Psychological, Marketing, Physical, and Sociological Factors Affecting Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions for Customers Resisting the Purchase of an Embarrassing Product, Advances in Consumer Research
In this research, we examine hearing impaired consumers' attitudes and behavioral intentions regarding hearing aids. We measured attitudes prior and subsequent to exposure to marketing communications which attempt to persuade consumers to purchase hearing aids and perceive them more favorably. We consider the hearing aid patient/consumer holistically, and include predictors for their psychological and physical states, as well as explanatory factors such as the environmental, sociological pressures that the patient/consumer is experiencing which help to induce the hearing aid purchase. In this context, we test the marketing effect of the advertising exposure. This study is predominately a psychological profile of the consumer who needs to buy and wear a hearing aid, but as yet has not done so. We believe the psychological processes that we consider may have broader implications, in that the class of embarrassing products is large, e.g., AIDS-testing, adult undergarments, etc., and our findings should therefore have wide-ranging implications. The marketer attempting to persuade consumers to make any of these kinds of purchases has to overcome similar levels of resistance and denial in the purchase of these embarrassing products. We also sought representative sampling of our study participants and real-world execution of advertisements to also enhance the generalizability of this research. Nevertheless, this particular study focuses on hearing aids and consumers' attitudes toward people who wear them, including the psychological stigma attached to the wearer, which in turn begins to explain the state of denial in which a hearing impaired consumer lives. Denying the need for an embarrassing product creates greater resistance to the purchase of that product, from not paying attention to the targeted marketing communications efforts, to holding rather unfavorable attitudes toward the product, regardless of the consumer's physical realities.
Dawn Iacobucci, Bobby Calder, Edward Malthouse, Adam Duhachek
Iacobucci, Dawn, Bobby Calder, Edward Malthouse, and Adam Duhachek. 2003. Psychological, Marketing, Physical, and Sociological Factors Affecting Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions for Customers Resisting the Purchase of an Embarrassing Product. Advances in Consumer Research. 30(1): 236-240.