensions of culture that impact multiple cultures or different societies.
b)   National level factors – such as shared core values, customs, personalities, and predispositional factors that tend to capture the essence of the “national character” of the citizens of a particular country.
c)   Group Level factors – are concerned with various subdivisions of a country or society. They might include subcultures’ difference, and membership and reference group differences.


1.   Culture exists to satisfy the needs of people within a society.
a)   It offers order, direction, and guidance in all phases of human problem solving by providing “tried and true” methods of satisfying physiological, personal, and social needs.
b)   Similarly, culture also provides insights as to suitable dress for specific occasions (e.g., what to wear around the house, what to wear to school, what to wear to work, what to wear to church, what to wear at a fast food restaurant, or a movie theater).
2.   Cultural beliefs, values, and customs continue to be followed as long as they yield satisfaction.
3.   In a cultural context, when a product is no longer acceptable because it’s related value or custom does not adequately satisfy human needs, it must be modified.
4.   Culture gradually evolves to meet the needs of society.


1.   At an early age we begin to acquire from our social environment a set of beliefs, values, and customs that make up our culture.
2.   For children, the learning of these acceptable cultural values and customs is reinforced by the process of playing with their toys.
a)   As children play, they act out and rehearse important cultural lessons and situations.

How Culture Is Learned

1.   There are three distinct forms of learning:
a)   Formal learning—adults and older siblings teach a young family member “how to behave.”
b)   Informal learning—a child learns primarily by imitating the behavior of selected others.
c)   Technical learning—teachers instruct the child in an educational environment as to what, how, and why it should be done.
2.   Advertising and marketing communications can influence all three types of cultural learning..
a)   It most influences informal learning by providing models of behavior to imitate.
b)   This is especially true for visible or conspicuous products that are evaluated in public settings, where peer influence is likely to play an important role.
3.   The repetition of advertising messages creates and reinforces cultural beliefs and values.
4.   Cultural meaning moves from the culturally constituted world to consumer goods and from there to the individual consumer by means of various consumption-related vehicles (e.g., advertising or observing or imitating others’ behavior.)

Does Advertising Reflect Culture?
1.   Many marketers and advertisers share the view that advertising mirrors the values and needs of society, and therefore the claims and/or appeal contained in ads reflect the behavior or aspirations of potential customers.
2.   A study conducted in New Zealand came to a different conclusion, stating that many of the changes in advertising styles or appeal that occur over time may primarily be the result of “an internally (industry) driven ‘fashion’ and/or ‘investment’ cycle,” rather than the commonly held notion that “advertising is society driven.”
Enculturation and Acculturation

1.   The learning of one’s own culture is known as enculturation.
2.   The learning of a new or foreign culture is known as acculturation.
3.   A consumer can be a “foreigner” in his or her own country.

Language and Symbols

1.   To acquire a common culture, the members of a society must be able to communicate with each other through a common language.
a)   Without a common language, shared meaning could not exist and true communication would not take place.
2.   Basically, the symbolic nature of human language sets it apart from all other animal communication.
3.   A symbol is used to convey desired product images or characteristics.
4.   A symbol is anything that stands for something else.
a)   Symbols can be verbal or nonverbal.
b)   Symbols may have several, even contradictory, meanings.
c)   Marketers use symbols to convey desired product images or characteristics.
5.   Price and channels of distribution are also significant symbols of the marketer and the marketer’s product.
a)   The type of store where the product is sold is also an important symbol of quality.

Brands as Symbols

1.   Brands are symbols of the popular culture as well as expressions of management or ad agency strategy.


1.   A ritual is a type of symbolic activity consisting of a series of steps occurring in a fixed sequence and repeated over time.
2.   Rituals extend over the human life cycle from birth to death.
a)   They can be public or private, elaborate, religious, or civil ceremonies, or they can be mundane.
b)   It is often formal and scripted—i.e., proper conduct is prescribed.
3.   Important to marketers, rituals tend to be replete with ritual artifacts (products) that are associated with, or somehow enhance, performance of the ritual.
4.   Ritualistic behavior is any behavior that is made into a ritual.

Culture Is Shared

1.   To be considered a cultural characteristic, a particular belief, value, or practice must be shared by a significant portion of the society.
2.   Culture is often viewed as group customs that link together members of society.
3.   Various social institutions transmit the elements of culture and make sharing of culture a reality.
a)   Family—the primary agent for enculturation – passing along of basic cultural beliefs, values, and customs to society’s newest members.
i)   A vital part of the enculturation role of the family is the consumer socialization of the young.
b)   Educational institutions—charged with imparting basic learning skills, history, patriotism, citizenship, and the technical training needed to prepare people for significant roles within society.
c)   Houses of worship—provide religious consciousness, spiritual guidance, and moral training.
d)   Mass media—is a fourth and often overlooked transmitter of culture.
i)   It disseminates information about products, ideas, and causes.
ii)   We have daily exposure to advertising, and through those ads, receive cultural information.
e)   Virtual communities – is a fifth and somewhat more recent social institution for sharing cultural values.
i)   It has been estimated that over 40 million consumers, worldwide, participate in such communities.


1.   Culture continually evolves; therefore, the marketer must carefully monitor the sociocultural environment in order to market an existing product more effectively or to develop promising new products.
a)   This is not easy because many factors are likely to produce cultural changes within a given society.
2.   The changing nature of culture means that marketers have to consistently reconsider:
a)   Why consumers are now doing what they do?
b)   Who are the purchasers and the users of their products?
c)   When they do their shopping?
d)   How and where they can be reached by the media?
e)   What new product and service needs are emerging?
3.   Marketers who monitor cultural changes often find new opportunities to increase corporate profitability.
Social Class Influences on CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
Social class is an important source of beliefs, values, and behaviors
•   Why? Look at the indicators: what one does for a living, what one’s education is, where you life, what you earn
•   Different social classes value education differently
•   Attitudes toward family life, raising children, the role of women, etc., vary from class to class
•   Time with children, attitude toward work, care of self
•   People in various social classes exhibit markedly different lifestyles
•   Activities outside home, times of meals, types of sports

Can marketers use social class? Product influence
•   Its relevance may be product-specific
•   Products people buy: clothing, home furnisihings and appliances
•   Conspicuous items - things people are likely to talk about and compare among themselves
•   Certain brands are associated with specific social classes (occupations, educ, etc)
•   Brands of beer, wine, etc.
Social Class and Marketplace Behavior: Media Use
Influence on media use
•   Lower-class people are less likely to subscribe to newspapers than are members of the middle class.

Choice of magazine is likely tied to education and reading ability
•   Lower-middle class—Reader’s Digest, Ladies Home Journal
•   Upper-middle class—Time, The New Yorker, etc.
Broadcast media choice also varies by social class
•   Upper-middle class—NBC vs. lower-middle class: CBS
•   Lower-middle class—more responsive to audiovisual forms of communication
Influence on Advertising: Themes
Lower-status consumers are more receptive to advertising that depicts activity, ongoing work and life, expressions of energy, etc. Why?
Upper-middle class consumers are more critical of advertising, suspicious of emotional appeals, and skeptical of claims. Why?
Social Class: Shopping
Lower-class women are the most “impulsive” about shopping
Outlet choice varies by social class
Upper-lower class women are likely to respond to promotions offering coupons or other special inducements
Members of the upper class prefer traditional home furnishings
Social Class and Leisure
Bowling, TV, and bingo are favorite lower-class leisure pursuits
Most activities enjoyed by middle- and upper-class people are less time consuming than lower-class choices
Who is likely to influence your company’s customers?
Who do they want to imitate?
Who will they ask for advice?
Does your company have any social processes where your customers are influenced by others?
Cross-Culture Influences on CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
By understanding the role of rituals in consumer behavior, marketers can devise rituals that help transfer important cultural meanings from products to the customer. For instance, a real estate firm might develop an elaborate purchase ritual, perhaps including an exchange of gifts on the purchase occasion, to verify the transfer of the house, alongside its meanings, to the buyer. Some upscale clothing stores perform elaborate shopping and buying rituals for their affluent customers, including showing them to a private room, serving coffee or wine, and presenting a selection of clothes. When dining in a fine restaurant, people participate in many rituals that transfer special meanings, including being seated by the maitre d’, talking to the wine steward, using various types of silverware and glasses, eating each course separately, and so on.
Finally, consider the initial strategy used by Nissan to create rituals for American buyers that help transfer meanings about its Infinity luxury car to consumers. Dealers were supposed to gently welcome customers in Japanese style as honored guests (not aggressively descend on the “mooches,” a derogatory term for a naive customer used by some American car salespeople). Tea or coffee was to be offered, served on fine Japanese china. Each Infinity dealership was to have a special shoki-screened contemplation room where consumers could sit quietly with the car, “meditating” about their purchase and the consumer–product relationship. These rituals helped reinforce the low-pressure, relaxed meanings Nissan wanted to develop about the Infinity approach to car selling.
Cross-Cultural Influences
Foreign markets have become quite important for many businesses, including the U.S. film industry. Because domestic ticket sales have been relatively flat over the past decade (about 1.4 billion tickets per year), film companies have looked to foreign markets for growth. Today most U.S. film studios receive 50 percent or more of their total revenues from foreign markets. Thus U.S. companies are under pressure to develop films that appeal to both U.S. and foreign consumers.
To develop strategies that are effective in different cultures, marketers have to understand the differences in cultural meanings in different societies. In this section, we examine cross-cultural differences in meanings and consider how they affect consumers in different societies. We also discuss how marketers can treat crosscultural differences in developing international marketing strategies.
Cross-cultural differences do not always coincide with national borders. This is obvious in many countries where cultural differences among internal social groups are as great as between separate nations. Consider the former Soviet Union (with 15 republics and many large cultural differences), Belgium (two language cultures—Flemish and French), Canada (two language cultures—English and French), and Switzerland (German-, French-, Italian-, and Romanish-speaking regions). Understanding the cultural influences in such regions requires an analysis of subcultures.
Likewise, national borders do not always demarcate clear cross-cultural differences. For instance, many people living on either side of the long Canadian–U.S. border share similar cultural characteristics (French-speaking Quebec is an exception). Likewise, people in southern Austria and northern Italy, or northern France and southern Belgium, share many similarities.
Marketers must consider cross-cultural differences when developing marketing strategies for foreign markets. We discuss a few of these differences here.
Differences in Consumption Culture . The level of consumption orientation in different markets is an important cross-cultural factor that companies should consider when developing international marketing strategies. Obviously, a large part of U.S. culture involves consumption activities. Many other areas of the world—including Canada, most western European countries, and Japan—also have strong consumer cultures. Even in relatively poor countries, significant segments of society may have a developing consumer culture. For instance, India, Mexico, and many South American countries have a large middle class of consumers that can consume at significant levels. The Asian countries of the so-called Pacific Rim have a rapidly growing middle class with substantial spending power.
In much of the world, however, people have less opportunity to participate in a consumption culture. For instance, the ordinary citizens of many eastern European countries, the former Soviet Union, China, and most Third World countries do not have sufficient purchasing power to consume at high levels, nor are these societies able to produce goods in sufficient number and variety to meet the consumption needs of their people.
Self-Concept. People in different cultures may have strikingly different concepts of themselves and how they should relate to other people. Consider the differences between the vision of an independent self typical in North America and western Europe and the concept of self as highly interrelated with others that is more common in Japan, India, Africa, South America, and even some southern European cultures.
Americans, with their strong individualistic orientation, tend to think of self in terms of personal abilities and traits that enable people to achieve the ideals of independence from others, freedom of choice, and personal achievement. In contrast, the Japanese tend to value a self that is sensitive to the needs of others, fits into the group, and contributes positively to the harmonious interdependence among the group members. These cross-cultural differences in self-concept are likely to affect how people in those cultures interpret product meanings and use products to achieve important ends in their lives. For example, Japanese gift-giving behavior is strongly affected by the socially oriented self-concept.
Especially when they return from trips abroad, the Japanese feel a rather strong social (cultural) obligation to bring souvenir gifts to the folks back home. This type of gift giving is called omiyage. Friends, parents, siblings, and relatives are the typical recipients. A quick study of omiyage among Japanese tourists at the Los Angeles airport revealed 83 percent had bought omiyage, spending an average of $566 on such items compared to $581 on personal items. The number of people bought for was high (by American standards); 45 percent of Japanese tourists bought omiyage gifts for 15 or more people. Interestingly, although nearly 80 percent of the tourists mentioned that omiyage was a strong social norm in Japan, only 7 percent claimed to enjoy buying omiyage. Most treated it as a necessary chore. As for marketing strategies, it is important to know that the packaging and wrapping of omiyage gifts has important cultural meaning, partly because gifts are seldom opened in front of the giver. The appearance of the package is highly valued by Japanese consumers.
The meanings of the end values or goals found in means–end research are likely to be quite different in different cultures, as are the means to achieve them. Consider the value of self-esteem or “satisfaction with self.” North Americans, for instance, might satisfy selfesteem needs by acting in ways that represent their independence and autonomy from the group. But for the Japanese, cooperation with a group is an act that affirms the self. In Japan, giving in to the group is not a sign of weakness (as it might be interpreted in North America); rather, it reflects tolerance, self-control, flexibility, and maturity, all aspects of a positive selfimage for most Japanese. In contrast, stating one’s personal position and trying to get one’s way (acts valued in America as “standing up for what one believes”) may be thought childish and weak by the Japanese.
Similar Cross-Cultural Changes. The frequency of similar cultural changes occurring in many societies around the world at about the same time is steadily increasing. For instance, the social roles for women in North American society have changed considerably over the past 30 years. As more women worked outside the home, their values, goals, beliefs, and behaviors have changed. 48 Similar changes have occurred around the world. Today’s women in America and Europe, and increasingly in Japan and other countries, want more egalitarian marriages. They want their husbands to share in the housework and nurturing of children, and they want to establish a personal identity outside the family unit. These common cross-cultural changes have created similar marketing opportunities in many societies (for convenience products and time-saving services).
Everywhere people want more leisure and more free time. Even in Japan, where up to 60 percent of workers spend Saturdays on the job, people are beginning to loosen up and relax a bit. 49 Although the traditional Japanese values of hard work, dedication, and respect for the established order are still dominant, some Japanese, especially among the young, are starting to see certain aspects of Western culture and lifestyles as preferable to their own. For instance, as the Japanese become more consumption oriented and price conscious, the number of malls and discount stores is increasing rapidly.
Materialism. Materialism has been defined as the “importance a consumer attaches to worldly possessions.” Consumers with this value tend to acquire many possessions, which they see as important for achieving happiness, self-esteem, or social recognition (all prominent values in American culture). Although researchers disagree about its exact definition, materialism is a multidimensional value including possessiveness, envy (displeasure at someone else possessing something), and nongenerosity (unwillingness to give or share possessions). Another study points to four dimensions of materialism: Possessions are symbols of success or achievement (prominent American values), sources of pleasure, sources of happiness, and representations of indulgence and luxury. Materialistic values underlie the development of a mass consumption society, as we saw in the opening example, and in turn are stimulated by increasing consumption opportunities.
The United States is usually considered the most materialistic culture in the world. But a few studies suggest that Americans may be no more materialistic than European societies. For instance, one study found that consumers in the Netherlands had about the same level of general materialism as American consumers. But interestingly, the Dutch consumers were more possessive than the Americans. Perhaps it is not accidental that the Dutch have no garage sales and flea markets are rare. Whereas U.S. consumers seem to replace old products with new ones fairly readily, the Dutch seem to form stronger relationships with their possessions.
Marketing Implications . Marketers must determine which cross-cultural differences are relevant to their situations. A sensitivity to and tolerance for cross-cultural differences in meaning is a highly desirable trait for international marketing managers. Most international companies also hire managers from the local culture because they bring an intimate knowledge of the indigenous cultural meanings to strategic decision making.
Although cross-cultural differences can be large and distinctive, in some cases people seem to have rather similar values and consumer–product relationships. Some analysts see the entire world as moving toward an “Americanized” culture, although this is a controversial idea. (Consumer Insight 12.6 discusses some examples of the exporting of American popular culture.) To the extent that common cultural meanings are becoming similar across societies, marketers should be able to develop successful strategies that are global in scope.

Reference Groups Influences on CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
Why are Reference Groups Important?
•   Any person or group (actual or imaginary) that serves as a point of comparison for an individual in the formation of either general or specific values, attitudes, or behavior
•   When shopping in a group, you bring your reference group with you.
•   Why? To get information or advice
•   To satisfy the expectations of others
•   To be like a certain type of admired person
Reference Group Influences
•   Members of a reference group are likely to influence your company’s consumers
•   E.g. which types of clothes to wear, food to serve, restaurants to patronize
•   These are people whom your customers tend to look to for influence or advice
•   How to identify them??
Social Norms and Conformity
•   Social norm—any rule or behavior for meeting societal expectations ? normative system
Conformity pressures—actions taken to encourage or force members to act, think, and/or express themselves in certain ways
•   The more important a group is in our lives, the greater our desire to accept and conform to its norms
Reference Groups: Have you Ever Sought the Opinions of Others in making a consumer decision?
•   What’s common about an Avon sales call, a Tupperware party, a Mary Kay makeover party? The use of social pressure.
•   Many businesses try to set up group situations where there is pressure to conform to “good behavior”
•   Coercion and Obligation: norms and rules of behavior, sets up expectations
•   Sanctions and Rewards (for being a good guest)
•   Social Psychology - the influence exerted on persons by agents (an individual, a group, a norm, a role, or a value)

Types of Reference Groups: how much contact, familiarity
•   primary vs. secondary: people at your office vs. people in a professional organization
•   membership vs. aspirational: your gym friends vs. the Olympic team - want to be trim so join an exercise club
•   positive vs. negative (dissociative): liked vs. disliked groups - do not want to be unemployed, so seek degree with high employment rate
•   formal vs. informal: like SBC vs. a group of friends - learn the rules of a company where you would like to work
•   NEW! Virtual group – internet communities
Remember - the question is how much impact the reference group has!
•   Conspicuousness
•   Public necessities: don’t need influence to get one - in U.S., watches and cars - so weak product and strong brand influence – what brand of watch you’ll wear
•   Public luxuries: golf clubs - strong product and strong brand
•   Private necessities: washer and dryer - most everyone has these - weak product and weak brand - people not talk about it
•   Private luxuries: hot tub - people not talk about brands - strong product and weak brand
•   These vary by country
Promotional Messages and Power
•   Reward power: parental reward, peer approval, rebates
•   Coercive power: punishment, disappointment, “I should have bought _____ ”
•   Legitimate power: your country says that here is what you ought to do, “Buy American”
•   Referent power: be like someone you aspire to imitate - Olympics
•   Expert power: authorities, who can give you advice - Inquirer asks professor to talk about Christmas shopping
Family Influences on CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
The family is the most important consumer buying organization in society, and family members constitute the most influential primary reference group. We can distinguish between families in the buyer’s life.
The family of orientation consists of parents and siblings. From parents a person acquires an orientation toward religion, politics, and economies, and a sense of personal ambition, self-worth, and love. Even if the buyer no longer interacts very much with his or her parents, their influence on behavior can be significant. In countries where parents live with grown children, their influence can be substantial.
A more direct influence on everyday buying behavior is the family of procreation namely one’s spouse and children.
The makeup of the American family however has changed dramatically. Census Bureau’s newest numbers shows that married couple households the dominant cohort since the country’s founding –have slipped from nearly 80% in the 1950s to roughly 50% today.
The above figures mean that the Unites States 86 million single adults could soon define the new majority. Already, un-married make up 42% of the workforce, 40% of home buyers, 35% of voters, and one of the most powerful consumer groups on record.
Marketers will have to pay attention not only to the buying habits of “singletons� who have delayed marriage, but also to families once considered on the fringe that are cohabiting partners , divorced parents who share custody, single parents by choice , and same sex couples who may or may not have children.
Marketers are interested in the roles and relative influences of family members in the purchase of a large variety of products and services. In the United States, husband-wife involvement has traditionally varied widely by product category. The wife has usually acted as the family’s main purchasing agent, especially for food, sundries, and staple-clothing items. Now traditional purchasing roles are changing, and marketers would be wise to see both men and women as possible targets.
With expensive products and services like cars, vacations, or housing, the vast majority of husbands and wives engage in more in more joint decision making. Given women’s increasing wealth and income –generating ability, financial service firms such as Citigroup, Charles Schwab, and Merrill Lynch have expanded their efforts to attract women investors and business owners. And marketers are realizing that men aren’t the main buyers of high-tech gizmos and gadgets these days. Women actually buy more technology than men do, but consumer electronics stores have been slow to catch on to this fact. Some savvy electronics stores are starting to heed women’s complaints of being ignored, patronized, or offended by salespeople.
Radio Shack Corp., a 7,000-store chain, began actively recruiting female store managers so that a woman manages about one out of every seven stores.
Nevertheless, men and women may respond differently to marketing messages. One study showed that women valued connections and relationships with family and friends and placed a high priority on people. Men, on the other hand, related more to competition and placed a high priority on action. Marketers are taking more direct aim at women with new products such as Quaker’s Nutrition for Women cereals and crest Rejuvenating Effects toothpaste. Gillette Co. researched psychological issues specific to women and came out with an ergonomically designed razor ‘Venus’ that fits more easily in a woman’s hand. Sherwin-Williams recently designed a Dutch Boy easy-to-use “Twist and pour� pint can targeted specifically at women.
Another shift in buying patterns is an increase in the amount of dollars spent and the direct and indirect influence wielded by children and teens. Direct influence describes children’s hints, request, and demands—“I want to go to McDonald’s.� Direct influence of kids between the ages of 4 and 12 totaled around $275 billion in 1999. Their indirect influence on parental spending accounted for another $312 billion of household purchases. Indirect influence means that parents know the brands, product choices, and preferences of their children without hints or outright requests. One research study showed that teenagers were playing a more active role than before in helping parents choose a car, audio / video equipment, or a vacation spot.
Marketers use every possible channel of communication to reach kids, especially such popular media as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, or the Disney Channel on TV and magazines such as Nickelodeon, Sports Illustrated for kids, and Disney Adventures.
We summarize that the marketers have to concentrate on the interests of various consumers may be from the same family group or otherwise. To list out each of them are separate consumers in their own right and they can be listed as, housewives or women in the household, husband, children, grand parents, singletons, cohabiting partners , divorced parents who share custody, single parents by choice, and same sex couples who may or may not have children. Today it is not specific to advanced countries alone but the type of aforesaid type of consumers are now common even in Asian and African countries.

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Leo Lingham


management consulting process, management consulting career, management development, human resource planning and development, strategic planning in human resources, marketing, careers in management, product management etc


18 years working managerial experience covering business planning, strategic planning, corporate planning, management service, organization development, marketing, sales management etc


24 years in management consulting which includes business planning, strategic planning, marketing , product management,
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