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Social Factors That Affect Marketing

Updated on August 15, 2014

“Social change is perhaps the most difficult external variable for marketing managers to forecast, influence, or integrate into marketing plans. Social factors include our attitude, values, and lifestyles. Social factors influence the products people buy, the prices paid for products, the effectiveness of specific promotions, and how, where, and when people expect to purchase products.” (Charles, Joseph & Carl, 2009, p. 72)

As quoted above there are three keys to social factors that affect marketing, which are attitude, values and lifestyles. Marketing for your average product has changed over the years. With the ever changing factors of attitude, values and lifestyles marketing will always be a changing field.


During this article I hope to express these three factors of change to the marketing world. I would like to start off with the social factor of attitude in our environment. When my father was a child the attitude was more positive towards safety, cause in most suburban areas the outside world (of movies, music and violence) had yet to come in to corrupt its people. The increase of violence over the years has led to the popularity of such products as security systems and hand guns. These products are something that you wouldn’t of seen 50 years ago being advertised on T.V. It is the need of protection that has changed our minds from feeling safe in our homes, with leaving the doors and windows open to having to turn on a security alarm before you go to bed.


When the attitude of Americans people went down so did the values as well. This change is something that I have seen happen during my lifetime. When I was a little boy in the 80’s and 90’s TV was very family oriented, where there was always a mom and a dad and no talk of premarital sex, drugs or alcohol. It wasn’t something that was even allowed on national TV. Then through the change of America’s values, the need for more adult content in TV shows became the priority to be produced and developed. With this content on TV we were giving the ok to our children that were watching these programs it was acceptable to experiment with drugs and sex. Also that it didn’t matter if you were married or even loved the person, but that it was ok to have sex and even get pregnant. The value of morality has in my opinion changed the construct of the marketing world. These days there are more single parent households then during any other part of American History. The changing role of the traditional family has literally changed the factor also for marketing. Now market managers have to target campaigns toward the single working woman. “Approximately 63 percent of all females between 16 and 65 years old are now in the workforce. Today, more than 9 million women-owned businesses in the United States generate $3.6 trillion in revenues.” (Charles, Joseph & Carl, 2009, p. 73)

With over 60 percent of women working now, not only single but married women as well, there is another income in the family. Now more people often have the time to pursue other interests they may have not just their chosen profession. This is called component lifestyle. “In the past, a person’s profession—for instance, banker—defined his or her lifestyle. Today, a person can be a banker and also a gourmet, fitness enthusiast, dedicated single parent, and internet guru. Each of these lifestyles is associated with different goods and services and represents a target audience. Fore example, for the gourmet, marketers offer cooking utensils, wine, and exotic foods through magazines like Bon Appetit and Gourmet. The fitness enthusiast buys Adidas equipment and special jogging outfits and reads Runner magazine. Component lifestyles increase the complexity of consumers’ buying habits. The banker may own a BMW but change the oil him or herself. He or she may buy fast food for lunch but French wine for dinner, own sophisticated photographic equipment and a low-priced stereo, and shop for socks at Kmart or Wal-Mart and suite or dresses at Brooks Brothers. The unique lifestyles of ever consumer can require a different marketing mix.” (Charles, Joseph & Carl, 2009, p. 73)

In conclusion as long as our attitudes, values and lifestyles keep changing, marketing will always be in demand to come up with a new promotion to keep up with the ever changing social factors.


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