Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

An Exploratory Study on Attitude Persistence Using Sales Promotion

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

An Exploratory Study on Attitude Persistence Using Sales Promotion

Article excerpt

Research on the impact of consumer sales promotion has focused on price-oriented promotions (e.g., price-off coupons) and behavioral effects (e.g., buy promoted products now rather than later) in promotion time periods (Blattberg and Neslin, 1990; Roehm et al., 2002; Rossiter and Bellman, 2005; Shimp, 2007). Nonprice promotions and potential attitudinal effects in different time periods have received little, or no, consideration.

Direct consumer premiums (DCPs) (the most frequently used non-price promotion) have been defined as packaged-related free bonus items offered by packaged-goods manufacturers to consumers when they purchase promoted products (Blattberg and Neslin, 1990; Prentice, 1975; Rossiter and Bellman, 2005). Almost all U.S. packaged-goods manufacturers have claimed DCP usage (e.g., Belch and Belch, 2004; Kotler and Keller, 2006; O'Guinn et al., 2006); however, a search of the literature revealed only a few documented studies on their impact. These studies dealt almost exclusively with the effects of different levels of DCP desirability in promotion time periods (DelVecchio et al., 2006). Consistent findings across the studies acknowledged the success of DCPs in inducing individuals to try a product for the first time, to try more of it, to try it earlier, or to try it more often (Fry and Caffaro, 1995; Seipel, 1971).

Despite the widespread use of DCPs, relatively little is known about their effects after the promotion has ended. Some researchers have argued that DCPs have been used incorrectly and that such misuse has led to undermining post-promotion brand preference (Rossiter and Bellman, 2005; Varadarajan, 1985, 1986). Conversely, other researchers have suggested that DCPs do not affect long-term brand preference (e.g., Bawa and Shoemaker, 1987), and some researchers have proposed that DCPs have favorable effects which has led to increased probabilities of product selection in post-promotion time periods (e.g., Davis et al., 1992). Given the differences of opinions and the fact that studies on the impact of sales promotions have normally dealt with price promotions, DelVecchio, Henard, and Freling (2006) and Blattberg and Neslin (1990) suggested that the effects of DCPs in different time periods is under-researched. Further, Rossiter and Bellman (2005) and Prentice (1975, 1977) proposed that salient DCP characteristics other than its desirability have been identified; however, researchers seem largely unaware of effects.

Three decades ago Prentice (1975, 1977) suggested that the complementary linkage (i.e., relatedness) between DCPs and promoted products could be viewed as existing along a continuum from high association with the promoted product's use to low association, and proposed that higher-related DCPs (e.g., a free toothbrush with toothpaste) would stimulate more enduring post-promotion effects than lower-related DCPs (e.g., free aspirin with toothpaste). Recently, Rossiter and Bellman (2005) contended that higher-related DCPs have customer franchise building potential and produce effects after the promotion has ended; however, lower-related DCPs do little to communicate information about a product's features or the benefits of using it, and contribute nothing to the building of long-term effects. Although DCP relatedness has not been the subject of empirical investigation, Fry and Caffaro (1995) observed that the proposition regarding greater benefits of higher-related DCPs is not reflected in the marketing practices of U.S. packaged-goods manufacturers, who routinely use lower-related DCPs.

The purpose of the current research is to explore the attitudinal effects of different DCPs in different time periods. The basic issue that it addresses is: if DCPs influence individuals' attitudes toward promoted products in promotion time periods, do certain ones continue to produce effects in post-promotion time periods? Specifically, it focuses on testing the effects of equally desirable, higher- and lower-related DCPs (e. …

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