The objective of this paper is to present an explanation of customer learning theories as well as practical applications connected to customer behaviour and advertisement. There are two main streams of consideration in learning theories. Some say that learning is entirely behavioural, i.e. it is a result of repetition and thus they treat the person as a black box which obtain a stimulus and gives a sure behaviour as output. Others are persuaded that learning is a cognitive process; even to the simplest of its form the customer always practice information to solve his or her problems. But in applying both theories are desired to make clear the learning phenomenon as learning is a combination of repetition and cognitive processes.
It is a type of acquired learning which a result of a search for information is. An intentional learner is someone who is motivated to learn, who actively participates in strategies that facilitates learning and he takes responsibility for learning. It involves questioning, organizing data, making connections, reflection and adapting.
It is a learning which is acquired by accident or without much outcome. It is some form of unplanned learning. It can occur at any time and in any place in day today life. It can occur through observation, social interaction, repetition, by watching or talking with others. It can result in growth in inter personal skills, improved competence, self-confidence.
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CUSTOMER LEARNING THEORIES
These theories are based on the premise that learning takes place as a result of observable responses to external stimuli. It is also known as stimulus response theory. Solomon et al. state that behavioral theories are based on the assumption that learning takes place as the result of responses to external events. In turn, Schiffman et al. refer behavioral learning theories as stimulus response theories since they primarily focus on inputs and outcomes that result in learning. Behavioral approach sees the mind of an individual as a ‘black box’ emphasizing the observable aspects of behavior.
It is a theory of learning which is based on mental information processing, often in response to problem solving. In contrast to behavioral learning theories, cognitive learning emphasizes the individual as a problem-solver entity rather than just a ‘black box’. An individual as problem solver uses information from their surroundings to master their environment.
BEHAVIORAL LEARNING THEORIES
It is also known as Pavlovian conditioning or respondent conditioning. Classical conditioning is a form of learning in which the conditioned stimulus comes to indicate the occurrence of a second stimulus, the unconditioned stimulus. The conditioned response is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus. There are three basic concepts that are fundamental to classical conditioning: repetition, stimulus generation and stimulus discrimination. Repetition increases the strength of association between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US). It also decreases the power of forgetting. However, when a product is overexposed to the market the effects of prior conditioning can start to reduce until they finally disappear. This phenomenon is called extinction or market wear out.
In his research, Pavlov observed that the dogs would salivate when they heard noises , resembling a bell. In the similar way, people react to stimuli akin to the original stimulus viewing the same paired conditioned response.
Stimulus Generation And Marketing:
Product line, Forms and category extinction
The skill to select a definite stimulus from among alike stimuli because of seeming differences is known as stimulus discrimination.
Instrumental conditioning is also known as operant conditioning. It occurs as the individual learns to present behavior that produces positive results and to evade those that give way negative results. Classical conditioning is helpful for explaining how customers learn easy behaviors; instrumental conditioning is helpful in clearing up more difficult goal-directed behaviors. The preferred behaviour may be acquired over a period of time as halfway actions are rewarded in a course called shaping. According to Solomon et al. there are three ways in which operant conditioning can take place: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment. Positive reinforcement imputes delivering a reward after the preferred behaviour is performed cheering the learning of the suitable response. Negative reinforcement, also strengthens responses so that suitable behaviour is acquired. In punishment a response is followed by objectionable events which aim at training people to perform the preferred behaviour in order to shun the negative effects.
Instrumental Conditioning and Marketing:
Customer satisfaction (reinforcement)
Reinforcement schedules (shaping)
The timing of recurrence influences how long the acquired material is retained. Learning usually continues longer with spread reinforcement schedule, though mass repetitions create more initial learning’s.
COGNITIVE LEARNING THEORIES
Observational learning is a type of cognitive learning that arises when people observe the actions of others and note down the reinforcement they get for their behaviours. It is a very complex process as the individual needs to pile up his or her observations in memory so that later on this observation helps them to guide their own behaviour. This process of replicating the behaviour of others is known as modeling.
APPLICATIONS OF LEARNING THEORIES
The information that can be attained by these theories provides marketers a strategic gain that fears company-to-consumer communications and the positioning of their goods. The design that lies behind is that consumers can be trained to recognize the firm’s trade name, in addition to prefer this brand above competitors’ offerings.
Applications Of Classical Conditioning
Nowadays, companies are worried with the making and maintenance of brand equity. This term refers to definite attributes of the brand that result in customers’ individual commitment to the brand. For the formation of brand equity companies muscularly rely on conditioned relations resulting from learning theories. It is primarily through advertising that companies have it in mind to teach customers. For training purposes there are numerous communication channels that can be used e.g. television, radio, or magazines. Sufficient exposure to the add must be made sure for the conditioning to occur. When customers have been exposed to a great extent of an ad, it loses effectiveness and lastly the customer will not pay much attention to it. This is known as marketing wear out and it can be conquered by simple decorative variations while keeping the similar theme and memo, using unlike backgrounds, diverse spokespersons, unusual colours, etc. This deviation must be cautiously made so that the conditioning connection does not alter dramatically.
Applications of Stimulus Generalization
The relations between UCS and CS acquired by customers can be extrapolated to additional CS stimulus. For example, a positive relationship that includes pleasant feelings for a product can be stir up by means of another product that looks identical. The core intention of copying the package is the increment of sales by inducing a parallel response in customers who assume that this product have the same good individuality of the original one. The major application of stimulus generalisation is that it facilitates the projection of achievement of one product or brand to others. The strategies based on stimulus generalisation comprise the following:
Family branding: This strategy takes benefit of consumer’s capability to generalise positive brand relations from one product to another, i.e. it makes uses of the brands high-quality reputation to introduce fruitfully new products.
For example, BMW endlessly adds new cars and motorcycles in the BMW brand name in order to get customers receiving. Satisfied customers may imagine that the recently launched products are as superior as the previous ones under the same brand. The ending goal of a company is to alter their brand name into an icon of quality.
Product line extensions: It is very close to family branding, with the just exception that the products additional to the established brand are linked, but not totally different.
Licensing: It is a marketing strategy where the third party makers create under the brand of a well documented company. The brand is borrowed by the firms in order to get receipt from customers that trust in the sky-scraping quality of the brand. Companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Disney employ licensing as their business strategy.
Applications of Stimulus Discrimination
Producer of well-established brands give confidence to their customers to favor their product over cheap products or else the consequences will not be the predictable weakening the organizer company’s created conditioning relations. As the customer purchases the product replication expecting to get the same or close results to the unique one he or she will be dissatisfied by the clear differences in quality between products. This results in two effects; either the consumer purchases again the respected brand or decides to give up the entire brand and the imitation product in total. Due to this reason, companies advise their consumers against imitations. Consumers have the ability to discriminate between similar stimuli. This is the foundation for brand positioning which challenges to establish a unique picture for the brand in the minds of customers resulting in high degrees of obligation towards the brand. As brand positioning is expensive and it takes time to attain, market leaders are attentive concerning product imitations; and they are prepared to straight away take legal action against this type of contravention.
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Applications of Instrumental Conditioning
Businesses make use of this strategy to get the beloved behaviour, always reinforcing the customers for taking the suitable action. For example, a car dealer supports the buyer to make procure by first inviting the customer to sit in the car he or she is interested in. Then, the salesman advises a test drive; after which he assures to make a unique price discount on the purchase of the vehicle.
Observational Learning Applications
Lots of today’s advertisement takes benefit of the principles of observational learning in order to instruct consumers. It is quite ordinary to find business where the major character is the article of reinforcement; in the case of AXE commercial we observe that young man are wearing the deodorant that attracts many women. Customers learn that by making use of this perfume it may also have the same outcome regarding the attraction of women.
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