What is the Hierarchy of effects?
The hierarchy of effects is a theory that explains how advertising affects the decision-making of target audiences when it comes to purchasing particular items and brands in a series of behavioral phases. It is used for telling about advertising effectiveness.
The hierarchy of effects model is made up of three primary stages: the cognitive stage (awareness, knowledge), the second one will be affective stage (liking, preference, conviction), and the final one will be the behavioral stage (purchase). The hierarchy of effects theory, as a study based on cognitive psychology, is criticized by cognitive psychologists for its inability to grasp each step in buying patterns and its disregard for various marketing objectives.
The hierarchy-of-effects theory is a marketing paradigm that explains how advertising influences consumer decisions to buy or not buy an item or service. The hierarchy depicts the consumer’s journey from learning and decision-making through advertisements. A hierarchy-of-effects model is utilized to establish a structured series of advertising message objectives for a specific product in order to achieve the desired result: sale.
The following are the advertising campaign’s goals (in order of delivery), each with a different objective- awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction: and purchase. The hierarchy of effects is a marketing concept that looks at how advertising influences customers’ purchase decisions for specific items and brands. The hierarchy of effects theory considers a series of steps from gaining consumers’ attention to their ultimate purchasing behavior by advertisers.
Understanding Hierarchy of effects theory
The hierarchy of effects theory is a method that explains how advertising may persuade consumers to acquire or not acquire a particular service or product.
The concept was developed by Gray A Steiner and Robert J Lavidge in the early 1960s. According to the hierarchy of effect approach, investors should make an ad with the intention of prompting customers to buy the advertised goods and services.
The hierarchy-of-effects theory is a more sophisticated form of marketing that uses well-developed, persuasive advertising messages to create brand awareness over time in order to sell a product.
While an immediate purchase is ideal, businesses using this method expect consumers to go through a longer decision-making process. Advertisers aim to lead a potential customer through all stages of the hierarchy of effects theory is crucial here.
The hierarchy-of-effects theory holds that people’s attitudes, values, and behaviors are determined by three levels of cause and effect: cognitive, affective, and conative.
Cognitive, affective, and conative actions are the three components of this model. In his 1961 paper, A Model for Predictive Measurements of Advertising Effectiveness, Robert J and Gary A. Steiner created a hierarchy-of-effects model.
Origins of Hierarchy of effects
The Hierarchy of Effects was first introduced in 1898 by Elias St Elmo Lewis, a salesperson. According to Lewis, an effective salesman guided a client through a sequence of phases rather than simply closing a deal.
The “Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action” model was created in 1910 by Edward Bernays. The hierarchy of effects was first published in print in 1910. It appeared as an editorial in Printer’s Ink. The model was subsequently presented as Attention, Interest, Conviction, and Action.
The following article claimed that any full advertising campaign must follow this model of persuasion. In the Journal of Marketing, Robert Lavidge and Gary Steiner released their ground-breaking paper on the Hierarchy of Effects in 1961. They also noted that customers appeared to go through cognitive (thinking), affective (emotional), and conative (intention/action) stages.
How does the Hierarchy-of-Effects Theory Work?
There’s a need for marketers to grasp and utilize powerful persuasion abilities in the corporate world to achieve successful advertising. It’s a marketing strategy that aims to teach consumers about all of the elements involved from the moment they see an advertisement for a product until they buy it.
The goal of marketers is to ensure that customers go through the six stages before purchasing the product. While an immediate purchase may be a good idea, many businesses prefer using a hierarchy of effects theory to provide consumers with the opportunity to think things over.
Because of this, advertisers have a responsibility of ensuring that people interested in their products and services are able to complete the procedure successfully. It’s all about thinking, feeling, and performing the action.
Stages of Hierarchy of Effects
The process begins with gaining consumer attention. If a potential phone buyer were looking to purchase a smartphone, for example, the marketing team of a mobile company would need to get them aware of the brand through advertising. The customer recognizes the brand at this point but has very little information about it.
This is when a product’s existence becomes known to customers through advertising. Because there is no assurance that consumers will become aware of the product brand after it has been advertised, this stage is difficult. Consumers are exposed to thousands of advertisements every day, therefore they are more likely to recall a tiny portion of a product’s brand.
After recognizing a brand, consumers will begin to assess whether the product within that brand can fulfill their needs and how it compares to other items and companies. It’s critical to make sure that customers are fully informed about the brand so that they may advance to the next stage.
This is the stage in which marketers anticipate consumers to learn more about the advertised goods. It might be through product packaging, retail advisors, or even the internet. It’s a crucial milestone in an age when everything is done online. Consumers may obtain information or gain knowledge on any product simply by pressing a button.
The awareness and knowledge (or cognitive) phases are when a consumer is informed about a product or service, as well as how they process the information they have been given. It is critical for marketers to include brand information in this stage in a way that attracts consumers to learn more and makes them feel as if they are part of the company.
At this point, the process has transferred from cognitive to emotional action. Consumers establish favorable opinions about a brand as a result of it providing emotional comforts. The smartphone user, for example, may appreciate the attractive design or find the phone’s high-definition camera useful.
It’s a stage when marketers must ensure that consumers like the product. They must make certain that the characteristics they advertise a specific product encourage the consumer to buy it.
Consumers appreciate elements that a brand has, while they may also appreciate qualities possessed by other brands. At the preference stage, a brand must distinguish itself from competing products and establish superiority over rivals.
It’s possible that clients will like more than one product brand, and they might buy any of them. Advertisers must ensure that consumers devote their attention to their own products rather than competing products. To guarantee this, it is critical that marketers emphasize the benefits of their brand, especially its USP or unique selling points. This will let customers differentiate the product from the rest.
The liking and preference (or affective) stages of the purchase decision are when consumers form feelings about a company, so it is not an appropriate moment for marketers to focus on product features or technological capabilities. Instead, advertisers should target a consumer’s values, emotions, self-esteem, or lifestyle in order to appeal to their ideals and beliefs.
Conviction is the decision-making stage in which consumers’ positive feelings for a brand become an assurance to purchase. At this time, consumers are able to assuage their uncertainties and become more convinced about a particular product.
At this point, advertisers should be able to arouse consumers’ interest in the product being advertised. They can let prospective buyers try the product to encourage confidence. If the goods are food, they may distribute free samples so that people may taste them first. They should invite clients for a vehicle test drive if the service is offered on wheels. Here, consumers will be confident to make a final decision about the purchase of the products. Brands need to encourage the conviction of potential customers at this stage. rival products
At the pinnacle of the sales funnel, consumers make the decision to buy. It’s critical to provide a positive purchasing experience to customers, such as providing pre-order alternatives, instructions on how to use it, or a warranty of after-sales assistance. Such measures might entice customers to make larger purchases or stay loyal to a brand for their next purchases as well.
This is the time when advertisers want consumers to buy their goods. The process should be straightforward and simple in order for customers to purchase the item. A sluggish website, for example, might discourage online shopping. A complicated payment procedure can also make consumers hesitant about purchasing a product.
The conviction and purchase (or conative) phase are focused on activities. It’s when a marketer tries to force a potential client to take action on the information they’ve learned and developed an emotional bond with a brand by making a purchase. It may entail converting reservations about a product or service into action. In these phases, marketers should work to persuade potential consumers that they need a product or service, usually with the use of a test drive or sample item. Advertisers should also establish rapport with them by stressing the quality, usefulness, and popularity of their goods or services.
Here is a video by Marketing91 on the Hierarchy of Effects.
Hierarchy of Effects Consumer Behaviour Stages
Taking a look at how these six stages are related to one another can assist you in better understanding consumer motivation. The three major phases of consumer behavior that were outlined by Lavidge and Steiner include:
This is also known as the “thinking” stage, during which consumers learn about and become aware of the product. This may be viewed as a reasonable step in which pros and drawbacks, product features, etc. of a product are considered.
The “feeling” stage occurs when a consumer first develops a liking for the product, and may even form strong positive (or negative) sentiments toward it.
The “behavior” stage of the process begins now. When the buyer, after weighing the benefits and drawbacks, makes a choice, he or she goes ahead and purchases the item.
The name comes from the fact that the buying process is a step-by-step procedure in which the number of people willing to participate at each stage decreases. Let’s assume you began with 20 consumers who are familiar with your brand; 15 of those individuals thought about purchasing it but only 12 actually purchased it.
The hierarchy of effects model is a framework that advises marketers to create an ad in such a manner that the client passes through all of these six stages: awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, and conviction. The number of consumers who move from one step to the next decreases as you go through the model, which is why it’s known as a “hierarchy.” Many people may see product advertising but not everyone will buy it.
Taking customers from awareness to the final stage of purchase is a time-consuming process, so businesses must make every effort to move consumers from conviction to completion at each step of the way.
Now, in the end, how effective do you consider the hierarchy of effects theory in telling about the effectiveness of an ad campaign?