How does culture affect market research?
23rd September 2014 Cheng-Hsun, Hsieh (Tony) 149005710
As technology continues to develop, the world is becoming increasingly globalized. In this whole new global era, many companies have tried to branch out into one or more specific markets outside the home country. Therefore, the cultural differences become an essential consideration while a company does market research to decide marketing strategies.
A way of market promotion, even determining from the same market research, may change from country to country due to the diverse culture including diets, religions, history and lifestyle. Therefore, a successful marketing strategy, which has been adopted to use in one country, may not succeed in another nation (Keegan & Green, 2005, p. 8).
Though companies operate at a global level, they need to consider disparate cultural features when targeting markets. Firstly, it will examine the differences in consumer behaviour between Eastern and Western cultures and then to what extent cultures influence research methods choice. Finally, it will evaluate local strategies, which can meet consumer’s needs in different countries by looking at some examples. 2. Consumer behaviour between Eastern and Western cultures
Culture can be defined that people share same belief, tradition and attitude in a specific geographic region, as Hofstede says culture is the collective psychological procedures connecting with people in a specific region. Culture is not a Personal characteristics; it gather a number of people who shared similar lifestyle (1991, p. 5).
Consumer behaviour often links with cultural background and thus when companies launch cross-cultural branding they may face a huge cultural differences or even completely different culture. People from different backgrounds of Eastern and Western values due to the different ways of thinking and behaviour often make different brand choices (Doorn, 2014, p. 285). Therefore, the results of market research may not be suitable to consumers from other region. For instance, Westerners often pay more attention to their personal favorite brands as well as the intrinsic value of the product (Doorn, 2014, p. 284).
In contrast, in Eastern cultures, consumers tend to excessive pursuit well known brands for vanity and extrinsic of the product (Doorn, 2014, p. 284). With regards to services, Doorn observes that people from Western cultures focus on substantial service such as 24 hours delivery, while Asian consumers usually take quality of their interactions with employees seriously (2014, p. 284). Furthermore, he (ibid) makes a statement that the best marketing strategy will vary from country to country. For example, The Japanese provide high quality and low price marketing plans; in Europe, high quality with high price product strategy performs successfully. While a low price and quality market programme is suitable in the U.S. market (Doorn, 2014, p. 284). These examples have shown that an effectively marketing strategy is developed from the different cultures.
According to Doorn’s (2014, p. 285) comparison, Chinese are more frightened to experience new things due to the sense of higher uncertainty avoidance than Westerners and thus price would be the only indicator of quality to Chinese people. In addition, Chinese attach importance to long-term relationships that is the reason why they can tolerate of service missing and have higher brand loyalty than Western consumers. Through the above-mentioned research, it has shown that it is important to fully understand the local culture of the different regions to avoid...
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