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Management and Organizational Studies
Management and Organizational Studies 1021A/B
Kevin Thompson

Learning and Memory 2013-01-10 12:26 PM The Learning Process • Marketers realize that long -standing, learned connections between products and memories are a potent way to build and keep brand loyalty • Learning – relatively permanent change in behaviour that is caused by experience o Can affect the learner directly o Can learn vicariously by observing events that affect others • Incidental Learning – casual, unintentional acquisition of knowledge • Behavioural Theories  focusing on simple stimulus-response connections • Cognitive Theories  regard consumers as complex problem solvers who learn abstract rules and concepts by observing others Behavioural Learning Theories • Assume that learning takes place as the result of responses to external events • Approach the mind as a “black box” and emphasize the observable aspects of behaviour • Represented by 2 major approaches to learning: o Classical conditioning o Instrumental conditioning Classical Conditioning • Occurs when a stimulus that elicits a response is paired with another stimulus that initially does not elicit a response on its own o Over time this second stimulus causes a similar response because it is associated with the first stimulus • Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) – naturally capable of causing the response • Conditioned Stimulus (CS) – did not initially cause the response, but it eventually does because of association with the first stimulus • Conditioned Response (CR) – the response caused by the second stimulus • Visual and olfactory cues induce hunger, thirst, or sexual arous al o When these cues are consistently paired with conditioned stimuli, such as brand names, consumers may learn to feel hungry, thirsty, or aroused when later exposed to the brand cues • Repetition o Repeated exposures increase the strength of stimulus -response associations and prevent the decay of these associations in memory o The most effective repetition strategy seems to be a combination of spaced exposures that alternative in terms of media that are more and less involving, such as TV advertising complemented by print media o Conditioning will not occur or will take longer if the CS is only occasionally presented with the UCS  One result of this lack of association may be extinction o Extinction – occurs when the effects of prior conditioning are reduced and finall y disappear  Can occur when a product is overexposed in the marketplace so that its original allure is lost • Stimulus Generalization o Tendency of stimuli similar to a CS to evoke similar conditioned responses o Masked Branding – deliberately hides a product’s true origin • Stimulus Discrimination o Occurs when a stimulus similar to a CS is not followed by a UCS o Reactions are weakened and will soon disappear Marketing Applications of Classical Conditioning • The transfer of meaning from an unconditioned stimulus to a conditioned stimulus explains why “made-up” brand names such as Coca -Cola or IBM can exert such powerful effects on consumers • Brand Equity – a brand has strong positive associations in a consumer’s memory and commands a lot of loyalty as a result • Repetition o Scheduling more than 3 exposures is a waste:  The first creates awareness of the product  The second demonstrates its relevance to the consumer  The third serves as a reminder of the products benefits o Advertising Wear out – consumers become so used to hearing or seeing a marketing stimulus that they no longer pay attention to it • Conditioning Product Associations o Advertisements often pair a product with a positive stimulus to create a desirable association o The order in which the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus are presented can affect the likelihood that learning will occur  The unconditioned stimulus should be presented prior to the conditioned stimulus o Because of the danger of extinction, a classical conditioning may not be as effective for products that are frequently encountered since there is no guarantee they will be accompanies by the CS • Applications of Stimulus Generalization o Strategies based on stimulus generalization include the fo llowing:  Family Branding: A variety of products capitalize on the reputation of a company name  Product Line Extensions: Related products are added to an established brand  Licensing: Well-known names are “rented” by others  Look-Alike Packaging: Distinctive packaging designs create strong associations with a particular brand  A negative experience with an imitator brand increased evaluations of the original brand  A positive experience with the imitator had the opposite effect of decreasing evaluations of the original brand o “Consumer confusion” – how likely is it that one company’s logo, product design, or package is similar enough to another that the typical shopper would mistake one for the other o The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition – industry that combats piracy  Estimates that trademark counterfeiting robs legitimate brand owners of $200 billion annually Instrumental Conditioning • Instrumental Conditioning – operant conditioning; occurs as the individual learns to perform behaviours that produce pos itive outcomes and to avoid those that yield negative outcomes • B.F. Skinner o Demonstrated the effects of instrumental conditioning by teaching animals to dance, play Ping-Pong, etc. by systematically rewarding them for desired behaviours • People respond deliberately to obtain a goal • Desired behaviour may be learned over a period of times, as intermediate actions are rewarded in a process called shaping • Involves the close pairing of two stimuli • Instrumental learning occurs as a result of a reward received foll owing the desired behaviour and takes place over a period in which a variety of other behaviours are attempted and abandoned because they are not reinforced • Instrumental learning occurs in one of three ways: o Positive Reinforcement – response is strengthened and the appropriate behaviour is learned; E.g. A woman who gets compliments after wearing a cert ain brand of perfume will be likely to continue buying that product o Negative Reinforcement – strengthens responses so that appropriate behaviour is learned; E .g. Perfume company shows a woman sitting home alone because she did not use its fragrance o Punishment – do certain things to avoid unpleasantness; response is followed by unpleasant events; E.g. Being ridiculed by friends for wearing an offensive -smelling perfume • Under conditions of both positive reinforcement and punishment, the person receives a reaction after doing something • Negative reinforcement occurs when someone avoids a negative outcome • Either positive or negative reinforcement strengthens the future link between a response and an outcome because of the pleasant experience . This tie is weakened under conditions of both punishment and extinction because of the unpleasant experience • The issue of what is the most effective reinforcement schedule to use is important to marketers because it relates to the amount of effort and resources they must devote to rewarding consumers to condition desired behaviours • Several schedules are possible: o Fixed-Interval Reinforcement: After a specified time period has passed, the first response that is made brings the reward; people tend to respond slowly right after being reinforced, but their responses speed up as the time for the next reinforcement looms  E.g. Consumers may crowd into a store for the last day of its seasonal sale and not reappear until the next sale o Variable-Interval Reinforcement: The time that must pass before reinforcement is delivered varies around some average; since the person does not k now exactly when to expect the reinforcement, responses must be performed at a consistent rate  E.g. Retailers’ use of secret shoppers – people who periodically test for service quality by posing as customers at unannounced times. Since store employees nev er know exactly when to expect a visit, they must maintain high -quality service and standards constantly, “just in case” o Fixed-Ratio Reinforcement: Reinforcement occurs only after a fixed number of responses; motivates people to continue performing the sam e behaviour over and over  E.g. A consumer might keep buying at the same store to earn a prize after collecting frequent-buyer points o Variable-Ratio Reinforcement: The behaviour of a person is reinforced after a certain number of responses, but he or she do es not know how many responses are required; respond at a very high and steady rate; behaviour is difficult to extinguish  E.g. Consumers’ attraction to slot machines – learn that if they keep throwing money into the machine, they will eventually learn something Applications of Instrumental Conditioning Principles • Principles of instrumental conditioning are at work when a consumer is rewarded or punished for a purchase decision Reinforcement of Consumption • Marketers use many ways to reinforce the behaviour of consumers, ranging from a simple “thank you” after a purchase substantial rebates and follow -up phone calls Frequency Marketing • Reinforces the behaviour of regular purchasers by giving them prizes with values that increase along with the amount purchased • Pioneered by the airline industry, which introduced “frequent -flyer” programs in the early 1980s to reward loyal customers • Costs are lowered by the ability to design focused and personalized marketing communications to the prime customer, customer retention programs are more effective, product launches and redesigns are more likely to be successful, and blunders are prevented Cognitive Learning Theory • Stresses the importance of internal mental processes • Views people as problem solvers who actively use information from the world around them to master their environment • Stress the role of creativity and insight during the learning process Is Learning Conscious or Not? • Proponents of cognitive learning argue that expectations are created that a stimulus will be followed by a response (the formation of expectation requires mental activity) • According to cognitive learning theory, conditioning occurs because subjects develop conscious hypotheses and then act on them • There is some evidence for the e xistence of unconscious procedural knowledge o People do process at least some information in an automatic, passive way, which is a condition that has been termed mindlessness • Trigger Feature – some stimulus that cues us toward a particular pattern • Masking Effects – difficult for subjects to learn CS/UCS associations Observational Learning • Occurs when people watch the actions of others and note the reinforcements they receive for their behaviours • Occurs as a result of vicarious rather than direct experience • Modeling – imitating the behaviour of others o Of concern is the potential of TV shows and movies to teach violence to children • For observational learning in the form of modeling to occur, 4 conditions must be met: o The consumer’s attention must be directed toward the appropriate model whom, for reasons of attractiveness, competence, status, or similarity, it is desirable to emulate o The consumer must remember what the model says or does o The consumer must convert this information into actions o The consumer must be motivated to perform these actions Applications of Cognitive Learning Principles • Marketers can show what happens to models who use or do not use their products, in the knowledge that consumers will often be motivated to imitate these actions at a later time • Attractiveness can be based upon several components, including physical appearance, expertise, or similarity to the evaluator The Role of Memory in Learning • Memory – process of acquiring information and storing it over time so that it will be a vailable when needed • Contemporary approaches to the study of memory employ an information -processing approach o Assume that the mind is in some ways like a computer o Data are input, processed, and output for later use in a revised form • Encoding – information is entered in a way the system will recognize • Storage – knowledge is integrated with what is already in memory and “warehoused” until needed • Retrieval – mind accesses the desired information • During the consumer decision -making process, this internal memory is combined with external memory – which includes all of the product details on packages, in shopping lists, and through other marketing stimuli –
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