Marketing in a changing society

Date of publication: September 1, 1995


Changes in marketing environments have, in many cases, rendered traditional company-to-consumer marketing and communications strategies insufficient, as the need to target, communicate, and address the needs of different constituencies has increased. Marketing departments need to identify when marketing decisions have broader internal and external repercussions that may have a significant impact on a firm's image and positioning both among its immediate body of target consumers and society at large. In today's increasingly complex marketplace, corporations are also faced with the challenge of developing products designed to appeal to multiple consumer populations, with different and sometimes competing expectations. Qualitative research is needed to fully understand how different constituencies may approach one issue or respond to one product with radically different needs and expectations. Quantitative research can compare how different groups answer the same question, but it fails to take into account that the same question may mean different things to different people. This paper presents two different case studies involving corporations attempting to market a single product or service to different consumer groups. It illustrates how in-depth qualitative research can be applied to develop and integrate marketing and communications toward different audiences.

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