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Chapter 11

Introduction to the
Environment

McGraw-Hill/Irwin Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Environment
• All physical and social characteristics of a
consumers’ external world
– Physical objects
– Spatial relationships
– Social behavior of other people
• Functional or perceived environment

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The Environment cont.
• Can analyze the environment at two levels
– Macro
• Climate
• Economic conditions
• Political system
• General landscape
– Micro
• Tangible physical and social aspects of immediate
surroundings

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Aspects of the Environment
• Social environment
– All social interactions between and among
people
– Macro social environment
• Culture
• Subculture
• Social class

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Aspects of the Environment cont.
– Micro social environment
• Face-to-face social interactions among smaller groups of people

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Aspects of the Environment cont.
– Families and reference groups are influenced
by the macro social environments
• Flow of social influence from the macro social
environments to the micro social environments
• The physical environment
– All the nonhuman, physical aspects of the field
in which consumer behavior occurs

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Aspects of the Environment cont.
– Spatial elements
– Nonspatial elements
• Time
• Weather
• Lighting
• Marketing implications

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Situations
• Analyze influences of the environment in the
context of specific situations
– A situation is neither the tangible physical
environment nor the objective features of the
social environment
– Defined by a person who is acting in an
environment for some purpose

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Situations cont.
– Involves a sequence of goal-directed behaviors,
along with affective and cognitive responses
and the various environments in which they
occur
– Vary in complexity
– Many situations are common and recurring

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Situations cont.
• Analyzing situations
– Determine the major goals that define the
situation for the target market
– Identify the key aspects of the social and
physical environments in the situation

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Situations cont.
• Generic consumer situations
– Information acquisition situations
• The environments where consumers acquire
information relevant to a problem-solving goal
• Important generic behaviors to information
acquisition situations
– Information contact
– Communication

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Situations cont.
– Shopping situations
• The physical, spatial, and social characteristics of
places where consumers shop for products and
services
• The merchandise displayed in stores, catalogs, and
on the Internet
• Social factors

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Situations cont.
• Two behaviors of importance
– Store contact
– Product contact
– Purchasing situations
• The social and physical stimuli present in the
environment where the consumer makes the
purchase
• The purchasing environment is designed to be quite
distinct from the shopping environment in some
stores

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Situations cont.
• Two behaviors of importance
– Funds access
– Final transaction
– Consumption situations
• The social and physical factors present in the
environments where consumers actually use or
consume the products and services they have
bought

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Situations cont.
– Disposition situations
• Highly relevant for some businesses
• Key behavior of interest is disposal of products
• Marketing implications
– Need to identify key social and physical
environmental features of the situation
– Need to understand consumers’ affective,
cognitive, and behavioral responses to
environmental factors

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Summary
• Identified three basic types of environments
• Discussed concept of situations
• Identified five broad, generic situations most
relevant for consumer research
• Discuss the important social and physical
aspects of the environments in situations

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Summary cont.
• Explored the key behaviors of interest
• Learned that the basic premise of marketing
strategies must not only be adapted to
changing environmental conditions, but
must also play an important role in creating
the environment

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