People have their needs from peer pressure, personal needs, TV shows, advertising magazines, and so on. These kinds of needs motivate them to get more information. The whole process of getting information and buying the products or services to feeling satisfaction depends on the degree of involvement. Not all purchase decisions are equally important or psychologically involving for the consumer.
People engage in a more extensive decision making process, involving a more detailed search for information and comparison of alternatives, when buying high involvement goods and services than when purchasing more ordinary, low involvement items. Because of the differences in the decision-making process, a given marketing strategy will not be equally effective for both high-and low-involvement products. The consumer marketer’s primary task, therefore, is to determine whether the majority of potential customers in the target segment are likely to be highly involved with the purchase decision or not.
The Decision-making Process
The decision-making process has five stages. The first stage deals with the problem or need recognition, where the buyer recognises that there is a better state of affairs than the present one. This can have both internal and external stimulus. However, marketers can only influence the external motivation.
Secondly, there is the information search, where customers look for all the information possible, using commercial, public, personal and experiential sources. Advertisements have a great deal of influence on where they start their information search which could affect their behaviour.
The third stage includes the evaluation of alternatives, while the fourth stage deals with the purchase decision. This is the stage where the customer actually buys the product, choosing the most preferred brand.
Finally, there is the post-purchase behaviour stage. This is where consumers take further action after purchase and evaluate their decision.
Depending on whether there is high or low involvement, the process of how advertising works could be organised in two different ways.
Cars, insurance, and computers require more time and thoughtful consideration before actually purchasing and thus these are high-involvement products/services. In the case of high involvement products/services, people who have expressive and practical needs for high-involvement products keep their eyes and ears on various media that address their needs. Due to this, all stages of the decision making process are usually used.
In the case of low involvement products or services, household products need consumer’s thinking. Other low involvement products such as beer, cigarette, and beverage products, however, are related to consumers’ feelings. In comparison to high-involvement, existing needs may be relatively weaker because consumers do not give much consideration to buying these kinds of goods. Accordingly, more media frequency of low-involvement products is very important because people with relatively low interest toward low-involvement product categories are affected by the advertising message. People remember the products or services of which their advertisements are seen frequently. Therefore, for low involvement products, only a few of the stages of the decision making process are used.
High and Low Involvement Products
Since consumers are generally unwilling to spend much time or effort evaluating alternative brands in a low involvement product category before making a purchase, marketers need to focus their promotional messages on only a few frequently repeated points and to distribute such products extensively to make them convenient for customers to buy. Regardless of a consumer’s level of involvement with a product category, consumers often prefer different brands because of differences in their psychological or personal characteristics, such as their perceptions, memories, attitudes and lifestyles. Understanding how such characteristics influence consumers’ decisions in a product category provides an important foundation for marketing decisions concerning the definition of marker segments, the selection of target markets, and the design of marketing programmes to appeal to those markets.
High involvement means that the consumer has a relatively high interest in a product, medium, or message. Advertising is therefore targeted to highly involved consumers and will include information on the product or service. On the other hand, low involvement means that the information about a product or service is rather insignificant and does not interest the consumer; for this reason, advertising for these categories will focus on simple slogans, and impressive images.
Low Involvement Product: Head ; Shoulders Shampoo
With expressive and practical needs, people are exposed to the advertising message. However, the order between the needs and exposure to an advertising message could be reversed.
People can decide whether or not they like the product after they are exposed to the advertising message. Therefore, liking an advertising message is a big factor for purchase in low-involvement category because people tend to buy the product if they are attracted by the message of commercial. In order to attract consumers, incredible creativity, notability and impressiveness are needed in the advertising campaigns for low-involvement products. Positive attitude which comes from creative advertising ensure consumers buy the product.
Advertising of household products, including shampoo, which needs consumers’ thinking in low-involvement category, focus on attributes in terms of product information. Consumers tend to be well persuaded by advertising messages because they do not have much interest in low-involvement products opposing to high-involvement products. Therefore repetitiveness in different adverts for the same product is of extreme importance.
This can be seen in the two advertisements of “Head & Shoulders” shampoo. Here, the same information is given, using the same wording. This gives consumers the opportunity to remember the advantages which this product offers, such as the fact that its “HydraZinc formula eliminates dryness, itchiness, irritation and up to 100% of flakes” giving “complete care for your hair and scalp”.
However, the marketers of “Head & Shoulders” used these two similar, yet different, advertisements to target different market segments. In the first advertisement, a woman showing off her beautiful hair is seen. This shows that the announcement is targeted mostly to the female buyer. Marketers focus on the woman’s vanity to look gorgeous in order to sell the product. On the other hand, the second poster is targeted towards the male shopper. Here, a male enjoying the attention of others is seen. The marketers focus on the fact that men want to look attractive to the opposite sex and enjoy the attention which will be given to them.
This, in all, will bring about a positive attitude towards the product, making consumers more likely to buy the product at least once. Consequently, if they are satisfied, customers will show a habitual buying behaviour with the brand or product. If consumers are satisfied, this will increase publicity through the form of word of mouth. This is one of the most effective and efficient methods of promotion, as a satisfied customer will be able to persuade an average of three others to buy the product. However, if the consumer is dissatisfied, he or she can influence up to ten others negatively.
High Involvement Product: Cars
When dealing with high involvement products, people pay attention to advertising messages. When commercials, print ads, billboards or banner ads of a certain product or brand attract audiences’ eyes, people are very interested in the product or brand. Based upon the attention and knowledge received from advertising, people can decide whether or not they like the products or services being offered. If people like the message and image of the product in the advertisement, they tend to search for more specific information from their website or other information sources.
Also, the information which people get is stored and retained as knowledge in their mind. However, after searching for information, the results can be positive or negative. People will decide to buy the product or service if the specific information fits their wants and needs. It is possible that people will buy other products of the same brand later if they are satisfied with the product or brand they purchased earlier. In this case, companies should maintain a favourable relationship with consumers and promote continuous buying through advertising. However, if people are not satisfied with the product, new negative knowledge might be formed. After that, people try to find other products’ information, and can be easily influenced by advertising messages of other brands.
Cars refer to practical and expressive needs, which are different for each consumer in terms of space, power, speed and so on. Through consumer research, each car brand develops appropriate messages for their target audiences since different consumers value different things in choosing a car. In most cases, high-involvement product attributes and images are communicated by advertising. For example, the first advertisement, showing a BMW, is targeted for people who view speed, image, pleasure and appearance as important. This can be seen by the information given, such as “sleek and exciting”, as well as the blurred background, which implies the speed which can be achieved.
On the other hand, the advertisement of the Nissan targets those buyers looking for a car which is comfortable, safe, suitable for a family, while still stylish. This is emphasised by the sayings “Because there’s no bigger adventure than having kids” and “Style is often the first casualty of family life”.
One can see that the exposure to advertising increases consumers’ tendency to purchase the promoted product because the informative content seen in the advertisement resolves some of the uncertainty that consumers may face, thus reducing the risk associated with the product.