Marketing Reference Groups

Group Characteristics
– common goals and needs
– interaction among members within the group
– implicity or explicity defined roles/relationship
– interacts over TIME
– serves at point of reference for norms and values
Issues of group organization
1. Membership status
2. formality of a group
3. extent of contact
1. Membership status
1. Membership
1.1. Positive group membership (PGM)
– happy to be a part + symbols
1.2 Disclaimant
– due to ethnicity, religion e.g. blacks being white

2. Non-membership
2.1. Aspirational
– desire to be a member
2.2. Dissociative
– no way to be into this group

2. Formality of the group
1. formal
– specified org. structure and communication
2. informal
– rules are inferred
– relationships evolve
– no exclusion of this membership
3. Extent of contact
1. Primary group
– face2face interaction
– personal satisfaction from group membership
– informal: family, close friends
– formal: school, church

2. Secondary group
– less direct interaction
– usually only one aspect/dimension of the person to know
– informal: e.g. athletic fans
– formal: tour group

Types of Group Influence
1. Informational
– gather info from group
2. Utilitarian
– share a common goal e.g. team
– rules
– exhibit more overt behaviors
3. value- expressive
– identification given
– may come internalize group values and norms
Reference group influence on product selection
– on product selection
– situation in which the product is consumed: public vs private
– extent to which the product is considered to be a necessity or luxury
– type of product or particular brand being selected
Categories of influence
1. Public necessity
– e.g. shoes, automobile
– weak group influence for product selection: primary demand
– strong influence on brand selection: secondary demand
2. Public luxury
– e.g. jewelry
– strong product selection
– strong brand selection
3. Private luxury
– e.g. espresso maker
– strong product selection
– weak brand selection
4. Private necessity
– e.g. socks
– weak group influence
– weak influence for brand
Group influences
– internet and virtual communities has increases reference group power
– creating buzz
– word-of-mouth

– viral, guerrilla, stealth

Individuals who influence purchase
1. opinion leaders
2. marketing mavens (early adopters)
3. surrogate shoppers
– person who purchases for u
4. infiltrators
– undercover product promoter
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