Understanding Consumer Decision Making: The Means-End Approach to Marketing and Advertising Strategy

By Thomas J. Reynolds; Jerry C. Olson | Go to book overview

successful we are at developing a framework to distinguish across attributes, consequences, and values, the more valuable our research will be in aiding the image-creation process. The real key to understanding image lies in understanding linkages or connections between the levels that define the perceptual lens through which the consumer views the world and subsequently develops preferences for products.

Effective linkages can be established for products only when we can gain a perspective on how the product relates to the personal-value systems of consumers. By viewing means-end chains as entities, we can achieve this perspective. Admittedly, creative insight has to follow the procedures detailed above. The research process suggested here simply provides people in creative positions with the framework on which to focus their efforts, saving both time and energy.

The MECCAs framework not only makes it possible to develop effective strategies using this framework, it is also a valuable tool for identifying the thrust of competitive advertising. The MECCAs model can provide an easy-to-understand framework wherein management, creatives, and researchers can focus on an explicitly-stated agenda, whether it involves strategic options or competitive advertising.


REFERENCES

Arons, L. (1961). Does television viewing influence store image and shopping frequency? Journal of Retailing, 37, 1–13.

Boyd, H., Ray, M., & Strong, E. (1972). An attitudinal framework for advertising strategy. Journal of Marketing, 36, 2, 27–33.

Collins, A. M., & Loftus, E. F. (1975). A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological Review, 82 (6), 407–428.

Craik, F. I. M., & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671–684.

Day, G. S. (1973). Theories of attitude structure and change. In S. Ward & T. S. Robertson (Eds.), Consumer behavior: Theoretical sources. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Fishbein, M. (1967). A behavior theory approach to the relations between beliefs about an object and the attitude toward that object. In M. Fishbein (Ed.), Readings in attitude theory and measurement. New York: John Wiley.

Gutman, J. (1978). Uncovering the distinctions people make versus the use of multi-attribute models: Do a number of little truths make wisdom? Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference of the Advertising Research Foundation. New York: Advertising Research Foundation.

Gutman, J. (1982). A means-end chain model based on consumer categorization processes. Journal of Marketing, 46 (1), 60–72.

Gutman, J. (1983, May 13). Segment consumers, devise ad strategies with means-end chain analysis, “Ladders.” Marketing News, pp. 6–7.

Gutman, J., & Reynolds, T. J. (1979). An investigation of the levels of cognitive abstraction utilized by consumers in product differentiation. In J. Eighmey (Ed.), Attitude research under the sun (pp. 128–150). Chicago: American Marketing Association.

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