Developing Promotions

One way is to develop promotions that are consistent with what the product can reasonably deliver. A number of recent ad campaigns have adopted this approach. Not only are positive product attributes mentioned but some of the brand’s deficiencies may also be cited. Such two sided approaches to advertising may be very effective.

Packaging too can help present a more balanced picture of the product’s attributes . An example of how companies are seeking to foster lower expectations more in line with what the product will deliver consider the case faced by Philip Morris:

Philip Morris launched Cambridge cigarettes as an ultra low star brand. Cigarettes in the crushproof box variety of the brand, however were difficult to keep lit and offered so little taste that the company printed warning on the package that promised an experience substantially different from other cigarettes you have smoked.

Because customer satisfaction is one of the major indicators of excellent quality in companies it is important to conduct , an audit or review of this component. An example of the importance of customers satisfaction is that these elements are the most important criterion for winning the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, a prestigious acknowledgment of US companies that have adopted effective quality and customer satisfaction management processes. Unless companies know what their customers actually think about their efforts to please them, they will not be able to focus their efforts for best results. Thus, companies should take regular measurements of the quality of their products and services as perceived by customers . For example surveys may be undertaken to find out what consumers like and dislike about a product. Ford Motor Company conducts thousands of interviews with its buyers to learn what they like and do not like about their Fords.

In addition consumer expectations should be measured to determine how well the firm’s product is meeting these expectations. Both manufacturer and dealer promotion should be assessed to determine If either is promising more that can be delivered.

A large scale survey focusing on satisfied as well as unsatisfied product users might yield several important types of information.

1) Areas for improvement of the physical products.
2) Ideas for promotional copy to create favorable attitudes towards the firm’s brand.
3) Promotional copy illustrating why our brand is better, based on competitive product failures.
4) Guidelines for developing warranties or other kinds of guarantees .

Thus to prevent cognitive dissonance from arising marketers would be well advised not to create unrealistic expectations in the minds of consumers.

Inducing Attitude change

We saw earlier that when attitudes are inconsistent with purchase behavior, they are likely to change. Consequently the marketer may seek to induce behavior changes in consumers through various means. Promotional tools including free samples and cent off coupons are frequently used by the marketer to accomplish this. By offering these deals to consumers they may be enticed to try the item and as a result adopt the product or switch brands. However, the size and nature of the inducements should be carefully considered.

There are some evidence that the smaller the incentive the greater the consumer’s dissonance and the greater the attitude change. That is, small inducements force the consumer to confront his purchase behavior without a ready explanation for it, whereas large inducements may allow the consumers to simply rationale his behavior. Therefore a coupon worth 25 cents off on an item may produce more attitude change than one for 50 cents off.

In the case of free samples however, acceptance of the brand may never take place because the consumer could fail to expose herself fully to attitude change from use of the sample . Thus, there may very well be an optimum value range over which promotional techniques produce the desired attitude and behavior change, beyond that point (either too low or too high) they may be relatively ineffective.

Source: Consumer Behavior