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Family or Household Decision Making . Types of Households/Families. Why is it Important for Marketers to know about Families and Households?. impart lifestyle and consumption values to their members influential in consumption decisions make several joint purchase decisions

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Why is it Important for Marketers to know about Families and Households?

impart lifestyle and consumption values to their members

influential in consumption decisions

make several joint purchase decisions

prime target market for goods and services

what is the family lifecycle flc
Family Life-cycle


newly married, no kids

young couple, kids < 6

young couple, kids >6

older married w/ dep.

empty nesters, working


widower - working, not working

financial situation

brands considered


primary decision maker

What is the Family Lifecycle (FLC)

Changes Over Life-Cycle


Why is it of value to understand the family life cycle?

The family life cycle concept attempts to explain consumer behavior patterns of individuals as they age, marry, have children, retire, and their discretionary income vary over their life span

  • At each stage members have new and constant needs for goods and servicesI.e consumption patterns change
  • Life cycle determines which product categories are bought but not how much is spent on each category
  • Basic strategy is how to keep customers through the FLC? (e.g. Automobile)

Household Influences for Marketing Strategy


of Household


Stage of the


Life Cycle




Purchase and







Family Life cycle and Travel

Travel locations, arrangements etc. differsignificantly across the family life stages

  • Young singles the most action motivated,
  • older marrieds the least motivated by action.
  • young marrieds with children were highly motivated to escape
  • older marrieds were not.
  • Young marrieds with children had most interest in rest and relaxation.
  • Young single travelers had the most ego motivation where
  • middle-aged singles were least motivated by ego.

Young singles placed much greater emphasis on outdoor experiences

  • older marrieds did not regard outdoor activities as important.
  • Older unmarrieds, young marrieds, and young singles thought cultural attractions were important.
  • For the older married and older unmarried segments, weather was very important in vacation destination selection.
  • attractions such as theme parks were important for divorced travelers with children and young married travelers with children.

What are the Critical Consumption factors?

  • number of people (children and adults) in the family,
  • the ages of the family members
  • Number of employed adults

Stages of the family life cycle

  • 1) Bachelor Stage. (Young single people not living at home):
  • (a) Few financial burdens,
  • (b) Fashion/opinion leader led,
  • (c) Recreation orientated,
  • (d) Experiment with personal financial management
  • (e) men and women differ in consumer behaviour
    • - women more housing-related items and furniture,
    • men more on restaurants and cars
  • (f) buy:
  • basic kitchen equipment,
      • basic furniture, cars, holidays,

cars, fringes, cookers, life assurance, durable furniture, holidays,

2) Newly married couples (Young, no children) (DINKS)

(a) Better off financially than they will be in the near future,

(b) High levels of purchase of homes and consumer durable goods,

(c) Establish patterns of personal financial management and


(D) Buy:


necessities - washers, dryers, baby food and clothes, health foods vitamins, toys, books etc.;

3) Full nest I. (Youngest child under six):

(a) Home purchasing at peak,

(b) Liquid assets/saving low,

(c) Dissatisfied with financial position and amount of money saved, (d) Reliance on credit finance, credit cards, overdrafts etc.,

(e) Child dominated household,

(f) Buy


necessities - foods, cleaning material, clothes, bicycles, sports gear, music lessons, pianos, junk foods, holidays etc.;

4) Full nest II.

(Youngest child six or over):

(a) Financial position better,

(b) Some wives return to work,

(c) Child dominated household,

(d) Buy


5) Full nest III. (Older married couples with dependent children.:

(a) Financial position still better,

(b) More wives work,

(c) School and examination dominated household,

(d) Some children get first jobs; other in further/higher education, (e) Expenditure to support children's further/higher education,

(f) Buy:

new, more tasteful furniture, non-necessary appliances, boats, holidays, etc.


luxuries, home improvements e.g. fitted kitchens etc.;

Empty nest I. (Older married couples, no children living with

them, head of family still in labor force):

(a) Home ownership at peak,

(b) More satisfied with financial position and money saved,

(c) Interested in travel, recreation, self-education,

(d) Make financial gifts and contributions,

(e) Children gain qualifications and move to Stage 1.

(f) Buy


medical appliances or medical care, products which aid health, sleep and digestion, hobbies and pastimes,

7) Empty nest II. (Older married couples, no children living at

home, head of family retired):

(a) Significant cut in income,

(b) Keep home,

(d) Concern with level of savings and pension,

(e) Assist children

(f) Buy:


hobbies and pastimes,

  • 8) Solitary survivor I. (In labour force):
  • (a) Income still adequate but likely to sell family home and purchase smaller accommodation,
  • (b) Worries about security and dependence;
  • (c) Concern with level of savings and pension,
  • (d) Buy:

Prepaid funeral

9) Solitary survivor II. (Retired):

(a) Significant cut in income,

(b) Additional medical requirements,

(c) Special need for attention, affection and security,

(d) May Seek sheltered accommodation,

(e) Possible dependence on 'others for personal financial, management and control.



Small bags of specialty potatoes for affluent couples without children. And with small kitchens

Large bags for larger families


Marketing Potatoes through the FLC

Traditional Families - one parent works, one parent stays home, children live at home.

  • eat dinner at-home morefrequently than other demographicgroups.
  • also consume more potatoes per person than thosein families without children.
  • affluent groups tend to eat fewer potatoes than low- to moderate-income groups with the same demographics.
  • the mainstay of fresh potato marketing, but over time it has come to represent less and lessof the total population

Two working parents, children present

  • Dinneris a hectic time.
  • Parents and children arrive home about the same time.
  • Kids are excited (and hungry); parents aretired (and hungry).
  • Convenience concerns often override other factors in deciding what's for dinner.
  • Dinnertime solutions need to be quick and easy.
  • What sort of potato products would they be interested in?

Single parent families- single working parent, children present.

  • Dinner is just another thing on the "to do" list along with soccer practice,homework, etc.
  • needseasy, quick meal solutions.
  • What sort of potato products should be marketed to families with children?

Households without children

  • Half the U.S. population lives in a one- or two- personhousehold.
  • Every demographic in this group has lower potato consumption than households withchildren and represents a significant (and currently missed) opportunity.


  • Singles have the lowest at-home potato consumption, with affluent singles showing evenlower consumption than low- to moderate-income singles.
  • They eat out often, and represent asignificant portion of fry consumption in restaurants. Many in this group will be moving into the marriage, parenthood segment.
  • Potato product ideas:

Double income, no kids

  • young married couples just establishing their households. Many canafford to eat out often and don't have cooking skills.

Empty Nesters, children grown and out of home

  • Some in this group are still working, some areretired
  • almost all want a break from the years of dinner preparation.
  • They can afford to eat out ortake home upscale meals.
  • Often health and fitness conscious, this important group has positiveattitudes about potatoes.
  • Potato Product ideas:

Married and Single active elderly

  • A small percentage of the population at present,
  • thisdemographic, along with empty nesters, is expected to grow dramatically in the next 20 years.
  • Potato product ideas:
household decision making
Households vary in consumption habits depending on stage where they are in family life cycle

Household decision making is also different from individual decision making

Family role structure orientation influences household decision making

Nature of good or service to be purchased and consumed influences household decision making

Household Decision Making

Types of Purchase Decisions Made by Families

Consensual Decision Making

Group Agrees on the Desired Purchase

Differing Only in Terms of How It Will Be Achieved.



Group Members Have Different Preferences and Can’t Agree

on a Purchase That

Will Satisfy Everyone

family decision conflict
Family Decision Conflict

Conflict Occurs When There is Not Complete Correspondence in Family Members’ Needs and Preferences.

Some Specific Factors Determining the Degree of Family Decision Conflict Include the Following:

Interpersonal Needs

Person’s Level of Investment in the Group

Product Involvement

and Utility

Degree to Which the Product in Question Will Be Used or Will Satisfy a Need


For Procurement, Maintenance, Payment, etc.


One Family Member’s Influence Over the Others in Making Decisions

husband wife decision making
Influence may depend on the good or service to be purchased, role structure orientation, stage of the decision making process

four categories:



autonomous or unilateral;

joint decision

Husband-Wife Decision Making

Who makes the Decisions?


The Apparel Manufacturer Haggar Placed Menswear Ads in About a Dozen Women’s Magazines After Its Research Found That Women Exert Influence Over Men’s Clothing Choices


Four Factors Influencing Family Decision Making

1.Sex-role stereotypes - separation of decision-making for sex-typed products.

2 Spousal Resources - spouse contributing the greater resources (usually, but not always, money) has the greater influence

3. Experience - individual decisions are made more frequently when the couple has gained experience as a decision-making unit

4. Socio-Economic Status - middle class families make more joint decisions than either upper or lower class families.
















consumption related roles
Initiators: initiate consumption behaviour

Information Gatherers: research alternatives

Gatekeepers: control flow of information to other members

Influencer(s): provide information about a good or service to other members

Deciders: have power to make final buying decision

Buyers: member(s) who actually make purchase

Preparers: transform product into useable form

Users: family members who use the good or service

Maintainers: responsible for maintenance of good

Disposers: responsible for disposal of good/service

Consumption-related Roles
marketing strategy implications
Marketing communication: advertising message, media used, person targeted, product positioning

Product development: products, e.g. minivans and cars built specifically for families; vacations; services, e.g. insurance, hotel

Pricing decisions: e.g. discounts for bulk purchases

Distribution: changes in family lifestyle means changes in distribution, e.g. longer retail hours

Public policy regulations re marketing to children

Households can be targeted by advertising by lifestyle .

Marketing Strategy Implications

If a car is being purchased by a family for a teenager to drive to school, how will this influence:

  • The type of product
  • Method of financing
  • Price
  • Appropriate promotion message
  • The media

As opposed to the family purchasing a car that the adult head of the household will use to commute to work?


Marketing to the Family

When marketing to the family children must be a consideration.

How would you reach families with your marketing message?

  • Magazines
    • children’s magazines are good avenues for reaching the youth and mom markets.
    • also family-oriented magazines aimed more at parents. Eg. Family Circle, Sesame Street Parents (5.4 million readers) Family Fun, Child, Parents, or Parenting magazine.

Internet, e-mail and other technology

    • since kids are often the more technologically savvy members of the family
    • Web sites


  • family-friendly organizations are good places in which to focus marketing efforts aimed at the family eg.
    • Religious institutions
    • Schools: primary, secondary, public and private;
    • their affiliated clubs and organizations,
    • Kids’ groups - Scouts, 4-H, etc.
    • YMCA or YWCA and other athletic clubs
  • Direct Mail

marketing to families employs strategies and practices that strongly appeal to parent customers and their children for the ultimate purpose of increasing sales.

It involves looking at your sales and marketing processes from the viewpoint of a consumer who has money to buy, children beside them and is stretched for time.

Family marketing has three components:

  • products
  • customer service
  • and environment.

For many households, a car purchase is a family event. It can be a pleasant one or a story that is retold with embarrassment and horror. Which do you think will lead to a repeat sale or referral? If you were the owner of a car dealership how would you make the purchase of a car a pleasant family event.


Provide a good play area. Construction play, a table for drawing, good books, creative activities like train sets, Lego tables, mazes and puzzles. Stay away from videos. Children who sit too long just build up their energy and compensate with over-active play.

  • Welcome families with broad smiles, make eye contact with the youngsters.
  • Take a few minutes to make the children comfortable by leading them to the play area or explaining where the toys are. Do not put parents into the position of apologizing for their children's behavior.
  • Make sure that the vending machine has packaged, healthy treats available, including fruit juice or water in bottles.
  • The bathroom should have a change table.
  • stop periodically to make sure the kids are engaged and happy.
  • Include them if old enough, in some of the discussions.