Lifestyle Marketing: Reaching the New American Consumer

By Ronald D. Michman; Edward M. Mazze et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2

Lifestyles and Decision Making

Lifestyles emerge from various social influences. They are also derived from the individual's personal value system and personality. Marketers need to study the way consumers live and spend their money as well as how they make purchase decisions. For example, blue jeans may serve as inexpensive, functional clothing to bluecollar workers, but as fashionable, self-expressive apparel to upperclass members. Credit cards may be used as a convenience for the affluent, while others use them as a basis for installment purchases since balances are not paid off immediately. Decisions emanating from lifestyles are learned as the result of many influences such as culture, subcultures, social class, reference groups, and family. Activities, interests, and opinions reflect how consumers spend their time and their beliefs on various social, economic, and political issues. When understood by marketers, these variables can help reduce risk in the decision-making process.

Perception plays a major part in the perceived risk of purchasing a product or service. Perceived risk represents the anxieties felt because the buyer cannot anticipate the results of a purchase. A number of different strategies may be used to reduce risk. First, perceived risk can be reduced by a prepurchase information search—by decreasing the probability of failure. Second, the buyer can shift from one type of perceived risk to another type that is of less impact on the realization of objectives if this method fails. Third, the purchase

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