The study methodology is predicated on a literature review of over two dozen previous studies, stratified across both the French and U.K.-based respondent populations. Of particular interest with regard to the methodology is the researcher's detailed work on defining variations in cultural differences, which is an area that Dr. Hofstede and the Model of Cultural Dimensions is specifically designed to take into account (Marieke, Hofstede, 2010). The study is highly qualitative in nature and uses academic databases as its primary research instrument (Gloria, Wulf, Mullen, 2013). The studies cited throughout the analysis indicate the potential to break out senior citizen segments by psychographics, an areas of emerging interest for Internet marketers. There is also a thorough analysis from numerous secondary studies of the correlation of income, gender, education and Internet usage. Demographics within the study are defined more in age-based terms when psychographic delineations create through primary research and factor analysis could have provided this data. That is a major shortcoming of this research.
The results of the study are an excellent literature review that lacks in-depth insight into the future direction of psychographics for senior citizens in these two nations. While the study itself is encyclopedic in its coverage of the traditional and quite frankly over-used age-based demographic breakdowns, there is little in the way of psychographics and advanced segmentation-based analysis. Further, the study just begins to analyze cultural differences as suggested by the Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions yet falls short of completing this analysis by not taking all five dimensions of the model into account for the literature review framework (Marieke, Hofstede, 2010). In conclusion, this study is an excellent roundup of previous research but does little to push the boundaries of research forward in this critical area.
The four studies that comprise this research analysis show how varied the role of international consumer behavior is, and how difficult marketing and selling strategies are to excel at in these turbulent, uncertain times. The studies of that comprise this research also show how pervasive the lessons learned from the Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions are in explaining the overall direction and trajectory of a market as well, including the divisive factors of cultural variation (Marieke, Hofstede, 2010). A recurrent theme of this research analysis is that a lack of appreciation for or even ignorance of these cultural dimensions leads to failure in marketing. This can be seen with the Chinese examples of culturally-driven commerce (Torres, 2011) and the ignorance of cultural norms and values that drives dislikeability of advertising in key Asian nations as well (Fam, Waller, Ernest Cyril, He, 2013). The path to greater insights in international consumer behavior needs to start with a strong focus on cultural respect and clear definition of cultural uniqueness (Belal, Shirahada, Kosaka, 2013). Without that, any marketer will appear ethnocentric at best and ignorant at worst.
Based on this analysis, the following recommendations are made with regard to how marketers can use consumer behavior to their advantage:
1. Plan for regional variation and anticipate significant differences in cultural components within and between nations, even within the same province. This can be seen in the Chinese study of variations in customer behavior even within the same province (Torres, 2011).
2. Create opportunities for customer co-creation with all customers to ensure there is a continual focus on attaining their long-term goals. Toyota and Samsung, widely recognized for their excellence in lean manufacturing, have mastered these principles and are moving in the direction of customer co-creation (Belal, Shirahada, Kosaka, 2013).
3. When defining a given market segment don't stop with just doing demographic research, concentrate on the psychographic aspects of the segments as well, especially when they cross national boundaries. The study of 50+ Internet users didn't deliver as much value as it could have due to this fact (Gloria, Wulf, Mullen, 2013). Create methodologies to capture psychographic data even in secondary research frameworks to gain greater insights into market conditions and demand.
4. Rely on insights into cultural differences when planning advertising and program programs to ensure their effectiveness over the long-term. The study of dislikeability in Asian advertising shows the worst practices in this area (Fam, Waller, Ernest Cyril, He, 2013). The use of the Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimension could have saved these advertisers millions of dollars over time.
Belal, H.M., Shirahada, K., & Kosaka, M. (2013). Value Co-Creation with Customers through recursive approach based on Japanese Omotenashi service. International Journal of Business Administration, 4(1), 28-28.
Kim-Shyan Fam, Waller, D.S., Ernest Cyril, d. R., & He, J. (2013). Advertising dislikeability in Asia. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 25(1), 144-161.
Gloria, a.M., Wulf, C., & Mullen, H. (2013). Internet marketing to 50+ generations in the UK and France. Journal of International Consumer…