The Hierarchy of Effects Model was created in 1961 by Robert J Lavidge and Gary A Steiner. This marketing communication model, suggests there are six steps from viewing a product advertisement (advert) to product purchase. The job of the advertiser is to encourage the customer to go through the six steps and purchase the product.
The diagram below shows the steps in The Hierarchy Of Effects Model
The customer becomes aware of the product through advertising. This is a challenging step, there is no guarantee that the customer will be aware of the product brand after they view the advert. Customers see many adverts each day but will only remember the brand of a tiny fraction of products.
The customer begins to gain knowledge about the product for example through the internet, retail advisors and product packaging. In today's digital world this step has become more important as consumers expect to gather product knowledge at the click of a button. Consumers will quickly move to competitor brands if they do not get the information they want. The advertiser's job is to ensure product information is easily available.
As the title states, this step is about ensuring that the customer likes your product. As an advertiser what features can you promote to encourage the customer to like your product?
Consumers may like more than one product brand and could end up buying any one of them. At this stage advertisers will want the consumer to disconnect from rival products and focus on their particular product. Advertisers will want to highlight their brand's benefits and unique selling points so that the consumer can differentiate it from competitor brands.
This stage is about creating the customer's desire to purchase the product. Advertisers may encourage conviction by allowing consumers to test or sample the product. Examples of this are inviting consumers to take a car for a test drive or offering consumers a free sample of a food product. This reassures consumers that the purchase will be a safe one.
Having proceeded through the above stages, the advertiser wants the customer to purchase their product. This stage needs to be simple and easy, otherwise the customer will get fed up and walk away without a purchase. For example a variety of payment options encourages purchase whilst a complicated and slow website discourages purchases.
Six Steps and Behaviour
Lavidge and Steiner suggested that the six steps can be split into three stages of consumer behaviour: cognitive, affective and conative.
Cognitive (thinking) so that the consumer becomes product aware and gathers product knowledge
Affective (feeling) so that the consumer likes the product brand and has conviction in it
Conative (behaviour) so that the consumer buys the product brand
The job of the advertiser is to promote the three behaviours so that the consumer proceeds to Conative behaviour and purchases the product.
This model is known as a "hierarchy" because the number of consumers moving from one stage to the next reduces, as you move through the model. There may be a lot of consumers that see the product advert but not everyone will make a purchase. It takes a lot of work to take a consumer from awareness to the final stage of purchase, so businesses need to ensure that they try their utmost to get customers from conviction to complete the final stage of purchase.
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