Tribal Marketing Phenomenon in the Modern World


This paper will focus more on tribal marketing. To amicably define the word tribal marketing, it is important to discuss the various sections of the lecture series involved in this context. These series are as follows: Individualism, cool, and capitals. This module paper has also explained a series of constituent parts under contextual marketing. This type of marketing is mainly constructed upon the various ways in which individuals and other groups interact with one another to create a positive relationship that has shared interests among the communities and other tribes. To be able to penetrate the market well any business across the globe should consider the themes, theories and concepts of contextual marketing (Varey and Barbara, 2000).

Moreover, all future businesses should also lay more emphasis on networking and other ways of managing businesses and enterprises. Economic development globally cannot be done considering the impacts of contextual marketing, therefore tribal marketing renders economic development possible (Ballantyne, 2000). Consequently, in marketing approaches, social issues should not be neglected; neither should they be underestimated. This is because the consumption of products is self-defining and people take what they want regardless of its value. It is important to note that, the value of use and the link of products to consumers determine how they are consumed. Tribalism and tribal values are most critical in the consumption of products and this paper will lay more emphasis on the two issues. The aim of this discussion is not to down look at the Northern views of marketing, but it is to engage and encourage many perspectives in marketing. By doing so, we are interpreting reality in marketing in more than one way. The importance of this paper is also to assist researchers in mobilizing new ways of marketing rather than putting into consideration this obvious lethargy in marketing (Aglesheimer et al, 2005).

Social relations normally make consumption to be a cultural affair rather than viewing it in a dynamic aspect. Douglas and Treanor have discussed widely the maturity of tribal marketing through their article on car cruising. In their discussion, they show clearly the importance of value understanding through distributed and collective strategy thus disbursing representation through the generation of resources that are managed by individual constructed forms. This argument justifies the negative impact of adopting cultural identity and approach in consumption.


Contemporary marketing theory

Traditional thought about marketing is being challenged by the coming of the post-industrial era which is being focused on business enterprises and the business environment. Consumers have been made to be more demanding due to the sophistication of markets that have been brought by globalization and the emergence of technology. Due to globalization consumers are now tending to form consumer groups which are now dictating their mode of consumption. As a way of competing, many organizations are putting greater emphasis on products service aspects. It is important to note that information and communication are now becoming the key drivers in business and the traditional ways of doing business is tending to be irrelevant (Warde, 2005).

Contemporary marketing has brought about new approaches such as relationship marketing, industrial marketing and business marketing which focus on the consumers and the society at large, these new are approaches are tribal marketing. The internet is also used in the new forms of running a business and marketing them. This mode of marketing is called internet marketing or e-marketing (Ryan, 2007). This method of marketing tries to balance the imbalances which were caused by traditional marketing thus bringing about tribal marketing. It is also called personalized marketing because it is focused more on the personality of clients and deals with them more precisely. Contemporary marketing is based on campaigns that are directed to response marketing. It emphasizes the satisfaction and retention of the individual members of a tribal group rather than focusing on the whole tribal community or group (Rifkin, 2000). This type of marketing emphasizes more on the long-term relationship and value of the consumer relationship, extends its objective information beyond messages through sales promotions.

Cool and individualism

Contemporary marketing has brought about individualism in consumption, whereby these individuals create cool tribes. Such tribal groupings are found even in our homes and in the communities surrounding us (Ryan, 2007). Occasionally these tribes are considered as fantasy and emotional. Individualism has become a way of life in our society and hence some consider it to be affluent and therefore influences purchasing decisions. Today the way people view certain things have significantly changed due to individualism and therefore people are viewing things with a certain discretion. To do away with these trends, marketing should watch the signs and talk to the people involved in these gatherings and groups to change their old ways of doing things (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2000). To convince these individuals to do away with their ways of consuming products, marketers should use blogs, mags and chartrooms.

Implications of consumerism and tribal consumption in society and organizations

Consumerism is an economic and social order that is considered to create and foster the urge of purchasing goods and services in bulk (Rauch and Thanqvist, 2000). Tribal consumption is a very good example of this social order since individuals are encouraged to purchase commodities by their group members. Many researchers use consumerism to criticize the way of consumption by customers. Consumerism may also be seen as an organization or movement considered to protect and inform consumers amicably on such practices of consumption. They also inform the consumers about the packaging, product guarantees, safety of the product and advertising before purchasing the same. Consumerism lays more emphasis on policies about consumption when defined from an economical perspective. Consumption has its effects on both economical and social issues. Therefore if organizations and other institutions don’t take consumerism seriously they may end up being irrelevant in the markets.

Many customers are now consuming products without considering their characteristics rather they consider the opinion of their sub-cultural groupings. The consumption is now based on the opinion of the tribal leaders and their subsequent group leaders. But this in some instances is being neutralized by some group members who are not committed to the norms and ethos of certain groups (Cova and Cova, 2002). This means they are in those groups to get material support and other things. To justify the tribal consumption concept take for instance a group of bikers or rally drivers who tend to buy products in an organized group of consumption.

Capitalism works presently through the production and consumption of goods; furthermore, it is our culture to consume goods. Through consumption and production of goods, it is the only way of measuring the gross national product. However, people are consuming concerning their social or community groups, for example, people tend to place themselves in groups according to their style, work and age thus affecting their consumption styles (Chin, 2001). This mode of consumption usually changes the way people consume products thus leading to consumerism.

Tribes and Tribalism

This era of modern marketing has been characterized by social bonds which have brought about individualism in society (Chin, 2001). The logical conclusion is the urge to liberate ourselves from this bondage, but presently we have been unbounded in illusion and theory but not to economical situations, intellectual or political field hence affecting our lives day in, day out. These effects of individualism are been felt in the fragmented society. Technology has vehemently increased isolation since everybody can obtain many things they desire from their homes. The use of computers has been envisaged in our daily lives thus making it difficult to physically socialize with others. Individualism and societal suspension are perceived to be the most characterized and predominant events in the current or postmodern society (Cova and Cova, 2002).

People are starting to reconstitute their social groupings and ephemeral groups and these groupings are starting to be more influential in decision making among institutions and other organizations. Therefore, this era crowns the end of individualism and begins another process. This new process is the beginning of the reverse movement and thereby maintaining the social link. These social links are now becoming the link to tribalism. Tribalism comes from the word tribe which is a way of identification of certain values and cultures.

According to Shell (2006), “Postmodern tribes are not fixed by any parameters in the present modern society but they are small scale, “effectual” and inherently unstable”. Instead, they are brought together by passion and shared emotions (Shell, 2009). Tribes exist merely because of the commitment of the individual members and also due to their symbolic attitudes. There are differences in the current tribalism since boundaries are seen as conceptual rather than being physical which was the case in traditional tribalism. Moreover in the modern culture, people can belong to many tribes but in the archaic or traditional tribes, one had only to belong to one tribe.

Members of a certain tribe usually associate and recognize themselves in a group that is within a specific social environment (Nissanoff, 2006). Based on the characteristics of tribal members they do not take actions individually but they take collective decisions since they do not rely on a specific source of power. There is normally a difference between a community and a tribe due to the non-rational behaviour of the tribes. To sustain its members in tribes, bond individual members and reaffirm their strength tribes normally perform ritual acts in public arenas (Muniz and O’Guinn, 2001).

Tribal marketing

Tribal consumption has made it difficult for marketers to be impartial; this means that the marketers have to market their products in a tribal way to reach social groups and tribes. One of the significant characteristics today is that consumption has become ethno-sociological this signifies that there is an important approach to the overriding psychological view of the marketers (Bagozzzi, 2000). Ethno-sociology takes into consideration the tribes as a player in making massive important decisions, for example in organizations and institutions and inter-firms relations in business marketing (Varey and Barbara, 2000).

When talking about tribal marketing it is important to know the number of tribes to support according to marketing terms. This type of marketing places little concern on the services and the products average and a section of customers or consumers. Instead, it emphasizes the products which keep and hold people to each other as members of a group who are devoted and enthusiastic. This means that it supports products and services which promote tribal belonging and its membership (Varey and Barbara, 2000). Tribal marketing uses the linking value and the more a product contributes to the bonding of the tribes and the strengthening of tribe members the bigger the linking value.


In conclusion, to integrate the society, the paper has focused on the tribes in the present society. Many marketers are being urged to embrace new features in marketing such as adopting a fuzzy logic, rather than using archaic mechanical marketing strategies and thinking (Cross, 2000). This should be used in all aspects of marketing such as marketing research to integrate consumers’ tribal groupings into a kind of a business model.

Finally, the internet should also be used more, since it can link people together in tribes without the limitation of space and time, therefore, dawning the need to formulate the approach of society to go in line with the reconstituting the socialization of groups and individuals.


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