Groups influence a person's behaviour. Groups that have a direct influence and to which a person belongs are called membership groups. Some are primary groups with whom there is regular but informal interaction - such as family, friends, neighbours and fellow workers. Some are secondaiy groups, which are more formal and have less regular interaction. These include organizations like religious groups, professional associations and trade unions.

Reference groups are groups that serve as direct (face-to-face) or indirect points of comparison or reference in forming a person's attitudes or behaviour. Reference groups to which they do not belong often influence people. For example, an aspirational group is one to which the individual wishes to belong, as when a teenage football player hopes to play some day for Manchester United. He identifies with them, although there is no face-to-face contact between him and the team.

Marketers try to identify the reference groups of their target markets. Reference groups influence a person in at least three ways. They expose the person to new behaviours and lifestyles. They influence the person's attitudes and self-concept because he or she wants to 'fit in'. They also create pressures to conform that may affect the person's product and brand choices (see Marketing Highlight 6.2).

The importance of group influence varies across products and brands, but it tends to be strongest for conspicuous purchases.9 A product or brand can be conspicuous for one of two reasons. First, it may be noticeable because the buyer is one of few people who owns it-luxuries, such as a vintage Wurlitzer juke box or a Rolex, are more conspicuous than necessities because fewer people own the luxuries. Second, a product such as Carlsberg ICE beer or Perrier can be conspicuous because the buyer consumes it in public where others can see it. Figure 6.3 shows how group influence might affect product and brand choices for four types of product -publie luxuries, private luxuries, public necessities and private necessities.

A person considering the purchase of a public luxury, such as a yacht, will generally be influenced strongly by others. Many people will notice the yacht membership groups Groups that have a direct influence on a person's behaviour und to ijshich a person belongs.

reference groups Groups chat have a direct ffacv-to-faue) or indirect influence on the person's attitudes or behaviour.

inspirational group A group co which an individual i&ishes to belong.

Group Influence or» brand choice

Group Influence or» brand choice

Reference Group Influence
Figure 6.3

Extent of group influence on product and brand choice because few people own one. If interested, they will notice the brand because the boat is used in public. Thus both the product and the brand will be conspicuous and the opinions of others can strongly influence decisions about whether to own a boat and what brand to buy. At the other extreme, group influences do not much affect decisions about private necessities because other people will notice neither the product nor the brand.

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  • Leena
    How indirect group influence product?
    8 years ago
  • monica
    How groups influence the individual?
    8 years ago
  • Tyler Gibson
    What are reference groups?
    7 years ago
  • ilberic
    What belongs to sales promotion?
    6 years ago

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