Unit II Discussion Board Consumer Behavior
Because a culture is society’s personality, explain your culture’s personality and the buying habits associated with your culture. Do your buying habits match the perceived buying habits of your culture? Why, or why not?Alabama white male mid 30’sBuying habits matche
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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 companys 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 consumers 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.
Morrison (2014) article
Garrett and Toumanoff (2010) article
Wu (2013) article
Shugan (2006) article
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
Read pp. 320 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), 323.
Morrison, M. (2014). Subway draws teens with online series. Advertising Age, 85(21), 18.
UNIT II STUDY GUIDE
Cultural and Social Influences
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Read pp. 16 of the article below.
Shugan, S. M. (2006). Are consumers rational? Experimental evidence? Marketing Science, 25(1), 17.
Read pp. 4250 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), 4251.
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 societys 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
Age-based microculture: These are cultures that imply that people within the same age group share
Generation microculture: These are cultures that identify with the characteristics of certain
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 groups 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.
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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
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. McDonalds 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
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.
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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
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.
Ar130405. (2017). Global, technology, network, globe [Image]. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/en/global-
Table 1.1: The illustration shows how consumers make buying decisions.
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:
weighing benefits and
Product choice: Consumer
selects from the alternatives
Post purchase: Consumer
decides if this was a good