Cultural Social Personal Psychological Factors Affect Buying Behaviour Marketing Essay

3198 words (13 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Marketing Reference this

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It is essential for a marketer to understand that consumers are complex and continuously changing in order to market a product efficiently. To keep in touch marketers must persistently develop their understanding of users. Understanding consumers is a broad subject as people tend to change their mind very often. That's why some organizations put effort into deep exploration of how consumers think and behave before, after and through the buying process. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonalds are good example as they plan their strategy according to results taken from consumer behavior researches. Therefore it is of vital importance to be able to predict the change in consumer trends and to make an effort to be ahead of them. The area of consumer behavior is huge, and emphasize on the significance of the consumer for the marketing. There are numerous definitions that explain the matter of the subject:

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Each consumer is unique with different needs and wants and buying choices and habits are influenced by habit, and choice that are in turn tempered by psychological and social drivers that affect purchase decision processes. (Brassington, F. and Pettitt, S., 2000).

Consumer behavior can be distinct as "the study of individuals, groups or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use and dispose of products, services, experiences or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society." (Hawkins, D., Best, R. and Coney, A., 2001). There is another approach to the concept developed by Solomon (2009, p. 33) he defines consumer behavior as ' the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use, or dispose of products, services, ideas, or experiences to satisfy needs and desires." It is clear that consumer behavior contains three key elements - pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase. This can be summarized in the decision making process formulation (Kotler, P., 2005):

Factors affecting the buyer behavior

The paper provided background on the buying decision process which will serve as a basis to observe what influences buying behavior and how. Steps in decision-making process should be carefully studied by marketing managers in order to understand how information is obtained, how beliefs are formed, and what product choice criteria are specified by consumers (Mowen, J.C., 1988)

1.Cultural Factors

Culture, subculture, and social class are all cultural factors that are principally important in buying behavior. Culture has a large impact on person's wants and behavior. It can be defined as the set of values, norms, attitudes, and other meaningful symbols that shape human behavior, as well as the art crafts, or products, of that behavior as they are transmitted from one generation to the next (Mc Daniel, 1999).

Culture

By setting up general outlook, culture gives the so called social order. It can be found in our habits and sometimes they are even embedded in our laws. For example, people are supposed to follow certain rules and if not they can go to court and respectively jail. As long as a value or belief is in line with the society's needs, it is accepted as a part of the culture. It may disappear as it loose its functionality. For example it was considered normal the man to be the head of the family but nowadays things change as the modern woman is independent and can easily support her using her potential. It is reflected in opportunities for career, clothes choice, and freedom of speech. Therefore it is noticeable that culture change in time in other words - it is dynamic. It possesses the ability to adapt to the ever changing environment. During the last century science has observed the incredible technological progress which gave us the computer and internet. This leads to change in lifestyle as well as culture. The amount of leisure time has increased comparing to the days of no electronics and transportation. We have changed the conventional work ethic. Cultural norms will continue to change because people necessitate social models that solve certain issues in our life. Nowadays some cultural trends have emerged that affect the buying behavior. For example we all know the maxima time is money. People are more occupied than before, more committed, with more obligations and time is becoming more and more precious. In different cultures people tend to give up some income for more time. Other example as mentioned before is that modern families' ability to choose and purchase products is influenced by the fact that mostly both adults are occupied and the overall income of the household increase. This allows the household to buy more luxury products and should be considered by marketers. It is essential to understand that observing a specific culture gives a company a better chance to sell its service or products. In some countries for example a color or statement can be in dissonance with the customs and believes of the particular population. For instance it is going to be difficult for a marketer to advertise "Colgate" brand because the sounding of the word when pronounced is similar to the meaning of "hang yourself" in Spanish. That is why language is another imperative side of culture that marketers must take in mind. They are obliged to be careful in translating product names, slogans, and promotional messages into foreign languages so as not to suggest the incorrect meaning. Another example is the color white which is the common color for washing machines but in China it is related to death. Therefore some companies like Electrolux and Whirlpool has changed the color of their products to grey or blue.

Subculture

Subculture can be defined as 'a set of people with distinct behavior and beliefs within a larger culture' and also the essence of a subculture, that distinguishes it from a mere social grouping, is awareness of style and differences in style, in clothing, music or other phenomena (Hebidge, 1981) A culture can be separated into subcultures on the base of demographic characteristics, geographic regions, political regions, political beliefs, national and ethic background. The members of a distinct subculture possess beliefs, principles, and customs that separate them from other members of the same culture. Adding up, they stick to most of the main cultural beliefs, values, and model of the larger society. Subculture can be defined, then as a diverse cultural group that exists as a specialized segment within a larger, more composite society. For example, a 17 year old girl may be at the same time teenager, Bulgarian, Orthodox ant, and rock-bands fan. We should expect that involvement in each different subculture would provide its own set of specific beliefs, values, attitudes, and customs. For example in England a countless number of subcultures can be recognized. They can be concentrated geographically, for example you can find many Manchester United fans near the area of Manchester or they can be geographically dispersed, for example police officers or medical workers may be found throughout the country. It is of great importance for marketers to recognize subculture so they can then build up exceptional marketing plan to meet their needs and wants. According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the Turkish population is growing in numbers on the territory of Bulgaria so to hit this growing segment some TV programs have launched news emissions and commercials in Turkish language. Nevertheless subculture is not an adequate base for market segmentation. Marketers need to be conscious of not only the subcultural effect in buying behavior but they should also have in mind that racial and ethnical background interrelate with other characteristics such as personality, lfestyle and social class.

Social class

Social class can be defined as 'relatively permanent and ordered divisions in a society whose members share similar values, interests and behaviors'(Kotler, P., 2005). The idea of the class structure is that peoples' buying behavior is often strongly influenced by the class to which they belong or to which they aspire. Basically social classes by itself do not reflect just income, but also other indications such as education, area habitation or occupation. Social classes are different in speech patterns, leisure time likings, dress and many other characteristics. Social classes are evidence for distinct product and brand preferences in many fields, including home furnishing, spare time activities, clothing and cars. Some marketers center their work on one social class. For example Rolex focus on upper-class to sell their products while Tesco focus on middle and low-class. Social classes may differ in media choice, e.g. people from low-class tend to like more reality shows and soap operas on television and people from upper class prefer TV news, newspapers, books and magazines. The drawings from social class study that are of importance for marketing can be summarized. There are considerable differences between classes with reverence to buying behavior and the other thing is that a social class system exists in almost all societies. Because of this assortment, different social classes are likely to react in different manner to a seller's marketing programs adapted to specific social classes.

2.Psychological factors

Attitude

In order to comprehend and calculate consumer attitude to a brand and how it affects buying behaviour and brand image concerning marketing, it is of importance to define attitude A broadly used model in explaining what attitude is and how it is related to behaviour is Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) hypothesis of reasoned action. This theory implies that behaviour is determined by behavioural intentions, which is a result of an individual's attitude towards the behaviour and subjective norms surrounding the performance of the behaviour. For the understanding of the impact of attitude on the consumer it must be defined that attitudes can be learned - they can be formed by the information acquired by experience or by influence of the social group, for example the opinion of a friend about Coca-Cola and the consumer experience of consuming the product will contribute to his attitude towards Coke in general. Attitudes also have strength - a consumer may like something less and may like it very much. Attitudes are always towards an object and once formed they tend to last and it is hard to be changed - a family will prefer to visit the same restaurant having in mind the level of satisfaction. A consumer's attitude does not constantly expect purchase behavior. An individual may hold very favorable attitudes toward a service but not use it because of some other factors, for example if he realizes he cannot afford to purchase the product. If marketer is faced with negative or hostile attitudes, there are two approaches to change the attitude or to change the product.

Perception

Kotler(2005) defines perception as 'the process by which people select, organize and interpret information to form a meaningful picture of the world. People cannot distinguish every stimulus in their environment. Therefore, they apply selective perception to come to a decision which stimuli to become aware of and which to ignore. An average consumer is exposed to countless number of commercials daily but at the end he selects to perceive only 10 for example. The familiarity of an object, distinction, group, concentration and smell are signals that affect consumer's perception. The shape of the package or colour, such as some beer bottles, for example, can influence perception. People also tend to change information or to remember information that is related to personal feeling. Kotler(2005) defines these concepts as selective distortion and selective retention, for example people who drink Coke will distort the knowledge linking Coke with obesity and blood problems.

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Motivation

Why are people motivated by particular needs at particular times is explained by the well-known theory of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which combines needs in ascending order of importance: physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization. As a person fulfills one need, a higher-level need becomes more important.

MASLOW'S HIERACHY OF NEEDS

Abraham Maslow wanted to explain why people are driven by particular needs at particular times. Why does one individual spend substantial time and energy on personal safety and another on pursuing the high opinion of others? Maslow's answer is that human needs are arranged in a hierarchy, from the most pressing. In the order of importance, they are physiological needs, social needs, esteem needs first. When a person succeeds in satisfying an important need, that need will cease being a current motivator, and the person will try to satisfy the next-most important need. For example, communities who are lacking in water resources will not take an interest in the newest happenings in the music sector. Maslow's theory helps marketers comprehend how various products fit into the plans, goals and lives of consumers. With a better understanding of motives, marketers are better equipped to plan attractive products, services or ideas. According to Sigmud Freud the psychological forces are shaping people's behavior are largely unconscious, and that a person cannot fully understand his or her own motivations. Shape, size, weigh, material, color and brand name can all trigger certain relations and feelings, for example fans of Chelsea would prefer to purchase clothes in blue color correspondingly to their appreciations.

Beliefs

According to Kotler (2005) a belief is 'a descriptive thought that a person holds about something'. A consumer may believe that certain restaurant makes the best food and is reasonably priced so it is expected that he will continue to have dinners there. A belief can also be changed by marketers in order to make consumers to buy a particular product, for example Coca Cola Company launched Coke Zero in respond to the common belief that people get fat when they drink Coke. To change beliefs or image about a service could be more difficult because service attributes are intangible. Convincing consumers to change their personal doctors or tailors can be much more difficult than getting them to change brands of clothing.

3.Personal Factors

It is commonly agreed that personality influence consumer's perceptions and buying behavior. Marketers believe that personality influences the types and brands of products purchased. For instance, a car purchase may reflect on one or more personality traits. Studies of purchases show that people generally prefer brands and products that are compatible with their self-concept. A young man may buy some uncomfortable, but fashionable, clothing to wear outside just because it is reflecting his actual self-concept. . Because consumer want to defend their individuality, the products they pay money for, the stores they support, and the credit cards they carry, the cars they drive support their self-image. Personality and self-concept are reflected in lifestyle which is considered a mode of living, as identified by a person's activities, interests and opinions. Lifestyle characteristics are useful in segmenting and targeting consumers. The age, sex and life-cycle of an individual can also contribute to building consumer behavior. Family life-cycle may change the behavior so consumers, for example a vacation can be marketed as low-cost product with recreation purpose to meet the demands of an old couple. A person's occupation also can act as a factor, for instance taxi drivers in Bulgaria tend to have their lunch together using particular restaurant.

4.Social factors

Groups

All the formal and informal groups that influence the buying behavior of an individual are that person's reference groups. Consumers may use goods or brands to be recognized with or to become a member of group. Consumers learn from observing how people of their reference groups consume, and they use the exact criterion to make their own consumer decisions, for example members of certain skate-boarding societies tend to purchase shoes from certain brands like DC Shoes, Van, Osiris. Reference groups can be direct or indirect. Direct groups refer to face-to-face groups and indirect can be connected to a group that the consumer may actually want to participate (sports clubs, scientific groups, etc.). Reference groups present an individual to new behavior and lifestyles which influence attitudes and self concept. Marketers thrive to identify target customer's reference groups, but the level of reference group power is different among products and brands. The influence of both product and brand choice is robust only in the case of automobiles and color televisions, the influence of brand choice in such items as furniture and clothing and the affect of product choice in such items as drinks and smoking habits. In the case of opinion leaders marketers should monitor those leaders as they set the trend and have influence to the groups. For example hip-hop wear should be designed and marketed in line with the style and behavior of the typical artist in that branch.

family,roles and status

Family members comprise the most powerful primary reference group. The family is the most significant social institute for many consumers and it influence in strong manner values, attitudes, self concept-and-buying behavior. For example we have two families with the same income. The family that values one-time-a-year good-serviced vacations will spend more money to assure that comparing to other family that prefers to go on vacation several times a year and will choose to spread the income. Decision-making roles among family members are likely to verify significantly, according to the type of item purchased. Family members assume a variety of roles in the purchase process. According to Kotler (2005) the decision making unit consists of initiator, influencer, decider, buyer and user. For example, when purchasing a car for their child, initiators could be parents, influencer could be an uncle who is in the car business, decider could be the the father, buying the car could be made by them all together and the user is the child. Marketers should bear in mind family buying situations along with the distribution of consumer and decision-maker roles among family members. They should also adapt to the environment as children influence more and more the purchase process. It is also essential to understand the roles and status of an individual in a society. For example if a CEO of a multinational company has to purchase clothes they will be reflection to his status - he would prefer formal expensive suite rather than casual outft.

It is essential for a marketer to understand that consumers are complex and continuously changing in order to market a product efficiently. To keep in touch marketers must persistently develop their understanding of users. Understanding consumers is a broad subject as people tend to change their mind very often. That's why some organizations put effort into deep exploration of how consumers think and behave before, after and through the buying process. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonalds are good example as they plan their strategy according to results taken from consumer behavior researches. Therefore it is of vital importance to be able to predict the change in consumer trends and to make an effort to be ahead of them. The area of consumer behavior is huge, and emphasize on the significance of the consumer for the marketing. There are numerous definitions that explain the matter of the subject:

Each consumer is unique with different needs and wants and buying choices and habits are influenced by habit, and choice that are in turn tempered by psychological and social drivers that affect purchase decision processes. (Brassington, F. and Pettitt, S., 2000).

Consumer behavior can be distinct as "the study of individuals, groups or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use and dispose of products, services, experiences or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society." (Hawkins, D., Best, R. and Coney, A., 2001). There is another approach to the concept developed by Solomon (2009, p. 33) he defines consumer behavior as ' the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use, or dispose of products, services, ideas, or experiences to satisfy needs and desires." It is clear that consumer behavior contains three key elements - pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase. This can be summarized in the decision making process formulation (Kotler, P., 2005):

Factors affecting the buyer behavior

The paper provided background on the buying decision process which will serve as a basis to observe what influences buying behavior and how. Steps in decision-making process should be carefully studied by marketing managers in order to understand how information is obtained, how beliefs are formed, and what product choice criteria are specified by consumers (Mowen, J.C., 1988)

1.Cultural Factors

Culture, subculture, and social class are all cultural factors that are principally important in buying behavior. Culture has a large impact on person's wants and behavior. It can be defined as the set of values, norms, attitudes, and other meaningful symbols that shape human behavior, as well as the art crafts, or products, of that behavior as they are transmitted from one generation to the next (Mc Daniel, 1999).

Culture

By setting up general outlook, culture gives the so called social order. It can be found in our habits and sometimes they are even embedded in our laws. For example, people are supposed to follow certain rules and if not they can go to court and respectively jail. As long as a value or belief is in line with the society's needs, it is accepted as a part of the culture. It may disappear as it loose its functionality. For example it was considered normal the man to be the head of the family but nowadays things change as the modern woman is independent and can easily support her using her potential. It is reflected in opportunities for career, clothes choice, and freedom of speech. Therefore it is noticeable that culture change in time in other words - it is dynamic. It possesses the ability to adapt to the ever changing environment. During the last century science has observed the incredible technological progress which gave us the computer and internet. This leads to change in lifestyle as well as culture. The amount of leisure time has increased comparing to the days of no electronics and transportation. We have changed the conventional work ethic. Cultural norms will continue to change because people necessitate social models that solve certain issues in our life. Nowadays some cultural trends have emerged that affect the buying behavior. For example we all know the maxima time is money. People are more occupied than before, more committed, with more obligations and time is becoming more and more precious. In different cultures people tend to give up some income for more time. Other example as mentioned before is that modern families' ability to choose and purchase products is influenced by the fact that mostly both adults are occupied and the overall income of the household increase. This allows the household to buy more luxury products and should be considered by marketers. It is essential to understand that observing a specific culture gives a company a better chance to sell its service or products. In some countries for example a color or statement can be in dissonance with the customs and believes of the particular population. For instance it is going to be difficult for a marketer to advertise "Colgate" brand because the sounding of the word when pronounced is similar to the meaning of "hang yourself" in Spanish. That is why language is another imperative side of culture that marketers must take in mind. They are obliged to be careful in translating product names, slogans, and promotional messages into foreign languages so as not to suggest the incorrect meaning. Another example is the color white which is the common color for washing machines but in China it is related to death. Therefore some companies like Electrolux and Whirlpool has changed the color of their products to grey or blue.

Subculture

Subculture can be defined as 'a set of people with distinct behavior and beliefs within a larger culture' and also the essence of a subculture, that distinguishes it from a mere social grouping, is awareness of style and differences in style, in clothing, music or other phenomena (Hebidge, 1981) A culture can be separated into subcultures on the base of demographic characteristics, geographic regions, political regions, political beliefs, national and ethic background. The members of a distinct subculture possess beliefs, principles, and customs that separate them from other members of the same culture. Adding up, they stick to most of the main cultural beliefs, values, and model of the larger society. Subculture can be defined, then as a diverse cultural group that exists as a specialized segment within a larger, more composite society. For example, a 17 year old girl may be at the same time teenager, Bulgarian, Orthodox ant, and rock-bands fan. We should expect that involvement in each different subculture would provide its own set of specific beliefs, values, attitudes, and customs. For example in England a countless number of subcultures can be recognized. They can be concentrated geographically, for example you can find many Manchester United fans near the area of Manchester or they can be geographically dispersed, for example police officers or medical workers may be found throughout the country. It is of great importance for marketers to recognize subculture so they can then build up exceptional marketing plan to meet their needs and wants. According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the Turkish population is growing in numbers on the territory of Bulgaria so to hit this growing segment some TV programs have launched news emissions and commercials in Turkish language. Nevertheless subculture is not an adequate base for market segmentation. Marketers need to be conscious of not only the subcultural effect in buying behavior but they should also have in mind that racial and ethnical background interrelate with other characteristics such as personality, lfestyle and social class.

Social class

Social class can be defined as 'relatively permanent and ordered divisions in a society whose members share similar values, interests and behaviors'(Kotler, P., 2005). The idea of the class structure is that peoples' buying behavior is often strongly influenced by the class to which they belong or to which they aspire. Basically social classes by itself do not reflect just income, but also other indications such as education, area habitation or occupation. Social classes are different in speech patterns, leisure time likings, dress and many other characteristics. Social classes are evidence for distinct product and brand preferences in many fields, including home furnishing, spare time activities, clothing and cars. Some marketers center their work on one social class. For example Rolex focus on upper-class to sell their products while Tesco focus on middle and low-class. Social classes may differ in media choice, e.g. people from low-class tend to like more reality shows and soap operas on television and people from upper class prefer TV news, newspapers, books and magazines. The drawings from social class study that are of importance for marketing can be summarized. There are considerable differences between classes with reverence to buying behavior and the other thing is that a social class system exists in almost all societies. Because of this assortment, different social classes are likely to react in different manner to a seller's marketing programs adapted to specific social classes.

2.Psychological factors

Attitude

In order to comprehend and calculate consumer attitude to a brand and how it affects buying behaviour and brand image concerning marketing, it is of importance to define attitude A broadly used model in explaining what attitude is and how it is related to behaviour is Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) hypothesis of reasoned action. This theory implies that behaviour is determined by behavioural intentions, which is a result of an individual's attitude towards the behaviour and subjective norms surrounding the performance of the behaviour. For the understanding of the impact of attitude on the consumer it must be defined that attitudes can be learned - they can be formed by the information acquired by experience or by influence of the social group, for example the opinion of a friend about Coca-Cola and the consumer experience of consuming the product will contribute to his attitude towards Coke in general. Attitudes also have strength - a consumer may like something less and may like it very much. Attitudes are always towards an object and once formed they tend to last and it is hard to be changed - a family will prefer to visit the same restaurant having in mind the level of satisfaction. A consumer's attitude does not constantly expect purchase behavior. An individual may hold very favorable attitudes toward a service but not use it because of some other factors, for example if he realizes he cannot afford to purchase the product. If marketer is faced with negative or hostile attitudes, there are two approaches to change the attitude or to change the product.

Perception

Kotler(2005) defines perception as 'the process by which people select, organize and interpret information to form a meaningful picture of the world. People cannot distinguish every stimulus in their environment. Therefore, they apply selective perception to come to a decision which stimuli to become aware of and which to ignore. An average consumer is exposed to countless number of commercials daily but at the end he selects to perceive only 10 for example. The familiarity of an object, distinction, group, concentration and smell are signals that affect consumer's perception. The shape of the package or colour, such as some beer bottles, for example, can influence perception. People also tend to change information or to remember information that is related to personal feeling. Kotler(2005) defines these concepts as selective distortion and selective retention, for example people who drink Coke will distort the knowledge linking Coke with obesity and blood problems.

Motivation

Why are people motivated by particular needs at particular times is explained by the well-known theory of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which combines needs in ascending order of importance: physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization. As a person fulfills one need, a higher-level need becomes more important.

MASLOW'S HIERACHY OF NEEDS

Abraham Maslow wanted to explain why people are driven by particular needs at particular times. Why does one individual spend substantial time and energy on personal safety and another on pursuing the high opinion of others? Maslow's answer is that human needs are arranged in a hierarchy, from the most pressing. In the order of importance, they are physiological needs, social needs, esteem needs first. When a person succeeds in satisfying an important need, that need will cease being a current motivator, and the person will try to satisfy the next-most important need. For example, communities who are lacking in water resources will not take an interest in the newest happenings in the music sector. Maslow's theory helps marketers comprehend how various products fit into the plans, goals and lives of consumers. With a better understanding of motives, marketers are better equipped to plan attractive products, services or ideas. According to Sigmud Freud the psychological forces are shaping people's behavior are largely unconscious, and that a person cannot fully understand his or her own motivations. Shape, size, weigh, material, color and brand name can all trigger certain relations and feelings, for example fans of Chelsea would prefer to purchase clothes in blue color correspondingly to their appreciations.

Beliefs

According to Kotler (2005) a belief is 'a descriptive thought that a person holds about something'. A consumer may believe that certain restaurant makes the best food and is reasonably priced so it is expected that he will continue to have dinners there. A belief can also be changed by marketers in order to make consumers to buy a particular product, for example Coca Cola Company launched Coke Zero in respond to the common belief that people get fat when they drink Coke. To change beliefs or image about a service could be more difficult because service attributes are intangible. Convincing consumers to change their personal doctors or tailors can be much more difficult than getting them to change brands of clothing.

3.Personal Factors

It is commonly agreed that personality influence consumer's perceptions and buying behavior. Marketers believe that personality influences the types and brands of products purchased. For instance, a car purchase may reflect on one or more personality traits. Studies of purchases show that people generally prefer brands and products that are compatible with their self-concept. A young man may buy some uncomfortable, but fashionable, clothing to wear outside just because it is reflecting his actual self-concept. . Because consumer want to defend their individuality, the products they pay money for, the stores they support, and the credit cards they carry, the cars they drive support their self-image. Personality and self-concept are reflected in lifestyle which is considered a mode of living, as identified by a person's activities, interests and opinions. Lifestyle characteristics are useful in segmenting and targeting consumers. The age, sex and life-cycle of an individual can also contribute to building consumer behavior. Family life-cycle may change the behavior so consumers, for example a vacation can be marketed as low-cost product with recreation purpose to meet the demands of an old couple. A person's occupation also can act as a factor, for instance taxi drivers in Bulgaria tend to have their lunch together using particular restaurant.

4.Social factors

Groups

All the formal and informal groups that influence the buying behavior of an individual are that person's reference groups. Consumers may use goods or brands to be recognized with or to become a member of group. Consumers learn from observing how people of their reference groups consume, and they use the exact criterion to make their own consumer decisions, for example members of certain skate-boarding societies tend to purchase shoes from certain brands like DC Shoes, Van, Osiris. Reference groups can be direct or indirect. Direct groups refer to face-to-face groups and indirect can be connected to a group that the consumer may actually want to participate (sports clubs, scientific groups, etc.). Reference groups present an individual to new behavior and lifestyles which influence attitudes and self concept. Marketers thrive to identify target customer's reference groups, but the level of reference group power is different among products and brands. The influence of both product and brand choice is robust only in the case of automobiles and color televisions, the influence of brand choice in such items as furniture and clothing and the affect of product choice in such items as drinks and smoking habits. In the case of opinion leaders marketers should monitor those leaders as they set the trend and have influence to the groups. For example hip-hop wear should be designed and marketed in line with the style and behavior of the typical artist in that branch.

family,roles and status

Family members comprise the most powerful primary reference group. The family is the most significant social institute for many consumers and it influence in strong manner values, attitudes, self concept-and-buying behavior. For example we have two families with the same income. The family that values one-time-a-year good-serviced vacations will spend more money to assure that comparing to other family that prefers to go on vacation several times a year and will choose to spread the income. Decision-making roles among family members are likely to verify significantly, according to the type of item purchased. Family members assume a variety of roles in the purchase process. According to Kotler (2005) the decision making unit consists of initiator, influencer, decider, buyer and user. For example, when purchasing a car for their child, initiators could be parents, influencer could be an uncle who is in the car business, decider could be the the father, buying the car could be made by them all together and the user is the child. Marketers should bear in mind family buying situations along with the distribution of consumer and decision-maker roles among family members. They should also adapt to the environment as children influence more and more the purchase process. It is also essential to understand the roles and status of an individual in a society. For example if a CEO of a multinational company has to purchase clothes they will be reflection to his status - he would prefer formal expensive suite rather than casual outft.

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