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As discussed in the purchase decision process, the role of informal and formal groups in marketing communications is important as they can influence greatly a persons choice in product or whether they should purchase the product or service.


Informal groups

These can include friends, family and colleagues.


Friends are likely to share similar attitudes and preferences in product choices and they are likely to influence trends through peer pressure. The marketing opportunities for this group would be word of mouth, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and referrals by friends.


Family can be defined as close knit or distant and these then have differenct influencing powers. It also depends on how a person has been brought up i.e were they frivoulous with their spending or did they only purchase the essential products. A person then may conform to this same approach or may rebel and behave in the opposite way. A persons attitude to risk may also be formed by family. They may also trust and be influenced by a family members belief about a product. The marketing opportunities for this group would be through utilising this family influence and target the whole family at once i.e. Nintendo Wii - for all the family and not just the individual.


Colleagues can have a shared interest through work, hobbies or community. The marketing opportunities can be tapping into membership groups and community forums.


For SL, these informal groups are important as friend of a potential purchaser may also own Electric Vehicls and are advocates of the scheme, they may also be a member of environmental or alternative fuel community groups.


Formal groups

These are include membership bodies i.e. councils, professional bodies, trade unions etc. The marketing opportunities can include creating brand ambassadors, expert and celebrity endorsers and events/webinars.


For SL these formal groups such as councils/boroughs can play a part in disseminating the message to their residents.