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Understanding Subcultures and Their Importance to Marketers

Successful marketing campaigns are about targeting the right audience with the right message at the right time. The right audience can be found by studying subcultures and then tailoring messages to speak directly to those subgroups within populations.

A subculture is a group within a group or larger culture. These groups share traditions, beliefs, and values. Getting to know about specific subcultures can give marketers insights into how and why people behave in particular ways.

People in subculture groups may have their own behaviors and experiences, but they often share traits common to their parent groups. It is important for marketers to understand different subcultures to develop suitable audience segmentation and targeting strategies.

Different subcultures include:

• Ethnic subcultures: those who have similar values due to ethnicity.

• Regional subcultures: in the same geographical area.

• Age-based subcultures: like teenagers, baby boomers, GenXers, or Millenials.

• Religious subcultures: those based on similar religious beliefs.

• Gendered subcultures: based on how individuals identify their gender.

• Single or Married subcultures: based on marital status.

• Social class subcultures: comprised of socioeconomic status like the 1 percenter, working-class, blue-collar, or white-collar populations.

• Occupational subcultures: based on employment fields and status.

There are other variables and behaviors that define subcultures. Savvy marketers will learn about as many of these subcultures as possible to better understand consumer behavior. This knowledge also serves to segment audiences more precisely and helps deliver the right message, to the right audience at the right time.

 —Robert Vergara

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