Advertising and Word of Mouth Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

(Snyder & DeBono quoted in Kjeldal 2003, Introduction section, ¶ 6).

The results from the study Kjeldal (2003) conducted with 70 participants in two stages suggest that the word association responses high self-monitors (HSMs) produce reflect selective activation of a personally meaningful, experiential, system. The responses low self-monitors (LSMs) produce, on the other hand, indicate an intellective factual system.

2. Decision Making Process Theories

Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher (2009), an Associate Professor at theUniversity of California, San Francisco, identifies a number decision-making criteria in her report, "Adolescent decision making: an overview." According to Halpern-Felsher, determinations of definitions for a competent decision, the process of how the decision was made, differ dramatically. The actual behavior or outcome, albeit, does not determine competent decision making, however, during the normative model of decision-making process, one does consider the consequences to not choosing a particular behavior or a specific event.

Normative models of decision making, commonly utilized in theory, empirical investigation, and policy to explain competent decision making, describe the most general steps one may take to make the most rational decision for the individual. Similar to the legal definition, normative models include fundamentals, articulating the components in terms of the following five general processes (Halpern-Felsher 2009):

1. Identifying all possible decision options;

2. identifying the possible consequences of each option, including all possible related risks and benefits;

3. evaluating the desirability of each consequence;

4. assessing the probability or likelihood that each particular consequence will actually occur, should that course of action be adopted; and

5. combining all information using a decision rule, resulting in the identification of the best option or action. (Halpern-Felsher 2009, Models of…section, ¶ 1)

The following list denotes a number of additional decision-making criteria Halpern-Felsher (2009) presents:

the willingness to make a decision;

the capacity to make autonomous decisions;

searching for, recognizing, and incorporating new information relevant to the decision;

the ability to judge the value of advice from other sources;

the willingness to change one's decisions;

the ability to implement and carry out one's decisions;

the ability to evaluate and learn from one's decisions;

the ability to reach decisions one is satisfied with; and the ability to make decisions that are consistent with one's goals. (Halpern

Felsher 2009, Dual process…section, ¶ 1).

In the article, "Persuasion Knowledge: Lay People's and Researchers' Beliefs about the Psychology of Advertising," Marian Friestad and Peter Wright (1995) investigate persuasion, another noted phenomenon related to decision making. Friestad and Wright argue that the individual's persuasion knowledge serves as a significant determinant of how he/she copes with (and produces) persuasion attempts; stressing that in a complete theory of persuasion, this knowledge must be accounted for. During their study, Friestad and Wright address questions such as: "What do lay people believe about the psychology of advertising and persuasion?" And "How similar are the beliefs of lay people to those of consumer researchers?" (p. 62).

Findings from the exploration by Friestada and Wright (1995) of the content of individuals' conceptions of ways television advertising impacts its audience indicate that lay people and researchers share numerous general beliefs regarding the psychology of persuasion. They also, however, note a number of dissimilarities between the two groups' persuasion knowledge. Ultimately, Friestad andWright discuss implications from the findings regarding the existence of cultural folk knowledge, along with the way this knowledge affects persuasion. When a person interprets and responds to ads or sales presentations, as well as when he/she evaluates the persuasion attempts' effectiveness or appropriateness, he/she draws on his/her persuasion beliefs (Friestad & Wright 1995).

Following two pre-studies, Friestad and Wright (1995) measured seven types of persuasion beliefs, with each belief relating to a role the psychological events played. Friestad and Wright did not proffer any explanation for the study findings, but note that the two analyses of the structure did not indicate that researchers collectively demonstrate more highly integrated persuasion beliefs than lay people demonstrate.

2.1 Definition of Decision Making Process

In "Introduction to Decision Making, Robert Harris (2008 ) relates the following "standard" decision making definitions:

1. Decision making is the study of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker. Making a decision implies that there are alternative choices to be considered, and in such a case we want not only to identify as many of these alternatives as possible but to choose the one that (1) has the highest probability of success or effectiveness and (2) best fits with our goals, desires, lifestyle, values, and so on.

2. Decision making is the process of sufficiently reducing uncertainty and doubt about alternatives to allow a reasonable choice to be made from among them. This definition stresses the information-gathering function of decision making. It should be noted here that uncertainty is reduced rather than eliminated. Very few decisions are made with absolute certainty because complete knowledge about all the alternatives is seldom possible. Thus, every decision involves a certain amount of risk.

In "Consumer Behaviour," Janice Denegri Knott (N.d) explains that a model constitutes a simplified version of reality. She stresses that a model, neverhtelss is not and will never constitute reality. A theory, according to Knott, consists of "an interrelated set of concepts, definitions and positions that presents a systematic view of phenomenon" (p. 8). A Theory has the following four functions, to:

1. Describe

2. Explain

3. Predict

4. Control. (Knott N.d, p. 6).

2.2 Howard-Sheth's Theory

In the book, Foundations of marketing theory: Toward a general theory of Marketing, Shelby D. Hunt (2002) examines Howard-Sheth's Theory. Hunt notes that Howard and Sheth "propose the developmental linkage that attitude influences purchase only through intention to purchase" (p. 206). According to Hunt, the question that needs to be asked regarding this theory, as should be asked of any theoretical structure queries: "How well does this theory represent the real world by explaining and predicting real-world phenomena?" (Ibid.). Even though few theories in marketing have reportedly initiated more scholarly interest than the Howard-Sheth (1969) theory of buyer behavior, noted in Figure 1, "the theory & #8230; is not constructed in a form suitable for testing" (Ibid.). As Figure 1 portrays: "The theory consists of a large number of constructs, both exogenous and endogenous to the system. The constructs are interconnected by both direct causal linkages (the solid lines) and by feed-back effects (the dashed lines)" (Ibid.).

Figure 1: Howard-Sheth (1969) Theory of Buyer Behavior (Howard and Sheth…1998).

The following notes components of the inputs and outputs of the Howard-Sheth Theory.

Inputs (stimuli)

significative

The 'real' (physical) aspects of the product or service symbolic

The ideas or images attached by the supplier social

The ideas or images attached to the product by society, such as reference groups.

Outputs

The consumers actions constructs perceptual

Obtaining and handling information about the product or service.

learning

The process of learning leading to the decision itself (Howard and Sheth…1998)

Hunt (2002) reports that Farley and Ring partially formalized the Howard-Sheth (H-S) theory; requiring the rigorous specification of the exact nature of the linkages among the constructs. According to Hunt, Farley and Ring struggled as:

…in its [the model's) present form, the functional relationships among the variables are generally unspecified, al-though their directions are known" (Farley and Ring 1970. p. 427). The for-malization of the theory culminated in a series of eleven simultaneous equations, each having the basic form:

II K

Y., = I Sl, Yn +1 Y, X~,, +Y +11: 1.1 I.

Farley and Ring then obtained measures…for each construct and conducted a test of the theory using both ordinary least squares and two-stage least squares regressions. Their results can be interpreted as weakly supporting the H-S theory.

Farley and Ring's efforts also sparked a critical appraisal of the basic structure of the H-S model by Hunt and Pappas (1972). This appraisal found that because the actual variables used in the H-S model had been common knowl-edge in consumer behavior for some time, the major substantive contribution of the H-S theory was the postulation of certain developmental linkages.

Knott (N.d.) argues that the H-S model contains too many variables; that this complex model can be too difficult to read.

2.3 Consumer Black Box Model

In the book, Marketing, Richard Sandhusen (2000), reports that the "black box" model reflects consumer behavior. Sandhusen reports that consumer behavior focuses on "when, why, how, and where people do or do not buy products." Figure 2 portrays the Black Box Model.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

BUYER'S BLACK BOX

BUYER'S

Marketing

Environmental

Buyer

Decision

Stimuli

Stimuli

Characteristic

P

Attitudes

Problem recognition

Product choice

Product

Economic

Motivation

Information search

Brand choice

Price

Technical

Perceptions

Alternative evaluation

Dealer choice

Place

Political

Personality

Purchase decision

Purchase timing

Promotion

Cultural

Lifestyle

Post•purchase behavior

Purchase amount

Figure 2: Block Box Model (Sandhusen 2000, p. 218).

The Black Box Model, according to Sandhusen (2000) portrays how consumer characteristics, along with stimuli, and decision processes intermingle to elicit consumer responses.

2.4 Five Stages Model (Problem Recognition, Information Search, Alternative Evolution, Purchase Decision, Post-Purchase Behaviour)

Consumer Buying Behaviour

Numerous internal…

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