One of the factors that help marketers to create successful marketing campaigns is the understanding of consumer attitudes. Consumer attitudes are integral parts of consumer behaviors and the study of consumers and their behaviors guides firms in their marketing strategies because they help them to understand how consumers think, reason, feel and respond to different brands. This study also helps them to understand how the consumers are influenced by various factors like culture family and the media. This study provides information on how consumer motivation and decision-making strategies differ between different products depending on their level of importance. This helps marketers to adapt and improve their marketing campaigns and strategies to reach the consumer effectively. Consumers themselves have attitudes towards marketing campaigns and their perception of the messages transmitted by these marketing campaigns determines their success.
This implies that the marketers should understand the consumer attitudes towards marketing campaigns and advertising because most of them understand consumer attitudes towards products and neglect the former. This paper is going to use examples of practice from marketing campaigns and theoretical models in the present and the past to discuss the role and importance of customer attitudes and how they influence marketing campaigns. The paper will start by discussing what attitudes are and their importance in promotional campaigns especially in consumer markets and how promotional activities can be used to influence consumer attitudes within a spectrum of product categories from high to low involvement practices. The paper will draw an illustrative example of a recent campaign practice that has been used over the last year.
An attitude is a personal concept that represents the likes and dislikes of a customer. It is a permanent evaluation of something it is changeable. Attitudes direct consumer behavior. Attitudes are utilitarian; they evaluate whether a product is appropriate and whether it serves the need at hand (Miles, 2003). Attitudes also express the value and that is why a consumer evaluates how a certain product speaks about him or her. They also express the ego of the customer because customers are likely to go for products that boost their image. A study of consumer attitudes cannot be complete without going into the details of the specific attitudes.
Customers have attitudes towards different variables. To start with, they may have an attitude towards a product, the company producing the product, attributes of the product, or the stores retailing a certain product. They also have attitudes towards brand associations, product endorsers, the design of the product logo, and the symbols used to market the product (Levitt, 1960). For example, some people have an attitude towards the Energizer bunny, the Nike swoosh, and endorsements made by Michael Jordan.
Other customers have attitudes towards the adverts and the marketing campaigns themselves and that is why companies like Doritos have invested immensely towards catchy advertising that influences the formation of attitudes by consumers. Beliefs, feelings, responses, and intentions are other factors that influence attitudes. The affective response is another factor that influences purchase decisions. The effect is the feeling of the customer in response to the stimulus in the market place and it is more emotive than cognitive. The Fishbein model and the belief importance model try to explain the affective aspect of attitude in consumers and how this aspect influences marketing strategies (Laermer, 2007).
Fishbein’s model attempts to explain how affective consumer responses influence purchasing decisions. Consumer attitudes also have behavioral component affection is not necessarily linked to the actual purchase because the behavioral intention is an attitude towards the brand. These can be best explained by the theory of reasoned action and the theory of trying (Lears, 2009). This theory holds that behavior is directly related to intention and the two factors involved in the behavioral intention are attitude towards the action of purchase and subjective norm which is the influence of others’ feelings on one’s attitude, perceptions of others, and what they think about our consumer behaviors. It consists of normative beliefs which are the perceived expectations of other people and motivation to comply which represents the extent to which attitude is influenced by others. This theory is very important because it helps marketers to identify attributes that can help in forming positive attitudes towards a certain product by changing beliefs. It also helps to identify and adjust the forces that create social pressure which influence intention formation (Tracy, 2003). It also changes normative beliefs and subjective norms and reduces the influence of the motivation to comply with the perceptions of other people.
Another important model of consumer behavior is called the multi-attribute model and this model assumes that all the attributes of a product are evaluated by the customers and beliefs are based on each attribute of the product. According to the model, some attributes are more important than others and the most important attributes are more likely to influence consumer attitudes than the less important attributes. The ideal point model is another consumer attitude model that compares a brand with the ideals held by the consumers and this helps to measure the perception of the location of the brand along a particular continuum and multiples it with the importance level for every attribute of the product. The model is very important especially in marketing campaigns because if an attribute is high, marketing performance is good while the marketing performance of the competitors is poor, a competitive advantage is created. However, if the marketing performance is poor, it means that an opportunity has been neglected even if the importance of the attribute is high and competition is poor.
Customer attitudes and how they influence marketing campaigns
Consumer attitudes influence marketing campaigns and strategies. To make good marketing campaigns, marketers need to have a thorough understanding of consumer attitudes. For example, a good marketer ought to know that people respond more to food when they are hungry which means that marketing campaigns for snacks shouldn’t be placed when people are expected to take main meals. Understanding consumer attitudes will help a marketer learn that new products are adopted by a few customers immediately after their inception and more consumers adopt them later. This will enable the marketers to initiate marketing campaigns that please the initial consumers because these consumers will go ahead and influence the choices made by subsequent consumers.
To understand how consumer attitudes affect marketing campaigns, it is important to look at the nature and functions of marketing campaigns. To start with, marketing campaigns are meant to inform the public about organizations, products, and services and it appeals to cognitive aspects of the targeted audience who are expected to grasp that information and respond appropriately depending on their understanding and predilection. Secondly, marketing campaigns provide incentives to the consumers so that they can respond with a positive action which means that they must appeal to the emotional dimension of the consumers. The role of the campaigns is to provide reminders and reinforcement that will enable the consumers to respond to the products positively (Lorenzen, 2006).
The reinforcements and the reminders should therefore be internalized by the targeted audience because they shape purchase decisions in the future which means that they should be persuasive. Consumers themselves have attitudes towards marketing campaigns and their perception of the messages transmitted by these marketing campaigns determines their success. This implies that the marketers should understand the consumer attitudes towards marketing campaigns and advertising because most of them understand consumer attitudes towards products and neglect the former. One of the marketing campaign strategies that are heavily influenced by consumer attitudes is celebrity endorsement (Kurtz, 2010). The trend of using celebrities to endorse products and services has grown markedly through modern-day consumers are also getting smarter.
Consumer attitudes towards some products are influenced by the attributes the product has and celebrity endorsements usually bestow special attributes upon a product which changes the way consumers perceive the product. This implies that celebrities have the power to influence purchasing decisions and this decision is based on the attributes of the celebrity more than the product. That is why, the stature of the celebrity in the society is very important because the attitude that the target audience has towards a certain celebrity will be transferred to the products they have endorsed (Fahey, 2001).
This, therefore, influences marketing campaigns because the marketers have to go for the celebrities whose stature in society can shape the attributes of a product, which in turn impacts consumer attitudes and the purchasing decisions they make. The influence of consumer attitudes on marketing strategies is so powerful that the moment a celebrity endorsing a certain product gets some negative publicity, the marketer stops using them in their product and service endorsements because the change of attitude by the public towards them can affect their attitudes towards the products they endorse. This happened to Tiger woods who has been endorsing tens of products but half of his endorsement deals were withdrawn in the wake of his recent sex scandal. Celebrity endorsements are powerful marketing strategies that are influenced by consumer attitudes and they also influence the purchasing decisions made by the consumers because they build credibility and create public attention that promotes sales.
How promotional activities can be used to influence consumer attitudes within a spectrum of product categories
Promotional activities are geared towards influencing consumer attitudes and one of the key features of promotional activity is the message. Messages in campaigns should be meaningful, relevant, and straight to the point. Meaningful messages are integral in promotional activities because if the customer finds the message irrelevant, he or she will develop a negative attitude towards the promotional campaign and the product being promoted. The other feature of a promotional message that can make it change the attitudes of the customers is its distinctiveness (Estelle, 2000). Distinctive messages are more likely to capture the attention of the customers easily. Thirdly, the message should be believable because to start with, consumers have a general attitude that most promotions are deceptive and this attitude should be quashed through the use of believable messages.
A good promotional activity must attract attention first, and then secure the interest of the target audience. After securing the interest of the target audience, it should build a good desire for the product and obtain the necessary action. If a promotional activity fails to motivate a response or an action from the consumers, then that activity does not have the power to shape their attitudes or even change their attitudes. Attention is generated by the layout of the promotion activity (Rajagopal, 2007). Copywriting, movements, colors, contrasts, and technology used in an advertisement determine the ability of the advert to attract attention. There are very many promotional activities that marketers bombard consumers with and not all promotional activities can influence customers’ attitudes. Customers cannot be influenced by a promotional activity that does not provoke them to think or feel about a product meaning that any promotional activity must arouse the interest of the customers because this interest makes the customer reflect upon the message and the presentation. If a promotional activity manages to create the desire to buy, it has succeeded in influencing purchase decisions by impacting the attitude of the consumers. Promotional activities influence consumer attitude through the philosophical principle of rhetoric.
Logos, pathos, and ethos are the main features of rhetoric that make promotional activities successful. Logos appeal to logic while pathos appeals to the passion of the consumers. Ethos appeal addresses the credibility of the method of delivery of the message. How do the aforementioned elements of rhetoric impact consumer attitudes? To start with, logos and pathos go hand in hand with the brand attitude strategy ideas which are based on involvement and motivation and involvement decisions are low if the motivation generated by a promotional campaign is negative(Baker, 2001). This is the situation where the logo appeal is highly needed. Pathos appeal implies the ability of promotional activity to persuade by creating a feeling in the recipient of the message. This means that brand attitude strategy should deal with positive motivation because the strategy is transformational meaning that it is meant to change consumer attitudes by evoking a real and emotive experience.
Promotional activities influence consumer attitudes if the source of the message appeals to the consumers and this is where the third element of rhetoric applies. The target audience can easily be persuaded to use the product if the person behind the message appeals to them and this is the essence of celebrity endorsements as a promotional activity. Consumers themselves have attitudes towards marketing campaigns and their perception of the messages transmitted by these marketing campaigns determines their success. This implies that the marketers should understand the consumer attitudes towards marketing campaigns and advertising because most of them understand consumer attitudes towards products and neglect the former.
How promotional activities shape consumer attitudes can be illustrated by several marketing promotions that were used during this year’s super bowl. The following is an analysis of a recent promotional activity that Google delivered during the 2010 super bowl. The Google advert during the 2010 super bowl was a complete failure because it failed to observe certain aspects of a good promotional activity that have been outlined in this paper. In this promotion, Google made some subconscious mistakes that affected the credibility of the company.
To start with, the promotion was pre-announced without any flair. Secondly, the video for the promotion had been on youtube for a long meaning that it was not introducing anything new, and placing such promotion on a prime spot during the super bowl is like giving guests leftovers meaning that this promotion never captured the attention or interest of many. The company wasn’t creative enough and it was an insult to the integrity of those who are aware of the whole mix-up. The worst mistake that Google did was to place the promotion on television. Almost 100 percent of the company’s revenue is derived from online advertising and taking its advert to the television is like a butcher advising people to go vegan to maintain their health meaning that Google sent a subconscious negative message that could be costly to its online advertising business. The promotion did not have any relevance because Google has a massive market penetration and brand recognition meaning that the whole promotion was a waste of resources, however, it would have been relevant for Bing or Ask.com.
The problem with Google is that it understands some marketing concepts especially the importance of customer value but it is doing everything analytically but not sufficiently. Google placed the promotion unnecessarily, just because others were placing promotions but there was no valid reason for placing the promotion meaning there was no intention to shape the attitudes of the consumers. The promotion created a negative attitude towards the company meaning that it was a big flop.
During the same super bowl, Budweiser ran two promotions. Their execution and delivery were average though the creative levels were technologically challenged because the brand chose to go conventional. The two favorite spots for Budweiser were the book club and the desert island which were very true to the essence of the Bud light brand. One of the worst commercials came from taco bell because one cannot understand why the food chain contracted an ex-basketball star to make a mess of himself in the name of a promotion. The advert was messy, unplanned and the execution of the grim rhymes was substandard. Chrysler also ran the Dodge commercial in the 2010 super bowl. Dodge is a new brand and the way Chrysler positioned it on the super bowl prime time was a good marketing start for the brand. The commercial begins with a seemingly depressing trade-off, sort of what men make, and finishes with a reward in form of a Dodge charge vehicle model. This commercial had a clear target: the men and was powerful in making that statement.
The best in the 2010 super bowl was the Betty White for Snickers which had the erstwhile golden girls star getting a hard sack, then with a thud landed in a puddle of mud in a brutal game of football against some twenty-something-year-old men. This is a commercial that drew waves of laughter especially when one of White’s teammates taunted her making her give a saucy retort that was the hallmark of the whole commercial. It is a ridiculous commercial that will remain engraved in the minds of many consumers for a long time.
In conclusion, it is important to note that consumer attitudes and consumer behavior are very important areas of study for marketers because they enable them to structure their marketing campaigns appropriately. The two influence marketing campaigns but on the other hand, marketing campaigns also affect consumer attitudes and behavior meaning that the messages in the campaigns must be able to attract attention, arouse interest, and motivate a consumer towards n action. A marketing campaign must therefore have logos, pathos, and ethos appeal, which will make it more relevant for its function. Consumer attitudes keep on changing and the marketers must keep in touch with the dynamic consumer attitudes.
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