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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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  • Number of pages: 2

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1. Introduction 3

2. Search Strategy 4

3. Criteria for Selection 5

4. Synthesis 8

5. Methodology 11

6. Data Collection & Processing of findings 13

7. Limitations 14

8. Conclusion 14

9. Bibliography 15

10. Appendix 16



I chose this topic because of my strong interest in social issues and how values and norms are changed by marketing. Our social standards have been shaped since we were born. Our parents were first to start shaping our social standards. Then came friends, school, television, social media etc. ' Children see, Children do' is an old saying but it is absolutely true, even more so in a society where media is used as a tool to achieve a specific goal, in this case, marketing. Is it however possible for marketing to change social standards of high school children?

The success of a business relies heavily on the marketing strategies and the impact of marketing is measured against the increase in the turnover of a business. This is however not so easy. In order for this to be effective, it is important to realize that the potential client has to be convinced, and in order to achieve this, a possible change in the standards of the client must be anticipated, including social standards. It is a fact, that certain marketing strategies will only be effective when they go hand in hand with the change of social standards, which does not implicate change to the negative.

Marketing is futile if not projected at a specific target group. Will this specific target group be open for accepting change, adapt to change and implement change based on marketing? Will this change lead to an increase in turnover of the company? To what extent will this change influence the day to day life of the target group? Is it possible that this marketing will lead to a change in the social standards of the target group? Is the change needed only for a short term or will it be for a long term? Is change important for the marketing effort to produce positive results and will marketing influence the behavior of the target group, in this case, the social standards of high school children?

The aim of this survey is to establish how social standards of high school children are affected by marketing, meaning change over a short term expected by the marketer in order to be effective and also change over a long term, which will be more permanent by nature, and therefore lead to a possible change in social standards, if any. The change or possible change that will be evaluated and researched on must be of a long term or permanent nature before it can be accepted as a change of social standards.


In order to achieve my aim I collected articles from books and the Internet and also researched some journals with information referring to how marketing can change social standards of High School children. The main consideration was to focus on change of social standards. By doing this and narrowing research down to a defined topic enabled me to identify connections, gaps and contradictions found in the literature. This then empowered me to analyse the researched information objectively. Due to this I could freely develop and express my own opinions.

The methods I used in order to search for the data collected was reading about the topic or related issues on the Internet. I then did cross referencing on the sources provided in order to validate the data. I also checked the credentials of the author and/or references in order to determine their credibility and qualification. This took some time as some of the specific information was not available at hand and had to be researched. I have also used reference books during this research and followed the same procedure as stated. I am convinced that the sources and references used are valid and credible and compiled by trustworthy authors and that the result of my research will therefore be credible. All sources are referenced in the Bibliography.

I have eliminated Social Marketing as this kind of marketing in not profit orientated and specific aimed at changing social standards of teenagers and other specific target groups. An example will be marketing of condoms in order to prevent aids. Marketing a better lifestyle and health eg marketing of the use of Vitamins. This kind of social marketing is usually undertaken by governments and health organization and not profit driven.


When I started with my research I had to make sure that I will be using credible data and that the sources referred to are reliable and valid. To determine this I decided on using certain criteria.

The first was to determine the definition of the concept of marketing and social standards. Once I was satisfied that I understand these definitions, I could start with my research. I found lots of data but eliminated this due to the fact that it did not meet the criteria. By using specific criteria, I could filter the data and thereby ensure that my Research will be credible.

a. Are the authors qualified in the field that my research will cover?

b. Is the information provided relative to the definition of Marketing and Social Standards?

c. Can the research references provided by the authors be cross referenced and is it traceable?

d. Is the information provided by the source applicable to the topic of my research?

e. Can the origin and validity of the source be verified?

In as far as the resources which I have referenced and utilized I can comment concisely as follows.

The Books : Light, D and Keller, S and Calhoun, C (2009) Sociology, New York : Alfred A Knopf Publishers;  and Brown, B J and Clow, J E (2010) Our Business and Economic World, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Publishers, did not meet my selection criteria above, as the information was neither directly related i.e valid or topical. I do believe they are reliable sources however because the authors are well known Academics and Businessmen.

The source: Consumer Behaviour by Leon G Shiffman and Leslie Lazar Kanuk, 8th edition was reliable and gave me good references to cross check for more related information for my research. It focused more on specific marketing strategies and how consumer behaviour can be changed. It was a good guide and directed me onto a more specific topic.

The source : Record on Line, distributed by University of Michigan - Teen ridicule shapes consumer behaviour and brand awareness was a useful and valid source. It referred to case studies and research done by academics and universities. I could determine that ridicule amongst high school children can develop, due to marketing of specific brands. If you do not have this or that brand, you are looked down on, whether the brand is affordable or not, whether you like it or not, you must have it in order to be socially accepted by a specific group. This brings about a change in the social standards, due to the longing for acceptance.

The source: Public Attitudes Toward the Youth Marketing Industry and its Impact on Children, by Kasser Tim was reliable and assisted me in determining youth trends and youth consumer behaviour. It also aided me in understanding the principle of social responsibility and how it affects consumer behaviour. I had to then relate this to teenagers. I could also determine that the effect of social status and brand loyalty, can affect changes in social standards. Tim Kassir is a professor at Knox College and  a reliable source. He has published 4 books already and his work is highly acclaimed.

In analysing the source : Consumer Buying Behaviour of Teenagers & How to Market to Them , a Demand Item pamphlet, was not  reliable as the sources of the facts mentioned could not be traced or verified. It could have been a good source, as it addressed marketing to teens and how to change the attitudes of teens towards a specific brand. It did however assist me in realising the importance of teenager buying power, as a teenager and as an adult in the future.

By using the source: Acquisition of the Consumer Role by Adolescents, George P Moschis, PHD dissertation, which I found to be credible and meeting my criteria,

I could determine certain levels during the growth of a child where certain social changes, permanent by nature, will only be possible via family influence. The author, George P Moschis is a professor in Marketing Research and has published 9 books on marketing.

The source : Importance of Marketing in organizational success, available : www.hubpages/business&employment/marketing&sales was reliable and conclusive but not valid as the information was rather generalized and not specific enough for my research.

The source : Consumer Behaviour by Lars Perner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Marketing, Department of Marketing, Marshall School of Business available : www.USC Marshall/University of Southern California was highly reliable as it was written by Lars Perner who has his Clinical Marketing and is highly knowledgeable and trustworthy in this subject. It provided me with good insight into Consumer behaviour in general but was not specific enough about teen consumer behaviour.

The source : Fanny Perreau, The 4 factors influencing Consumer Behaviour (28 November 2014) available : Perreau/Rouen Business School Paris was overall the most appropriate and informative article I read and utilised, as the author views marketing as a science and provides conclusive, relevant, objective and pertinent information which I found extremely useful. It most certainly met all my listed criteria.

 The source : How Does Social Media Affect Search Marketing? Available :, was relevant in so far as explaining the role which social media plays in advertising and marketing which is especially applicable to the youth, so I would say that it sufficiently met my criteria.  


I chose the topic of social marketing because of my interest in sociology and how marketing may affect social high school students, e.g. Calvin Klein posting a photo or picture Instagram of a good looking man with a 'six Pac' in underwear. I believe that marketing by using a man or a woman's body can lead to teenagers thinking & perceiving that they're imperfect compared to these super models, which can in turn lead to low self- esteem and depression. Such social conditioning makes teens think that they're not good enough because they don't meet the social standards as portrayed in marketing and may therefore lead to them changing their own social standards.

Throughout my research I was surprised by how easy it seemed to be, to contact a media outlet to market a product or service. This could be a good or a bad thing, obviously depending on the product or service, e.g. Marketing a strip club on a website which children frequent - bad; nevertheless, at the same time some good services or products could be marketed, and new services or products could be picked up by companies and sold to a much wider market - good.

The world of business is affecting us as people, we're becoming brainwashed into needing, wanting and buying. One of the biggest aims of a business is to convince us (the consumer) of their superiority to other businesses, so essentially, they trick us into buying their product or service, but will it lead to a change in social standards?

There were four factors which I  determined  that will affect consumer behaviour  and can bring about change . They were common denominators  throughout my research:

1. Cultural factors

2. Social factors

3. Psychological factors

4. Personal Factors

The evident facts during my research reflected that the change of social standards of high school children can change for a short period, call it a phase, depending on the importance and impact the product will have amongst peer groups.

Cultural factors will include how our cultures in modern days affect our buying decisions. This will include :-

' Social trends ' The class we belong to affects where and what we buy

' The social environment ' Our culture affects what we buy, e.g. We will buy Indian traditional clothing if we're Indian

' Sub-cultures ' Has to do with nationalities, ethnicities, religions etc.

It was determined that the change of social standards can take place as a result of the influence of marketing on reference groups and membership groups ' Where you fit in in society, your family and how the values you were raised with affect your family's consumer behaviour.

Change in social standards can take place in order to fit in with your social roles and status ' Your peer group, your class in society and the level of perception of acceptance. This will go hand in hand with reference groups and membership groups. This is the phase where the link to changing your standard can be verified with the names of the people who affect our behaviour which are :-

The Initiator  -the person who suggests buying a product or service

The Influencer -  the person whose point of view or advice will influence the buying decision - It may be a person outside the group but someone on whom group members rely on

The Decision-Maker- the person who will choose to change.  This can be the head of the family or role model.

None of the abovementioned can however be possible without taking into consideration the psychological factors

' Motivation ' What drives you to accept change

' Perception ' How you perceive change will benefit you

' Learning ' Our experiences and what we've learnt from them will be building blocks in order to predict the future with the perceived change.

' Belief and Attitude ' Do we believe in ourselves and what is our attitude toward various things, and will a change of social standards, change to the benefit of the teenager.

The final factor that will play a role in the changing of social standards will be one's personal personality and individuality

' Age and way of life ' How do you choose to live your life

' Purchasing power and revenue ' Your income and how that affects the price of the things you buy

' Lifestyle ' Fast-paced or maybe mellow and laid back

' Personality and self-concept ' Who you are and how you perceive yourself

Looking at all these factors, we realise how much there is that really does affect us as consumers, and to be honest, we're very easily influenced by marketing campaigns because we're very na''ve and gullible. Our cultures have a huge role to play in what we buy, e.g. Jews won't buy a pork sausage that is being advertised, as they don't eat pork. We also buy to try and step up our own class level because truly, nobody wants to be at the lowest class level. So, businesses cleverly manipulate us for their gain. Some people live very luxurious lives in which they want the best of the best (or more likely the most expensive) and this leads them to spending exuberant amounts of money on unnecessary things; whereas others want to live simple lives even if they have lots of money. In a way, we buy what appeals to us the most, instead of the best economic choice or even the best quality choice.

According to Sociology, by Donald Light, Suzanne Keller and Craig Calhoun, businesses play on our likes and current trends and therefore do a lot of research into how we actually work psychologically. So they're playing mind games with us so that we'll buy their product or service. This affects us because now we are always looking to please, e.g. Your clothes are outdated, buy these new 'Nikes', buy the latest brand, buy the latest trend. We now have the mind-set that if we don't buy something we won't be accepted in our modern society. We work to pay for things that we don't need, but we feel we need, because we feel the need to be accepted by our peers. We truly have become impulsive creatures and this creates the ideal terrain to market ideas or products. The more impulsive, the better for the marketing strategy to be followed.


The survey questions were designed to be uncomplicated and clear-cut to suit the age group of 'young adults' or teens in South Africa. I also minimised the number of questions to 10 to keep the participants focussed & interested in the survey and not to become distracted, bored or disinterested. To suit participants, I used an electronic means of distribution which uses Cloud-based software on one's cell phone known as Survey Monkey. It is very effective as it allows you to create, customise and publish your on-line survey and once you have sufficient response to meet your objective, to then view the results of the survey represented in graphical format. I then collated the results in order to arrive at a quantative and qualitative outcome to test my hypothesis.

I have specifically excluded Social Marketing from the research as it would not have given the correct reflection on the research results. Social Marketing is however widely researched and the specific aim is to change behaviour of consumers, over a long term and I see it as always striving for  positive changes in the wellbeing of people. By eliminating this concept, I have narrowed down my information available for research considerably but I was satisfied that I have met the criteria set down for my research.

During this ORT, I have not focused on the media as a marketing tool as such. To achieve certain objectives, certain media will be used, to target a specific group, a specific language or religion on a specific channel will be used.

Social media and the effect of  marketing via this channel, either direct or indirect, directed at a specific target group is a study on its own and is growing to such an extent that certain governments are considering restricting certain communication on Social Media.


Please answer each question by ticking in the Yes or No box

1 Do you feel you're easily affected by social media? YES NO

2 Do you have your own social standards?

3 Is what people think of you important to you?

4 Do you agree with marketing ploys to get you to buy a product?

5 Do you think most people are affected by social standards?

6 Do you think it is ethical to try and influence people's perceptions?

7 Are current marketing campaigns making people feel negative about themselves?

8 When you see a very skinny model or very good looking man marketing a product, do you feel inferior?

9 Overall, would you say you support modern marketing methods?

10 Do you feel compelled to buy when you see an advertisement?


A total number of 20 people participated in my survey and this is the outcome of the questions by percentage. In all but 3 questions (8, 9 and 10) participants answered yes or no to every question.

Question Number Yes Percentage No Percentage Undecided

1 50 50 0

2 80 20 0

3 45 55 0

4 50 50 0

5 95 5 0

6 45 55 0

7 65 35 0

8 42 58 1

9 53 47 1

10 58 42 1

1. Whilst 95% of participants feel that in general most people are affected by social standards, a lesser 80% of them still believe they have their own social standards.

2. A majority of 53% of participants support modern marketing methods, however there is a 50/50 % split between those agreeing and disagreeing with marketing ploys to influence you buying a product, whilst 58% feel compelled to buy a product when they see an advertisement.

3. Only 50% of participants feel easily affected by social media whilst 55% think it is ethical to try and influence people's perceptions by means of social media.

4. 55% of participants think it is important what people think of you and a strong 65% feel that marketing campaigns are making them feel negative about themselves. This is demonstrated by question 8 where 58% of participants feel inferior when presented with a skinny model or a good looking man as a marketing ploy.


The most important limitation I experienced was the fact that research in South Africa, relevant to the topic is not easy to obtain. This can be due to the fact that the market or 'target' is so diverse. This is further due to changes over the last few years in our political systems. Past research was specifically targeted on certain 'culture groups' and 'age groups' within a specific culture group and a holistic approach was not used. More specific research in the influence of marketing on the changing of Social Standards of High School children, with specific focus on region and culture.  Very little information was available and I was limited to using the sources that I had. Researched, credible and verified information regarding the topic, specifically  in the South African environment, limited my research and lead me a conclusion based on this information available.


From my research, it is evident that in South Africa we still have a long way to go in in the field of researching the influence of marketing on the change of social standards of high school children, whereas countries like United States of America and England have been very active. Taking into consideration the 'Apartheid ' era, the 'Born Frees' and the limitations marketing had, it is important to realise that the children of today are the buying power of tomorrow and that culture plays a big role.

The family structure and the influence of the family is the strongest influence in changing a teenager's social standards and of a more permanent nature. Marketing will have an effect on changing the social behaviour of a teenager, as teenagers are subject to peer pressure, as long as the peer pressure is applied. Change in the social standards is therefore not permanent and will adapt with the change of peer groups and peer pressure.

 For marketing to change Social Standards of High School Children, the family group must be targeted in order to bring about permanent change. Values and principles of social standards to be changed permanently will need more than the marketing of products to High School Children. It will have to focus on change of values and  whether this values will be changed without approval or intervention from the family as being the foundation of determining the social standards of a high school child, is not likely. To ' change' to impress or to fit in with your peer group, while you are under the pressure of the peer group, and then to go home and adapt again to the original social standards, cannot be seen as change!  Aren't we all just Chameleons in disguise?  Marketing as researched, will therefor only lead to Change in the Social Standards of High School Children for a short term and only with in that specific environment for as long as the peer pressure is maintained.

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