Attitude | Attitude (Psychology) | Innovation

ATTITUDE The concept of attitude is one of the most prevalent and important concepts in consumer behaviour.

Indeed, in the social sciences generally. Interest in attitudes emanates from the belief that knowledge of attitudes permits accurate prediction of consumer behaviour. Generally a consumer’s attitudes can be thought of as his or her basic orientation for or against various alternative products, services, retail outlets, and the like. Because attitudes form a coherent system of evaluative orientations, they are important components in any model of consumer decision-making. The Meaning of Attitudes Everyone has, on occasion, been asked to express his or her assessment of something. For example, “ How do you like your new Santro car?” “How do you feel about your teacher?” etc. Thus, although can provide a precise definition of “attitudes”, most have clear intuitive understanding of what they are. Interestingly enough, even though there is a general agreement on the meaning of “attitudes” at the intuitive level, there is a little agreement at the theoretical level. An attitude is an abstract concept in that its structure or makeup cannot be directly observed. Thus, the nature of attitude fosters alternative views regarding the underlying structure of attitude and, consequently, alternative definition.

a consumer has about the support services a retailer offers as well as beliefs about the relative merits of the product. In other words, this attitude component includes considerations such as whether Coke or Pepsi tastes better, which has more carbonation, which has a better aftertaste, and which is a better thirst quencher. The affective component is the consumer’s overall feeling of like or dislike for an attitude object (that is, a product, service, advertisement, retail outlet). Generally, marketing analysts use verbal statements to measure the affective component. The affective and cognitive components are considered to be highly correlated: that is, consumer analysts have observed that a consumer’s beliefs and feelings toward a particular product are typically consistent. The behavioural component is the consumer’s action tendency or expected behaviour, that is, his or her intention. This “likelihood-ofbuying” component is relevant to the product’s normal purchase cycle. Thus, if a consumer indicates an intention to buy a Yamaha motorcycle, it is only reasonable to expect her to buy that brand the next time she buys a motorcycle. Marketing strategists have been particularly concerned about developing accurate and timely measures of the behavioural component because of the relationship between a consumer’s action tendency and his or her actual purchase behaviour. The idea of attitudes being comprised of three major components has had considerable impact on the thinking of consumer analysts and an especially pronounced impact in the area of advertising. The classical psychological model provided the basis for a conception of advertising effectiveness called the “hierarchy of effects” hypothesis. This model became widely accepted because it provided a concise and lucid, although not completely valid, explanation of how attitudes were changed through advertising. The relationship between the three-attitudinal components and the consumer’s movement from unawareness to purchase is illustrated in the Hierarchy of Effects Model. Essentially, this model suggests that not only are attitudes made up of three components, but also these components are arranged in a

The Classical Psychological Model
The classical definition is that an attitude is a mental and neutral state or readiness to respond which is organized through experience and which exerts a directive and/or dynamic influence on behaviour. It soon became popular to adopt the classical psychological model, which theorizes those attitudes are made up of three basic components: (1) cognitive, (2) affective, and (3) behavioural. In terms of consumer behaviour, the consumer behaviour, the cognitive component refers to the manner in which a consumer perceives information about a product, service, advertisement, or retail outlet. This component includes beliefs

in turn predict behaviour. In order to facilitate acceptance of the brands (ignoring the obvious ethical issues). the companies must create a liking and preference for the brands until consumers are convinced of the advantage of smoking milder cigarettes. need to aggressively promote their low tar brands to consumers who enjoy the “full-flavour” brands such as Marlboro. Related Behavioural Movement toward pressure from the FTC to reduce the tar and nicotine contents of their cigarettes. this model. Winston. model is conceptually founded on well-established psychological theory. The validity of this model has been the subject of extensive research and debate. that is. Finally. (1). which. who are under intense . Attitudes are functionally related to intentions. (4) Intention: the subjective probability that beliefs and attitudes will be acted upon. Dimensions Purchase THE MULTI -ATTRIBUTE MODELS Purchase Behavioural Conviction Preference Affective Liking Knowledge Awareness Cognitive Unawareness The past decade has been characterised by the emergence of multi-attribute models of attitudes. Although several models have been developed. according to Fishbein. the companies must first create awareness of the cigarettes and knowledge about their relative “health” attributes.particular order. (2). some indication that an alternative hierarchy of effects may exist under certain consumption situations. for example. a consumer must have awareness and knowledge of a product (cognitive component) before a liking and preference (affective component) for it occur.1: Hierarchy of Effects Model Furthermore. specifying the extent to which the alternative possesses the desired attribute. highly regarded by practitioners. has provided considerable direction for the development of promotional strategy. Evaluative criteria: desired outcomes from choice or use of an alternative expressed in the form of the attributes or specifications used to compare various alternatives. which links a given alternative to a specified evaluative criterion. Fig. 3. the work of Fishbein has perhaps had the greatest impact. (3) Attitude: a learned predisposition to respond consistently in a favourable manner with respect to a given alternative. Beliefs: information. Next. For example cigarette manufacturers. There is. Fishbein introduced beliefs as the cognitive foundation on which attitudes are built. The fact remains that the hierarchy of effects. the company can seek trial and repurchase of the brands. and Kool.

Attitudes. For example. Compensatory models--such as the expectancy value model and the attribute adequacy model--are models in which a weakness of one attribute may be compensated for by strengths of another attribute. The brand that dominates on the most important criterion receives the highest evaluation. Each brand . with the exception that an explicit assessment is made of the differences between “ideal and actual” of each attribute possessed by the object under consideration. If two or more brands tie. The consumer selects the brand with the highest overall evaluation. colour. the consumer ranks product attributes from most important to least important. A brief explanation of the major compensatory and non-compensatory models are presented below. NON-COMPENSATORY MODELS Conjunctive Model: In the case of this model. a stereo component system may be evaluated as completely satisfactory in terms of sound reproduction and appearance but be rejected because it is not compact enough in size. Attribute Adequacy Model: In the attribute adequacy model. and lexiographic model--are those models in which a weakness of one attribute is not compensated for by strength of another attribute. Judgements are based on beliefs about whether or not an object actually possess an attribute and the evaluation of the “goodness or badness” of those beliefs. assume that sound reproduction and mechanical characteristics are the dominant considerations.Evaluative criteria is evaluated individually on all attributes and the total evaluation is the sum of the ratings of each attributes. Beliefs Attitudes Intentions Fig 3. A brand will be evaluated as acceptable only if it exceeds the minimum specified level of these key attributes. Disjunctive Model: The disjunctive model suggests that consumers establish one or more attributes as being dominant. an evaluation is arrived at in a manner similar to that discussed above. the consumer establishes a minimum acceptable level for each product attribute. A lower than acceptable rating of one attribute will lead to a negative evaluation and rejection of the product. disjunctive model. Lexiographic Model: According to the lexiographic model. Any set measuring up to expectations on these attributes will be regarded as acceptable no matter what its size. COMPENSATORY MODELS Expectancy-Value Model: This model assumes that each alternative will be evaluated on more than one attribute. Beliefs. and Intentions The multi-attribute models that have been developed to explain the process by which consumers form beliefs and attitudes fall into two major categories. the second attribute is examined and so on until the tie is broken. To continue with the example of the stereo component set. Non-compensatory models--such as the conjunctive model. A brand is determined to be acceptable only if each attribute equals or exceeds that minimum level.2: The Relationship of Evaluative Criteria. compensatory and non-compensatory. and so on.

It specifies whether or not the possession or lack of possession of the attribute in question is positive or negative. For example. then the perceived instrumentality of brand A would be high. there is growing evidence that the expectancy-value model holds the greatest promise. if “low price” is an important value (evaluative criterion) and the consumer has come to believe that brand A offers a low price. ai = the evaluation of the object. . The revised Fishbein Model stated A0 alternative 0.” normally stated in terms of “good or bad”. Bi = the ith belief about the object. the formula calls for belief (Bi) and evaluation (ai) scores to be multiplied for each belief. the “low price” might receive a rating of +10.While there is a distinct possibility that consumers use each of these models in certain circumstances. N = the total number of beliefs. N A0 = ∑ Bi. Rosenberg’s model is expressed as follows: N In its pure form. The Fishbein Model The Fishbein Model is similar in many ways to Rosenberg’s formulation. ai i=1 where: A0 = ∑ (Vied) (PIi) i =1 where: A0 = attitude toward the object. but there are subtle differences. Perceived instrumentality is assessed using 11 categories ranging from “the condition is completely attained through a given action” (+5) to “the condition is completely blocked through undertaking the given action” (-5). Fishbein’s model is expressed as follows. Then these scores are summed to arrive at a single attitude ranking. The Rosenberg Model The Rosenberg Model considers attitudes to contain two variables: (1) values (approximately equivalent to “evaluative criteria”) and their importance in arriving at an attitude and (2) perceived instrumentality (the degree to which the taking of a point of view or following an action will either enhance or block the attainment of a value). N = the number of pertinent or salient values. That is. This initial formulation by Fishbein was later revised to reflect the results of major research efforts. particularly the Rosenberg Model and the Fishbein Model. From the earlier example. defined as the probability that an object does or does not have a particular attribute.VALUE MODELS The dominant focus of consumer researchers in explaining attitudes toward alternatives has been the expectancy-value mode. ATTITUDES TOWARDS ALTERNATIVES EXPECTANCY. His first component is belief. the Rosenberg Model calls for the measurement of value importance on a scale of 21 categories ranging from “gives me maximum satisfaction” (+10) to “gives me maximum dissatisfaction” (10). The second component is an “affective term. The next section contains a detailed description of the two dominant expectancy-value models. = the overall evaluation of the attractiveness of VIi = the importance of the ith value. PIi = the perceived instrumentality of alternative 0 with respect to the value. Perhaps brand A in the above example would be given a score of +5 on this variable.

. Is it possible to “unlearn” something? Does this affect consumer behaviour? Explain. n Questions for Discussion. the applications have used some modification of them.below has had a dramatic impact on the research and application of attitudes in consumer behaviour. N = the total number of beliefs. Belief may now be interpreted as the probability that a product attribute will exist or that the act of purchase will give certain consequences. 4. For what types of products is life-style research most appropriate? In what ways would a marketing manager make the most productive use of information received from life-style research? 3. The questions here focus on one specific purchase-and-use situation and attempt to evaluate the consequences. Bi = the ith belief toward the act. 5. ai = the evaluation of the object. Bib= evaluative aspect or belief with respect to utility of N Aact = ∑ Bi ai i =1 where: alternative b to satisfy evaluative criterion i. The ai component evaluates that belief along a “good-bad” dimension. for example. and Bib is the evaluation of the alternative along criterion. the following application. Because learning is basic to human existence. Aact = attitude toward the act under consideration. This rating is performed for each evaluative criterion. Which model holds the greatest promise for marketing strategists? A0 = ∑ Wi Bib i=1 where: A0 = attitude toward a particular alternative 0. n = number of evaluative criteria important in selection of an alternative in category under consideration. In this formula. The differences between A0 and Aact are not in the formulation but in the questions utilized to assess B and a components. An Application of the Expectancy-Value Model Most of the marketing applications have not strictly followed either the Rosenberg Model or the Fishbein Model. is it an appropriate area for marketing managers to attempt to manipulate? Explain your answer. Rather. 1. Distinguish between the classical psychological model and the multiattribute model. and the summed score is attitude toward the alternative. Consider. What are the basic differences among the three major personality theories? How might the marketing strategies developed by proponents of each of these theories differ from one another? 2. Wi= weight or importance of evaluation criterion i. Wi is the weight or importance of the evaluative criterion.

The Innovation There is no universally accepted definition of the term “ product innovation” or “new product”. and (4) time. and (b) the decision making process that led the consumer to accepting or rejecting the new product. This definition ignores whether or not the product is actually new to the marketplace (i. a product-oriented approach focuses on the features inherent in the DIFUSION OF INNOVATIONS This unit examines a major aspect of consumer behaviour—the acceptance of new products and services. and environmental needs. While this definition has considerable merit if the objective is to examine the impact that a “new” product has on the firm. the various approaches that have been taken to define a new product can be classified as firm-oriented. (2) the channel of communication. This definition includes the four basic elements of diffusion process: (1) the innovation. a new service. salespeople. Firm-oriented definitions: A firm-oriented approach treats the newness of a product from the perspective of the company producing and marketing it. Consistent with this view. (3) the social system. new practice. new idea. .4 THE DIFFUSION PROCESS The diffusion process is concerned with how innovations spread —how they are assimilated—within a market. Consumer researchers who specialize in diffusion of innovations are primarily interested in understanding (a) how the acceptance of new product spreads within a market. For the consumer.UNIT . The ability of marketers to identify and reach this important group of consumers plays a major role in the success or failure of new product introduction. diffusion is a process by which the acceptance of an innovation (a new product. copies or modifications of a competitors product would qualify as new.e. to the competitors or consumers). More precisely. that is. product-oriented. it is not very useful if the goal is to understand consumer acceptance of a new product. adoption is a micro process that focuses on stages through which an individual consumer passes in making the decision to accept or reject a new product. The framework for exploring consumer acceptance of new product is drawn from the area of research known as the Diffusion of Innovations. it is considered new. Indeed. market-oriented. In broadest sense. a profile of the of consumer innovator is presented here—those who are the first to purchase a new product. In addition to an examination of these two interrelated processes. In contrast. Social. This discussion of the diffusion of innovations concentrates on two closely related processes: the Diffusion process and the Adoption process. new products provide an important mechanism for keeping the firm competitive and profitable.. Product-oriented definitions: In contrast to firm-oriented definitions. The introduction of new product is vital to both consumer and marketers. new market) is spread by communication (mass media. For the marketers. diffusion is a macro process concerned with spread of new product (an innovation) from its source to the consuming public. if the product is “new” to the company. and consumer-oriented. informal conversation) to members of a social system (a target market) over a period of time. new products represent an increased opportunity for better satisfaction of personal.

Examples include Gel toothpaste. erasable-ink pen etc. Market-oriented Definitions. A product is considered new if it has been purchased by only a relatively small (fixed) percentage of the potential market. if the marketer new that a product contained feature that were likely to inhibit its acceptance. A product is considered new if it has been on the market for relatively short (specific) period of time. rather that a totally new product. A discontinuous innovation requires consumers to adopt new behaviour patterns. Thus. In other words.. videocassette recorder etc. the more satisfaction a consumer derives from a new product. And the effects these features are likely to have on consumer’s established usage patterns. Examples include CD player. the first five percent to use the new product) or how long a product can be on the market and still be considered “new” (e. It may involve the creation of new product or the modification of an existing product. Both of these market-oriented definitions are basically subjective because they leave to the researchers the task for establishing the degree of sales penetration within which the product can be called an innovation (e. It would reduce the uncertainties of product marketing if marketers could anticipate how consumers will react to their product. Product Characteristics that Influence Diffusion All products that are “new” do not have equal potential for consumer acceptance. but still does not alter established behaviour patterns. Another product-oriented definition suggests that the extent of product “newness” can be measured in terms of how much impact its physical features or attributes are likely to have on user satisfaction. New product that have been judged as having enough “newness” to qualify as genuinely new include frozen breakfast. Examples include home computer. In this context.product itself. rather than on physical features or market realities. While each of the three approaches described above have been useful to consumer researchers in their attempt to study the diffusion of innovations. A genuinely new product has features that satisfy the user in a manner that differ significantly from that of an older product. newness is based on consumer’s perception of the product.” The concept leads to the classification of products as artificially new. One product-oriented framework considers the extent to which a new product is likely to disrupt established behaviour patterns. Some new products never seem to achieve widespread consumer acceptance. the higher it ranks on the scale of “newness. or genuinely new. it has received little sympathetic attention from consumer researchers. or . a “new” product is any product that a potential consumer judges to be new.. the first three months the product is available) Consumer-oriented Diffusions. A continuous innovation has the least disruptive influence on established pattern. new model of old car etc. Two market-oriented definitions of product innovation have been used extensively in consumer studies: 1. Some product seems to catch on almost overnight while others take a very long time to gain acceptance. the marketer could develop a promotional strategy that would compensate for these features. Although the consumer-oriented approach has been endorsed by some advertising practitioners and marketing strategists. marginally new. For example. A market-oriented approach judges the newness of a product in terms of how much exposure consumers have to the new product. 2.g. A dynamically continuous innovation is somewhat more disruptive than a continuous innovation. It defines three types of product innovations: continuous.g. in-home medical test kit etc. It involves the introduction of a modified product. some researchers have suggested that a consumer-oriented approach is the most appropriate way to define an innovation. dynamically continuous and discontinuous.

and High complexity. (3) complexity. as fulfilling present needs and values. service). It is important to recognise that each of these product attributes —relative advantage. diffusion researchers have identified five product characteristics that seem to influence consumer acceptance of new products: (1) relative advantage. and observability—is dependent on consumer perception. are more easily diffused than products that are used in private.. (4) trialability. For instance. Observability (or communicability) is the ease with which a product’s benefits or attributes can be observed. values. which increases with: 1. and to the impact . Products that have a high degree of social visibility. Low perceived relative advantage. Moreover. the easier it is for consumers to evaluate it. Low perceived compatibility. a model of innovation resistance has been developed in an attempt to provide further insights into the adoption and diffusion processes. Similarly. (2) compatibility. such as brand of toothpaste. imagined. Although there are no precise formulas by which the marketers can evaluate a new product’s likely acceptance. and (5) observability. complexity. Trialability is the degree to which a new product is capable of being tried on a limited basis. Low trialability. Resistance to Innovation What makes some new products almost instant success. Low communicability. and practices. a tangible product is promoted more easily than an intangible product (i. compatibility. the more likely it is to be accepted. and communication among consumers. 5. The greater the opportunity to try a new product. it is not too difficult to imagine men making the transition from permanent razors—involving disposal of only the blade—to fully disposable razors that are completely thrown away after the blade becomes dull. The Channels of Communication How quickly an innovation spreads through a market depends to a great extent on communications between the marketers and consumers. Clearly. 3. such as fashion items. or described to potential customers. it would seem that frequently purchased household products tend to have qualities that make trial relatively easy. the acceptance of instant coffee packet is due to its ease of preparation and use. Marketers of such products recognise that smaller-thanaverage sizes tend to stimulate new-product trial. while others struggle to achieve consumer acceptance? To help answer such questions. Complexity is the degree to which a new product is difficult to understand or use.decide not to market the product at all. a particular innovation may diffuse differently in different culture. For example. the easier it is to understand and use a new product. is more likely to be purchased than a product that is not so perceived. 4. An outstanding example of an innovation that offers users a relative advantage in their ability to communicate is the facsimile machine (or Fax). Compatibility is the degree to which potential consumers feel a new product is consistent with their present needs. 2. Relative advantage is the degree to which potential customers perceive a new product as superior to existing substitutes. Researchers interested in diffusion pay particular attention to the product related information through various communication channels. for many supermarket products it is possible for consumers to make a trial purchase of a new brand in a smaller quantity than they might usually purchase. as easy to try on a limited basis. For example. trialability. In general. A product that is perceived as having a strong relative advantage. and as simple to understand and to examine. The product characteristics of an innovation help to determine the extent of resistance.e.

Specifically. when the individual purchase time is short. the terms Market Segment and Target Market are synonymous with the term Social System used in diffusion research. in which members of the system frequently interact with outsiders. The Social System The diffusion of a new product usually takes place in a social setting—frequently referred to as a social system. is likely to influence the acceptance or rejection of new products. as in the purchase of a personal computer. In the context of consumer behaviour. a variety of new channels of communication have been developed to inform consumers of innovative products and services. have more change-agent contact (e. advertising and editorial matter) and interpersonal sources (salespeople and informal opinion leaders). have greater exposure to mass-media communication channels 3. have a higher degree of opinion leadership. or may exist at the local level and influence only those who live in a specific community. Central concern has been the relative influence of impersonal sources (e. rather than just the message recipient.. a marketer has reason to expect that the overall rate of diffusion will be faster than when the individual purchase time is long. the acceptance of innovation is likely to be high. with salespeople) 2. or cultural environment to which people belong and within which they function. For example. A social system is a physical. The orientation of a social system. In recent years. . The orientations of a social system (either modern or traditional) may be national in scope and influence members of an entire society.g. the following generalisations gleaned from diffusion research indicate that. social. An advanced technology and skilled labour force. have greater knowledge of innovations 5. An outreach perspective. (2) the identification of adopter categories. Purchase time is an important concept because the average time a consumer takes to adopt a new product is a predictor of the overall length of time it will take for new product to achieve widespread adoption. Time Time is the backbone of the diffusion process. with its own special values or norms. the consumers become an important part of communication. In contrast. if a social system is traditional in orientation. Purchase Time: Purchase time concerns the amount of time that elapses between the consumer’s initial awareness of a new product and the point at which he or she purchases or rejects it. seek information about innovations more frequently 4.g. The following characteristics typify a modern social system: • • • • • • A positive attitude toward change. The members of the system can readily see themselves in quite different roles. thus facilitating the entrance of new ideas into the social system. the early adopters: 1. It pervades the study of diffusion in three distinct but interrelated ways: (1) purchase time. If the social system is modern in orientation. One major stream of research has focused on the relative importance of certain types of information sources on early versus later adoption of new products.of both the messages and the channels on adoption or rejection of new products. In the process of the growth of interactive advertising.. An emphasis on rational and ordered social relationship rather than on emotional ones. and (3) the rate of adoption. The key point is that a social system’s orientation is the climate in which the marketers must operate in attempting to gain acceptance for their new products. A general respect for education and science. innovations that are perceived as radical or as infringements on established custom are likely to be avoided. relative to later adopters.

This exposure is somewhat neutral. 2.. and (4) adoption (or rejection). Evaluation: Based on their stock of information. that is. if the mental trial unsatisfactory. Under certain circumstances. Instead of using the classic five-category adopter scheme. In addition to how long it takes from introduction to the point of adoption (e.e. Rapid product adoption also demonstrates to marketing intermediaries (wholesalers and retailers) that the product is worthy of their full and continued support. moves toward becoming a necessity in the minds of adopter within a particular society.) Stages in the Adoption Process It is often assumed that the consumer moves through five stages in arriving at a decision to purchase or reject a new product: (1) awareness. Adopter Categories: The concept of adopter categories involves the determination of a classification scheme that indicates where a consumer stands relative to other consumers in term of when he or she adopts a new product. The assumption underlying the adoption process is that consumers engage in extensive information search. early majority.Another aspect of the impact of time on the adoption and diffusion process is how an innovation. If the evaluation is satisfactory. early adopters. marketers might prefer to avoid a rapid rate of adoption for a new product. THE ADOPTION PROCESS The second major process in the diffusion of innovation is adoption. getting shorter). many consumer researchers have used other classification schemes. marketers who wish to employ a pricing strategy that will enable them to recoup their development costs quickly might follow a skimming policy—they first make the product available at a very high price to consumers and then gradually lower the price in a stepwise fashion in order to attract additional market segments at each price reduction. (The adoption process should not be confused with adopter categories. The evaluation stage thus represents a kind of “mental trial” of the product innovation. A penetration policy is usually accompanied by a relatively low introductory price designed to discourage competition from entering the market. since they are not yet sufficiently interested to search for additional product information. . the objective is usually to gain wide acceptance of the product as quickly as possible. (3) evaluation. 3. Rate of Adoption: The rate of adoption is concerned with how long it takes for a new product to be adopted by members of a social system. (4) trial. Interest: When consumers develop an interest in the product or product category. over time. The stages in the adoption process have been described as follows: 1. most of which consist of two or three categories that compare innovators or early triers with later triers or non-triers. Five adopter categories are frequently cited in the diffusion literature: innovators. consumers draw conclusions about the innovation or determine whether further information is necessary. For example. Awareness: During the first stage of adoption process. Marketers desire a rapid rate of product adoption in order to penetrate the market and establish market leadership before competition takes hold. late majority. consumers are exposed to the product innovation. how quickly a new product is accepted by those who will ultimately adopt it. to continue using or to discontinue using a new product. when the purchase actually occurs) it is useful to track the extent of adoption (i. the consumers will actually try the product innovation. while consumer involvement theory suggests that for some products limited information search is likely.e.g. Recent research has shown that the rate of adoption for new product generally has been increasing (i... the product will be rejected. they search for information about how the innovation can benefit them. and laggards. the diffusion rate). In the marketing of new products. The focus of this process is the stages through which an individual consumer passes in arriving at a decision to try or not to try. (2) interest.

Decision: Consumers engage in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject the innovation. however. the television.e. it does not explicitly include post-purchase evaluation. Examples of innovations with such major impact on society include the automobile.4. Knowledge: Consumers are exposed to the innovation’s existence and gain some understanding of how it functions. 5.5 percent of the social system to adopt an innovation. • Finally. then he or she defines the consumers who purchase it during this period as innovators. The adoption of some products and services may have minimal consequences. or to a decision to discontinue use. For example. Confirmation: Consumers seek reinforcement for their innovation decision. but may reverse this decision if exposed to conflicting messages about the product. To overcome the limitations discussed above. consumers decide to use the product on a full rather than limited basis or they decide to reject it. It is much more attuned to the realities faced by the marketers launching a new product. The five stages of the revised adoption process model are: 1.. 3. Other researchers have defined innovators in terms of their innovativeness—that is. their purchase of some minimum number of . Adoption: Based on their trials and /or favourable evaluation. consumers actually use the product on a limited basis. the traditional adoption process model has been updated into a more general decision-making model—the innovation decision process model. 4. however. a relative term. The innovation decision process model is more comprehensive than the earlier adoption process model and overcomes many of its basic limitations. A PROFILE OF THE CONSUMER INNOVATOR Consumer innovators can be defined as the relatively small group of consumers who are the earliest purchasers of a new product. nor does it consider that some of the stages may in fact be skipped. Limitations of Adoption Process Although the traditional adoption process model has been instructive for consumer researchers. Their experience with the product provides them with critical information they need to adopt or reject. Persuasion (attitude formation): Consumers form favourable or unfavourable attitudes toward the innovation. and the electric refrigerator. • It does not adequately account for the possibility that the five stages may not always occur in the specific order suggested. after all. Implementation: Consumers put an innovation into use. In a good number of marketing diffusion studies. if the researcher assesses the new product as an innovation for the first three months of its availability. • It does not adequately provide for the rejection of a product after its trial (i. 2. which is. Trial: At this stage. concerns the concept “earliest”. a consumer may reject the product after trial or never use the product on a continuous basis). 5. it has been criticised for having following limitations: • It does not adequately acknowledge that a need or problem recognition stage may precede the awareness stage. • It does not adequately recognise that evaluation occurs throughout the decision-making process and not solely at the evaluation stage. while the adoption of other innovations may lead to major behavioural and life style changes. The problem with the definition. A recent study of the consumer decision process suggests that it may be appropriate to add two additional stages between trial and adoption—direct product experience (consequence) and product evaluation (confirmation). which can lead to a strengthened commitments. Sociologists have treated this issue by sometimes defining innovators as the first 2. consumer researchers have derived the definition of consumer innovator from the status of new product under investigation.

which purports to measure an individual’s risk-handling orientation. For instance. tending to rely on others for guidance on how to respond. able to deal with complex or ambiguous stimuli. and to readily evaluate the merits of a new product on the basis of their own personal standards. They are also willing to run the risk of a poor product choice in order to increase their exposure to new product that will be satisfying. open-mindedness (i. In contrast. They rely on their own values or standards in making a decision about a new product. Thus. Varietyseeking consumers have been found to be brand switchers and purchasers of innovative products and services. In terms of category width. its acceptance will be severely limited and it may die a quick death. innovator could be defined as those consumers who purchased more than one fashion products from a group of ten new fashion products. to be liberal. Consumer innovators are more likely to react favourably to informative or fact-oriented advertising that appeal to their strong interest in the product category. They tend to approach new or unfamiliar products with considerable openness and little anxiety. it would seem appropriate to feature reference group settings and to use a recognised and trusted expert or celebrity to appeal to their other-directed responsiveness to authority figure. in the role of opinion leader. low dogmatism). and to be creative. rather than trusting their own personal values or standards. it is worthwhile to note that an impressive number of studies on the diffusion of innovations have found that consumer innovators are likely to provide other consumers with information and advice about new products. For products that do not generate much excitement (either positive or negative). To sum up.new products from a selected group of new products. The Innovator is an Opinion Leader In discussing the characteristics of the opinion leader. the personality traits that distinguish innovators from non-innovators suggest that need for separate promotional campaigns for innovators and later adopters. consumer innovators are also inner-directed. Researchers have isolated a link between variety seeking and certain personality traits and purchase behaviours that give insights into consumer innovators. and that those who receive such advice frequently follow it. To reach noninnovators. but the absence of informal influence is also likely to result in a somewhat slower rate of acceptance (or rejection) for the new product. non-innovators seem to find new products threatening. they are more willing to rely on their own values or standards than on the judgement of others. Since motivated consumer innovators can speed up acceptance or rejection of a new product. non. the product is likely to receive broader and quicker acceptance. consumer motivators have been found to be less dogmatic than non-innovators. First.innovators are other-directed. consumer innovators may not be sufficiently motivated to provide advice. Personality Traits This section will briefly highlight what researchers have learned about the personality of the consumer motivator. the marketer not only must rely almost entirely on mass media and personal selling to influence future purchasers. in the adoption of new fashion items. the consumer innovator has been found to be a broad . it has been indicated that a strong tendency for consumer opinion leader to be innovators. They have also been found to possess the following innovator-related personality traits. low in authoritarianism. Consistent with their open-mindedness. to be extroverts. In the present context.. If the consumer innovators are dissatisfied with a new product and discourage others from trying it. to the point where they prefer to delay purchase until the product’s success has been clearly established. they influence its eventual success or failure. the consumer innovator often influences the acceptance or rejection of new products. For the marketer. Non-innovators could be defined as those who purchased none or only one of the new fashion products. In contrast. In such cases. that is.e. If innovators are enthusiastic about a new product and encourage others to try it. consumer innovators seem to be more receptive to the unfamiliar.

they are likely to belong to more social groups and organisations—than non-innovators. Social Characteristics Consumer innovators are more socially accepted and socially involved than non-innovators. For example. consumer innovators are also likely to learn about innovations earlier than others. Consumers who perceive little or no risk associated with the purchase of a new product are much more likely to purchase it than consumers who perceive a great deal of risk. even though they may forgo the benefits of desirable new products. venturesomeness seems to be an effective barometer of actual innovative behaviour. Venturesomeness Venturesomeness—a personality-like variable—is a broad based measure of a consumer’s willingness to accept the risk of purchasing new products. On the other hand. narrow categorizers are so afraid of making poor product choice that they limit their trial of new products. . In other words. high-risk perception limits innovativeness. Research on perceived risk and trial of new products overwhelmingly indicates that the consumer innovator is a low-risk perceiver. Consistent with their venturesomeness and lowered risk perception. They also tend to be more intrigued with the prospect of “newness” than are non-innovators. even though by doing so they subject themselves to the risk of acquiring unsatisfactory products. Demographic Characteristics It is reasonable to assume that the age of consumer innovator is related to specific product category in which he or she innovates. have been too few and the results too varied to draw any useful conclusions. Studies concerning the relationship between innovative behaviour and exposure to other mass media. Specifically. On the other hand. consumers who express a reluctance to try new products are in fact less likely to purchase new products. Therefore. whereas the non-innovator tends to be a narrow categorizer. and more socially involved—that is.categorizer. Perceived risk can be thought of as the degree of uncertainty or fear about the consequences of a purchase that a consumer feels when considering the purchase of a new product. This greater social acceptance and involvement of consumer innovators may in part explain why they function as effective opinion leaders. For example.). better accepted by others. such as radio and news papers. Research that has examined venturesomeness has generally found that consumer who indicate a willingness to try new products tend to be consumer innovators (as measured by their actual purchase of new products). consumers experience uncertainty when they are concerned that a new product will not work properly or be as good as other alternatives. Consumer innovators are also likely to be heavy users of the product category in which they innovate. Media Habits Comparisons of the media habits of innovators and noninnovators across such widely diverse areas of consumption of fashion clothing and new automotive services suggest that innovators have somewhat greater exposure to magazines than non-innovators— particularly to special interest magazines devoted to product category in which they innovate. Perceived Risk Perceived risk is another measure of a consumer’s tendency to try new brands or products. Special-interest magazines frequently point to the fact that they reach innovative consumers in their own ads aimed at prospective advertisers. innovators are more socially integrated into the community. Broad categorizer tends to try many new products. Measures of venturesomeness have been used to evaluate a person’s general values or attitudes towards trying new product. It appears that consumer innovators are likely to have less exposure to television than non-innovators. Consumer innovators are also more likely to be deal-prone (to take advantage of special promotional offers such as free samples etc. they would purchase larger quantities of the product and consume more than non-innovators.

higher personal or family incomes. and more likely to have higher occupational status than later adopters or non-innovators. This is no doubt due to the fact that many of the products selected for research attention are particularly attractive to or are targeted by marketers to younger customers. will innovate again within the same product category. The overlap of innovativeness across product categories seems to be limited to product categories that are closely related to the same basic interest area. innovators tend to be more upscale than other consumer segments. no single or generalised consumer-innovativeness trait seems to operate across broadly different product categories. Do consumer innovators in one product category tend to be consumer innovators in other product categories? The answer to this strategically important question is a guarded “NO”. “market”. evidence suggests that consumers who innovate within a specific product category. who have been labelled. 1. In other words. What are the essential differences between “products”. and “consumer”--oriented definition of a new product? Which definition do you feel is most suitable for marketers? 2. While there is little evidence to support the notion of a “universal” consumer innovator. These consumers. . Consumers who are innovators one new food product or one new appliance are more likely to be innovators of the other new products in the same general product category. Discuss each process in terms of the market acceptance of fax machines. super innovators. Questions for discussion Consumer innovators have more formal education. were among the first to purchase a new product or service in three or more areas. research suggests that consumer innovators tend to be younger than either late adopters or non-innovators.however. Compare and contrast the adoption and diffusion processes. In other words. there is evidence to support the existence of a relatively small number of consumers who respond to new offerings across the variety of loosely related product and service categories.

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