Marketing Debate

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Is Consumer Behavior More a Function of a Person’s Age or Generation?

MKT 6661 Strategic Marketing Management

Troy University

Introduction
A heavily debated issue between marketers is what drives consumer behavior? There are two noted positions in this debate, one that believes that age differences are the deciding factors of a consumer’s wants and needs and others make the case that cohort and generation effects are better suited to uncover the consumer’s desires. Marketers have a major responsibility to identify and reach out to the marketplace and find out what influences an individual’s purchasing decisions. Rather these decisions can be sorted based on a group of individuals shared experiences or by simply bunching these individuals into their respective generations but a system has to be in place to provide insight to what is the best way to channel into the consumer’s buying methods. So what’s all the Fuss About?

The question that we are trying to answer is, is consumer behavior more a function of a person’s age or generation? There has been inclusive research on the driving forces of what drives consumer choice. A pattern has been discovered that people who make similar purchases may also share other specific social-economical similarities. This gives way that there is some background to be learned about these purchasing groups. Cohorts, or Aged-Based Marketing, tend to share a significant number of experiences, goals, and values. (Bidwell 2009) The main principle behind a cohort is that individuals make purchasing decisions based on events that they experienced through their lives, such as their childhood, adolescents, early adulthood and so forth. These events, called defining moments, influence attitudes, preferences, values, and buying behaviors, and these attitudes, values, and buying-behavior motivations for each cohort remain virtually the same throughout their lives. (Bidwell 2009) In contrast to cohorts, on the other side of the...
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