Social and Cultural Environment
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Social and Cultural Environment
Socio-cultural forces refer to the attitudes, beliefs, norms, values, lifestyles of individuals in a society. These forces can change the market dynamics and marketers can face both opportunities and threats from them. Some of the important factors and influences operating in the social environment are the buying and consumption habits of people, their languages, beliefs and values, customs and traditions, tastes and preferences, education and all factors that affect the business.
Understanding consumer needs is central to any marketing activity and those needs will often be heavily influenced by social and cultural factors. These cover a range of values, beliefs, attitudes and customs which characterize societies or social groups. Changes in lifestyle of people affect the marketing environment.
As health problems in people have increased because of significant changes in their lifestyle, they have become concerned about their food. They prefer to eat low fat, low or no cholesterol food. This is specially true for people above 40 years. To a great extent, social forces determine what customers buy, how they buy, where they buy, when they buy, and how they use the products.
In India, social environment is continuously changing. One of the most profound social changes in recent years is the large number of women entering the job market. They have also created or greatly expended the demand for a wide range of products and services necessitated by their absence from the home. There is a lot of change in quality-of-lifestyles and people are willing to have many durable consumer goods like TV., fridge, washing machines etc. even when they cannot afford them because of their availability on hire-purchase or instalment basis.
Culture influences every aspect of marketing. Marketing decisions are based on recognition of needs and wants of the customer, a function of customer perceptions. These help in understanding of lifestyles and behaviour patterns as they have grown in the society’s culture in which the individual has been groomed. Thus a person’s perspective is generated, groomed and conditioned by culture.
Marketing environment can also be classified as:
(i) Controllable Forces and
(ii) Uncontrollable Forces.
(i) Controllable forces:
Controllable forces consist of marketing policies and marketing strategies. Marketing policies are framed by the firm depending on its marketing philosophy. The top management is responsible for framing broad policies. Marketing strategies are developed by middle level management.
Internal forces are inherent to the firm and can be controlled by the management. Marketing mix elements are the tools often used to harmonies the internal variables with that of external variables. The controllable factors are well within the grip of the firm and comparably easy to adjust them to suit the changes.
These factors are combined into what we have referred to earlier as Marketing Mix (product, price, promotion and place). For instance, if the price appears to be on the higher side a decision to reduce it for a short term or even a long term is possible and could be implemented as quickly as possible. Off-season prices or discounts are examples in this connection.
(ii) Uncontrollable forces:
Various elements called uncontrollable variables affect an organization and its marketing efforts. It is now recognized by all that even a well-conceived marketing plan may fail if adversely influenced by uncontrollable factors. The offering of the firm and the impact of the uncontrollable environment interact to determine the firm’s level of success or failure in reaching its objectives.
The external forces are divided into micro-environment and macro-environment. The micro-environment consists of the suppliers, marketing intermediaries, customers etc. while the macro-environment consists of the demography, socio- cultural, political, economic, technological, legal environments etc.
Examples of Threats are:
Examples of opportunities are:
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|NEATNESS AND OTHERS
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