- Parallel processing
- Service customer observations
- Brand association
Consumers will search for information as it will lead to : a lower price , higher quality, a preferred style, confidence in choice.
NATURE OF INFORMATION SEARCH
If additional information is required, the consumer will carry out an
external search, and this additional information will be added into the
memory. If this information is sufficient the consumer will go ahead and
purchase the product, although the consumer can do an ongoing search if
more knowledge is required or if the process was pleasurable.
Consumers need to collect appropriate information on a group of alternatives, and these alternatives are selected through the evoked set ( possible solutions to the problem ). Consideration of these alternatives will help them reach a decision to solve the problem. A small percentage of consumers go on to external search, as this is extensive search mainly for expensive / important decisions.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
The marketing team has direct access to consumers through the external search process. This includes:
COSTS VERSUS BENEFITS OF EXTERNAL SEARCH
Market characteristics (Price, stores, No of alternatives), product characteristics (price level, product differentiation, positive influence), Consumer characteristics (learning, social status, age, risk ), Situational characteristics (Time, surroundings, energy) .
(Hawkins, 1994, Consumer Behaviour).
back to the road map
Current models on information processing assume that processing occurs
in a serial or sequential fashion. However a new model based on parallel
distributed processing, has been developed. This new model assumes that
the human brain operates in a parallel fashion, and is capable of processing
a large number of relatively complex cognitive tasks simultaneously. The
underlying configuration is that it does have an impact on how information
is processed. (Martin, 1990). This development has lead to a reconceptalization
of memory structure and knowledge representation. (Feldman 1985).
Beliefs and Information Processing
If a consumer has the motivation and ability to analyse the arguments, then the attention of the customer will be high, in processing and rationalising the argument. Attitudes that result from examining and thinking about the arguments is called central route induced persuasion. Therefore persuasion functions of the central route are, motivation to process the arguments and the ability to process the argument. (Kasmer 1989).
Not all persuasion occurs by the central route. Peripheral route induced
persuasion occurs when the customer is unmotivated to and/ or unable to
process the arguments. When the peripheral route to persuasion is travelled,
persuasion occurs due to peripheral cues. These cues can cause persuasion
but do not necessarily involve examining the arguments. (Kasmer 1989) A
famous celebrity in an advertisement results in consumers experiencing
a positive attitude change towards the product, is an example of a peripheral
back to the road map
There has been little attention, on understanding the purchase process and the information needs of the service customer.
Perceived risk represents consumer uncertainty about loss or gain in
a particular transaction. In general, the greater the degree of perceived
risk in a prepurchase context, the greater the consumer propensity to seek
information about the product or service. It is logical to expect that
consumers acquire information as a strategy of risk reduction in the face
of specific uncertainty (Murray 1991).
Previous findings suggest that as perceived risk of a purchase increases,
individuals seek to reduce risk by means of direct observation and trail.
The fundamental nature of services means the opportunity for consumer observation
and trial is logically limited and finding divergent to this would be difficult
to explicate fully. (Murray 1991).
Consumers are unlikely to deeply process brand information from stimuli,
when they are prominent , affect-loaded , executional cues. However consumers
will process the information deeply if the cues lead to favourable brand
attitudes. The role of advertising executional cues is to enhance consumerís
motivation, opportunity and or ability to process information, but if these
are present prior to ad exposure their levels can be enhanced by ad design
strategy. They should also enhance the level of processing, as it will
be more effective in enhancing brand attitudes and recall. It should also
be an important communication objective of the firm. (MacInnis et. Al.,
Ongoing search was discussed in the chapter in Hawkins, But in considering future investigations of ongoing search, several promising avenues of inquiry exist. Ď one concerns the demarcation line between prepurchase search and ongoing search.í (Bloch et. al. 1986). Future researchers must focus on the exact beginning of the purchase process, as this will enhance the understanding of consumption activities thought to be outside the buying domain. Future research in determining whether ongoing search consultation in a given product class, differs from those consulted during prepurchase search. As certain sources of information may be preferred. (Bloch et. al. 1986).
A goal of future research might be to manipulate independently the different types of uncertainty in an experimental study of search behaviour to establish unambiguous causality and reduce any potential suppresser effect problems. (Urbany et. al. 1989).
The article on parallel processing, had some limitations as the comparisons
have been limited to two assumptions, nature of processing & memory
structure. Therefore more alternative methods, based on parallel processing
models are needed in future research. (Martin 1990). The major problems
which will impact consumer researchers are associated with the current
level of development of the models. The models have been focusing on lower
levels of cognition, and other questions such as inference have yet to
be fully addressed, therefore the model warrants further research in the
future. (Martin 1990.)
Brand name is an important cue in retrieval of advertisement, and there is evidence to suggest that brand association can serve as a peripheral cue for low involvement decisions. However further research on these effects is obviously needed. (Douglas et. al. 1991).
The paper based on belief perseverance and characteristics of information, proposed that if expectations are strong and outcome evaluations are ambiguous then information biases are likely to operate. There are important implications for both marketing strategy and those involve in helping consumers make better decisions. This is an under researched area and it is hoped that future direction and research will be conducted. (Hill 1988).
The introduction of new models on how the brain works, and how it processes
and stores information, has open the door for further research into this
field. Its necessary for marketing to understand how consumers interpret
and store this information, and what triggers memory recall so need activation
occurs. Models such as the parallel processing model and elaboration likelihood
model have been introduced leading the way for future research. The elaboration
likelihood model should be introduced into diagrams on information search
and the decision process, as its an important element in how consumers
think and behave in the processing of information.
A lot more attention has been paid to consumers motivations, opportunities and ability to process information. This is because these factors have a huge bearing on communication effectiveness of advertisements. This information impacts on design strategy and the marketing strategy of the business, so basically getting the message across effectively is a major concern for a business. A lot more research in this area will be seen.
Future direction on ongoing search seems to be on the beginning of the purchase process and understanding the consumption process. This means that a lot of grey areas are evident in the research and therefore need to be looked into. The ongoing searcher is a consumer that gathers a lot of information, to make an informed decision, marketers need to reach these people as they are the most motivated to process relevant information.
Consumers most important source of information has been largely ignored in consumer research. It may be due to the simplistic nature. Researchers have little understanding of the motivations for and dimensions of interpersonal influence. ignoring interpersonal information exchange could be a mistake that might need to be rectified. Ignoring it results in an absolute underestimation of the extent of consumer external search. Ignoring it also leads to an overestimate of the relative importance of non interpersonal sources. These sources could play a much smaller relative role in decision making than would be assumed when interpersonal sources are not considered. (Price et. al. 1984).
Future direction in my view is in greater knowledge of the human brain and its impact on how we hold information and retrieve it. The methods of how we go about gathering information should also be looked into, need recognition and activation.
Bibliography and References
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