The primary means available to marketers for influencing attitude change is the design and implementing of persuasive communications. Properly designed communication benefit from an appreciation of the general nature of the communication process. A simplified model of this process is shown and described below.
The sender initiates a communication message. This individual or group has as an objective the transmission of an intended message to one or more individuals acting as receivers. In marketing, the sender usually represents a company or its brand and the intended message is usually conceived of as mechanisms to change consumers’ attitudes toward the brand or toward purchasing it.
An intended message is the meaning a sender wishes to convey to receivers. In order to deliver this intended meaning, however the message must be suitably formed for transmission in the channel selected for its delivery. That is, the intended message must be encoded into symbols making up the actual message which represent thoughts of the sender. These symbols are usually words but often they involve pictures and actions of the sender. Whatever the method, the important goal of the sender is to encode the message in a way that will maximize the likelihood that the receiver will interpret it in a way that matches the sender’s intended meaning.
The sent (actual) message is transmitted over a channel of communication. In marketing, the potential channel alternatives re varied ranging from radio to in store displays and personal messages. Therefore considerable deliberation must be taken to select the channel with characteristics most appropriate to the message involved.
The sent messages are acquired by one or more receivers. However, received messages are rarely identical to sent messages. Characteristics of the channel of transmission are one set of factors accounting for this difference. For example, it is very difficult to accurately reproduce product colors and textures on television or in newspapers. Consequently the received message can differ significantly from the sent messages.
The received message is transformed into a perceived message through the receiver’s information processing activities. That is, the message is decoded – received symbols are transformed back into meaning or thoughts by the receiver .As we have been an individual’s experiences as well as the context in which she perceives the message will influence any meaning she derives from it. Attitude change and/or actions will then be based on this perceived message.
The feedback loop in Figure recognizes that the communication process involves a two way flow. That is, individuals or groups are both receivers and senders of messages, and they interact with ach other. Therefore feedback can be viewed as the initiation of another communication in which the receiver can now be construed as a message sender. This feedback process enables the original sender to monitor how well her intended meaning was conveyed and received .In many marketing situations, communications are transmitted via mss media to widely distributed consumers, therefore accurate feedback information is very are and difficult to obtain.
The concept of noise is frequently used to refer to a type of disruption in the communication process. We have seen that a variety of noise sources exist. The sender may have difficulty with formulating an intended message, and further problems can occur while attempting to encode a message for transmission. The channel of communication itself is also capable of interfering with a message the receiver may also introduce noise through the decoding process. Of course, the feedback loop may contribute additional noise. Therefore each state of the communication process is susceptible to message distortion.
In order to appreciate the persuasive communication process, it is necessary to understand three general kinds of factors that operate to influence beliefs, attitudes and behavior. They are source message and receiver factors. These three sets of factors interact to produce intended and unintended communication effects. For simplicity each set of factors is next examined one at a time. However, the reader should continually bear in mind that these factors are interactive.