Culture Is Pervasive in All Marketing Activities

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|Introduction |2 | | | | |Culture is pervasive in all marketing activities |3 | | | | |“One World Culture” |6 | | | | |Conclusions |10 | | | | |References |11 |

“Culture is a like dropping an Alka-seltzer into a glass - you don't see it, but somehow it does something” - Hans Magnus Enzensberger


It is a widely accepted tenet of marketing that consumers are not homogenous and that their specific tastes, characteristics and desires will influence their response to marketing activities and advertising (Jeannet and Hennessey, 2004; Kotler and Keller, 2006, p. 52). At the same time, it is also accepted that consumers in different cultures tend to have different demographic profiles, lifestyles, values and economic priorities (Yucelt, 2000, p. 59). As a result, it is clear that consumers in different cultures are very likely to have different needs and responses to marketing and advertising. This in turn implies that culture will have a pervasive impact in influencing marketing activities, and businesses will have to take account of cultural factors if they are to successfully advertise to consumers in different cultures. This piece will critically review the extent to which culture is pervasive in all marketing activities; particularly in the creation and implementation of advertising strategies, and the implications for marketing and advertising activity.

Culture is pervasive in all marketing activities

Not only is this argument supported by the theory, but it has also been strongly supported by the empirical evidence. For example, studies of marketing in the European Union, which is generally seen as a single market, have shown that “national differences are more important than similarities when marketers are planning to approach the European consumers” (Yucelt, 2000, p. 59). These differences become even stronger in other contexts such as Asia. In particular, the response to television, radio, newspaper and magazine advertising has all been shown to be influenced by cultural factors, and all of these factors can have an influence on the strategies used by companies to market and advertise their products.

Given the significant impact of these differences, it is hardly surprising that studies have looked to use cultural frameworks to analyse the impact of culture on marketing, with Hofstede’s (1980, p. 1) cultural values being one of the most widely used concepts. In particular, research by Murphy and Scharl (2007, p. 297) has shown that Hofstede’s dimensions of individualism and masculinity strongly related to how innovative products and the marketing and advertising of said products is received. This finding is specifically applied to the online setting, producing the argument that “in...
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