Faculty News & Research

Marketers Need a Better Understanding of Specific Cultures To Be Effective

Individuals’ adoption of new ideas and new products depends on the attitudes of the communities they belong to — and successful marketers must therefore understand the cultural characteristics of those communities, according to Marcus Collins, a marketing lecturer at the Ross School of Business.

Writing in AdWeek, Collins argues that marketing should embrace a broader definition of “culture,” along with a deeper understanding of the community members who engage in cultural acts.

“Though we often use the word ‘culture’ in our briefs and daily conversations, particularly in relation to media, celebrity, and popular products, we lack the needed sophisticated understanding of culture that enables our marketing activities to harness its power as a vehicle for commerce,” writes Collins, who is a new member of the AdWeek Academic Council.

He explains that culture should be seen as four interrelated characteristics: beliefs, artifacts, behaviors, and language.

“The better we understand these cultural characteristics, the richer our consumer insights become,” Collins writes.

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Marcus Collins
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Marketing