Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Understanding Consumer and Business Buyer Behavior: Lifestyle Concept


According to Kotler, lifestyle is a person's pattern on living as expressed in his or her psycho-graphics. It involves measuring consumers' major AIO dimensions--activities (work, hobbies, shopping, sports, social events), interests (food, fashion, family, recreation), and opinions (about themselves, social issues, business products). Kotler then states that "when used carefully, the lifestyle concept can help marketers understand changing consumer values and how they affect buying behavior. Consumers don't just buy the products, they buy the values and lifestyles those products represent. (Kotler, pg. 141)

An example of a company who has done a great job in implementing the lifestyle concept is Marlboro cigarettes, built by Phillip Morris. International tobacco promotion and marketing acts as both a lens for viewing the effects of globalization as well as a vector for its progression. As global communication through television, internet, and other mass media affects the lifestyle of consumers worldwide, tobacco companies track and respond to shifts in the needs, wants, and lifestyles of their targets. There are two things that Phillip Morris did to apply the lifestyle concept in marketing Marlboro: the existence of "Marlboro Man" as its marketing campaign and their appeal to young adults' lifestyle nowadays.

While trying to figure out how to boost their sales, Phillip Morris came up with targeting the men's masculine lifestyle as the key to promote Marlboro. What they did was, they invented this masculine icon of "Marlboro Man" (picture is above) who basically were all sorts of rugged individuals who smoked their cigarettes while performing equally manly tasks, from fixing their cars to fishing or hunting. Most of the Marlboro Men were perceived to be mostly cowboys. The concept of Marlboro Man has urged those who aspire to live the lifestyle of "Marlboro Man" to go to the store and buy Marlboro cigarettes.

Secondly, as globalization promotes the homogenization of values and lifestyles, Phillip Morris has done a lot of marketing research in different countries and different regions to observe the lifestyle it could use as a concept to reach its most profitable target market. An example would be the image of Marlboro in Jakarta, where I was born and raised. The concept of "Marlboro Man" being rugged individuals with the icon of hunters or cowboys would not have worked had they applied it to the market in Jakarta. Instead, often times I noticed Marlboro as one of the sponsors for night life events, reaching out to clubs packed up with young adults.

Hendy Kurniawan, Section E

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