How Reference Groups Exert Influence on Consumer Behavior

3157 words 13 pages
A reference group is any person or group that serves as a point of comparison (or reference) for an individual in forming either general or specific values, attitudes, or a specific guide for behavior. They help us understand the impact of other people on an individual’s consumption beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. It helps marketers choose their methodology to affect desired changes in consumer behavior. From a marketing perspective, reference groups are groups that serve as frames of reference for individuals in their purchase or consumption decisions. Reference groups that influence general or broadly defined values or behavior are called normative reference groups. Reference groups that serve as benchmarks for specific or narrowly …show more content…
3) Primary or Secondary Groups: A group may be primary or secondary Depending on the frequency of contact. Primary groups can be either formal or informal groups. If a person is in regular contact with certain individuals such as families, friends, peers and business associates, then these can be referred to as primary informal groups. Secondary formal groups meet infrequently; are well structured and not so closely knit. Thus, shopping groups and club membership groups constitute secondary groups because of their less frequent contact.
4) Aspiration groups are classified into two types: Anticipatory aspiration groups, or those that a person anticipates joining at some future time. The appeal of the group is in the anticipation of eventually arriving at the top. Symbolic aspiration groups are those that an individual is not likely to belong to, such as professional sports groups, even though the person may be attracted to them. Marketers appeal to symbolic aspirations by using celebrities to advertise certain products. Each type of reference group has importance in marketing, depending on the type of influence exerted. The common factor among these various types of reference groups is that, each is used by consumers as a point of reference at different times, to evaluate actions, beliefs and attitudes. Primary groups are more important to the consumer in developing product beliefs, tastes and preferences and have a more direct

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