Culture is one of the most basic influences on an individual’s needs, wants, and
Cultural antecedents affect everyday behavior, and there is empirical support for the
notion that culture is a determinant of certain aspects of consumer behavior.
Cultural values are transmitted through three basic organizations: the family, religious
organizations, and educational institutions.
Marketing managers should adapt the marketing mix to cultural values and constantly
monitor value changes and differences in both domestic and global markets.
In large nations such as the United States, the population is bound to lose a significant
amount of its homogeneity, and thus subcultures arise.
Subcultures are based on such things as geographic areas, religion, nationalities, ethnic
groups, and age.
Many subcultural barriers are decreasing because of mass communication, mass
transit, and a decline in the influence of religious values.
However, age groups, such as the teen market, baby boomers, and the mature market,
have become increasingly important for marketing strategy.
Marketing Insight 3–1 provides a summary of American cultural values.
B. Social Class
Social classes develop on the basis of such things as wealth, skill, and power.
The single best indicator of social class is occupation.
For marketing purposes, four different social classes have been identified:
oUpper Americans comprise 14 percent of the population and are differentiated
mainly by having high incomes.
This class remains the group in which quality merchandise is most prized
and prestige brands are commonly sought.
oThe middle class comprises 34 percent of the population, and these consumers
want to do the right and buy what is popular.
They are concerned with fashion and buying what experts in the media
oThe working class comprises 38 percent of the population, people who are
“family folk” who depend heavily on relatives for economic and emotional
The emphasis on family ties is only one sign of how much more limited
and different working-class horizons are socially, psychologically, and
geographically compared to those of the middle class.
oLower Americans comprise 16 percent of the population and are as diverse in