Sociocultural factors are customs, lifestyles and values that characterize a society or group. Cultural aspects include concepts of beauty, 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 society, time and available resources. An understanding of sociocultural factors is crucial in developing marketing strategies for businesses or organizations seeking action from particular groups.
The average level of education in a community shapes the interests and sophistication of consumers. A high percentage of potential customers with some college education requires more details and explanations in promotional material. A business must decide whether advertising brochures should be printed in English alone or English and a second language such as Spanish. If women are the decision makers in this pool of potential customers, marketing strategies must be adjusted to appeal to feminine values and concerns.
Reference groups are family members and relatives, neighbors, friends and co-workers with whom individuals compare themselves and who serve as examples in buying habits. Awareness of the major reference groups, persons or family structures in a community is essential when targeting marketing campaigns toward them. Sociocultural factors such as disposable income are important in deciding whether potential customers are likely to buy luxury items or whether a marketing plan that emphasizes low cost and high value for necessities might be more successful.