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Chapter 3

MKT 3411 Chapter 3: Chapter 3 Textbook Notes (Andrew Kuo 2017)

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Louisiana State University
MKT 3411

MKT 3411 Chapter 3 Textbook Notes Chapter 3 Textbook Notes: Learning and Memory • Objective 1 o It is important to understand how consumers learn about products and services • Learning o “Retro is very cool with 20-somethings, because it ties in with their desire for simpler, cleaner, more authentic lives ▪ They see nostalgias a way to differentiate themselves” o Marketers understand that long-standing, learned connections between products and memories like the ones Je exhibits are a potent way to build and keep brand loyalty ▪ Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior caused by experience • The learner need not have the experience directly; we can also learn when we observe events that offect others • We learn even when we don’t try; we recognize many brand names and hum product jingles, for example, even for products we don’t personally use o We call this casual, unintentional acquisition of knowledge incidental learning o Learning is an ongoing process ▪ Our knowledge about the world constantly updates as we’re exposed to new stimuli and we receive ongoing feedback that allows us to modify our behavior when we find ourselves in similar situations at a later time • Concept of learning cover a lot of ground, ranging from a consumer’s simple association between a stimulus such as a product logo (e.g., Coca Cola) and a response (e.g., “refreshing soft drink”) to a complex series of cognitive activities (e.g., writing an essay on learning for a consumer behavior exam) o Theories to explain the learning process range from those that focus on simple stimulus-response connections (behavioral theories) to perspectives that regard consumers as solvers of complex problems who learn abstract rules and concepts when they observe what others say and do (cognitive theories) ▪ It’s important to understand these theories, because basic learning principles are at the heart of many consumer purchase decisions • Objective 2 o Conditioning results in learning • Behavioral Learning Theories o Behavioral learning theories assume that learning takes place as the result of responses to external events ▪ Psychologists who subscribe to this viewpoint do not focus on internal though processes ▪ Instead, they approach the mind as a “black box” and emphasize the observable aspects of behavior ▪ These observable aspects consist of things that go into the box (the stimuli or events perceived from the outside world) and things that come out of the box (the responses, or reactions to these stimuli) • Two major approaches to learning represent this view: classical conditioning and instrumental conditioning ▪ According to the behavioral learning perspective, the feedback we receive as we go through life shapes our experiences • Similarly we respond to other brand names, scents, jingles, and other marketing stimuli because of the learned connections we form over time ▪ People also learn that actions they take result in rewards and punishments; this feedback influences the way they will respond in similar situations in the future • Consumers who receive compliments on a product choice will be more likely to buy that brand again, while those who get food poisoning at a new restaurant are not likely to patronize that restaurant in the future o 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 ▪ Overtime, this second stimulus causes a similar response because we associate it with the first stimulus ▪ Ivan Pavlov, conducted research on digestion in animals, first demonstrated this phenomenon in dogs ▪ Pavlov induced classically conditioned learning when he paired a neutral stimulus (a bell) with a stimulus known to cause a salivation response in dogs (he squirted dried meat powder into their mouths) • This powder was an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) because it was naturally capable of causing the response • Overtime, the bell became a conditioned stimulus (CS)- it did not initially cause salivation, but the dogs learned to associate the bell with the meat powder and began to salivate at the sound of the bell only • The drooling of these canine consumers because of a sound, now linked to feeding time, was a conditioned response (CR) ▪ The basic form of classical conditioning that Pavlov demonstrated primarily applies to response controlled by the autonomic (e.g., salivation) and nervous (e.g., eye blink) systems • It focuses on visual and olfactory cues that induce hunger, thirst, sexual arousal, and other basic drives • When marketers consistently pair these cues with conditioned stimuli, such as brand names, consumers may learn to feel hungry, thirsty, or aroused when they encounter these brand cues at a later point ▪ Credit card becomes a conditioned cue that triggers greater spending, especially because as a stimulus it’s present only in situations where we spend money • People learn they can make larger purchases with credit cards, and they also leave larger tips than when they pay by cash • Repetition o Conditioning effects are more likely to occur after the conditioned (CS) and unconditioned (UCS) stimuli have been paired a number of times ▪ Repeated exposures- repetition- increases the strength of stimulus-response associations and prevent the decay of these associations in memory • Some research indicates that the intervals between exposures may influence the effectiveness of this strategy as well as the type of medium the marketer uses; • The most effective repetition strategy is a combination of spaced exposures that alternate in terms of media that are more and less involving, such as television advertising complemented by print media o Conditioning will not occur or will take longer if the CS is only occasionally paired with the UCS ▪ One result of this lack of association is extinction, which occurs when the effects of prior conditioning diminish and finally disappear • This can occur, for example, when a product is overexposed in the marketplace so that its original allure is lost • Stimulus Generalization o Stimulus generalization refers to the tendency of stimuli similar to a CS to evoke similar, conditioned responses ▪ For example, Pavlov noticed in subsequent studies that his dogs would sometimes salivate when they heard noises that only resembled a bell, such as keys jangling o People also react to other, similar stimuli in much the same way they responded to the original stimulus; we call this generalization a halo effect ▪ A drugstore’s bottle of private-brand mouthwash that is deliberately packaged to resemble Listerine may evoke a similar response among consumers, who assume this “me-too” product shares other characteristics of the original • Consumers in one study on shampoo brands tended to rate those with similar packages as similar in quality and performance as well o This “piggbacking” strategy can cut both ways: o When the quality of the me-too product turns out to be lower than that of the original, consumers may exhibit even more positive feelings toward the original o However, if they perceive the quality of the two competitors to be about equal, consumers may conclude that the price premium they pay for the original is not worth it • Stimulus Discrimination o Stimulus discrimination occurs when a UCS does not follow a stimulus similar to a CS ▪ When this happens, reactions weaken and will soon disappear ▪ Part of the learning process involves making a response to some stimuli but not to other, similar stimuli • Manufacturers of well-established brands commonly urge consumers not to buy “cheap imitations” because the results will not be what they expect • Objective 3 o Learned associations with brands generalize to other products, and why this is important to marketers • Marketing Applications of Classical Conditioning Principles o Behavioral learning principles apply to many consumer phenomena, such as creating a distinctive brand image or linking a product to an underlying need ▪ The transfer of meaning from an unconditioned stimulus to a conditioned stimulus explains why “made-up” brand names, such as Marlboro, Coca-Cola, or Reebok, exert such powerful effects on consumers • The association between the Marlboro man and the cigarette is so strong that in some cases the company no longer even bothers to include the brand name in its ads that feature the cowboy riding off into the sunset o When researchers pair nonsense syllables (meaning sets of letters) with such evaluative words as beauty of success, the meaning transfers to the fake words. ▪ This change in symbolic significance of initially meaningless words shows that fairly simple associations can condition even complex meanings, and the learning that results can last a long time • These associations are crucial to many marketing strategies that rely on the creation and perpetuation of brand equity, in which a brand has strong positive associations in a consumer’s memory and commands a lot of loyalty as a result • Net Profit o Repetitive ad messages resulted in higher recall and interest in learning more about the advertised product (in this case, a laptop) ▪ However, repeating the same ad was primarily effective when competitors also showed ads on the site. Otherwise, it was better to vary the ad messages for the laptop (presumably because people tuned out the ad if it appeared repeatedly) ▪ Ads more effective when they appeared on a site where the content related to the advertised product • Marketing Applications of Repetition o One advertising researcher argued that any more than three exposures to a marketing communication are wasted ▪ The first exposure creates awareness of the product ▪ The second demonstrates its relevance to the customer ▪ Its third reminds him or her of the product’s benefits o However, even this bare-bones approach implies that we need repetition to ensure that the consumer is actually exposed to (and processes) the message at least three times ▪ Marketers that attempt to condition an association must ensure that the consumers they target will be exposed to the stimulus a sufficient number of times to make it “stick” o However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing ▪ Consumers can become so used to hearing or seeing a marketing stimulus that they no longer pay attention to it • Varying the way in which the marketer presents the basic message can alleviate this problem of advertising wear-out o Toyota ran a commercial close to 10,000 times. Fed-up viewers organized a Facebook group to petition the company for mercy • Marketing Applications of Conditioned Product Associations o Advertisements often pair a product with a positive stimulus to create a desirable association ▪ Various aspects of a marketing message, such as music, humor, or imagery, can affect conditioning • In one study, for example, subjects who viewed a slide of pens paired with either pleasant or unpleasant music were more likely to select the pen that appeared with the pleasant music o The order in which the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus occur also can affect the likelihood that learning will occur ▪ Generally speaking, a marketer should present the conditioned stimulus prior to the unconditioned stimulus ▪ The opposite sequence of backward conditioning, such as when the company plays a jingle (the UCS) and then shows a soft drink (the CS), generally is not effective ▪ Because sequential presentation is desirable for conditioning to occur, classical conditioning is not as effective in static situations; • For example, in magazine ads where (in contrast to TV or radio) the marketer cannot control the order in which the reader perceives the CS and the UCS o Because of the danger of extinction, a classical conditioning strategy may not be as effective for products that consumers frequently encounter, because there is no guarantee that the CS will accompany them ▪ A marketer is better off if she chooses to pair a novel tune rather than a popular one with a product, because people will also hear the popular song in many situations where the product is absent • Music videos in particular may serve as effective UCSs because they often have an emotional impact on viewers, and this effect may transfer to ads that accompany the video • Marketing Pitfall o At least on the surface, it’s easier to accept some brand extensions than others ▪ Consider the line of wines that now sell under the Ed Hardy brand- better known for tattoo-themed streetwear • Marketing Applications of Stimulus Generalization o The process of stimulus generalization often is central to branding and packaging decisions that try to capitalize on consumers’ positive associations with an existing brand or company name ▪ Linkage between universities with winning sports teams: loyal fans snap up merchandise, from clothing to bathroom accessories, emblazoned with the school’s name ▪ Many college administrators crave the revenue they receive from sweatshirts, drink coasters with the school logos o Strategies that marketers base on stimulus generalization include: ▪ Family branding- many products capitalize on the reputation of a company name • Campbell’s, Heinz, GE rely on their positive corporate images to sell different product lines ▪ Product line extension- marketers add related products to an established brand • Dole, which we associate with fruit, introduced refrigerated juices and juice bars, whereas Sun Maid went from raisins to raisin bread • Starbucks and Jim Beam teamed up to make Starbucks Coffee Liqueur ▪ Licensing- companies often “rent” well-known names, hoping that that the learned associations they have forged will “rub off” onto other kinds of products • Jamba Juice recently launched a clothing line • Zippo lighters marketing a men’s fragrance ▪ Look-alike packaging- distinctive packaging designs create strong associations with a particular brand • Companies that make generic or private-label brands and want to communicate a quality image often exploit this linkage when they put their products in packages similar to those of popular brands o Study found that a negative experience with an imitator brand actually increased consumers’ evaluations of the original brand, whereas a positive experience with the imitator had the opposite effect of decreasing evaluations of the original brand o Another study found that consumers tend to react positively to “copycat brands” as long as the imitator doesn’t make grandiose claims that it can’t fulfill o Marketers of distinctive brands work hard to protect their designs and logos, and each year companies file numerous lawsuits in so- called Lanham Act, cases that hinge on the issue of consumer confusion: How likely is it that one company’s logo, product, design or package is so similar to another that the typical shopper would mistake one for the other? ▪ Levi Strauss has sued almost 100 other apparel manufacturers that it claims have borrowed its trademark pocket design of a pentagon surrounding a drawing of a seagull in flight or its distinctive tab that it sews into its garments’ vertical seams o Companies with a well-established brand image try to encourage stimulus discrimination when they promote the unique attributes of their brand- hence the constant reminders for American Express Travelers Cheques: “Ask for them by name.” ▪ However, a brand name that a firm uses so widely that it is no longer distinctive becomes part of the public domain and competitors are free to borrow it: think of well-worn names such as aspirin, cellophane, yo-yo, escalator, and even Google (which started as a noun and is now also a verb) ▪ The high degree of acceptance can be a tough barrier to jump when you’re a competitor • Microsoft hopes over time that we will chose to “bing” rather tan to “google” when we want information • Objective 4 o There is a difference between classical and instrumental conditioning, and both processes help consumers to learn about products • Instrumental Conditioning o Instrumental conditioning (or operant conditioning) occurs when we learn to perform behaviors that produce positive outcomes and avoid those that yield negative outcomes ▪ We most closely associate this learning process with the psychologist B.F. Skinner, who demonstrated the effects of instrumental conditioning by teaching pigeons and other animals to dance, play Ping-Pong, and perform other activities when he systematically rewarded them for desired behaviors o Whereas responses in classical conditioning are involuntary and fairly simple, we make those in instrumental conditioning deliberately to obtain a goal, and these may be more complex ▪ We may learn the desired behavior over a period of time as a shaping process rewards our intermediate actions • For example, the owner of a new store may award prizes to shoppers who simply drop in; she hopes that over time they will continue to drop in and eventually even buy something o Also, whereas classical conditioning involves the close pairing of two stimuli, instrumental learning occurs when a learner receives a reward after she performs the desired behavior ▪ In these cases learning takes place over time, while the learner attempts and abandons other behaviors that don’t get reinforced • A good way to remember the difference is to keep in mind that in instrumental learning the person makes a response because it is instrumental to gain a reward or avoid a punishment ▪ Overtime, consumers come to associate with people who reward them and to choose products that make them feel good or satisfy some need o Instrumental conditioning occurs in one of three ways: 1. When the environment provides a positive reinforcement in the form of a reward, this strengthens the response and we learn the appropriate behavior a. For example, a woman who gets compliments after wearing Obsession perfume learns that using this product has the desired effect, and she will be ore likely to keep buying the product ▪ Positive reinforcement occurs after consumers try a new product and like it 2. Negatives also strengthens responses so that we learned the appropriate behavior a. A perfume company might run an ad showing a woman sitting home alone on a Saturday night because she did not wear its fragrance ▪ The message this conveys is that she could have avoided this negative outcome if only she had used the perfume 3. In contrast to situations where we learn to do certain things in order to avoid unpleasantness, punishment occurs when unpleasant events follow a response a. Such as when our friend ridicules us if we wear a nasty- smelling perfume ▪ We learn the hard way not to repeat these behaviors o To help you understand the differences among these mechanisms, keep in mind that reactions from a person’s environment to his behavior can be either positive or negative, and that marketers can neither apply or remove these outcomes (or anticipated outcomes) o That is, under conditions of both positive reinforcement and punishment, the person receives a reaction when he does something ▪ In contrast, negative reinforcement occurs when the person avoids a negative outcome- the removal of something negative is pleasurable and hence is rewarding o Finally, when a person no longer receives a positive outcome, extinction is likely to occur, and the learned stimulus-response connection will not be maintained o As when a woman no longer receives compliments on her perfume o Thus, positive and negative reinforcement strengthen the future linkage between a response and an outcome because of the pleasant experience ▪ The tie is weakened under conditions of both punishment and extinction because of the unpleasant experience o It’s important for marketers to determine the most effective reinforcement schedule to use because this decision relates to the amount of effort and resources they must devote when they reward consumers who respond as they hope to their requests. o Several schedules are possible: ▪ Fixed-interval reinforcement- after a specified time period has passed, the first response you make brings the reward. Under such conditions, people tend to respond slowly right after they get reinforced, but their responses get faster as the time for the next reinforcement approaches • For example, consumers may crowd into a store for the last day of its seasonal sale and not reappear until the next one ▪ Variable-interval reinforcement- the time that must pass before you get reinforced varies based on some average. Because you don’t know exactly when to expect the reinforcement, you have to respond at a consistent rate • This is the logic behind retailers’ use of so-called secret shoppers: people who periodically test for service quality when they pose as customers at unannounced times o Because store employees never know exactly when to expect a visit, they must maintain high quality constantly “just in case” ▪ Fixed-ratio reinforcement- reinforcement occurs only after a fixed number of responses. This schedule motivates you to continue performing the same behavior over and over • For example, you might keep buying groceries at the same store in order to earn a prize when you collect 50 register receipts ▪ Variable-ratio reinforcement- you get reinforced after a certain number of responses, but you don’t know how many responses are required • People in such situations tend to respond at very high and steady rates, and this type of behavior is very difficult to extinguish o This reinforcement schedule is responsible for consumers’ attractions to slot machines ▪ They learn that if they keep throwing money into the machine, they will eventually win something (if they don’t go broke first) ▪ Marketing Applications of Instrumental Conditioning Principles o Principles of instrumental conditioning are at work when a marketer rewards or punishes a consumer for a purchase decision ▪ Business people shape behavior when they gradually reinforce the appropriate actions consumers take • Marketers have many ways to reinforce consumers’ behaviors ranging from a simple “thank you” after a purchase to substantial rebates and follow-up phone calls o Frequency marketing is a popular technique that rewards regular purchasers with prizes that get better as they spend more ▪ The airline industry pioneered this instrumental learning strategy when it introduced “frequent flyer” programs in the early 1980s to reward loyal customers ▪ Cognitive Learning Theory o In contrast to behavioral theories of learning, cognitive learning theory approaches stress the importance of internal mental processes ▪ This perspective views people as problem solvers who actively use information from the world around them to master their environments • Supporters of this view also stress the role of creativity and insight during the learning process ▪ Is Learning Conscious or Not? o A lot of controversy surrounds the issue of whether or when people are aware of their learning processes ▪ Whereas behavioral learning theorists emphasize the routine, automatic nature of conditioning, proponents of cognitive learning argue that even these simple effects are based on cognitive factors: • They create expectations that a response will follow a stimulus (the formation of expectations requires mental activity) ▪ According to this school of thought, conditioning occurs because subjects develop conscious hypotheses and then act on them o There is some evidence to support the existence of nonconscious procedural knowledge. People apparently do process at least some information in an automatic, passive way, a condition that researchers call “mindlessness” ▪ When we meet someone new or encounter a new product, for example, we have a tendency to respond to the stimulus in terms of existing categories we have learned, rather than taking the trouble to formulate new ones • In these cases a trigger feature- some stimulus that cues us toward a particular pattern-activates a reaction o For example, men in one study rated a car in an ad as superior on a variety of characteristics if a seductive woman (the trigger feature) was present, despite the fact that men did not believe the woman’s presence actually had an influence on their evaluations o Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (novel), argues that we often make snap judgments that result in superior decisions compared to those we think about a lot, because we rely on our “adaptive unconscious” to guide us ▪ Nonetheless, many modern theorists regard some instances of automatic conditioning as cognitive processes, especially when people form expectations about the linkages between stimuli and responses • Studies using masking effects, which make it difficult for subjects to learn CS/UCS associations, show substantial reductions in conditioning ▪ Objective 5 o We learn about products by observing others’ behavior ▪ Observational Learning o Observational learning occurs when we watch the actions of others and note the reinforcements they receive for their behaviors ▪ In these situations, learning occurs as a result of vicarious rather than direct experience ▪ Complex process; people s
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