Environmental Forces and Consumer Behavior

There are two types of controllable environmental forces: technological and sociocultural. For marketing, technological force means the application of human resourcefulness to real-life situations that can help them increase the efficiency of certain operations. This force is rather important because technology has a strategic influence on organizations that depend on innovations and machinery in general. On the other hand, companies have to control technological forces because the latter provide them with opportunities to improve their products and processes while also affecting society on a bigger scale.

As for the sociocultural forces, these mostly relate to how cultures and subcultures within a society can transform customs, attitudes, and perceptions of customers, with the ultimate transformation being customers’ lifestyles. The importance of this controllable force lies in the huge effect of society on individual behaviors and demographic characteristics. If a company has the power to change how customers consume products, it will also change people’s lifestyles based on their preferences and vice versa. By gaining insight into demographic information, businesses allow themselves to market their products in specific ways that would allow them to compete for customers.

Uncontrollable Environmental Forces

The first type of uncontrollable environmental force is of economic origin. They are essential for any business because they create supply and demand and affect the conditions under which customers become willing to purchase certain products or use specific services. This may also include customers’ buying power and preparedness to spend resources. Another element of economic forces that may be deemed as essential is the intensity of competitive behavior within

the market. Consumer activities and decisions influence the business environment and increase the erratic power of economic forces, making it one of the most unpredictable out of all uncontrollable elements of marketing.

Political forces have a serious impact on marketing because the current regulatory climate across the region of operation defines what the business can or cannot do. This is why many companies become interested in encouraging specific laws, but the existing situation in the market shows that local, state, and federal governments are practically uncontainable when it comes to marketing initiatives. Therefore, business decisions depend on governmental regulations and not vice versa.

Competitive forces represent the process of companies trying to outsmart their business rivals with the help of innovative decisions. These actions are intended to help the company to acquire more influence in the region and attract more customers to their brand or product than any other business that offers similar services to the consumers. The factors above make it difficult to control the competitive force that drives innovation among competitors. It leads to updated product offerings that overlap each other and create unanimous antagonism in the market that cannot be regulated in any way.

The last type of uncontrollable force is the natural counterpart. The problem with such intense unpredictable powers is that the majority of businesses are unprepared to critical weather conditions that affect the majority of organizations irrespective of whether those relate to business, government, or society. Given the fact that industries cannot control natural calamities, seasons, or any other weather-related phenomena (such as storms, flooding, typhoons, tornadoes, or earthquakes), businesses mostly have to rely on their predictions and not factual data when making quick decisions required by natural forces. Natural forces are the most impactful out of all environmental forces because their exact consequences cannot be prognosticated in all cases.

There are five essential types of factors that influence consumer behavior: psychological, social, cultural, personal, and economical. As for psychological, there are several specific elements that increase the importance of studying consumer behavior. For instance, motivation has to be researched to see how a person’s needs or self-actualization incentives could be used to market specific products or services to them. Another vital element is the consumer perception that can be enhanced via social media feedback and promotions. When customers have the opportunity to learn more about the product, they improve their knowledge base and become more inclined to displaying purchasing behaviors, which may also be linked to beliefs and attitudes.

The influence of social factors is also huge, as humans are predisposed to emulating other people’s behaviors. This means that consumer behavior is a social phenomenon where there are several levers that could be used by businesses to apply their marketing force. Family, for example, has the biggest role in terms of shaping consumer behavior because, from their childhood, future purchasers observe their parents’ comportment and develop behavioral patterns. On the other hand, the social influence of product marketing depends on statuses and roles held by individuals within the given society. For example, purchasing patterns for CEOs and their employees would differ significantly due to the existence of differences regarding income and social standing.

Consumer behavior studies could not exist without cultural factors either because unique ideologies and belonging to a community drive marketing initiatives forward and create competitive advantages for many modern businesses. A particular community background may serve as a cultural influence, with a focus on local preferences, values, and perceptions displayed by buyers. There are purchasing habits that consumers might learn from their social groups or subgroups, leading to the development of group-induced values and beliefs. The last element included in the cultural factors group is the concept of social class. This notion goes beyond mere income and stands for the location of residence, occupation, and the level of education.

Purchasing behaviors also have to be researched due to the existence of personal factors that could be contingent on several aspects of human individuality. For example, the concept of age cannot be ignored because the buying habits of younger and middle-aged populations differ significantly. The level of income is another opportunity for businesses to influence purchasing comportments unambiguously, as higher incomes are synonymous with higher buying power. The list of personal factors could also include occupation, as individuals only tend to purchase products that are specific to their profession. The last vital aspect is the lifestyle because a consumer who prefers healthy food would never purchase its junk food alternatives.

The last area for marketing research is the variety of economic factors that relate to the grade of the prosperity of the region and the existing purchasing power that potential consumers possess. Purchasing decisions depend on the level of personal income, as there are basic needs and secondary prerequisites that are not eligible for obligatory procurement. Family income also influences the purchasing habits of different customers due to the variation in tendencies that are characteristic of families that belong to different social classes. The impact of consumer credit and liquid assets also has to be studied, as it would provide market researchers with insights into how consumers could be motivated to spend money and purchase additional goods or services.

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