Are marketers manipulating consumers’ behavior relative to the context in question?

Analyze and describe the consumption behaviors and sources of influence associated with one (1) widely-recognized cultural occurrence that is driven by individual, group, and/or cultural influences. The cultural occurrence is yours to choose; however, the assignment will likely be easier to conduct if you choose a context that is occurring around the time of this course. Some examples of the cultural contexts you may choose include Halloween, Christmas, Hanukah, Easter, Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, “back to school” season, Valentine’s Day, or high school prom. The context must be one that is not simply an individual expression of self, but rather, is a consumption opportunity driven by individual, group, and cultural influences. Your primary task is to analyze the consumer behavior associated with the context of choice. Your analysis should be supported by examples and descriptions of the behaviors identified and should including the following.

Part A Introduction: Begin by describing the cultural context that will serve as the focus of your project.

Part B Historical Relevance: What is the historical relevance of the context you selected, and how did the current culturally-accepted forms of consumption behavior become established over time? If no information can be located, speculate on how you think the current behavior came to be.

Part C Decision Making: Describe the potential for consumption-related decision making given the cultural context in question. Provide three (3) examples of the purchases that might be involved for consumers participating in the context you selected.

Part D Consumption: What is the meaning of consumption as it relates to the cultural context you’ve chosen? To answer this question, apply each of the four (4) consumption typologies described in your text (Solomon, 2013).

Part E Role of Marketers: Are marketers manipulating consumers’ behavior relative to the context in question? Why or why not? Provide two (2) examples to support your position.

Part F Socialization: How were consumers socialized to the cultural expectations surrounding the context? Discuss three (3) ways in which consumers were able to learn what behaviors (purchase behaviors and others) were expected of them.

Part G Associative Network: Develop an associative network with at least three (3) levels of complexity (see Figure 3.6 on page 99 of the text) for the context.

Part H 1. Are consumers responding to needs or wants when they make consumption decisions related to the cultural context in question? Explain.

2. What motivational conflicts (approach-approach, approach-avoidance, avoidance-avoidance) do consumers wrestle with relative to this context? 3. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs emphasizes that only an unsatisfied need motivates. Likewise, many decisions can be motivated by the different need levels, depending on the person. Assess the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy that may be motivating consumption behaviors related to this cultural context.

Part I Values: Identify five (5) instrumental and terminal values expressed through consumer behavior surrounding the context. At least one (1) value must be terminal.

Part J Situational Aspects: Assess the situational aspects affecting consumer behavior in this cultural context. Include an analysis on each of the five (5) antecedent states and the three (3) purchase environment issues. You do not need to evaluate the postpurchase processes for this project.

Part K Reference Groups 1. Describe two (2) reference groups that may be affecting consumers relative to this cultural context and provide examples. 2. Is the influence from reference groups informative, utilitarian, or value-expressive? Explain. 3. Does social comparison theory play a role in reference group consumption behavior? Explain.

Part L Family Life Cycle: Apply the family life cycle model to the cultural context you selected. How do consumption behaviors vary according to stage? Focus only on the primary stages: bachelorhood, couples, married with kid(s), single with kid(s), and empty nest. Provide one (1) example for each stage to support your assessment.

Part M Subculture: How might various subcultural components affect individual consumer behavior? Provide one (1) example for each. Include a discussion of age, income, social class, money personalities, and consumer confidence.

Part N Status: Discuss status symbols. What are they and what is their significance? Identify two (2) status symbols associated with the cultural context you selected. Explain.

Part O Myths and Rituals: Discuss two (2) myths and two (2) rituals (including gift-giving) associated with this cultural context?

Part P Conclusion: Conclude your paper with an assessment of three (3) sources of influence on consumer behavior for this specific context. Answer the following as part of your response. 1. Do you expect to see changes in the future? Why or why not? 2. How has your view of the cultural context changed as a result of your analysis?


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