It’s the start of marketing plan season again; many companies are assessing the business landscape to try to understand what’s happening in the marketplace.
                It is important for marketers to understand that contrary to popular belief, when consumers make a buying choice, they do not decide based on marketing mix alone (product, place, promo, price) but on their own characteristics, i.e., cultural (culture, sub-culture, social class), social (reference groups, roles and status, family), personal (age and life cycle stage, occupation, economic situation, lifestyle, personality and self-concept) and psychological (motivation, perception, learning, belief and attitudes) factors.
                Below is a list of 37 cultural, social, personal and psychological factors observed in the Philippines (included in the book “Fundamentals of Marketing in the Philippine Setting”, 2nd edition, Go & Escareal-Go, 2010), that should be considered when making your marketing plan:
1.       The increasing migration and the rise of middle class from the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) segment
2.       The vanishing breed known as housemaid
3.       The swelling number of netizens and their reliance on online tools to keep in touch (Facebook, Yahoo messenger) with friends and strangers (called digital “friends”)
4.       The addictive habits of texting
5.       The re-emergence of voice calls because of Sun Cellular and Bayan wireless
6.       The ownership of multiple mobile phones with different service providers
7.       The emergence of and reliance on opinion not from watchdog groups alone but from strangers in social media
8.       The absence of parents in a third of homes
9.       The immediate acceptance of foreign cultures (American music, Korean telenovelas, Indian yoga, Chinese feng shui, Japanese anime)
10.   The increasing role of women in the work force due to better education and social equality
11.   The expanding number of call center workers and their odd working hours to conform with the working time abroad
12.   The escalating market penetration of energy drinks
13.   The social diseases associated with the absence of parents (drugs, child sex abuse, teen pregnancy)
14.   The change in the boundaries and sequence of love, marriage, sex and family
15.   The rise of the number of single parents
16.   The rise of stay home “housebands” looking after children and house needs
17.   The emergence of more males as purchase decision makers of grocery products
18.   The increasing ratio of people 40 years old and above
19.   The trend towards late marriages and smaller families
20.   The rising acceptance of value brands and private labels like those of SM Bonus, National Book Store’s Best Buy, HBC’s personal care products and Generics Pharmacy
21.   The condemnation of non-environment friendly products and practices, especially among the middle and upper class
22.   The upgrading role of music as surrogate companion
23.   The continuous popularity of “tingi” (small portion), sachet, “lista” (credit) and 4-gives installment for better affordability
24.   The emergence of microfinancing options led by the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institution (CARD-MRI) with 1.2 million clients
25.   The growing popularity of network marketing
26.   The shift towards deliveries (food, medicine, car batteries, LPG, etc)
27.   The increasing demand for instant solutions (from food to medical remedies)
28.   The upward demand for healthier alternatives (yogurt, mineral water, fitness center, sugar free, organic)
29.   The desire to take care of self (multi-vitamins, Del Monte Fit n Right, C2 Envidia)
30.   The emerging consciousness of people to self-organize to help people in need during natural disasters
31.   The demanding lifestyle of the working class leading to stress and lack of sleep
32.   The growing consciousness in planning discretionary time
33.   The frequent visit to malls as an instant “escape”
34.   The increasing dominance on point of purchase activities (packaging, display, sampling, etc)
35.   The mounting strength of advocacy reputation as symbolic meaning in a purchase 
36.   The improving openness about herbal remedies and natural treatment
37.   The intensifying acceptance of cosmetic surgery for self-esteem and work advantage
                We hope this list can help trigger new insights and allow you to spot and exploit the next big opportunities in the marketplace, looking at underserved and unserved markets rather than solely relying on competing in the largely price and promo-driven served markets.  The former is via what is known as market-driving strategy that espouses more market penetration and new customer acquisition; the latter, the traditional market-driven strategy that espouses increasing market shares and brand switching tactics.
JOSIAH GO is chairman and chief marketing strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the leading training company in marketing, sales and innovation in the Philippines. You can also  follow him at Facebook or twitter : josiahgo.  For questions or comments, please email