Sociology in Marketing

Sociology in Marketing

Interested in learning the benefits of sociology in marketing? Continue reading this post.

Sociology is the study of human social behaviour. It focuses on the development of human behaviour and society over time and how different aspects are related to our lives. Social science seeks to understand patterns of human behaviour, relationships, and social tendencies. Moreover, sociology helps us identify and analyze the weak points in society and use our understanding of the evolutionary aspect of the study to facilitate positive change.

Due to it covering such a diverse palette of things, sociology is applicable in many fields of work. One of these is marketing. We will look at how sociology helps us better understand marketing and equip us with the tools we need to perfect the marketing formula.

Marketing is the promotion, pricing, and distribution of a product. However, there is much more work that is enveloped by these umbrella terms. There is market research to be done for a product when formulating a point of entry into the market to test the viability of the business idea. Another vital component of marketing is the growth strategy to be implemented for a product after it has been put out to ensure longevity and plan for the long-term.

How Does Sociology Benefit Marketing?

One can already see the hints of a need for sociology in marketing just from what we have discussed. Marketing is essentially the relationship between the business and the customer. It is vital that the business does everything in its power to solidify a positive brand image to the public. Market research is where the real bulk of sociology is initially applied. The last thing any company wants is to be shunned by the public for reasons unknown when entering a market. Here, sociology comes into play as the market is thoroughly studied, not only for competing businesses but also for the potential customer base. What are the preferences of people in the region? What are the perceptions of the people of the region towards our products? These are questions that market researchers must take and analyze to cater the end product to the public better.

Sociology implores us to look into the social behaviour and tendencies of our target demographic when we are looking to enter a market. This helps us strategize our entry accordingly by adjusting our game plan to be perceived positively by the customer.

Examples of The Importance of Sociology in Marketing

We can look at a few case studies of social marketing to highlight the importance of sociology in marketing.


McDonald’s failed launch in India

The entry of the leading fast-food chain, McDonald’s, in India was nothing short of a disaster. McDonald’s penetrated the Indian market in 1996 when it launched its first outlet in the country. However, the launch was met with opposition by the masses. McDonald’s had not fully considered the target demographic and failed to remove their beef burgers from the menu. Cows are considered sacred animals in India, and it was considered very disrespectful to eat beef in the country. This seemingly minor oversight led to McDonald’s taking a huge hit on its initial launch. Although the industry giant later rebranded its entry after recognizing and correcting its mistake, thorough sociological research of the region would have helped avoid this hiccup altogether.

Additionally, before the relaunch, McDonald’s did its market research. It noted that since a lot of Indians were vegetarians, the burger patty formula would not go down as well as it did in other countries. This use of social study then helped them realize that selling their burgers with an Aloo Tikki (local potato snack) instead of a meat patty would be a smart move, and it was.

Walmart and The Japanese Market

Walmart introduced its wholly-owned subsidiary ‘Seiyu’ in Japan in 2008, and it had high hopes of success. The company looked to implement the same model of low pricing to entice customers towards good deals in one central location. This idea, however, proved to be a misfit for the Japanese shoppers who were more conditioned to scour multiple stores to find the best deals. It is also a common conception among the Japanese that lower price connotes cheaper quality. Additionally, the lack of fresh, local food in the supermarket deterred the Japanese public, who preferred fresh ingredients. This is another prime example of how some market research and the use of sociology would have allowed for a much smoother entry into the Japanese market for Walmart.