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The cultural environment is made up of institutions and other forces that affect a societys basic values perceptions preferences and behaviors People grow up in a particular society that shapes their basic beliefs and values They absorb a world view that defines their relationships with others The following cultural characteristics can affect marketing decision making Persistence of Cultural Values People in a given society hold many beliefs and values Their core beliefs and values have a high degree of persistence For example most Americans believe in working getting married giving to charity and being honest These beliefs shape more specific attitudes and behaviors found in everyday life Core beliefs and values are passed on from parents to children and are reinforced by schools churches business and government Secondary beliefs and values are more open to change Believing in marriage is a core belief believing that people should get married early in life is a secondary belief Marketers have some chance of changing secondary values but little chance of changing core values For example family-planning marketers could argue more effectively that people should get married later than that they should not get married at all Shifts in Secondary Cultural Values Although core values are fairly persistent cultural swings do take place Consider the impact of popular music groups movie personalities and other celebrities on young peoples hairstyling clothing and sexual norms Marketers want to predict cultural shifts in order to spot new opportunities or threats Several firms offer futures forecasts in this connection such as the Yankelovich Monitor Market Facts BrainWaves Group and the Trends Research Institute The Yankelovich Monitor tracks 41 US cultural values such as antibigness mysticism living for today away from possessions and sensuousness Monitor describes the percentage of the population that shares the attitude as well as the percentage that goes against the trend31 For instance the percentage of people who value physical fitness and well-being has risen steadily over the years
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