MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 1
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
2. Relate consumer behavior to public policy issues. 2.1 Discuss how a company’s advocacy for environmental issues or other socially conscious public
policy issues would impact a buying decision.
4. Examine how consumers are influenced by values as members of a particular culture. 4.1 Describe how a consumer’s cultural values and norms would influence a buying decision.
7. Explain the steps of the consumer decision-making process.
7.1 Explain the steps of the consumer decision-making process and how a decision progresses through each step.
Learning Outcomes Learning Activity
2.1 Unit Lesson PowerPoint Presentation Case Study
Unit Lesson PowerPoint Presentation Morrison (2014) article Garrett and Toumanoff (2010) article Wu (2013) article Case Study
Unit Lesson PowerPoint Presentation Shugan (2006) article Case Study
Reading Assignment In order to access the following resources, click the links below. Click here to access the Unit II PowerPoint presentation. (Click here to access a PDF version of the presentation.) Read pp. 3–20 of the article below. Garrett, D. E., & Toumanoff, P. G. (2010). Are consumers disadvantaged or vulnerable? An examination of
consumer complaints to the Better Business Bureau. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 44(1), 3–23. https://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?auth=CAS&url=http://search.ebscohost.com/logi n.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=48392630&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Morrison, M. (2014). Subway draws teens with online series. Advertising Age, 85(21), 18.
UNIT II STUDY GUIDE Cultural and Social Influences
MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 2
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE Title
Read pp. 1–6 of the article below. Shugan, S. M. (2006). Are consumers rational? Experimental evidence? Marketing Science, 25(1), 1–7.
Read pp. 42–50 of the article below. Wu, M.-Y. (2013). Cultural influences on consumers' on-line shopping preferences: A cross-cultural study of
Taiwan and the United States. China Media Research, 9(3), 42–51. http://go.galegroup.com.libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=oran9510 8&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA340944540&asid=31c7f613b66ed050c03e982e780ee098
Unit Lesson What do you think of when you think of culture? Think about your own personal culture and all of the behavioral characteristics and practices associated with it. A culture is a society’s personality, including its values and ethics that are held within each group. At its core, culture is defined as the accumulation of shared meanings, rituals, norms, and traditions. Looking at the concept of value, this is defined as a belief that some condition is preferable to its opposite. For instance, everyone values health, wisdom, and peace, but there are numerous values that are specific to different groups. Applying these values to cultures, there must be an understanding that each culture places different levels of importance on certain values, and this defines each culture as unique. Certain cultures identify with certain products and services that members seek and/or avoid. There are several major microcultures in the United States as identified below.
• Regional microculture: These are cultures that identify with certain geographical locations. • Sex roles microculture: These are cultures that identify with the societal expectations for men and
women. • Age-based microculture: These are cultures that imply that people within the same age group share
similar values. • Generation microculture: These are cultures that identify with the characteristics of certain
generations. • Religious microculture: These are cultures that identify with religious affiliations and their beliefs. • Ethnic microculture: These are cultures that belong to certain ethnic heritages. • Income and social class microculture: These are cultures that practice certain lifestyles, opinions,
attitudes, and behaviors of a certain social class Cultures are continually evolving and adapting to the changing times and needs of society. With the transient lifestyles today, people are sometimes placed into a situation of learning the behaviors of another culture, which is referred to as acculturation. Large corporations that regularly transfer their employees benefit from sophisticated services provided to these transferees, which assist them and their families with this acculturation process. Many of the elements within various cultures could be considered as rituals. By definition, a ritual is a set of multiple symbolic behaviors that occur in a fixed sequence that tend to be repeated. Examples of these related to consumption would be gift giving, holiday observances, and grooming. Think about some of your personal rituals. This could include your morning trip to Starbucks, Friday night pizza, Thursday morning grocery run, or your 7 a.m. workout routine. From a marketing standpoint, failure to understand a group’s cultures and rituals could result in a product failing in one culture and being highly successful in another. In an attempt to further understand the consumer, it is important to differentiate between sacred and profane consumption. In general, sacred consumption is something that consumers consider as special and outside of the daily norm. Many times, this is associated with religion but can be applied to other areas as well. For instance, a once-in-a-lifetime cruise or the purchase of a dream home may be considered sacred consumption. Conversely, profane consumption refers to consumer objects and events that are considered ordinary, everyday objects and events that do not share the special characteristics. This could include items on a weekly grocery list or textbooks for classes. Again, marketers need to understand these consumption patterns and how they apply to the consumers that are in their target market.
MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 3
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE Title
As our world is becoming increasingly flat, it is important to apply the cultural discussion to the global consumer culture. The advent of increased technology has made communication easier and faster. Brands can unite people around the world with a common devotion. Having said that, companies need to understand the different value systems within each culture and possibly adapt to the needs in that culture. Companies can take several different approaches with respect to global marketing. The first is to adopt a standardized strategy that tends to focus on the commonalities of cultures. Companies such as Coca-Cola employ this strategy with relatively standardized formulations, packaging, positioning, and distribution. This approach can save the company time and money in its marketing efforts as a single standard marketing approach is employed across many countries. It also creates opportunities to present a unified, well-known branding approach. As not every market has the same needs, this approach might not be effective with every product offered. This warrants a discussion about another strategy identified as a localized strategy that focuses on the variations of needs across different cultures. This takes on the appearance of tailored goods and products that appeal to the local population. For instance, hamburgers in Paris might be served with avocados, Oreos may have a slightly different cream filling flavor to differing taste preferences, or IKEA might adapt its billboards to reflect appropriate dress of their models aligning with cultural norms of a particular country. This process can be a time-consuming and costly process as the marketer attempts to customize the marketing strategies directly to each individual market. A third approach is globalization, which attempts to combine both of the approaches above by taking a standardized product and adapting it to the local culture. One might consider this the best of both worlds. McDonald’s does this well with its adaptation of its food products to the local palates while maintaining many of the standardized core processes that have made the company so successful. Another area of concern from the social standpoint is that of ethics and public policy. Business ethics are rules of conduct that guide actions across the marketplace or standards that people within the culture use to judge whether the behavior is right or wrong. This is complicated because what is ethical in one culture may be extremely unethical in another. Social marketing is an emerging trend. This applies marketing techniques to encourage positive behaviors directed at the common good of society. Examples might include discouraging drinking and driving, encouraging volunteering for Relay for Life, or discouraging the abuse of animals. Avoiding addictive behaviors and environmentalism are also causes that would be represented under social marketing. Many firms today employ this concept through the integration of corporate social
Technology is increasingly making all areas of the globe accessible. (Ar130405, 2017)
MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 4
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE Title
responsibility (CSR) into their business models. CSR refers to the processes that corporations have in place to encourage members of the organization to take actions that support social marketing causes. Examples of this might include a firm allowing their employees to take a workday to pack food at the local food pantry. Companies will many times take this a step further, aligning their company with a certain cause that generates business and societal benefits at the same time. An example of this is Kraft Foods aligning with United Way. Directly related to social marketing and CSR is the consumer trend of preferring products that represent environmental stewardship and sustainability. Green marketing is a response to this whereby the firm chooses to protect or enhance the natural environment within its business model. While consumers prefer this, they are not always willing to pay extra for these products, and that brings forward the dilemma for firms. Another area of pivotal concern is that of data privacy and identity theft. As the firm attempts to learn more about the consumer in order to serve his or her needs, there appears a line where the consumer believes that the firm knows too much about him or her. This can lead to fears of identity theft and various other security issues, creating a complicated scenario for companies. As our world continues to evolve and become more diverse, creating marketing messages that are relevant to each diverse group of potential buyers becomes increasingly complicated. Recognizing the need to completely understand cultural and social influences and their impact on consumer buying habits will lead to a more effective marketing program for the company. On a related topic, think about how you personally make consumer buying decisions. What steps do you move through as you make the decision to either buy or not buy the product? Look at the steps below.
As marketers develop an understanding of these steps, they are able to better provide the products/services that their target market is interested in purchasing. Additionally, they are able to provide the right level of communication and marketing as well as the right pricing model that will attract the target market.
Reference Ar130405. (2017). Global, technology, network, globe [Image]. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/en/global-
Table 1.1: The illustration shows how consumers make buying decisions.
Problem recognition: Consumer realizes that there
is a need or problem
Information search: Consumer searches for information on
what products/services might fulfill the need
Evaluation of alternatives: Consumer contemplates
between alternatives, weighing benefits and
Product choice: Consumer selects from the alternatives
Post purchase: Consumer decides if this was a good
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