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Chapter 11
Social Influences
on Consumer Behavior
Learning Objectives~ Ch. 11
To understand:
1. How general sources of influence differ in four
key ways
2. The influence of opinion leaders-especially in
the era of social media
3. The types/characteristics of reference groups
4. Both normative & informational influence
Social Influences
“. . . information pressures . . . [that have] a
strong influence on consumers because the
information source is very credible; . . . they
have a strong influence simply because the
source can communicate information widely.”
Social Influences
General Sources of Influence
– Via mass media
– Personally
Sources differ?
– Reach
– Capacity for two-way communication
– Credibility
Sources of Influence
Opinion Leaders
– Knowledgeable about products
– Heavy users of mass media
– Buy new products when introduced
– Perceived as credible
Market maven
Marketing implications
– Target
– Use in marketing communications
– Refer consumers
Types of Reference Groups
– Associate products with
– Accurately represent
– Brand communities
– Avoid using
Reference Groups
Degree of Group Contact
– Primary
– Secondary
Homophily: Similarity among members
Group attractiveness
Degree of identity
Tie strength
Many facebook friends, LinkedIn contacts & twitter
followers- a large social & or professional network
Tie-Strength & Social
Marketing Implications
Understand information transmission
Target formal reference groups
Target homophilous consumers
Target the network
Understand strength of weak ties
– Embedded markets
Reference Groups
as Socializing Agents
Media & marketplace
Campus organizations
In What Ways is Tiger
an Influencer?
Normative Influence
“. . . derives from norms, society’s collective
decisions about what behavior should be.”
Implies Consumers Will Be
– Sanctioned/punished if norms not followed
– Rewarded for performing expected
Sources & Types of Influence
Normative Influence & CB
congruence &
Compliance versus reactance
Characteristics affecting strength
– Product
– Consumer
– Group-coercive power
– May be more visible in this era of
social media & events
Marketing Implications
Rewards/sanctions for product use/nonuse
Create norms for group behavior
Create conformity pressures
Use compliance techniques
– Foot-in-the door
– Door-in-the-face
– Even-a-penny will help
Ask consumers to predict behavior
Provide freedom of choice
Use service providers similar to customers
Informational Influence
“. . . influence, reference groups & other
influence sources can exert . . . by offering
information to help make decisions.”
“. . . can affect how much time & effort
consumers devote to information search &
decision making.”
Informational Influence Strength
Is impacted by:
Product characteristics
Consumer & influencer characteristics
Group characteristics
Descriptive Dimensions
of Information
Valence: Information positive or negative?
– Negative more likely to be communicated
– People pay more attention to & give weight to
Modality: Verbal or nonverbal?
Pervasive/Persuasive: Word-of-mouth, viral
Restoring Public Trust
Negative Wom/eWOM
Pervasive & persuasive
– Viral marketing
What to do
– Prevent & respond to negative word of
– Engineer favorable word of mouth
– Handle rumors
– Track word of mouth
Handling Rumors & Scandals
Do nothing
Do something locally
Do something discreetly
Do something big
Take responsibility for what is right