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Chapter 5 Consumer Learning LEARNING OBJECTIVES After reading, studying and analyzing this chapter, students should be able to understand: 5.1The elements of learning in the context of consumer behavior 5.2Behavioral learning, classical conditioning and the roles of stimulus generalization and discrimination in developing and branding new products 5.3Instrumental conditioning and the objectives and methods of reinforcement 5.4The role of observational learning in consumer behavior 5.5The elements of information processing, including receiving, storing and retrieving consumption-related information. 5.6Cognitive learning as a framework for consumer decision-making 5.7Consumer involvement and passive learning and their impact on purchase decisions and the retention and recall of promotional communications 5.8How to measure the results of consumer learning CHAPTER SUMMARY Learning Objective 5.1: To understand the elements of learning in the context of consumer behavior. Learning is the process by which individuals acquire the purchase and consumption knowledge and experience they apply to future, related behavior. Consumer learning is a process that evolves and changes as consumers acquire knowledge from experience, observation, and interactions with others and newly acquired knowledge affects future behavior. It ranges from simple and often reflexive responses to marketing stimuli (such as packaging, product colors, and promotional messages), to learning abstract concepts and making decisions about purchasing complex and expensive products. The elements of learning are motives (drives), cues, responses, and reinforcement. Learning Objective 5.2: To understand behavioral learning, classical conditioning, and the roles of stimulus generalization and discrimination in developing and branding new products. Behavioral learning (also referred to as stimulus-response learning) maintains that observable responses to external stimuli signal that learning has taken place. Behavioral learning focuses on the inputs and outcomes of learning; that is, on the stimuli that consumers select from the environment and the behaviors that result. There are three forms of behavioral learning: classical conditioning, instrumental (or operant) conditioning, and observational (or modeling) learning. Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian conditioning) is learning where repetition causes the conditioned stimulus to signal the occurrence of the unconditioned stimulus. The strategic applications of classical conditioning to consumer behavior are associative learning, repetition, stimulus generalization, and stimulus discrimination. Learning Objective 5.3: To understand instrumental conditioning and the objectives and methods of reinforcement. Instrumental learning theorists believe that learning occurs through a trial-and-error process in which positive outcomes (i.e., rewards) result in repeat behavior. Both positive and negative reinforcement can be used to encourage the desired behavior. Reinforcement schedules can be total (consistent) or partial (fixed ratio or random). The timing of repetitions influences how long the learned material is retained. Massed repetitions produce more initial learning than distributed repetitions; however, learning usually persists longer with distributed (i.e., spread out) reinforcement schedules. Learning Objective 5.4: To understand the role of observational learning in consumer behavior. Observational learning (or modeling) is the process through which individuals learn behavior by observing the behavior of others and the consequences of such behavior. Advertisers recognize the importance of observational learning in their selection of models, whether celebrities or unknowns. Many ads feature likeable models achieving positive outcomes to common problem situations through use of the advertised product. Learning Objective 5.5: To understand the elements of information processing, including receiving, storing, and retrieving consumption-related information. The human mind processes the information it receives. Consumers process product information by attributes, brands, comparisons between brands, or a combination of these factors. The number and complexity of the relevant attributes and available alternatives influence the intensity or degree of information processing. Consumers with higher cognitive abilities acquire more product information and consider more product attributes and alternatives than consumers with lesser ability. The elements of memory are the sensory store, the short-term store (or working memory), and the long-term store. The processes of memory include rehearsal, encoding, storage, and retrieval. Learning Objective 5.6: To understand cognitive learning as a framework for consumer decision-making. Cognitive learning is the systematic evaluation of information and alternatives needed to meet a recognized unfilled need or solve a problem. Unlike behavioral learning, which focuses on largely instinctive responses to stimuli, cognitive learning consists of deliberate mental processing of information. Instead of focusing on repetition or the association of a reward with a specific response, cognitive theorists emphasize the role of motivation and mental processes in producing a desired response. Several models of cognitive learning are discussed throughout this book. Learning Objective 5.7: To understand consumer involvement and passive learning, and their impact on purchase decisions and the retention and recall of promotional communications. The consumer involvement model proposes that people engage in limited information processing in situations of low importance or relevance to them, and in extensive information processing in situations of high relevance. Hemispheric lateralization (split-brain) theory gave rise to the notion that television is a low-involvement medium that results in passive learning and that print and interactive media encourage more cognitive information processing. Learning Objective 5.8: To understand how to measure the results of consumer learning. Measures of consumer learning include recall and recognition tests, and attitudinal and behavioral measures of brand loyalty. Brand loyalty consists of both attitudes and actual behaviors toward a brand, and both must be measured. For marketers, the major reasons for understanding how consumers learn are to teach consumers that the marketers’ brand is best and to develop brand loyalty. Brand equity represents the intrinsic value of a brand name. This value stems from the foundations of brand loyalty: the consumer’s perception of the brand’s superiority, the social esteem that using it provides, and the customer’s trust and identification with the brand. CHAPTER OUTLINE INTRODUCTION 1.Learning is applying one’s past knowledge and experience to present circumstances and behavior. 2.Repeating advertising messages about brands and their benefits, rewarding people for purchase behavior be selling products that provide superior benefits, getting consumers to make associations among different offerings under the same brand name, and developing brand loyalty are all elements of consumer learning. 3.Marketers are concerned with how individuals learn because they want to teach them, in their roles as consumers, about products, product attributes, and potential consumer benefits; about where to buy their products, how to use them, how to maintain them, even how to dispose of them. *****Use Key Term learning Here; Use Figure #5.1 Here***** The Elements of Consumer Learning 1.Consumer learning is a process; that continually evolves and changes as a result of newly acquired knowledge or from actual experience. a)Both newly acquired knowledge and personal experience serve as feedback to the individual and provide the basis for future behavior in similar situations. b)The role of experience in learning does not mean that all learning is deliberately sought. A great deal of learning is also incidental, acquired by accident or without much effort. c)Despite their different viewpoints, learning theorists in general agree that in order for learning to occur, certain basic elements must be present—motivation, cues, response, and reinforcement. ***** Use Learning Objective #5.1 Here***** 2.Unfulfilled needs lead to motivation, which spurs learning. The degree of relevance of the goal is critical to how motivated the consumer is to search for knowledge or information about a product or service. *****Use Key Term motivation Here***** 3.If motives serve to stimulate learning, cues (price, styling, packaging, advertising, and store displays) are the stimuli that give direction to the motives. *****Use Key Term cues Here***** 4.How individuals react to a cue—how they behave—constitutes their response. a)A response is not tied to a need in a one-to-one fashion. b)A need or motive may evoke a whole variety of responses. c)The response a consumer makes depends heavily on previous learning that, in turn, depends on how related responses were reinforced previously. *****Use Key Term response Here***** 5.Reinforcement, the reward (pleasure, enjoyment and benefits) that the consumer receives after buying and using a product or service, increases the likelihood that a specific response (e.g. loyal repurchase behavior) will occur in the future as the result of particular cues or stimuli. *****Use Key Term reinforcement Here ***** Classical Conditioning 1.Behavioral learning is sometimes called stimulus-response learning because it is based on the premise that observable responses to specific external stimuli signal that learning has taken place. a)Behavioral theories are most concerned with the inputs and outcomes of learning, not the process. b)Three forms of behavioral learning are classical conditioning, instrumental (or operant) conditioning, and behavioral learning (or modeling). ***** Use Learning Objective #5.2 Here; Use Key Terms behavioral learning, stimulus-response learning, classical conditioning, and instrumental (or operant) conditioning Here***** 2.Classical conditioning is viewed as an automatic response that builds up through repeated exposure and reinforcement. a)Early classical conditioning theorists regarded all organisms as passive recipients that could be taught certain behaviors through repetition (i.e., conditioning). b)Conditioning involved building automatic responses to stimuli. (Ivan Pavlov was the first to describe conditioning and to propose it as a general model of how learning occurs.) c)Conditioned learning results when a stimulus that is paired with another stimulus elicits a known response and serves to produce the same response when used alone. d)In a consumer behavior context, an unconditioned stimulus might consist of a well-known brand symbol and previously acquired consumer perception of a brand is the unconditioned response. e)Conditioned stimuli might consist of new products under an existing brand name. f)The conditioned response would be consumers trying these products because of the belief that they embody the same attributes with which the brand name is associated. *****Use Key Terms conditioned learning, unconditioned stimulus, and conditioned stimuli Here; Use Figure #5.3A, and #5.3B Here***** 3.Cognitive associative learning suggests learning is not a reflexive action, but rather the acquisition of new knowledge due to learning associations among events that allow the organism to anticipate and “represent” its environment. *****Use Key Term cognitive associative learning Here ***** 4.Repetition works by increasing the strength of the association between a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus and slows the process of forgetting. a)After a certain number of repetitions, attention and retention declines. b)This effect is known as advertising wear-out and can be decreased by varying the advertising messages. c)Wear-out may be avoided by varying the message through cosmetic variation or substantive variation. d)The three-hit theory states that the optimum number of exposures to an ad is three. i)One to make the consumer aware of the product. ii)A second to show consumers the relevance of the product. iii)A third to remind them of its benefits. e)Others think it may take 11 to 12 repetitions to achieve the three objectives *****Use Key Terms repetition, advertising wear-out Here; Use Figure #5.4 Here***** 5.Making the same response to slightly different stimuli is called stimulus generalization. a)Stimulus generalization explains why imitative “me too” products succeed in the marketplace: consumers confuse them with the original product they have seen advertised. b)It also explains why manufacturers of private label brands try to make their packaging closely resemble the national brand leaders. c)In product line extensions, the marketer adds related products to an already established brand, knowing that the new product is more likely to be adopted when it is associated with a known and trusted brand name. d)Marketers offer product form extensions that include different sizes, different colors, and even different flavors. e)Family branding—the practice of marketing a whole line of company products under the same brand name—is another strategy that capitalizes on the consumer’s ability to generalize favorable brand associations from one product to the next. f)Licensing—allowing a well-known brand name to be affixed to products of another manufacturer—is another marketing strategy that operates on the principle of stimulus generalization. *****Use Review and Discussion Question #5.3 Here; Use Key Terms stimulus generalization, product line extensions, family branding, licensing Here; Use Figures 5.5 and 5.6 Here; Use Hands-on Assignment #5.12 Here***** 6.Stimulus discrimination is the opposite of stimulus generalization and results in the selection of specific stimulus from among similar stimuli. a)The consumer’s ability to discriminate among similar stimuli is the basis of positioning strategy, which seeks to establish a unique image for a brand in the consumer’s mind. b)Unlike the imitator who hopes consumers will generalize their perceptions and attribute special characteristics of the market leader’s products to their own products, market leaders want the consumer to discriminate among similar stimuli. c)Most product differentiation strategies are designed to distinguish a product or brand from that of competitors on the basis of an attribute that is relevant, meaningful, and valuable to consumers. d)It often is quite difficult to unseat a brand leader once stimulus discrimination has occurred. e)In general, the longer the period of learning—of associating a brand name with a specific product—the more likely the consumer is to discriminate, and the less likely to generalize the stimulus. *****Use Key Term stimulus discrimination Here***** Instrumental Conditioning 1.Instrumental conditioning is based on the notion that learning occurs through trial-and-error, and the stimulus that results in the most satisfactory response is the one that is learned. a)According to American psychologist B. F. Skinner, most individual learning occurs in a controlled environment in which individuals are “rewarded” for choosing an appropriate behavior. b)A favorable experience is instrumental in teaching the individual to repeat a specific behavior. *****Use Learning Objective 5.3 Here; Use Key Term instrumental conditioning Here; Use Review and Discussion Question #5.1 and #5.3 Here; Use Figure #5.8 Here***** 2.Skinner distinguished two types of reinforcement (or reward) influence, which provided that the likelihood for a response would be repeated. a)The first type, positive reinforcement, consists of events that strengthen the likelihood of a specific response. b)Negative reinforcement is an unpleasant or negative outcome that also serves to encourage a specific behavior. c)Either positive or negative reinforcement can be used to elicit a desired response. d)Negative reinforcement should not be confused with punishment, which is designed to discourage behavior. *****Use Key Terms positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement Here; Use Hands-on Assignment #5.11 Here ***** 3.When a learned response is no longer reinforced, it diminishes to the point of extinction; that is, to the point at which the link between the stimulus and the expected reward is eliminated. a)Forgetting is often related to the passage of time; this is known as the process of decay. b)Marketers can overcome forgetting through repetition and can combat extinction through the deliberate enhancement of consumer satisfaction. *****Use Key Terms extinction and forgetting Here***** 4.The objective of all marketing efforts should be to maximize customer satisfaction. a)Aside from the experience of using the product itself, consumers can receive reinforcement from other elements in the purchase situation, such as the environment in which the transaction or service takes place, the attention and service provided by employees, and the amenities provided. b)Some hotels provide reinforcement to guests in the form of small amenities. c)Companies that create personal connections with customers and offer diverse product lines and competitive prices are the ones providing the best reinforcement, resulting in satisfaction and repeat patronage. d)Most frequent shopper programs are based on enhancing positive reinforcement and encouraging continued patronage. e)Marketers have found that product quality must be consistently high and provide customer satisfaction with each use for desired consumer behavior to continue. 5.Marketers have identified three types of reinforcement schedules: continuous reinforcement, fixed ratio reinforcement, and variable ratio reinforcement. a)Continuous reinforcement offers a reward after each transaction. b)Fixed ratio reinforcement provides a reward every nth time the product or service is purchased. c)Variable ratios reward consumers on a random basis and tend to engender high rates of desired behavior and are somewhat resistant to extinction. *****Use Key Terms continuous reinforcement, variable ratio reinforcement, fixed ratio reinforcement Here***** 6.The reinforcement of behaviors that must be performed by consumers before the desired behavior can be performed is called shaping, which increases the probability that desired consumer behavior will occur. *****Use Key Term shaping Here***** 7.Timing has an important influence on consumer learning. a)Question—should a learning schedule be spread out over a period of time (distributed learning), or should it be “bunched up” all at once (massed learning)? i)Massed advertising produces more initial learning ii)A distributed schedule usually results in learning that persists longer b)When advertisers want an immediate impact (e.g., to introduce a new product or to counter a competitors blitz campaign), they generally use a massed schedule to hasten consumer learning. c)A distributed scheduler with ads repeated on a regular basis usually results in more long-term learning and is relatively immune to extinction. *****Use Key Terms distributed learning, massed learning Here***** Observational Learning 1.Observational learning (also called modeling) is the process through which individuals learn behavior by observing the behavior of others and the consequences of such behavior. 2.Their role models are usually people they admire because of such traits as appearance, accomplishment, skill, and even social class. 3.Children learn much of their social behavior and consumer behavior by observing their older siblings or their parents. *****Use Learning Objective 5.4 Here; Use Key Term modeling or observational learning Here; Use Review and Discussion Question #5.4 Here; Use Figure 5.9 Here ***** Information Processing 1.Cognitive learning is based on mental activity; it consists of mental processing of data rather than instinctive responses to stimuli. a)Cognitive learning theory holds that the kind of learning most characteristic of human beings is problem solving, and it gives some control over their environment. b)The human mind processes the information it receives. c)Consumers process product information by attributes, brands, comparisons between brands, or a combination of these factors. d)Consumers with higher cognitive ability generally acquire more product information and consider more product attributes and alternatives that consumer with lesser abilities. e)The more experience a consumer has with a product category, the greater his or her ability to make use of product information. *****Use Key Term cognitive learning Here; Use Learning Objective #5.5 Here; Use Figure 5.10 Here***** 2.The components of information processing are storing, retaining and retrieving information; this takes place in process that uses a sensory store, a short-term store, and a long-term store. a)Sensory store—all data comes to us through our senses, however, our senses do not transmit information as whole images. i)The separate pieces of information are synchronized as a single image. ii)This sensory store holds the image of a sensory input for just a second or two. iii)This suggests that it’s easy for marketers to get information into the consumer’s sensory store, but hard to make a lasting impression. b)Short-term store—if the data survives the sensory store, it is moved to the short-term store. i)This is our working memory. ii)If rehearsal—the silent, mental repetition of material—takes place, then the data is transferred to the long-term store. iii)If data is not rehearsed and transferred, it is lost in a few seconds. c)Long-term store—once data is transferred to the long-term store it can last for days, weeks, or even years. *****Use Key Terms sensory store, short-term store, rehearsal, and long-term store Here; Use Review and Discussion Question #5.5 Here; Use Figure #5.10 Here***** d)Encoding is the process by which we select and assign a word or visual image to represent a perceived object. e)Information overload takes place when the consumer is presented with too much information and leads to frustration, confusion, and poor purchase decisions. *****Use Key Terms encoding and information overload Here***** 3.Retention—information is constantly organized and reorganized as new links between chunks of information are forged. a)Studies show that a brand’s sound symbolism and the brand’s linguistic characteristics impacted the encoding and retention of the brand name. b)Consumers recode what they have already encoded to include larger amounts of information (chunking). c)The degree of prior knowledge is an important consideration. d)Knowledgeable consumers can take in more complex chunks of information than those who are less knowledgeable in the product category. 4.Retrieval is the process by which we recover information from long-term storage. *****Use Key Terms retention, retrieval, chunking Here***** Cognitive Learning 1.Cognitive learning is the systematic evaluation of information and alternatives needed to solve a recognized but unfulfilled need or unsolved problem. a.It occurs when a person has a goal and must search for and process data in order to make a decision or solve a problem. b.The tricomponent attitude model consists of three stages: i.The cognitive stage – the person’s knowledge and beliefs about a product ii.The affective stage – the person’s feeling toward and evaluations of a product as “favorable” or “unfavorable”; and iii.The conative stage – the person’s level of intention to buy the product. c.For a long time, consumer researchers believed that the complex processing of information by consumers depicted in the cognitive learning model was applicable to all purchase decisions. d.Some theorists began to realize that there were some purchase situations that simply did not call for extensive information processing and evaluation. e.Purchases of minimal personal importance were called low-involvement purchases, and complex, search-oriented purchases were considered high-involvement purchases. *****Use Learning Objective 5.7 Here; Use Key Terms cognitive stage, affective stage and conative stage Here; Use Table #5.1 Here; Use Figure 5.11 Here***** Consumer Involvement and Hemispheric Lateralization 1.Consumer involvement is focused on the degree of personal relevance that the product or purchase hold for that consumer. a)High-involvement purchases are those that are very important to the consumer and thus provoke extensive problem solving and information processing. b)Low-involvement purchases are purchases that are not very important to the consumer, hold little relevance, and have little perceived risk, and thus, provoke very limited information processing. c)Involvement has been conceptualized and measured in a variety of ways, including product involvement, brand involvement, and advertising involvement. d)The most sensible approach to measuring involvement is using self-administered surveys that assess the consumer’s cognitions or behaviors regarding a particular product or product category, and where involvement is measured on a continuum (using semantic differential scales) rather than as a dichotomy consisting of two mutually exclusive categories of “high” and “low” involvement. ***** Use Key Terms consumer involvement, high-involvement purchases, low involvement purchases; semantic differential scales Here; Use Review and Discussion Question #5.10 Here ***** 2.A marketer aspires to have consumers who are involved with the purchase also view its brand as unique. a)Many studies showed that high purchase involvement coupled with perceived brand differences lead to a high favorable attitude toward the brand, which in turn leads to less variety seeking and brand switching and to strong brand loyalty. b)Online, many advertisers use avatars – animated, virtual reality graphical figures representing people – in their Web sites to increase involvement. i)Attractive avatar sales agents were effective in selling to consumers with moderate product involvement ii)Expert avatars were more effective sales agents for products with high involvement levels. *****Use Key Term avatar Here***** 3.Hemispheric lateralization or split-brain theory, originated in the 1960’s. a)The premise is that the right and left hemispheres of the brain specialize in the kinds of information they process. i)The left hemisphere is the center of human language; it is the linear side of the brain and primarily responsible for reading, speaking, and attributional information processing. ii)The right hemisphere of the brain is the home of spatial perception and nonverbal concepts; it is nonlinear and the source of imagination and pleasure. b)The left side of the brain is rational, active, and realistic. c)The right side is emotional, metaphoric, impulsive, and intuitive. *****Use Key Terms hemispheric lateralization Here; Use Figure #5.12 Here***** 4.Passive learning is thought to occur through repeated exposures to low-involvement information processing. a)Right-brain theory is consistent with classical conditioning and stresses the importance of the visual component of advertising, so it affects processing of TV commercials b)Printed information is verbal information and is processed on the brain’s left side. c)Recent research suggests that pictorial cues help recall and familiarity, although verbal cues trigger cognitive functions, encouraging evaluation. *****Use Key Terms passive learning Here; Use Table #5.1 Here; Use Figures #5.12, #5.4 and #5.8 Here; Use Review and Discussion Question #5.6 Here; Use Hands-on Assignment #5.13 Here ***** Outcomes and Measures of Consumer Learning 1.Market share and the number of brand-loyal consumers are the interdependent goals of consumer learning, so it is important for marketers to measure how effectively consumers have learned its message. *****Use Learning Objective #5.8 Here***** 2.Recognition and recall tests are conducted to determine whether consumers remember seeing an ad, the extent to which they have read it or seen it and can recall its content, their resulting attitudes toward the product and the brand, and their purchase intentions. a)Recognition tests are based on aided recall and recall tests use unaided recall. b)In recognition tests, the consumer is shown an ad and asked whether he or she remembers seeing it and can remember any of its salient points. c)In recall tests, the consumer is asked whether he or she has read a specific magazine or watched a specific television show, and if so, can recall any ads or commercials seen, the product advertised, the brand, and any salient points about the product. d)Starch Readership Ad Studies evaluate the effectiveness of magazine advertisements based on three criteria: i)Noticing the ad ii)Associating the ad with advertised brand iii)Involvement with the ad (reading most ad text) *****Use Key Terms recognition test, aided recall, unaided recall, Starch Readership Ad Study, and recall tests Here; Use Review and Discussion Question #5.10 Here***** 3.Brand loyalty is the ultimate desired outcome of consumer learning, and measures purchase frequency, brand switching, and commitment to buy the brand. a)Attitudinal measures are concerned with consumers’ overall feelings (i.e., evaluation) about the product and the brand, and their purchase intentions. b)Behavioral measures are based on observable responses to promotional stimuli—purchase behavior, rather than attitude toward the product or brand. 4.A basic issue among researchers is whether to define brand loyalty in terms of consumer behavior or consumer attitudes. a)Behavioral scientists who favor the theory of instrumental conditioning believe that brand loyalty results from an initial product trial that is reinforced through satisfaction, leading to repeat purchase. b)Cognitive researchers, on the other hand, emphasize the role of mental processes in building brand loyalty. They believe that consumers engage in extensive problem-solving behavior involving brand and attribute comparisons, leading to a strong brand preference and repeat purchase behavior. c)To cognitive learning theorists, behavioral definitions (e.g., frequency of purchase or proportion of total purchases) lack precision, because they do not distinguish the “real” brand-loyal buyer. 5.An integrated conceptual framework views consumer loyalty as the function of three groups of influences: (1) personal degree of risk aversion or variety seeing; (2) the brand’s reputation and availability of substitute brands; and (3) social group influences and peers’ recommendations. 6.Their influences produce three types of loyalty: (1) covetous loyalty, (2) inertia loyalty, and (3) premium loyalty. *****Use Key Terms brand loyalty, covetous loyalty, inertia loyalty, premium loyalty Here; Use Table 5.2 Here; Review and Discussion Question #5.10 Here***** 7.Brand equity refers to the value inherent in a well-known brand name. a)This value stems from the consumer’s perception of the brand’s superiority, the social esteem that using it provides, and the customer’s trust and identification with the brand. b)For many companies, their most valuable assets are their brand names. c)Brand equity enables companies to charge a price premium—an additional amount over and above the price of an identical store brand. *****Use Key Term brand equity Here; Use Review and Discussion Question #5.9 Here***** Instructor Manual for Consumer Behaviour Leon G. Schiffman, Leslie Lozor Konuk, S. Ramesh Kumar 9789332555099, 9780134734828

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