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Chapter 7

Psych 2660- Chapter 7.docx

by OneClass22149 , Fall 2013
11 Pages
Fall 2013

Course Code
Psychology 2660A/B

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VII. Consumer Psychology
I. The Scope of Consumer Psychology
i. The influence of consumer psychology
None of us can pay attention to or respond to all the messages directed towards us as consumers; we don’t
consciously perceive most of the messages around us
American Association of Advertising Agencies survey:
54%: deliberately avoided products that overwhelmed them w/ ads
60%: opinions about ads were much more negative than before
61%: the amount of advertising they were exposed to is “out of control”
69%: interested in products that would help eliminate or block ads
45%: amount of ads and marketing detracted from quality of everyday life
Ads are annoying but they can be entertaining (attractive, clever, funny) and informative (about new products,
specifications, pricing, sales, places to purchase)
They are part of our daily lives and is a major area of research
Early studies on industrial psychology
John B. Watson (1921): proposed that consumer behavior could be condition, predicted, and controlled;
brought experimental & survey methods to marketing, and instead advertisements should focus on style and
image (rather than substance and facts); pioneered celebrity endorsements
Late 1960s: society of consumer psychology founded
II. Research Methods in Consumer Psychology
i. Surveys and Public Opinion Polls
Surveys are used because we predict that most people can have access to them and they can express their feelings,
reactions, opinions, and desires when asked
oAssumption holds when we try to determine reactions to a new brand or presidential candidate
However, there have been failures in predicting election results
oThe nature of human behavior is complex and changeable
oGive an answer that makes them sound more “sophisticated”/ “accepted”
oPpl tend to respond to surveys and polls with statements they believe will enhance their status
Eg. Ppl underreport the amount of junk food they eat and over-report the amount of fresh fruit and
diet soft drink they consume
Survey (in mail-order catalog) results:
o10% of the ppl reported that they did not shop there (when they did)
o40% of ppl reported they shopped there (when they didn’t)
Memory lapses or deliberate distortions highlight the problem of inaccurate responses to survey
How to increase response rate for surveys
oInclude a contact telephone number to establish the survey’s validity
oSend a photo of the women who is identified as the researcher conducting survey; respond rates are lower if
photos of men are sent
Response rates to telephone surveys decreased after caller ID and “do not call”
o½ with answering machines/ caller ID don’t answer those they don’t recog.
oHigh among 18-29 yr olds, single person, A. American, ppl w/ young children
Online surveys are a fast and less expensive way (1/2 of mailed) to obtain data on consumer behavior and attitudes—
Consumer Reports organization survey in 2003 (return rate of 25% vs. 14% when questionnaires were sent by mail
ii. Focus Groups
Focus group: a method of surveying public opinion through the paid participation of 8-12 group members who meet to
describe their reactions to a product, ad, or specific issues; members are selected to match the profile of the voter or
oE.g. only mothers of infants should evaluate ads for disposable diaper
Can be structured based on age, income, education, or any other relevant variable
They are structured differently for different segments of the population (an approach that works for adults must be
modified for the lesser attention span of children)
Sessions are observed through one-way mirrors and videotaped for analysis
oThe information obtained are more qualitative (than in surveys)
oE.g. Ppl are observed as they use new products
Participants may distort their answers (according to what they want/ think others want to hear
Online groups are cheaper to run and have greater efficiency
oCan sample a diverse group who might lack time and transportation to the central meeting place
Responses b/w virtual and actual focus are different (a single person can dominate a group (and influence them), in
virtual groups, they have a chance to speak simultaneously and are less influenced by other’s opinions
When dealing with sensitive topics, privacy & anonymity of an online session enables people to speak more candidly
iii. Motivation Research
Psychologists use in-depth interviews and projective techniques to probe deeper, hidden motivations
Ernest Dichter: pioneer of motivation research; built on Freudian psychoanalysis to discover unconscious motivations
for neurotic behavior; he applied the approach to consumer behavior (why do ppl purchase or decline to purchase
oFirst successful product= cake mix; when all ingredients were included in the box, women felt guilty about
doing little or no work to bake a cake for their family; solution: allow consumers to add fresh eggs to the
packaged mix
oHis motivation research techniques became essential tools in understanding of consumer behavior
Projective techniques include Rorchach Inkblot test, thematic apperception test, and sentence completion test (theory
behind it is same as employee selection or consumer behavior; direct questioning wouldn’t reveal these motivations
oWhen presented with ambiguous stimulus, they will project their needs, fears, and values onto the stimulus in
the at of interpreting it
oLow in reliability and validity difficult to determine the extent of the success
iv. Observations of Shopping Behavior
Weakness in consumer surveys and techniques used in motivation research: only reveals what ppl say they believe or
will do—doesn’t correlate w/ actual behavior
Consumer psychologist prefer to observe what ppl do when purchasing a product or when expressing their preference
of brand
Acceptance of new product/ ad will be reflected in sale figures (only if other variables capable of influencing sales were
Most direct way to investigate purchasing behavior is to place video cameras or human observers in stores
o65% of time, children ask for a product; mothers buy them 50%+ of time
Indicate that children are targets for cereals and snack foods ads
In survey, adults might say they choose the products (to not appear to be dominated by their
children or not realizing their child’s influence)
oDepends on how product was stocked—if products were moved to lower, more accessible shelves, sales
improved almost overnight
Drawbacks with observing shopping behavior:
oCostly and time consuming
oAdequate sampling of shopping behavior—diff locations, diff needs, diff income levels; city and suburban ppl
prefer diff kinds of stores, diff types of products, diff amounts of disposable income for shopping
oVariety in types of shoppers in the same store at different times of the day or week; diff buying habits
oLack of experimental control over other influencing variables (weakness of all observation studies); factors:
socioeconomic level, ethnic composition, shelf arrangement, or inventory
A variation on the observation of people when they shop is to observe them actually using a product
oE.g. HUggies baby wipes—mothers talked amount changing diapers at diaper tables, but in practice, they
changed them on beds, floors, and on top of washing machines in awkward positions; they struggled with
containers that require both hands so they were redesigned with a push-button/ can be grabbed with one
v. Neuromarketing
Neuromarketing: research method which involves measuring brain activity and functions in response to marketing and
ad programs. People are connected to electroencephalography (EEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and
positron emission tomography (PET) which scan activity in various parts of the brain
Brain waves were monitored as adult subjects watched presentations for different products on their computer screens
oBrain wave activity changed in response to products—researchers could accurately predict what they say
they would purchase, even before they saw them on screen
Men were shown 66 pictures of sports cars, sedans, small cars; they rated sports cars as most desirable.
oTheir brain has increase activity in an area that contains the self-reward center (normally activated by sex,
chocolate, cocaine)
oOpiates released in brain related to lust & pleasure
Ads during the morning hrs were far more stimulating to areas of the brain associated w/ attention, concentration,
short-term and long-term memory, and positive emotional engagement
vi. Testing Reactions to Ads
Most direct approach: ask ppl for their reactions to an ad
Respondents must be a representative sample of the population for the intended
Three techniques for testing effectiveness:
oPhysiological measures
Changes in the electrical activity of the muscles as influenced by emotions are an effective way to
determine a commercial’s usefulness; measured by EMG (measures reaction to emotional stimuli)
These consumers can be asked to rate each commercial pr ad on the basis of how much they liked
it If results who that facial EMG data correlate strongly and positively with the ratings of the
commercial, then ads can be considered effective
oSales tests: a way of testing the effectiveness of an ad campaign by introducing the new ad in selected test
An ad campaign is introduced in selected test markets. Similar test markets (in different location)
act as controls
Any change in sales within the test areas can be attributed to the ad campaign—they
measure whether ppl will actually buy the product on the basis of the ad
Limitations: costly, takes time to arrange, requires precise accounting of the purchasing beh of a
large number of people
By not exposing ppl in the control to ad, company risks losing sales to its competitors
oCoupon returns

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