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A reference group is any person or group that serves as a point of comparison (or reference) for an individual in forming either general or specific values, attitudes, or a specific guide for behavior. It provides a valuable perspective for understanding the impact of other people on an individual's consumption beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. It also provides insight into the methods marketers sometimes use to effect desired changes in consumer behavior. • Consumers refers to as a point of reference when he/she is buying a product or service.

Marketers’ View:
Reference groups are groups that serve as frames (If reference for individuals in their purchase or consumption decisions. The usefulness of this concept is enhanced by the fact that it places no restrictions on group size or membership, nor does it require that consumers identify with a tangible group (i.e., the group can be symbolic such as owners of successful small businesses, leading corporate chief executive officers, rock stars, or golf celebrities).

Reference groups that influence general or broadly defined values or behaviors are called normative reference groups. For example, a child’s reference group is his family which plays a vital role in molding of child’s consumer behaviors and values. (Such as Food, Dress and Shop). Normative Reference groups influence the development of basic code of behavior.

Reference groups that serve as benchmarks for specific or narrowly defined attitudes or behavior are called comparative reference groups. A comparative reference group might be a neighboring family whose lifestyle appears to be admirable and worthy of imitation (the way they maintain their home, their choice of home furnishings and cars, their taste in clothing, or the number and types of vacations they take). Comparative reference groups .influence the expression of specific consumer attitudes and behavior. It is likely that the specific influences of comparative reference groups to some measure depend on the basic values and behavior patterns established early in a person's development by normative reference groups.

It is a group with whom a person interacted on a direct basis (such as family and close friends). It is a group which influence or refer a person on direct one-to-one basis. So, the credibility of that group could be higher than other group.

Indirect reference groups consist of those individuals or groups with whom a person does not have direct face-to-face contact, such as movie stars, sports heroes, political leaders, TV personalities, or even well -dressed and interesting-looking people on the street.

Referents a person might use in evaluating his or her own general or specific attitudes or behavior vary ...

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