The aim of this research is to investigate and further analyse those key factors which affect the buyer behaviour in Arabs and especially as health is the basic need of every human being, considering every aspect of the society never promote any uneven deal in regard to health issues. In this research it will explore and investigate that during in such environment and understanding the cultural, religious etc. of the Arab different societies their choice of health care means when they are coming abroad for advance and equipped treatment, before what factors an Arab patient consider.
Arab culture is basically composed on Islam, and their culture is a full translation of Islam.
Culture is a Latin word “cultura” which means improvement of the soil and total transformation of the nature. The valid and modern meaning of culture is designation of spiritual development and upbringing.
Culture most authentic definition is in most common sense that culture is the spiritual perfection and human development. Culture understanding is mainly concern with sprit and spiritual power.
Culture is the spirit and a valid identity of a nation. Every nation has its own culture and this culture is playing a vital role in the building of a healthy society. Because every society has its own culture that characterises it. Every society has some beliefs and these beliefs are strictly followed by every person of existing society. Arabs are mainly 22 different countries with different culture and different sects and religion, their common language is Arabic with a few other dialects. Arabs are mainly divided like 10 countries in Africa and 12 in Asia, according to UNDP report 1993 its total population is 230 million in 22 different countries, representing in majority Muslim and in minority Christian and Jewish.
Arabs are mainly living in joint family system; every person is more dependent on each and every person. They respect each and every person and especially the elders and give them proper attention due to their age and experience, and always play a vital role in making any decision.
Arabs always consider and never cross the boundaries of Islam, and their belief is very strong in God, it is a strong belief that every happiness and sorrow is from God. A very common and with a strong belief that when any uneven or a good thing happen, it is consider that it is the fortune which born with him and a divine from God.
The key factors which influence the buyer behaviour in Arab are culture, social, personal and psychological factors. In Arab society there is joint family system and an individual person is not free in its decision, because it’s all family are more concern about taking in decision and more extent its choice is influenced by the family, culture and personal and psychological factors i.e. its beliefs (religion), perception, motivation and learning.
These are the key factors which influence the consumer buying power, in such a situation how an Arab then goes to select a health service in his country or abroad which satisfy his all factors i.e. its religion, culture and social.
Reason for Choosing this Topic:
Reason for choosing this topic is mainly relevant to my experience in marketing field, being more involved and studied a lot about the history of Arabs and interest in marketing field, also Arab is the new emerging market for business that’s why I am optimistic that this theses will enhance my abilities and give a strength to my career in the chosen field. I personally worked in a tobacco company “WTD PAKISTAN” for more than three years and counted as consumer based company because it is mainly based on tobacco selling products. That why it becomes a solid and main reason for choosing this topic. Moreover with my personal experience and after reviewing literature, that different countries have different lifestyle, culture, different approaches in making decisions, different choices and different taste and different level of satisfaction. It seems interesting to me for research and enhance my capability in marketing. This topic is providing a broad/vast analysis to underline the key factors which influence the buyer power of buying because it is thoroughly proved from lot of theories and researches that consumer/ buyer all over the world has certain level of satisfaction, which is disturb by some factors existing in its surrounding environment. To evaluate these influences by considering academic resources, online journals and literature from authentic resources will enhance my knowledge and capabilities to do a better job in my real life.
Literature review is playing a vital role in completing of dissertation chosen and moreover will help me in completing my final dissertation has significant importance to complete my dissertation topic and ultimately to help me in completing my final dissertation. So in this context, some introductory literature review has been brought forward which have helped me in finalising my research topic and questions to be investigated. Moreover the essential and sufficient material for my chosen research topic review of literature, journals current articles from the authentic resources (magazines, newspaper) and academic books will give me help me in completing my task.
According to (Burca. D. C, 2004) that international marketing is the process of planning and undertaking transactions across national boundaries that involves exchange.
The above statement gives an idea about the international marketing that it provides a platform for business across the boundaries or between different countries, and these businesses between different countries are under some rules and regulation.
When the transaction takes place across national boundaries then the international marketers are subjected to different set of macro environmental factors and constrain deriving from different political system, legal frame work, cultural norms, and economic circumstances.
Marketing is basically concern with exporting of products or services e.g. it very common that purchasing a chair from IKEA but in reality it will be imported from other countries or it parts will be export from other country but assembled in UK. Same if it is brought under discussion like computer and is accessories so it is clear those materials comes from India and software comes from china or Japan and product assembled in UK or other European countries.
This idea of global import or exchange nourish in the shadow of international marketing, because international marketing introduce such rules and regulation for international marketer like licensing to joint ventures and contracts between two parties.
According to (Sargeant. A, et al, 2002) that marketing is all about marshalling the resources of an organisation to meet the changing needs of customers on whom the organisation depends. Simply it will be quoted as marketing is all about how an organisation addresses its marketers.
Customer’s needs are the starting point for marketing activity. Then the marketing manager tries to identify those needs and develop product or service, which satisfy customer needs through an exchange process.
According to chartered institute of marketing that marketing is the management process which identifies, anticipates and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitability.
According to (Shaughnessy. O. J, 1995) that marketing covers those activities that relate the organisation to those parts of the outside world that use, buy, sell or influence the outputs it produces and the benefits and services it offers.
Simply marketing is the debate in organisation is what to offer, to whom, when, where, how, and for how much.
Concept of marketing:
Globalisation of goods and services created more opportunities for the customers to choose among the products. But customer expectations from the product or service in the available market are higher, because they paid the asked price for the service or product.
It is the main duty of company that before launching any product or service they understand the needs of consumers in the market. When a company understand the expectation and needs of consumer by providing a product or service which meets the need of customer than marketer can develop a successful marketing strategy for the target market.
Customers: A customer is generally understood the person who make the decision to buy a product or service, which pays for it. The product or service purchased by one person but consume by another person. So it is clear that customer and consumer will be same person.
The terminology can imply something about the relationship between a company and its customer. Different customers within a market have different needs, which they seek to satisfy.
To be fully marketing oriented a company needs to provide a product or service in the market which meet the needs of each individual. For this purpose they positioned their product or service in the markets which meet the need of that group.
Needs: It is referred to something deep rooted in an individual personality. The satisfaction of need is conditioned by cultural values of the society from which they belong. In some culture needs for self fulfilment may be satisfied by religious penance, while in other society’s needs may be satisfied by creative talent.
According to Maslow’s theory that customer are motivated by their desire to satisfy complex needs. It is also recognised that once an individual have satisfied basic physiological needs, then they may be motivated by higher order social and self fulfilment needs.
Value: It is a ratio of perceived benefits to price paid. Customer will evaluate benefits according to the extent to which a product allows their needs to be satisfied. Customers also evaluate the benefits of products compared to the benefits of other products placed competitively in the market.
Consumer places a value on a product or service which is different from the value presumed by supplier. Value can be added by better specifying a product offer in accordance with customer expectation. If the price of a product or service is set higher it will affect its sale. If the price is set low it will increase its sale but affect its profit.
Exchange: it is a way through which goods and services to be acquired. It implies that one party makes some sacrifices to another party in return to receive something of value. Other party expect same something of value.
In market based economies there is a presumption that each party can decide whether or not to enter into an exchange with each other. Each party is also free to choose between a numbers of potential partners.
Basically exchange takes the form of a product being exchanged for money.
Market: the term market has traditionally been used “a place where buyers and sellers gather to exchange goods or services”.
Market simpler and of value definition is that it is the interaction between buyers and sellers.
It is very important for the marketers to consider the marketing mix before launching any product or service. It provides a great deal of knowledge about the operating market and then how, where and to whom the product should be target in the market.
Product: product is the main source by which an organisation satisfy customer or consumer needs. Product offered by an organisation is tangible or intangible in nature must satisfy the needs of potential customer.
The elements of product mix are quality levels, styling, special design features, durability, packaging, range of sizes or options, warranties, after sales service and brand images which is controlled by marketers.
Pricing: it is a critical element and determines the revenue that will be generated.
Setting prices is a difficult part of marketing mix. Prices are determined by the interaction of market forces.
Marketers set prices for individual products on the basis of what they cost to produce, what the competition is charging and what customer are prepared to pay.
Price decision also involve deciding on the relationship between prices charged for different products within a firm’s range and decision about the price strategy over time.
Place: it plays a very important role in decision making, Choice of right place for product or service to be launched. Customers mostly prefer to buy the product or service from the nearest distributor.
Organisation right decision of place provides an opportunity to customers to gain access to its products and services easily.
Promotion: promotion is a best source of communication for marketers to highlight or communicate the benefits of their product and service to their target market.
Promotion can be used by different methods like advertising, personal selling, public relation, sales promotion, sponsorship and by direct marketing method.
Promotion method should be not the same in every culture. It will be different according to the requirement of different culture where an organisation operates.
Fundamentals of marketing:
According to (Dwyer. F. R, et al, 1987) states that identification and satisfaction of consumer needs by providing a product or service of value to fulfil the consumer expectation by developing a proper marketing plan or strategy.
It is necessary for marketing managers to understand the position of their organisation. The marketing managers always plan and develop strategies for launching their product or service in market, before they should know about the position of their product or service in the market and factors which makes their product attractive and of value to the consumers.
According to (Kasper, 2001) that it is very important for an organisation to know when, where and how the consumer thinks that their product or service is different from other potential and current competitors in the market.
Porter’s strategy of differentiation gives knowledge to an organisation that how they are different from their competitors.
Organisation must identify the customer orientation before developing its marketing strategy.
Benchmarking of customer, organisation and competitors in market are the key function of marketing, such a benchmarking move them to decide a differentiation strategy.
Elements of marketing fundamentals:
Customer orientation: It is very necessary for an organisation to understand in depth its target buyers, then develop or produce a product or service of high or superior value/ quality to fulfil the needs of customers. Customers are the only source who can accept or reject the product value or feedback from consumer is the absolute source for an organisation to know the value and position of their product in the market and among competitors.
Customer orientation requires that a company understand not only the present value to the customer, but also how this is likely to evolve over time.
Competitor Orientation: when an organisation focusing on its customers, so it is also necessary for an organisation to look that how a competitor is satisfying its consumer needs. An organisation needs to understand the short term strengths and weaknesses and long term capabilities and strategies of current and potential competitors in the operated market.
Interfunctional co- ordination: It is very important for marketing managers to develop marketing plan, which not only give promise to customers and marketing staff. But the marketing plans only develop for creating value products and services.
Marketing orientation needs to draw upon and integrate its human and physical resources effectively and adapt them to meet customers’ needs.
Customers always pay attention that what an organisation is offering in the market which completely satisfies the expectation of consumers; product or service which satisfies the customer expectation must be of value. And when customer satisfies from the outcome of product or service it directly produces more chances of repeat business and dissatisfaction may lead to failure and negative experience which may limit the business of such an organisation.
Factors influencing buyer behaviour:
According to Usunier (2000) that before purchasing there is no concept of seeing, smelling and touching. This gives an idea about the shape, colour and space during the purchase in some cultures.
In the case of healthcare, when someone is buying healthcare he looks to certain points by knowing that purchasing a product will be not same to purchase a service. In case of healthcare there is no guarantee that an individual will get optimistic benefits.
The healthcare provider must provide in the market of healthcare some reasonable and attractive, competitive and consumer encouraging packages which attract the consumer to buy their packages like price, advance treatment, accommodation and high and quick service. It encourages the consumer that they are receiving the very best and high quality service available in the healthcare market.
Today’s world is a hub of marketing and in every sector there is a trend of competition every organisation is trying to capture more market share by launching more consumers attractive packages, to promote and encourage their own product and service.
Devetag’s model (1999) of consumer behaviour
This model is basically represent the industrial and corporate change is only brought here under discussion for the process of making decision and influences on the consumer behaviour in case of buying health care.
This model represents the different products or services and provides the grounds to the consumer to choose the product or service.
Devetag’s model provides grounds for the consumer to choose between products “A” United Kingdom and products “B” (Home country) or other countries products or services in the market. Product “A” is a superior and expensive quality but product “B” is also compete the market with superior quality.
Devetag’s model (1999)
In the above Devetag’s model quality is expressed on y-axis and convenience (price) is expressed on x-axis. In the above diagram product “A” is competing product “B”. And the value of product “A” among the consumer is more than product “B”, the one reason of choosing product “A” of superior quality and high price is because the consumer thinks that “Give something and get something of value” is clear that when consumer decide to purchase a product or service then he expect that the chosen product or service will satisfy his needs. Product “A” has a good reputation in the market due to its quality and price, which makes the minds of consumers, that the product is reliable and meets the requirements of consumers. But in the competition of product “A” and “B” product “C” also exist in the market, shown in the diagram inside the box. Product “C” dominated by “B”, which is inferior to “B” in case of price and quality but still cannot attract more consumer compare product “A”. Product “A” demand among the consumers is due to proper advertisement and reputation in the healthcare market.
It is clear that in case of health care industry consumer always search the market where they can attain quality product or service at reasonable price.
This model is best suitable for decision making and to count the influences on consumer behaviour, because this model highlights psychology of consumer that how consumer choose the product or service among the different available products and services in the market, and how consumer gauge the quality of product or service and underline the importance of chosen product and then purchased it.
According to (Pekkala et al, 1983) that a reliable product needs to be introduce and advertise in the intended market before launching. It means that the product or service needs proper market segmentation, and also advertisement in the relevant business environment. It is compulsory that the marketers appreciate the culture of a country in which he operates.
It is clear from the above statement that culture should be consider when ever providing a service or product in the market of a country. Because culture plays an important role in promoting the product “A” and “B” which attract more consumer all over the world because product “A” is acceptable to the people of a country in which he operates. It clears that before launching or introducing any product or service the cultural values of a country should be considered.
According to Economist (2009) that NHS chief David Nicholson is planning to introduce improvement in the efficiency and productivity of NHS on larger scale. In coming 2013 NHS budget 15% of wealth will be spent on health care services in the UK to fulfil the rising demand with best suitable resources, thus the NHS will be consumer attractive organization in the world market, will play a role model in the health care industry of world.
NHS is from long years a cheap compare to America and other developed European countries. NHS provides a standard service at low cost, and this is happening only due to the effort of General practitioners (GPs). But health care in other countries like Denmark and Netherland is more expensive and physician are act as gatekeeper, means that health buyer never goes for treatment due to high price and low quality.
In the above Devetag’s model UK NHS will be awarded as product “A” due to high quality and reasonable price, and planning for the future and spending more money on the health sector will enhance their share in the market, more consumers will attain NHS.
Arabs comes to United Kingdom due to the high quality service like able and experienced doctors, equipped and up to date laboratories and due to recent researches in the medical sciences, on reasonable prices treatment attract more Arabs health consumer to get benefit from the UK health industry.
Due to the proper advertisement and promotion in the market, introduced by the UK health care industry marketers attract more Arabs patients because they are more vulnerable and easily attract towards the available services.
Cultural influences on consumer behaviour:
According to Tylor (1913) that “culture is complex and interrelated set of elements, comprising knowledge, beliefs and values, arts, law, manners and morals and all other kinds of skills and habits acquired by a human being as a member of a particular society”.
It is clear from the above statement of Tylor that culture is not composed on one thing but it is a set of elements already exist in a society, and every society is mainly composed on the beliefs and values (religion) of people living, attitude, habitat, architecture and adopted rules and regulation to survive in the society.
Ralph Linton (1945) describe the culture as it is the configuration of learned behaviour and results of behaviour whose components elements are shared and transmitted by the particular society, furthermore he indicates the limits of the cultural programming which the society can impose on the individual.
Ralph Linton describe the culture more simply that culture is the learning process which result in changes in the behaviour of an individual living in a society, it transmitted from parents to offspring in a very conventional way with its limitation, because every society has cultural limits, compulsory for every individual to obey it.
According to Hofstede (1998) that consumer behaviour is cultural dependant.
These all above definition provides a broader concept of culture that culture is basically name of shared values developed in particular environment, it gives an idea that one culture is not superior to another culture but may be different due to beliefs and values, knowledge, arts, law, manners and morals, habitat and skills.
It is now easier to understand a culture of particular country society, and due to the globalisation of products and services and to provide the equal opportunities to the world population to get benefit from these globalised product or service it necessary to introduce the acceptable marketing and advertising strategies globally. Because one uniform marketing and advertisement strategy is not appropriate as whole, it is evident that marketing and advertisement strategy for West is never works in the Middle East due to their cultural restriction.
According to De Mooji (1997) that products are globalised but people are not globalised, products are accepted in more than one culture due to different and appropriate advertising strategy. Language, concept, number, colour, space and humour are constant among cultures; they are not changeable among cultures.
Communication: According to (Burce. C. D, et al, 2004) that communication plays a vital role in conveying the message among the global marketers, and consider as reflection of a culture. There is a difference between countries verbal communication due to the adapted culture and verbal communication is different from one culture to another, it is not different in term of language but also in term of variables like who, what, how, where, when, and why. Communication may be verbal or non verbal having same importance in conveying the message to the recipient in term when a marketer satisfy a consumer.
According to (Burce. C. D, et al, 2004) that due to cultural differences people are more likely to communicate with each other without any problem and this fluency in the communication is due to hierarchy, status consciousness, behaviour and other factors which plays the role of gatekeepers. The different method of communication and its uses were brought under discussion, how the message is communicated, which channel is used for this communication e.g. spoken or written etc. and it depends on the availability of channels in the cultures and factors are speed, formality, legality and seniority. Another factor is whether message should be communicated, to know the right authority to which the message will be communicated, and also the time schedule for the communication and the meaning and purpose of communication. Body language has different meaning in different cultures, like feet gesture in west society is consider as attention but in Arabs it is an insult and facial gesture is most commonly noticed in the West culture as emotion, happiness and embarrassment but in Arabs culture it is consider as embarrassment and not used for the expression of desire.
According to (Morris, 1997) that non verbal communication is not strange when dealing in different cultures, because this section deals with signals and from these received signals one will understand what the other person is conveying him and then to judge to understand the language of these signals and then make its own assumption to believe or trust on whom.
Non verbal communication deals with body stress signals e.g. perspiration and licking of lips etc. and lower body signals like foot tapping, frequent crossing and uncrossing of knees etc. and body posture signals are used for boredom like body sagging and slumping, body gesture like movements of hands and facial expression are also used for non verbal communication.
Mead (1993) stated that culture and religion is an essential part of lives of the people in every society, and it is compulsory for the health care provider to understand and know the culture and religion of the patient.
According to Galanti (1991) that most cultures shares same beliefs, values and practices, it is necessary for health care provider to treat a patient as a family unit not as individual by creating psychological, spiritual and environment of physical needs.
Sign and symbols: According to (Unsunier, 1993) that interpretation of symbols is strongly culture bound.
The above statement of Unsunier Clearly describe that in every culture they use sign and symbols as a source of communication. This statement provides understanding about the cultural signs and symbols that every culture use very strongly sign and symbols as a source of communication.
According to (Goffman, 1963) that headscarf is a symbol of normative cultural values and social relations of class and power that determine our perception. It communicates the individual and collective motivation of those who adopt it, as much as perception that rejects it.
The symbol of headscarf makes sense as a language of relationship between those who asset their orientation towards values of Islam and those social classes that owe their status to normative values of modernity, such as equality and liberty.
It further argues that stigma refers to individual sign; socially information and individual transmit about himself that disqualifies him and creates an obstacle to being fully accepted by society.
In west colours are more used as sign and symbols like black colour is used for mourning while white colour is used in most of Muslim societies as religious and partially used as mourning colour. Red colour is used as symbol of tragedy and warning. In case of numbers 13 is symbol of bad luck in UK and this number is avoid in any department for numbering purpose e.g. no bed is marked in hospital with 13 etc. in Japan 4, Asia 555 and in china and some other countries 7 is consider bad luck numbers.
In Pakistan crow and black dog is consider as symbol of bad luck, in India owl, UK black cat and in Japan fox is a symbol of bad luck.
It is evident from the above discussion that sign and symbol is a strong source of communication, and always it is necessary for marketers to consider these sign and symbols which rejects by a culture in providing any product or service.
Imagery: Images from very beginning plays a vital role in conveying the messages. In marketing pictures are used as strong source of communication and by this the marketers captured more market shares in the market for their own product.
Marketers use pictures for the advertisement of a product or service, but it will be acceptable in one culture but may bring disaster in other society.
Comparing West culture and Arab, in West culture the advertisement of bra by a naked woman is consider as a routine and essential for advertisement and attract more consumers to buy the product. But in Arabs it will be completely different, it is also true that Arab women are wearing bras but the advertisement strategy for Arabs will be completely different compared to West. It is necessary to have sufficient knowledge about the culture and religion of Arabs.
According to (Keegan et al, 1989) that cultural value always plays a vital role on the consumer behaviour and having defined and always gained a considerable attention in marketing, and also its influences on marketing strategy are well presented.
It is clear from the above theory that culture is always playing a role in influencing the consumer behaviour, because every society is composed on define culture and every culture has its own values, which may need to be considered during any decision making, needs proper attention during choosing any product/service. For marketers to advertise or promote and introduce a product or service in a specified market, they need to consider the cultural values of the country where they operate.
According to (Usunier, 1993) that customer are different in each country, marketers must consider them, and by considering the values, attitudes and tastes between cultures may help in satisfaction of customer.
The above theory states that to avoid the influences on consumer behaviour, it is very compulsory to consider the different customer satisfaction. It is also evident