2Executive SummaryInternational marketers believe that consumers would increasinglyresemble each other and that they will eat the same food, wear same clothes, lwatch the same television programs to an increasing proportion. But the reality isvery different.Therefore, to trade in international markets, man must overcome the largecultural and economic boundaries. Not only improve the worldwide competitionin the market also different traditional beliefs, preferences, habits, customs areneeded to be understood.Culture involves societys thoughts, words, their traditions, language,materials, attitudes and feelings. One of the elements that make culture isbeliefs. Beliefs of the people in a community can show similarities. For example,four, and four times in Japan are seen as unlucky, because of that most productsare sold in groups of five leads.Another element of culture, tradition, is related with non-verbal behaviourof individuals. In France the men use more cosmetic products than the women,which shows the self-conscious tradition of the French menAs a result, learning of cultural properties in the analysis of consumerbehavior has been an important variable in marketing, especially in marketsegmentation, target market and product positioning.
3Table of ContentsTopic Page NumberIntroduction 4What is Culture 5What is Consumer Behavior 6-7Role of culture, in understanding the consumer behavior 8Why it is important for marketers to understand the culturalImpact on consumer behavior 9-10Conclusion 11References 12Appendices
4IntroductionConsumer behavior is largely dependent on cultural factors consisting ofmutually shared operating procedures, unstated assumptions, tools, norms,values, standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating, and communicating.Cultural factors vary by country but become increasingly complex whenpeople immigrate to foreign countries that have different cultural dimensions. Inthese situations, people are subjected to a wide variety of cultural referencegroups that ultimately affect their purchase behavior. In addition, referencegroups may consist of familial groups or external peer groups with each groupproviding specific and often conflicting information that affects purchase andconsumption behavior.In response, marketers must develop marketing communication thataddresses cultural and reference group factors from both a domestic and globalperspective. To this end, marketers use market segmentation andmicromarketing to develop customer-centric marketing messages with the goal ofproviding precisely defined marketing messages that satisfy consumer’s need forpersonal information regarding products and services so that consumers shouldbe adequately stimulated to purchase the product or service being advertised.
5We define culture as the sum total of learned beliefs, values, and customsthat serve to direct the consumer behavior of members of a particular society(Consumer Behavior, Shiffman and Kanuk)In a broad sense both values and beliefs are mental images that effect awide range of specific attitudes that, in turn, influence the way a person uses toevaluate alternative brands in a product category (such as Volvo versus an Audiautomobile), or his or her eventual preference for one of these brands over theother, are influenced by both a person’s general values (perceptions as to whatconstitutes quality and the meaning of country of origin) and specific beliefs(particular, perceptions about the quality of Swedish made versus German madeautomobiles)In contrast to beliefs and values, customs are usual and acceptable ways ofbehaving, where the former are guides for behavior.E.g.- Consumer’s routine behavior, such as adding a diet sweetener tocoffee, putting ketchup on scrambled eggs etc…..
6What is Consumer BehaviorConsumer behavior is the study of individuals,groups, or organizations and the processes they useto select, secure, and dispose of products, services,experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and theimpacts that these processes have on the consumerand society. It blends elements frompsychology, sociology, social anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the buyer decisionmaking process, both individually and in groups. Itstudies characteristics of individual consumers suchas demographics and behavioral variables in anattempt to understand peoples wants. It also tries to assess influences onthe consumer from groups such as family, friends, reference groups, and societyin general.Customer behavior study is based on consumer buying behavior, with thecustomer playing the three distinct roles of user, payer and buyer. Research hasshown that consumer behavior is difficult to predict, even for experts in thefield. Relationship marketing is an influential asset for customer behavior analysisas it has a keen interest in the re-discovery of the true meaning of marketingthrough the re-affirmation of the importance of the customer or buyer. A greaterimportance is also placed on consumer retention, customer relationshipmanagement, personalization, customization and one-to-one marketing. Socialfunctions can be categorized into social choice and welfare functions.
7Black box modelENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS BUYERS BLACK BOXBUYERSRESPONSEMarketingStimuliEnvironmentalStimuliBuyerCharacteristicsDecisionProcessProductPricePlacePromotionEconomicTechnologicalPoliticalCulturalDemographicNaturalAttitudesMotivationPerceptionsPersonalityLifestyleKnowledgeProblemrecognitionInformationsearchAlternativeevaluationPurchasedecisionPost-purchasebehaviorProductchoiceBrand choiceDealer choicePurchasetimingPurchaseamountThe black box model shows the interaction of stimuli, consumer characteristics,decision process and consumer responses. It can be distinguished betweeninterpersonal stimuli (between people) or intrapersonal stimuli (withinpeople). The black box model is related to the black box theory of behaviorism,where the focus is not set on the processes inside a consumer, but therelation between the stimuli and the response of the consumer.The marketing stimuli are planned and processed by the companies, whereas theenvironmental stimulus is given by social factors, based on the economical,political and cultural circumstances of a society. The buyer’s black box containsthe buyer characteristics and the decision process, which determines the buyer’sresponse.The black box model considers the buyers response as a result of a conscious,rational decision process, in which it is assumed that the buyer has recognized theproblem. However, in reality many decisions are not made in awareness of adetermined problem by the consumer.
8Role of culture in understanding the market behavior of theconsumerThis model depicts the role that subjective culture plays indetermining our beliefs, practices, and values, which in turn impact our socialnorms, attitudes, behavioral intentions and ultimately our behavior.Subjective culture reflects regional character (e.g. – Peopleliving in several nations in a particular region of South America) and religioussimilarities or differences, or shared or different languages, national factors, suchas shared core values, customs, personalities, and group level factors areconcerned with various subdivisions of a country or society (e.g. - families, workgroups, shopping groups, friendship groups) and many more factors.
9Why it is important for marketers to understand the culturalimpact on Consumer BehaviorBecause culture satisfies needsCulture exists to satisfy the needs of the people within asociety. It offers order, direction and guidance in all phases of humanproblem solving by providing ‘tried and true’ methods of satisfyingphysiological, personal, and social needs.e.g.:- Culture provides standards and ‘rules’ about when toeat, where to eat, what is appropriate to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner…etc...Because culture is learnedUnlike innate biological characteristics, culture is learned.The three distinct forms of cultural learning are formal learning, informallearning and technical learning.Although a firm’s advertising and marketing communicationscan influence all three types of cultural learning, it is likely that manyproduct marketing messages enhance informal learning by providing theaudience with a model of behavior to imitate.Because of AcculturationAcculturation is an important concept for marketers whoplan to sell their products in foreign or multinational markets. In such cases,marketers must study the specific cultures of their potential target marketsto determine whether their products will be acceptable to its members andif so, how they can best communicate the characteristics of their productsto persuade the target market to buy.When using Language and SymbolsTo communicate effectively with their audiences, marketersmust use appropriate symbols to convey desired product images orcharacteristics. These symbols can be verbal or nonverbal.
10A symbol may have several, even contradictory meanings, sothe advertiser must ascertain exactly what the symbol is communicating toits intended audience.When facilitating RitualsMost important from the standpoint of marketers is the factthat rituals tend to be replete with ritual artifacts that are associated withor somehow enhance the performance of the ritual.Because culture is sharedVarious social institutions within a society transmit theelements of culture and make the sharing of culture a reality. Suchinstitutions are family, educational institutions, houses of worship and mostimportantly mass media. Because consumers receive important culturalinformation from advertising.Because culture is dynamicTo fulfill its need gratifying role, culture continually mustevolve if it is to function in the best interests of a society. For this reason,the marketer must carefully monitor the socio-cultural environment inorder to market an existing product more effectively.
11ConclusionAs it has been seen and said before, the world isbecoming more and more globalize. People tend to have the same needsand wishes and that is why in some cases, companies may have thepossibility to produce the same items and the same advertisingcampaigns for its international consumers. However, thanks to theanalysis previously done, it has been realized that strong differencesremain according to the cultures of the citizens.Companies must understand these differences,especially when they sell products that can be considering as chockingby the population. If they understand them and learn how consumersthink according to their cultures, they will be able to produce good waysof communication and sell their products properly.
12ReferencesShiffman and Kanuk Consumer Behavior( The pages are attached atthe back)WikipediaResearch papers