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Consumer Behavior
Buying, Having, and Being

Tenth Edition

Global Edition

Michael R. Solomon
Saint Joseph’s University and

The University of Manchester (U.K.)

Boston Columbus Indianapolis New York San Francisco Upper Saddle River

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Page 303

308 SECTION 3 Consum ers as Decision Makers

The Peripheral Route to Persuasion
In contrast, we take the peripheral route when we're not really motivated to think about
the marketer's arguments. Instead, we're likely to use other cues to decide how to react to
the message. These cues include the product's package, the attractiveness of the source,
or the context in which the message appears. We call sources of information extraneous
to the actual message peripheral cues because they surround the actual message.

The peripheral route to persuasion highlights the paradox of low involvement dis­
cussed in Chapter 4: When we don't care about a product, the style in which it's presented
(e.g., who endorses it or the visuals that go with it) increases in importance. The impli­
cation here is that we may buy low-involvement products chiefly because the marketer
designs a "sexy" package, chooses a popular spokesperson, or creates a stimulating shop­
ping environment. To recap, the basic idea of the ELM is that highly involved consumers
look for the "steak" (e.g., strong, rational arguments). Those who are less involved go for
the "sizzle” (e.g., the colors and images in packaging or famous people's endorsements).
It is important to remember, however, that the same communications variable can be
both a central and a peripheral cue, depending on its relation to the attitude object. The
physical attractiveness of a model might serve as a peripheral cue in a car commercial,
but her beauty might be a central cue for a product such as shampoo where a major prod­
uct benefit is to enhance attractiveness.147


Now that you have finished reading this chapter you should
understand why:

1. It’s important for consumer researchers to understand
the nature and power of attitudes.

An attitude is a predisposition to evaluate an object or
product positively or negatively. We form attitudes to­
ward products and services, and these attitudes often de­
termine whether we will purchase or not.

2. Attitudes are more complex than they first appear.

Three components make up an attitude: beliefs, affect,
and behavioral intentions.

3. We form attitudes in several ways.

Attitude researchers traditionally assumed that we learn
attitudes in a fixed sequence: First we form beliefs (cog­
nitions) about an attitude object, then we evaluate that
object [affect), and then we take some action {behavior).
Depending on the consumer's level of involvement and
the circumstances, though, his attitudes can result from
other hierarchies of effects as well. A key to attitude for­
mation is the function the attitude holds for the consumer
(e.g., is it utilitarian or ego defensive?).

4. A need to maintain consistency among all of our
attitudinal components motivates us to alter one or
more of them.

One organizing principle of attitude formation is the impor­
tance of consistency among attitudinal components—that

is, we alter some parts of an attitude to be in line with oth­
ers. Such theoretical approaches to attitudes as cognitive
dissonance theory, self-perception theory, and balance
theory stress the vital role of our need for consistency.

5. We use attitude models to identify specific components
and combine them to predict a consumer’s overall
attitude toward a product or brand.

Multiattribute attitude models underscore the complexity
of attitudes: They specify that we identify and combine a
set of beliefs and evaluations to predict an overall attitude.
Researchers integrate factors such as subjective norms
and the specificity of attitude scales into attitude measures
to improve predictability.

6. The communications model identifies several important
components for marketers when they try to change
consumers’ attitudes toward products and services.

Persuasion refers to an attempt to change consumers' atti­
tudes. The communications model specifies the elements
marketers need to transmit meaning. These include a
source, a message, a medium, a receiver, and feedback.

7. The consumer who processes a message is not
necessarily the passive receiver of information
marketers once believed him or her to be.

The traditional view of communications regards the per-
ceiver as a passive element in the process. New develop­
ments in interactive communications highlight the need
to consider the active roles a consumer plays when he or
she obtains product information and builds a relationship

Page 304

CHAPTER 7 Attitudes and Persuasion 309

with a company. Advocates of permission marketing argue
that it's more effective to send messages to consumers who
have already indicated an interest in learning about a prod­
uct than trying to hit people “cold" with these solicitations.

8. Several factors influence the effectiveness of a message

Two important characteristics that determine the effec­
tiveness of a source are its attractiveness and credibility.
Although celebrities often serve this purpose, their cred­
ibility is not always as strong as marketers hope. Market­
ing messages that consumers perceive as buzz (those that
are authentic and consumer generated) tend to be more
effective than those they categorize as hype (those that are
inauthentic, biased, and company generated).

9. The way a marketer structures his or her message
determines how persuasive it will be.

Some elements of a message that help to determine its
effectiveness include the following: conveyance of the

message in words or pictures; employment of an emo­
tional or a rational appeal; frequency of repetition; conclu­
sion drawing; presentation of both sides of the argument;
and inclusion of fear, humor, or sexual references. Adver­
tising messages often incorporate elements from art or lit­
erature, such as dramas, lectures, metaphors, allegories,
and resonance.

10. Audience characteristics help to determine whether
the nature of the source or the message itself will be
relatively more effective.

The relative influence of the source versus the message
depends on the receiver's level of involvement with the
communication. The elaboration likelihood model (ELM)
specifies that source effects are more likely to sway a less-
involved consumer, whereas a more-involved consumer
will be more likely to attend to and process components
of the actual message.


ABC model of attitudes, 274
affect, 274
allegory, 305
alternate reality games (ARGs), 292
attitude, 273
attitude object (v40), 273
attitude toward the act of buying

U**), 286
balance theory, 280
basking in reflected glory, 282
behavior, 274
blogs, 292
cognition, 274
communications model, 289
comparative advertising, 301
compliance, 277
ego-defensive function, 274
elaboration likelihood model (ELM), 307
experiential hierarchy of effects, 276
fear appeals, 304
foot-in-the-door technique, 279

functional theory of attitudes, 273
hierarchy of effects, 275
identification, 277
internalization, 277
knowledge function, 274
latitudes of acceptance

and rejection, 280
low-involvement hierarchy of effects, 275
M-commerce, 291
metaphor, 305
multiattribute attitude models, 282
multiple pathway anchoring and

adjustment (MPAA) model, 287
permission marketing, 290
persuasion, 288
podcasting, 292
principle of cognitive consistency, 278
refutational arguments, 300
resonance, 305
self-perception theory, 279
simile, 305

sleeper effect, 295
social judgment theory, 280
social media, 291
sock puppeting, 294
source attractiveness, 295
source credibility, 293
spokescharacters, 296
standard learning hierarchy, 275
subjective norm (SN), 286
theory of cognitive dissonance, 278
theory of ree.soned action, 284
theory of trying, 287
transmedia formats, 292
transmedia storytelling, 292
Twitter, 292
two-factor theory, 300
utilitarian fu nction, 274
value-expressive function, 274
video blogging (vlogging), 292
virtual worlds, 292
widgets, 292


1 How can an attitude play an ego-defensive function?
2 Describe the ABC model of attitudes.
3 List the three hierarchies of attitudes, and describe the ma­

jor differences among them.

4 How do levels of commitment to an attitude influence
the likelihood that it will become part of the way we think
about a product in the long term?

Page 606

612 G lossary

Social object theory proposes that social
networks will be more powerful com­
munities if there is a way to activate re­
lationships among people and objects
within them

Social power the capacity of one person to
alter the actions or outcome of another

Social stratification the process in a social
system by which scarce and valuable
resources are distributed unequally to
status positions that become more or
less permanently ranked in terms of
the share of valuable resources each

Sociometric methods the techniques for
measuring group dynamics that involve
tracing communication patterns in and
among groups

Sock puppeting a company executive or
other biased source poses as someone
else to tout his organization in social

Sound symbolism the process by which the
way a word sounds influences our as­
sumptions about what it describes and
attributes such as size

Source attractiveness the dimensions of a
communicator that increase his or her
persuasiveness; these include expertise
and attractiveness

Source c re d ib ility a communications
source's perceived expertise, objectiv­
ity, or trustworthiness

Spacing effect the tendency to recall
printed material to a greater extent
when the advertiser repeats the target
item periodically rather than presenting
it over and over at the same time

Spectacles a marketing message that takes
the form of a public performance

Spendthrifts consumers who derive plea­
sure from large-scale purchasing

Spiritual-therapeutic model organizations
that encourage behavioral changes
such as weight loss that are loosely
based on religious principles

Spokescharacters the use of animated char­
acters or fictional mascots as product

Spontaneous recovery ability of a stimulus
to evoke a weakened response even
years after the person initially per­
ceived it

Spreading activation meanings in memory
are activated indirectly; as a node is
activated, other nodes linked to it are
also activated so that meanings spread
across the network

Stage of cognitive development the ability
to comprehend concepts of increasing
complexity as a person matures

Standard learning hierarchy the traditional
process of attitude formation that starts
with the formation of beliefs about an
attitude object

State-dependent retrieval people are better
able to access information if their inter­
nal state is the same at the time of recall
as when they learned the information

Status crystallization the extent to which
different indicators of a person's sta­
tus (income, ethnicity, occupation) are
consistent with one another

Status hierarchy a ranking of social desir­
ability in terms of consumers' access to
resources such as money, education,
and luxury goods

Status symbols products whose primary
function is to communicate one's social
standing to others

Stimulus discrimination the process that
occurs when behaviors caused by two
stimuli are different, as when consum­
ers learn to differentiate a brand from
its competitors

Stimulus generalization the process that
occurs when the behavior caused by a
reaction to one stimulus occurs in the
presence of other, similar stimuli

Storage the process that occurs when
knowledge in long-term memory is in­
tegrated with what is already in mem­
ory and "warehoused" until needed

Store image a store's "personality," com­
posed of such attributes as location,
m erchandise suitability, and the
knowledge and congeniality of the
sales staff

Straight rebuy in the context of the buyclass
framework, the type of buying decision
that is virtually automatic and requires
little deliberation

Subculture a group whose members share
beliefs and common experiences that
set them apart from other members of
a culture

Subjective norm an additional component
to the multiattribute attitude model that
accounts for the effects of what we be­
lieve other people think we should do

Subliminal perception the processing of
stimuli presented below the level of the
consumer's awareness

Superego the system that internalizes soci­
ety's rules and that works to prevent the
id from seeking selfish gratification

Superstitions beliefs that run counter to ra­
tional thought or are inconsistent with
known laws of nature

Surrogate consumer a professional who is
retained to evaluate and/or make pur­
chases on behalf of a consumer

Symbol a sign that is related to a product
through either conventional or agreed-
on associations

Symbolic interactionism a sociological ap­
proach stressing that relationships with
other people play a large part in forming
the self; people live in a symbolic envi­
ronment, and the meaning attached to
any situation or object is determined by a
person's interpretation of these symbols

Symbolic self-completion theory the perspec­
tive that people who have an incom­
plete self-definition in some context
will compensate by acquiring symbols
associated with a desired social identity

Synchronous interactions a conversation
that requires participants to respond in

Syncretic decision purchase decision that is
made jointly by both spouses

Synoptic ideal a model of spousal decision
making in which the husband and wife
take a common view and act as joint
decision makers, assigning each other
well-defined roles and making mutu­
ally beneficial decisions to maximize
the couple's joint utility

Taste cultu re a group of consumers
who share aesthetic and intellectual

Terminal values end states desired by mem­
bers of a culture

The Values and Lifestyles System (VALS2™ )
a psychographic segmentation system

Theory of cognitive dissonance theory based
on the premise that a state of tension is
created when beliefs or behaviors conflict
with one another; people are motivated to
reduce this inconsistency (or dissonance)
and thus eliminate unpleasant tension

Theory of reasoned action an updated ver­
sion of the Fishbein multiattribute atti­
tude theory that considers factors such
as social pressure and Aact (the attitude
toward the act of buying a product),
rather than simply attitudes toward the
product itself

Theory of trying states that the criterion of
behavior in the reasoned action model
of attitude measurement should be re­
placed with trying to reach a goal

Tie strength the nature and potency of the
bond between members of a social

Ties connections between members of a
social network

Tightwads consumers who experience emo­
tional pain when they make purchases

Time poverty a feeling of having less time
available than is required to meet the
demands of everyday living

Page 607

Glossary 613

Timestyle an individual's priorities regard­
ing how or she spends time as influ­
enced by personal and cultural factors

Tipping point moment of critical mass
Torn self a condition where immigrants

struggle to reconcile their native identi­
ties with their new cultures

Total quality management (TQM) manage­
ment and engineering procedures
aimed at reducing errors and increas­
ing quality; based on Japanese practices

Trade dress color combinations that
become strongly associated with a

Transactional advertising an advertising
message in a social game that trans­
actional advertising rewards players if
they respond to a request

Transform ative Consumer Research (TCR)
promotes research projects that include
the goal of helping people or bringing
about social change

Transitional economies a country that is
adapting from a controlled, centralized
economy to a free-market system

Transmedia formats social media platforms
such as alternative reality games that
allow consumers to participate in an
advertising campaign

Transmedia storytelling the use of a mix of
social media platforms to create a plot
that involves consumers who try to solve
puzzles or mysteries in the narrative

Trialability in the context of diffusion of in­
novations, the extent to which a new
product or service can be sampled prior
to adoption

Tribal marketing strategy linking a product's
identity to an activity-based "tribe"
such as basketball players

Trickle-down theory the perspective that
fashions spread as the result of sta­
tus symbols associated with the upper
classes "trickling down" to other social
classes as these consumers try to emu­
late those with greater status

Tweens a marketing term used to describe
children aged 8 to 14

Twitter a popular social media platform that
restricts the poster to a 140 word entry

Two-factor theory the perspective that two
separate psychological processes are
operating when a person is repeatedly
exposed to an ad: repetition increases
familiarity and thus reduces uncer­
tainty about the product but over time
boredom increases with each expo­
sure, and at some point the amount of
boredom incurred begins to exceed the
amount of uncertainty reduced, result­
ing in wear-out

Two step flow model of influence proposes
that a small group of influencers dis­
seminate information since they can
modify the opinions of a large number
of other people

Uncertainty avoidance one of Hofstede's cul­
tural dimensions: The degree to which
people feel threatened by ambiguous sit­
uations and have beliefs and institutions
that help them to avoid this uncertainty

Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) a stimulus
that is naturally capable of causing a

Underground economy secondary markets
(such as flea markets) where transac­
tions are not officially recorded

Unipolar emotions emotional reactions that
are either wholly positive or wholly

Unplanned buying when a shopper buys
merchandise she did not intend to pur­
chase, often because she recognizes a
new need while in the store

Urban myth an unsubstantiated "fact" that
many people accept as true

User the person who actually consumes a
product or service

User-generated content consumers voice
their opinions about products, brands,
and companies on blogs, podcasts, and
social networking sites such as Face-
book and Twitter, and film their own
commercials that they post on sites
such as YouTube

Utilitarian function states that we develop
some attitudes toward products simply
because they provide pleasure or pain

Value a belief that some condition is prefer­
able to its opposite

Value-expressive function states we develop
attitudes toward products because of
what they say about him or her as a

Value system a culture's ranking of the rela­
tive importance of values

Variable-interval reinforcem ent the time
that must pass before an organism's
response is reinforced varies based on
some average

Variable-ratio reinforcement you get rein­
forced after a certain number of re­
sponses, but you don't know how many
responses are required

Variety amnesia a condition where people
consume products to the point where
they no longer enjoy them

Variety seeking the desire to choose new al­
ternatives over more familiar ones

Video blogging (vlogging) posting video dia­
ries on sites such as YouTube or photos
on Flickr

Viral marketing the strategy of getting cus­
tomers to sell a product on behalf of the
company that creates it

Virtual goods digital items that people buy
and sell online

Virtual identity the appearance and person­
ality a person takes on as an avatar in a
computer mediated environment like
Second Life

Virtual worlds immersive 3D virtual envi­
ronments such as Second Life

Voluntary simplifiers people who believe
that once basic material needs are sat­
isfied, additional income does not lead
to happiness

Von Restorff effect techniques like distinc­
tive packaging that increase the novelty
of a stimulus also improve recall

Want the particular form of consumption
chosen to satisfy a need

W arm ing process of transforming new
objects and places into those that feel
cozy, hospitable, and authentic

Web 2.0 the current version of the Inter­
net as a social, interactive medium
from its original roots as a form of one­
way transmission from producers to

W eber’s Law the principle that the stron­
ger the initial stimulus, the greater its
change mast be for it to be noticed

W idgets small programs that users can
download onto their desktops, or em­
bed in their blogs or profile pages, that
import some form of live content

Wiki online program that lets several peo­
ple change a document on a Web page
and then irack those changes

Wisdom of crowds a perspective that argues
under the right circumstances, groups
are smarter than the smartest people in
them; implies that large numbers of con­
sumers can predict successful products

Word of mouth (WOM) product information
transmitted by individual consumers
on an informal basis

Word-phrase dictionary in sentiment analy­
sis, a libra ry that codes data so that the
program can scan the text to identify
whether the words in the dictionary

W orldview a perspective on social norms
and behaviors that tends to differ
among social classes

Z ip f s Law pattern that describes the ten­
dency for the most robust effect to be
far more powerful than others in its
class; applies to consumer behavior in
terms of buyers' overwhelming prefer­
ences for die market leader in a product

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