Social and cultural factors are important to consider while creating and implementing a marketing strategy of a company. These often-linked but somewhat different factors have diverse effects on the decisions of consumers and buyers. Sociocultural factors are customs, lifestyles and values that characterize a society. More specifically, cultural aspects include aesthetics, education, language, law and politics, religion, social organizations, technology and material culture, values and attitudes. Social factors include reference groups, family, role and status in the society. Small-business owners should be aware of and understand these factors' connection with buying habits.
The average level of education in a society affects the interests and sophistication of consumers. For example, in a community in which a high percentage of potential customers have some form of post-secondary education, small-business owners might use more details and explanations while advertising and promoting products.
The spoken language of the community is a decisive factor on the labeling and advertising of the products. Consider the foreign language skills in the society while advertising. For example, in Washington, D.C., different transportation companies use English and Spanish on their brochures.
As part of the culture, social organization is the way a society organizes itself, how it considers kinship, status system, social institutions and interest groups. For example, the role of women in a society, whether they are the decision-makers in shopping, for example, is a decisive factor in marketing. A major interest group in the area -- such as oil companies in Texas -- can also influence society. The marketing of a small business can be successful by building its advertising strategy on women or moms, a specific interest group or a leader that has the biggest influence in the community.
Because people are social beings, each person has people around him who influence his decisions in some way. Reference groups comprise people with whom individuals compare themselves. Family members, relatives, neighbors, friends, co-workers and seniors at workplace can form reference groups. Well-known and respected idols in society serve as examples in lifestyle, values and buying habits.
Family is a specific reference group and can play the most important role in influencing the buying decisions of the individuals. Spouses, children or grandparents have different needs and necessities. Being aware of and finding the major reference groups, persons or family structures in a community and building marketing on them can help small businesses achieve success.
A person's role in society and social status affects her buying decisions. Each person plays a dual role in society depending on the group to which she belongs. An individual working as president at a reputed firm is also someone’s wife and mother at home. The social status is also a relevant factor; an individual from an upper-middle class would spend on luxurious goods, while an individual from a lower income group would buy items required for basic needs. Knowing the income information of the potential customers gives the small-business owner an edge, allowing her to have more information about customer habits and implement a successful marketing strategy.