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Cultural Influences Of Consumer Behavior

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Cultural Influences of Consumer Behavior

Understanding consumer buying behavior entails marketing, relationships, and consumer behavior. Consumer behavior comprises all the consumer decisions and activities connected with the choosing, buying, using and disposing of goods and services. Marketers must pay very close attention to consumer behavior that occurs before the purchase and after the particular product has been used. Studying consumer habits is one of the steps in marketing search and analysis. In addition to other basic principles of consumer buying habits, marketers also need to study the decision and actions of real people. Until recent history the study of consumer behavior was focused on generalized consumer decisions. With over 6.3 billion people, the world is a marketing oyster (Armstrong & Kotler, 2005). The trouble or the task that most marketers face is identifying how to sell their product to those people. There are many ways to sell a product, but identifying the buying behavior of the target market and catering to those behaviors is integral in today's complex society. Consumer buyer behavior is defined as the buying behavior of final consumers - individuals and households who buy goods and services for personal consumption (Armstrong & Kotler).

Culture is the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share. Culture distinguishes one human group from others. A people's culture includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology, styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic systems. Anthropologists commonly use the term culture to refer to a society or group in which many or all people live and think in the same ways. Likewise, any group of people who share a common culture--and in particular, common rules of behavior and a basic form of social organization--constitutes a society. Thus, the terms culture and society are somewhat interchangeable. Characteristics of culture: Culture is narrow. It prescribes that kinds of behavior considered acceptable in the society. The prescriptive characteristic of culture simplifies a consumer's decision-making process by limiting product choices to those, which are socially acceptable. These same characteristics create problems for those products not in tune with the consumer's cultural beliefs. Culture is socially shared. Culture cannot exist by itself. Members of a society must share it. Thus acting to reinforce culture's perspective nature. Culture is learned. Culture is not inherited genetically; it must be learned and acquired. Socialization or enculturation occurs when a person absorbs or learns the culture in which he or she is raised. Culture facilitates communication. One useful function provided by culture is to facilitate communication. Culture usually imposes common habits of though and feeling among people. Thus, within a given group culture makes it easier for people to communicate with one another. But culture may also block communication across groups because of a lack of shared common culture values. This is one reason why a standardized advertisement may have difficulty communicating with consumers in foreign countries. How marketing efforts interact with a culture determines the success or failure of a product. Advertising and promotion require special attention because they play a key role in communicating product concepts and benefits to the target segment. Culture is subjective people in different cultures often have different ideas about the same object. What is acceptable in one culture may not be so in another. In this regard, culture is both unique and random. Culture is enduring, because culture is shared and passed along from generation to generation, it is relatively stable and somewhat permanent. Old habits are hard to break, and people and people tend to maintain its own heritage in spite of continuously changing the world. Culture is cumulative. Culture is based on hundreds or even thousands of years of accumulated circumstances. Each generation adds something of its own of culture before passing the heritage on to the next generation. Therefore culture tends to be broader based over time, because new ideas are incorporated and become a part of the culture. Culture is dynamic. Culture is passed along from generation to generation. Culture is constantly changing it adapts itself to new situations and new sources of knowledge.

An understanding of buyer behavior is central to successful marketing. To develop effective marketing programs, the marketing manager must have knowledge of the needs and wants of potential buyers, how they arise, and how and where they are likely to be satisfied. Buyer behavior is affected by many factors. Class, education, age, and psychosocial traits are just four of the many factors useful in distinguishing different buyer groups.

A U.S. toothpaste manufacturer promised its customers that they would be more "interesting" if they used the firm's toothpaste. What the advertising coordinators did not realize, however, was that in Latin American Countries "interesting" is another term for "pregnant". A telephone company tried to incorporate a Latin flavor in its commercials by employing Puerto Rican actors. In the ad, the wife said to her husband, " run and

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