Judgments involve forming evaluations or estimates of the likelihood of events are not
always objective, whereas decisions entail a choice between options or courses of
action. Two types of judgments are likelihood and goodness or badness; both of which
can be made by recalling past judgments using imagery or an anchoring and
adjustment process.
Once consumers recognize a problem, they may address it using cognitive decision
making models (deciding in a rational, systematic manner) or affective decision models
(deciding on the basis of feelings or emotions). Consumers face a number of other
decisions in high-effort situations: which brands to consider (developing the
consideration set); what’s important to the choice (affected by goals, timing and decision
framing); what offerings to choose; whether to make a decision now; and what to do
when alternative cannot be compared.
In thought-based decisions about offerings, consumers may use compensatory or
noncompensatory models; process by brand or by attribute; and consider gains versus
losses. Feeling-based decisions about offerings may rely on appraisals and feelings,
affective forecasts and choices, and imagery. Finally, three types of contextual factors
can influence the decision process: (1) consumer characteristics; (2) decision
characteristics; and (3) the presence of a group.
I. High-Effort Judgment Processes
A. Judgments of Likelihood and Goodness/Badness
1. Estimations of likelihood involve determinations of how probable it is that
something will occur. Judgments of goodness/badness are the
consumer’s evaluation of the desirability of product or service features.
2. Mental and Emotional Accounting
a) Mental accounting is categorizing spending and savings decisions
into “accounts” for certain goals or transactions.
b) Emotional accounting is the intensity of the positive or negative
feelings associated with each account is an important influence on
consumer behavior.
3. Biases in Judgment Processes
a) Because consumers possess a confirmation bias to acquire and
process confirming information, they tend to be overconfident in their
b) Consumers often exhibit a self-positivity bias, believing that bad
things are more likely to happen to others, rather than themselves.
Consumers seem to weigh negative information more heavily than
positive information, creating a negativity bias.
d) Mood, which can bias judgment, serves as your initial anchor for
e) Prior brand evaluations can bias judgment.
f) Prior experiences can bias judgment.
g) The ease or difficulty of calculating price or discount differences can
bias judgment.
4. Marketing Implications
a) Marketers can help guide consumers’ judgments by choosing an
appropriate anchor from which to adjust their attitudes.
b) In brand extensions, the existing brand name and its positive (or
negative) associations act as anchors and influence for judgments of
the new product
c) Country of origin can also be used as a judgment anchor.
d) Marketers can positively influence consumers’ judgments by priming,
or creating a positive mood in the consumer.
e) Marketers can also affect consumers’ perceptions of the likelihood of
High-Effort Decisions and High Effort Decision-Making Processes
A. Deciding Which Brands to Consider
1. Consumers’ decisions sets include:
a) The consideration set, or the set of products/services they want to
choose from.
b) The inert set, or the set that is treated with indifference.
c) The inept set, or the set of unacceptable alternatives.
2. According to the attraction effect, changing the alternatives in the
consideration set can have a major impact on consumers’ decisions.
B. Deciding Which Criteria Are Important to the Choice
1. Goals
a) Goals can affect the criteria that will drive a consumer’s choice
b) Consumers’ goals may change during the decision-making process.
2. Time
a) The timing of a decision can affect which criteria drive a consumer’s
b) Construal level theory posits that whether abstract or concrete
construals are used depends on whether the decision is about
something the consumer will buy/use now or in the future.
3. Framing
a) The way the task is represented, decision framing can affect how
important a criterion is to consumers’ choices.
b) Consumers are more willing to take risks when a choice is framed as
avoiding a loss rather than acquiring a gain.
c) Decisions can also be framed by how the problem is structured in the
external environment (e.g., choosing between beef that is 25% or
75% lean).
Whether a decision is framed positively or negatively influences
evaluation differently.
e) Marketers can help prime consumers to focus on specific criteria in
their decision making.
4. Marketing Implications
a) Marketers can position (frame) an offering as being consistent with
consumers’ goal-related or usage categories.
III. Deciding What Brand to Choose: Thought-Based Decisions
A. Cognitive decision making models focus on how consumers use information
about attributes to reach a decision, while affective decision making models
focus on consumers’ choices based on emotions and feelings.
1. Compensatory Versus Noncompensatory Models
a) With compensatory models, consumers choose the brand that has
the greatest number of positive features relative to negative features.
A negative evaluation of one attribute can be compensated for by
positive features of other attributes.
b) With a noncompensatory model, negative information leads to
immediate rejection of the brand or service from the consideration
c) Noncompensatory models require less cognitive effort than
compensatory models because consumers set cutoff levels for each
attribute, and reject any brand below the cutoff level.
d) Marketing Implications.
(1). As different models can lead to different choices, marketers may
want to change the process by which consumers make
B. Decisions Based on Brands
1. Consumers may evaluate one brand at a time.
2. Multiattribute models are brand-based compensatory models, including
the Theory of Reasoned Action (TORA) model.
a) Multiattribute models are cognitively and emotionally taxing as
consumers have to make tradeoffs among attributes.
3. Consumers simplify decisions by using noncompensatory, brand-based
a) Using a conjunctive model, consumers set minimum cutoff levels for
each attribute.
(1). Unacceptable alternatives are quickly eliminated in a conjunctive
b) The disjunctive model is similar to the conjunctive model with two
important exceptions.
(1). The consumer sets up acceptable levels for the cutoffs, levels
that are more desirable
(2). The consumer bases the evaluation on several of the most
important attribute rather than all attributes.
4. Marketing Implications
Brand-based models help marketers understand what attributes
consumers consider in decision making, and how the consumers
evaluate their brands.
(1). If a consumer does not rate a company’s brand high on a given
attribute, the marketer can focus communication efforts on
improving the consumers’ opinions.
b) Decision models can also help in the planning of comparative
Decisions Based on Product Attributes
1. Sometimes consumers process one attribute.
a) Although most consumers prefer attribute processing because it is
cognitively easier, they cannot always find information in the correct
format to facilitate attribute processing.
2. In an additive difference model, brands are compared by attribute, two
brands at a time.
a) Consumers compare each important attribute, evaluate the
differences, and combine them in an overall preference.
3. In a lexicographic model, consumers order attributes in terms of
importance and compare the alternatives one attribute at a time starting
with the most important attribute.
a) If one alternative dominates on the most important attribute, it is
b) In the case of a tie, the consumer then considers the next most
important attribute until there is a clear preference.
4. In the elimination-by-aspects model, consumers again rank the attributes
in order of importance, but also consider acceptable cutoff levels for each
a) This model is not as rigid as the lexicographical model as more
attributes are likely to be considered.
5. Marketing Implications
a) An additive difference model allows marketers to present which
attributes exhibit the largest differences between brands. They can
use this knowledge to improve and position their brands.
b) A lexicographical model illustrates the ranking of attribute importance.
If the brand is weak on the most important attribute, marketers will
need to improve this feature and effectively communicate that
c) Identifying consumers’ cutoff levels is also useful to marketers.
Decisions Based on Gains and Losses
1. Consumers’ decisions may differ depending on whether their goal is to
seek gains or avoid losses.
2. Prospect theory posits that losses loom larger than gains for consumers,
even when they are of the same magnitude.
a) For example, in the endowment effect, sellers typically ask for a
higher price (as they are losing the item) than buyers are willing to
pay (as they will be gaining the item).
Consumers have a stronger reaction to price increases than price
c) Consumers’ promotion- and prevention-focused goals will impact this
decision process.
3. Marketing Implications
a) Marketers must make an effort to reduce risks and potential losses
for consumers by offering guarantees or easy payment plans.
b) Marketers need to carefully consider the amount of a price increase
because the greater the increase, the greater the negative reaction
from consumers.
c) Marketers should try to frame price increases as a gain to
consumers, such as an increase in product quality.
IV. Deciding What Brand to Choose: High-Effort Feeling-Based Decisions
A. When engaged in affective decision making, consumers make decisions based
on what feels right rather than a detailed, systematic evaluation of attributes.
1. Consumers who make affectively based decisions tend to be more
satisfied than those who make decisions based on product attributes.
a) Positive feelings for brands may be based on past experiences and
associated feelings.
2. Appraisals and Feelings
a) Appraisal theory examines how our emotions are determined by how
we think about a situation.
b) The theory also explains how and why some emotions affect future
judgment and decisions.
3. Affective Forecasts and Choices
a) Affective forecasting is consumers’ predictions of how they will feel in
the future.
b) It involves how consumers think they will feel as a result of a
decision, how intense that feeling is, and how long the consumer will
have the feeling.
c) Consumers’ affective forecasts are not always accurate.
4. Imagery
a) Imagery occurs when consumers imagine themselves using a
b) Imagery, either positive or negative, can affect consumers’ decisions.
c) Adding information will facilitate consumers’ imagery processing,
whereas in cognitive processing the consumer may experience
information overload.
d) Imagery encourages brand-based processing.
5. Marketing Implications
a) A variety of marketing techniques can be employed to enhance both
consumers’ emotional experience and imagery surrounding an
V. Additional High-Effort Decisions
A. Decision Delay
Consumers may perceive that a decision is too risky or unpleasant right
now and delay the decision.
2. Another reason for decision delay is the uncertainty of where to find
product information.
3. Marketing Implications
a) Marketers may want the consumer to make an immediate decision,
although sometimes encouraging decision delay may increase the
likelihood of a brand being selected.
B. Decision Making When Alternatives Cannot Be Compared
1. In making noncomparable decisions, consumers tend to use one of two
a) Alternative-based strategy
(1). Consumers develop an overall evaluation of each option and
make the decision based on this evaluation.
b) Attribute-based strategy
(1). Consumers make comparisons easier by forming abstract
representations of comparable attributes.
2. Marketing Implications
a) Marketers should look at the product’s competition in broad terms
because of the ability of consumers to compare noncomparable
b) Price may be an important attribute when consumers are deciding
between noncomparative alternatives.
VI. What Affects High-Effort Decisions?
A. Consumer Characteristics
1. Expertise
a) Expert consumers have a larger consumption vocabulary and thus
can use more attributes and information in making a decision.
b) Expert consumers tend to use brand-based decision strategies.
2. Mood
a) Consumers in a good mood are more willing to process information
and take time in decision making.
b) Consumers in a good mood make more extreme (positive or
negative) evaluations.
c) One study says that consumers in a high-arousal mood tend to
process information less thoroughly.
d) Consumers in a bad mood are more likely to recall a marketing
e) Consumers in a good mood judge objects more positively.
f) Consumers in a good mood are more likely to try new
3. Time pressure
a) As time pressure increases, consumers initially try to process
relevant information faster.
b) Consumers under time pressure then will base their decisions of
fewer attributes and place more weight on negative information, thus
eliminating bad alternatives quickly using noncompensatory decision
c) Time pressure also affects consumers’ decisions to delay their
4. Extremeness aversion
a) Options perceived as extreme on an attribute will seem less attractive
than those perceived as intermediate.
b) According to the compromise effect, a brand will gain share when it is
seen as an intermediate choice rather than an extreme choice.
5. Metacognitive experiences
a) Metacognitive experiences include factors such as how easy it is to
recall information in memory and form thoughts, and how easy it is to
process new information.
b) Metacognitive experiences influence retrieval ease, inferences and
Characteristics of the Decision
1. Information availability
a) The amount, quality and format of available information can affect the
decision strategies consumers use.
b) Having more information will lead to better choices up to the point of
information overload.
c) If information is useful and relevant, decision making is less taxing
and better decisions are made.
d) If information is ambiguous, consumers will likely stay with their
current brand rather than risk trying a new brand.
2. Information format
a) If information is organized by brand, consumers will more likely use
brand-based decision strategies.
b) If information is organized by attribute or in a matrix, consumers will
likely use attribute-based strategies.
c) Consumers presented with a narrative format of information tend to
process information more holistically and thus negative information
had less impact.
3. Trivial attributes
a) Consumers sometimes finalize decisions by examining trivial
Group Context
1. Consumers’ decisions can be affected by the presence of a group. Group
members attempt to balance both individual-alone goals and individualgroup goals when making a decision.
2. In a group, consumers face three types of individual-group goals.
a) Self-presentation goals refer to the image that consumers hope to
convey by their decisions.
b) Minimizing regret refers to risk adverse consumers who tend to make
decisions similar to the rest of the group.
Information gathering can result when consumers are in a group and
share information.
Marketing Implications
1. Understanding what affects consumer decision making can influence
pricing and marketing communication strategies.
MKT 301.
Ch 8. Research article review.
Name: ______________
“Get closer to your customer by understanding how they make choices”
1 Impact on choice. Explain how the set of alternatives (choice set) under consideration may influence choice.
2 Ability of consumers to report their own tastes or importance weights. Explain how the choice set may affect
3 Shifting the focus of attention. Explain how attention may be shifted and how this affects choice.
4 Compare and contrast how a “low-equity” low-price brand and a “high-equity” high-price brand would have
retailers arrange a product display.
5 Fear of wrong choice. Explain how the manner in which alternatives are evaluated may affect choice.
6 Define ‘framing.’ How might framing affect choice? Illustrate.
7 Variety seeking. Explain the influence of time frame (time horizon).
8 Impact on brand choice. Explain the effect of adding features and promotions with “limited” perceived value.
9 Briefly describe three managerial implications suggested by the Simonson article.
Get closer to your customers by understanding how they make
Simonson, Itamar
California Management Review; Summer 1993; 35, 4; ABI/INFORM Complete
pg. 68
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