Club Med, the international vacation village resort giant which established its reputation in America as a free spirited summer camp for swinging singles in the mid 60s is widening its appeal to the family market. Although its European resorts have had children’s and babies programs for over twenty years, Club Med is increasingly gearing itself to families in its western hemisphere villages, due to large growth in new parents from the current baby boom let. Club Med is aiming at a market of 5 to 8 million Americans, many of whom are two income families with children who can afford a $3000 week of complete family relaxation A number of its resorts in the Americans offer Mini clubs for children aged 2 to 11. The Paradise Island Club in the Bahamas and the Sandpiper, Port St Lucie Florida, have baby clubs with a staff who will warm bottles, mix baby food and take acre of children from 4 months to 23 months of age. Such an atmosphere appeals to many new parents who can play tennis or water ski while their kids learn scuba or the high trapeze.
As marketers at Club Med understand the changing family structure of the marketplace and those factors that influence family decisions in purchased vacations packages they are better to develop effective marketing strategies.
Significance of the family in consumer behavior
We examined the topic of social groups in order to understand their relevance to individuals and how marketers could use this knowledge. Now we turn to the family not just as a type of small group but one that is often predominant in its influence over consumer behavior. The family is both a primary group (characterized by intimate face–to-face interaction) and a reference group (with members referring to certain family norms, and standards in their behavior). These two factors however are not the sole reasons accounting for the strength of the family’s influence. Rather it is, first the fact that the bonds within the family are likely to be much more powerful than those in other small groups. Second, contrary to most other groups to which the consumer belongs, the family functions directly in the role of ultimate consumption Thus, the family operates as an economic unit, earning and spending money. In doing this family members must established individual and collective consumption priorities decide on products and brands that fulfill their needs and also decide where these items are to be bought and how they are to be used in furthering family members’ goals. Also, consumers’ attitudes toward spending and saving and even the brands and products purchased have been molded, often quite indelibly by the families they grew up in. Thus, marketers needed to understand the nature of the family’s influences on its members and the way in which purchase decisions are made by members so that they may effectively program their marketing mix. Table illustrates several ways in which families differ from other group.
Differences between families and other groups
1) Formation by marriage or birth
2) More permanent relationship.
3) More interpersonal relations oriented.
4) More intrinsic value seeking
5) Group oriented (cooperative)
1) Formation by job or task
2) More contractual relationship
3) More goal oriented
4) More a rational oriented ties
5) Self oriented (competitive)
The thrust will first be to review several terms important in understanding this subject. Second, we shall describe the basic functions of the family. Next, we shall examine the family life cycle concept and assess its meaning for the marketer. Family organization and decision making roles will then be discussed also incorporating marketing implications and examples. Finally, the changing nature of the family, especially here in America will be discussed along with implications for marketers who face this changing scene.