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Reference Group

A reference group includes
individuals or groups that influence customer opinions, beliefs, attitudes and
behaviours. In an aspect of marketer, reference group is important because it
influence how consumers interpret information and make purchasing decisions.

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Reference groups also influence what types of products customers will purchase
and which brand of product they choose. (Shawn


groups can help the company develop powerful marketing programs that deliver
the right message in the right packaging at the right time in the right place.

 (Vickie Pittard) Therefore, prior to
launching a product or services, the company should take reference group into
account in order to be a representative to the target market and in order to
ensure that it is match with values, tastes,
opinions, and behaviours of the group. 


There are three types
of reference group which are normative, informational and identification
influence. “Normative Influence is conformity based on one’s desire to fulfill
others’ expectations and gain acceptance” (Myers, 2009). A normative
reference group is a group that has influence over the values or behaviour
of an individual. (Aarti Ahuja) It can be parents, family, friends, and work
organization that influence to customer decision making.


influence is conformity under acceptance of evidence about reality which has
been provided by others (Myers,
2009). It is when individual seeks information about
brands from professional or independent group of experts who work with product.

(  Therefore, customer will observe what experts
do or use then they tend to follow the experts.


Informational will
have the most powerful and influence customers in terms of purchasing decision
making. Thus, the marketer should well planned marketing strategy and connect
directly with experts and opinion leaders who serve as reference points for
groups of consumers. (


influence is consumer’s effort to emulate the consumption behaviour of another
group member. People tend to imitate and copy the kind of person who
they are admired and would like to be as them. The group of this people will be actors,
actresses and celebrity. 


Sharing economy is
not only sharing and renting the asset but also in terms of media industry as
well. According to Wallenstein
and Shelat (2017) a large number of customer who are renting music has increasing via streaming services such as Spotify
and Apple Music.


is Spotify’s latest market, the 61st country where the streaming service has
launched service.” (SASIWIMON BOONRUANG) It has launched in Thailand in recent years because
there are Thai audiences increasingly becoming familiar with the local music
which seemed to dominate the market. 

Although Spotify has
launched in Thailand lately, it tends to be a successful in media industry in
kind of sharing economy because it allows people to share favourite music to
friends and family in order to make a community together. In
addition, Spotify also advertise the application by using opinion leader to
promote and make a review for this application. Apart from that, not only
opinion leader such as celebrity, actors and actresses will influent to
customer’s selection but also the influence from family and friends as well
because those of people are close and they have the same style. If the
influencer said that it is good and recommend it, most of people are likely to


To give an example, this is a Spotify review
from some user “I love Spotify so much! I’ve been a
loyal listener for about 4 years now, and they still find ways to improve my
listening experience. If you haven’t listened to the curated playlists that
Spotify makes for you, I definitely recommend it. I’ve found so many new
artists from just browsing Spotify.” (Katrina) The
review can influence both of new customer and existing customer who interest
this application. It is the experience from the real user who are guarantee a
feature of Spotify. It can be seen that sharing economy companies understand
the influence customer purchase decisions and then they adapt the system that
allow customers are easily to access the review. 


Apart from that, not only Spotify that use this strategy
to attract and encourage customer but also many sharing economy companies adapt
this tactics as well. For example, Grab and Uber companies allow customer to
comment, give feedback and give a star after use service. It is useful for
others customer to look at a service quality of driver before decided to use
service. As well as Airbnb, the customer will search for information and review
of each accommodation before decided to select room.  Therefore, experience’s view from other will
have an effect to customer decision making a lot. It can be mention that trust in company is very important, thus the company
have to focus on customer reviews to develop system and trust with customers.

Therefore, marketers have to increase social proof and peer reviews to build
trust and loyalty with customers.

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