The aim of the Marketing Essay Assignment paper is to discuss the consumer culture and importance of the consumer culture in relation to the globalized world market. According to (Levitt, 1983) all consumer in this world are having similar pattern of consumption and constitute a part of the global market. Technology is one of the major forces which have constituted the globalized world and there is not much difference among the culture and national preferences in relation to the consumption pattern and consumer behaviour (Alexander, 2003). Market segments are not homogenized in any part of the country and consumers are having similar consumption pattern because technology has homogenized the world.
Levitt has argued that new globalized market have been emerged for standardized consumer products and all the consumer pattern are converging into a similar consumer pattern resulting that at all places consumer wants similar global products. Hence technology has helped in order to bring international standardization among the products which has made world as collective market having similar preferences and consumer goods selection criteria.
The present essay would provide the critical analysis of the Levitt’s concept of the globalized market in which needs and wants of all consumer are same which is unaffected from the regional factors and cultural factors.
Nature of the world market
Levitt has suggested that market segment or companies around us have not limited to specific region or place but these companies are expanding in bigger geographical region to become the globalized. Many new business adoption processes such as the e-business and internet activities has presented the marketers opportunities to expand their business globally. The article presented from Levitt represents that how modernity traditions attracts the consumers in the market and forms a world market which is homogeneous in nature (Wilmot,2001). In order to prove the one market perception example can be taken from Fox and Hedgehog where in one company Fox knows a lot about great many things while another company Hedgehog knows everything about one great thing. Hence a global company should know everything about one great thing unlike international company which knows great many things. Levitt has assumed world as a big market but he has ignored many influencing factors such as the regions parameters and national cultural differences which affect the consumption patterns. Though now modernity and technology has helped the marketers to overcome these barriers of the regionalism and cultural differences and world can be assumed as a single market (Arnould & Thompson, 2005).
Hence companies around the world should focus on the products which are required by the masses and acceptable by international standardization instead of focusing on the products which are attractive for some particular consumer segment. Technology has helped in making world a global market by helping in travel, communication and transport process which has made the selling process superfluous and out of the regional boundaries. Global market concept given by Levitt was quiet convincing for marketers but there were several other thoughts which have ruled the marketers mind and dismayed the idea of Levitt for building the global markets. One of the important viewpoints came from the popular marketing theory which assumes customer as the focal point for any marketing strategy and fulfilling customer requirement is the biggest aim of marketing. The current era is such that we do not have supply side shortage but we are facing the demand side shortage and whole business process is focused on the sales process of the company for which focal point is customer (Arnould, 2006).
Learn more about International HR Management.
Vestige of the past
Consumer behaviour is one of the most important aspects of current generation markets as marketer need to analyse consumer behaviour and align their marketing strategies in accordance with the consumer behaviour. Customer preferences and choices are devised from the past experiences and cultural aspects. In order to make any buying decision consumers would take help from the past experience of their buying and would also get affected from their cultural aspects as well.
Past experiences are one of the most important aspect while making the buying decision since consumers have experienced the products in past and if they are not satisfied by the performance then they would not be buying similar products (Firat & Venkatesh, 1995). Also product positioning and social references would play vital role in making the buying decisions as image of the product in consumer mind would help them to chose or avoid the product and social references would help to make the collective buying decisions. Hence earlier experience of customer and image of the product in consumer mind would be vital in deciding about buying decisions.
Customer consumption pattern are very difficult to understand as these are influenced by several factors such as the national cultures, regional affiliations and other such factors (James, 2004). So in order to understand and remove these factors so as to make the global world it is important to develop deep understanding about these important factors which apart one consumer from other in terms of their preferences and consumption pattern etc. Some of the important factors influencing consumer preferences and their importance level can be given as below:
- Culture and consumption: Consumption pattern of the consumers are highly linked with the culture and differences in cultural leads to difference in consumption for the customers. The meaning of culture is constituted by the three factors which are culturally constituted world, individual consumer and consumer goods (Kozinets, 2001). Culturally constituted world is formed by the two factors which are blueprints of human being which forms the culture and secondly culture can be identified the lens through which individuals see the various phenomenon occurring around them. Individual consumer is having its culture which is formed through the perception and social relationship. There is high impact of the society in which a person lives and accordingly the culture of a person changes as per the society of a person. Consumer goods are also an important way to divide people among their distinct set of culture which are different from other such as based on the age, sex, language and other demographical factors (Sage, 2000). Different consumer goods are served to the consumers of different culture based on their preference levels.
- Consumer and consumption: Consumption can be said as the social, culture and economical process of choosing the goods. There are large gaps in the consumption pattern which are created by based on the technology and ideologies which give rise to these gaps. There are several factors which forms the social consumption groups having similar consumption pattern.
- Regional affiliations: In order to define the consumer behaviour it is important to study and understand the regional affiliations as it affect the consumer pattern. Regional affiliations help marketers to understand differences in consumption pattern from one place to other place. Consumer at one geographical place would like one category of product which is not liked by other consumers living in some distinct regional place (Robert, 2002). The difference in likeliness of the consumers at different geographical places can be understood by presence of different culture and difference in consumer viewpoints as well.
Consumption culture is an arrangement in which consumption behaviour of the consumers is related with the commercial goods. It can be understood as the system of historic ways of choosing the products from generation to generation (Schouten & McAlexander, 1995). Though the current consumption culture is driven by opinion of modernity and no longer driven by the traditional rituals. In this consumer culture the traditional values of the past has been separated by the wants and desire of the consumption pattern of the modern day consumer which are no longer dependent upon the traditional consumption patterns (Irwin, 1995).
Consumer pattern and culture are now a day have been separated from each other and driven by the concept of individuality and differentiation etc. There are four major important aspects of the consumer culture which are assumed to be the driving force behind the consumer culture which can be given as below:
- Consumer culture are better driven by the exchange goods which are not related to the existing markets and belongs to the exchange goods from capitalist markets. So things which are distributed by the government in the local markets are not having preferences for the consumers in comparison to the goods which have come through outside markets. The major reason for higher preferences for the goods exchanged from outside markets are that the goods exchanged are having better degree of customisation in comparison to the goods distributed by the government which are mass goods.
- The present markets have inclined to the consumption activities instead of the production activities. At present the focal point for business activities have been shifted from the production facility to the marketing strategies. Consumers are gaining power in the customer dominated business strategies and power has been shifted from manufacturer to the consumers. Now a day the focus of the business has been shifted from the supply side which was the pain area initially to the demand area (Cateora and Graham, 2005). The main aim of the business is to fulfil the unique demands of the customers which can’t be fulfilled by product offerings from other manufacturer.
- There is high degree of relationship between the production system and valuation systems in society such that consumers are aware of the cost structure and quiet price conscious in their consumption pattern. Among the several market segments present in the market some of the consumer segment has unique characteristic that they are sensitive to the price and their consumption pattern would be changed as per the pricing offered by the producer.
- Consumer goods are given special importance for each consumer as per their social class, status and quality of life. Each consumer is having their unique set of needs depending upon their social class and their spending power and accordingly consumer selects the consumer goods which suit to different set of people.
Generally 20th century customer was quiet different from today’s customer as earlier customer was mass market customer while today’s customer is driven by individual styles, high degree of customization and niche markets etc (Yoshio et al, 2010). Hence marketers now days have to come up with different marketing gimmicks in order to attract customers having different set of preferences, for example Asian brand managers are creating new way of interconnectedness by building imagined or transactional Asian world. Some brand managers have come up with the idea of regional brands in order to fulfill the requirements of the niche segment of the customers which are not satisfied with the mass market products. One of the most influencing factors for marketers is local culture and for Indian marketing professionals Indian distinctive culture and national traditions creates differentiated image of the Indian consumers.
The culture of the global consumer is driven by the business extension into vast geographical area with suitable market principles. Global consumer culture is influenced by the sources of consumer culture such as the technoscapes, mediascapes, financescapes and ideoscapes etc. Finanscapes are the key market constituent which runs a market such as the currency, capital, microfinance business and derivative etc. All the financial instruments have helped in devising the cultural aspect of the global consumers by bringing buying power and arrangement of finance for various transactions. Technoscape refers to the technology as the medium to devise the global consumer culture as technology is the leading element which has bring synchronization in the consumer preferences. Technoscape refers to the global flow of information technologies which are simple as well as complex (Calder & Glen, 2003). Also global media has vital role in establishing the global culture as media helps in identification of the various consumer culture which would not be identified in absence of media. Idesoscape is the ideologies which relates to the states and other similar factors and decide about the consumer culture in global context. Business Globalization and standardization of the products have brought crucial changes in the demand pattern as it has become highly heterogeneous where in each customer different set of requirements which are influenced by localized culture.
Read about Ethical Decision Making in Healthcare.
The “One size fit for all” is out
The marketing concept which was applicable initially is no more applicable in present world as in initial time due to supply shortage main focus of the companies were on their manufacturing while now in shortage of demand main focus in on customer (Michael, 2007). Multinational organisations are following different marketing strategies in different countries, for example soft selling done by companies in Japan and Britain while same companies are using hard selling strategies for US markets. Also in addition to these marketing strategies there are several other factors which separate each consumer from other and create difference in their demand, for example consumer electrical systems in North America are based at 110 volt in comparison to the European countries where in electrical systems are based on 240 volts.
Also customers are accustomed to different set of products from time being and like these set of products only while create resistance for change in their preferences, for example GSM services are very common in case of Europe while CDMA services are more popular for countries like US and Asian countries. Several multinational companies such as the Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson need to customize their product offerings for customers belonging to different geographical regions (Thorstein, 2009). Hence one set of products does not fit for other customers hence companies have to modify their product offering in the consumer markets as per their requirements so that their product offering can best suit them.
Hence the time has gone when companies were focusing on lowering down of total cost of production by producing mass products for mass customer segment, now a day customers are accustomed of highly standardised products and are even ready to pay higher cost for the customisation. In light of the article and live examples it is quite evident that global markets in today’s consumer dominated markets are just virtual concept and consumers are more concerned with the customisation process and there are big differences in the consumption pattern which depend on several factors such as nationalities and cultural differences etc.
Based on the Levitt’s globalized world market concept which have emerged new marketing and consumption pattern around the globe, organisation needs to follow customer centric marketing strategies in order to attract the customers. Some of the importance recommendations which would help the organisation in order to market their product in globalized world with international standardized products would be as below:
- Companies should have the strategy to become the global corporations instead of multinational companies. This would help the companies to understand the global culture and would foster capacity to build global products which are not differentiated by the consumers in one place to other based on the culture and regional factors.
- There are several differentiating factors which separate consumer segments and create needs for niche customer segment. Hence global companies need to overcome these barriers to impose the suitable international standardized products.
- The selling strategy in current globalized market should be to offer the customers simultaneously high quality and optimally low priced products. This would help in emerging similar international consumption patterns and similar globalized products would be formed to enhance global selling.
- Producing products for the mass market at lower price than competitor would be possible if the companies would take advantage of their economies of scale which is possible only if international consumption pattern are well understood and global market can be formed which demands for similar products.
- Big companies should look for some of the standardized market instead of serving to too many customized markets where in consumer expects customized market. This would help the organisation to deal with large volume and economies of scale can be utilized.
- Consumer culture is enforced by the modernity in the offerings hence modern culture needs to be enforced along with lower pricing.
Hence in order to become a global organisation, companies should understand the local regional and cultural differences and try to mitigate these differences so that global markets can be established. Global markets are beneficial for marketers as these require standardized products in mass purchase which provide benefits of economies of scale.
Levitt has argued that current markets require customer segment which are globalized in nature and having similar demand patterns. Every consumer in this market requires similar products which other consumer require as all consumers are inspired of modernity and global consumption patterns. Levitt’s argument is correct as technology has helped to bring the similar consumer culture where in all consumer wants are similar in nature and guided by similar driving force.
There are many forces which have their dominant impact on the consumer behaviour and pattern emerging at different places but still these driving forces are not that strong to overcome the emergence of the globalized culture. Customer preferences have emerged from the past experiences, business ethics and cultural factors which are attached with the traditional factors.
- Veblen, Thorstein (2009): The Theory of the Leisure Class: an economic study of institutions, Dover Publications, Mineola, N.Y., 1994,
- Ryan, Michael T. (2007) “consumption” in George Ritzer (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Blackwell Publishing, 2007, 701-705
- Calder, Lendol Glen (2003). Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 222. ISBN0-691-05827-X.
- Eisingerich, Andreas B.; Bhardwaj, Gunjan; Miyamoto, Yoshio (April 2010). “Behold the Extreme Consumers and Learn to Embrace Them”. Harvard Business Review 88: Pages 30–31
- Cateora, P. R. And J.L. Graham (2005), International Marketing, 12th edition, New York: McGraw Hill
- Chonko, L. (1995), “Ethical Decision Making in Marketing”, CA:
- Frankel, J.A. (2000), “Globalization of the Economy”, National Bureau of EconomicResearch, working paper no:7858,2000.Hill,
- James, (2004), “Global Business Today”, 3th edition, New York: Mc Graw Hill/Irwin.
- Levitt, T.(1983), “The Globalization of Markets,” Harvard Business Review, May-June 1983, pp. 92-102.
- Nill, Alexander (2003), “Global Marketing Ethics: A Communicative Approach”, Journal of Macromarketing, 23(2):90-104.
- Wilmot, S. (2001), “Corporate Moral Responsibility: What Can We Infer from Our Understanding of Organizations?”, Journal of Business Ethics, 30:161-169.