Commentary

All The Stage Is A World

  • by March 29, 2001
All The Stage Is A World

Since marketers spend more than $450 billion per year on global efforts to reach consumers, the need to better understand what affects consumer decisions continues to increase. In a powerful new research by Roper Starch Worldwide, carried in the current issue of American Demographics, an interesting model has been detailed that includes the relationship between personal values and consumer behavior.

Roper's model of the 3Dimensional consumer holds that three main factors drive consumer behavior: nationality, lifestage, and values. With few exceptions, nationality--encompassing people's social, economic, and cultural environment --has been and remains the major driver.

The Report concludes that a combined understanding of nationality, lifestage, and personal values is the most powerful tool for strategic marketing in most, if not all, product and service categories.

To learn about people's personal values on a global level, a list of 60 personal values and their definitions were administered to 30,000 respondents aged 13 to 65 to comprehensively encompass the human experience and be inclusive of all cultures. The world’s top values were determined to be:

1. Protecting the family ranks as the world's top value, by a wide margin
2. Honesty ranks second
3. Health and fitness third

North America, Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe, and Developed and Developing Asia each share at least six of the world's top-ten values.

Market-to-market differences in consumer behavior vary considerably.
1. The percentage point gap between the countries most and least likely to have people who listen to the radio on a regular basis is 59 points.
2. The gap is 53 points for magazine reading,
3. 48 points for watching videos, and
4. 47 points for PC use.

Even if a company creates a global message, it must be communicated in many different ways to be properly delivered to various audiences.

Some gaps are due to the economic status of nations and their residents:
1. 49% of people in Japan own fax machines, compared with
2. 1% in Indonesia.

Other gaps are due to differences in people's attitudes toward certain subjects, such as personal habits. And, the axiom "Think Global, Act Local" is still a relevant marketing message, and global branding, positioning, and image-building strategies can be successfully created in most product categories. Specific tactics, however, need to be customized to local market conditions, due to significant differences in consumer experience, the competitive environment, retail trade structure, and media options.

More on this report in another Brief, or read the complete review here

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