Sunday, March 1, 2009

Media Involvement

What makes print inherently more involving than radio or TV?
Drewniany and Jewler (2008, p 210) say that radio is less inherently involving than print media because it is transient, listeners cannot go back and reread something. An advertisier is relying on their memory to record and playback the marketing message. Likewise Duncan. He says (2005, p 360), “Broadcast messages are fleeting.” They have the staying power of dayflies and can be just as annoying. Duncan further notes that customers can be doing something else while listening to radio or watching TV, especially during commercials when they get restive or jerk themselves back to reality to get a soda or something.
He notes these as weaknesses for TV and Radio (p 349).

When should a more involving medium be used?
The level of consumer involvement is an important consideration in media selection. Duncan (2005, p. 142) says that consumer involvement has two facets, relevance and perceived risk. He goes on to say (2005, p. 141), that relevance is key to determining the level of involvement, the extent to which a product or its message is pertinent and connects with a customer’s personal interests. Customers are more willing to invest pre-purchase energy in learning more about a relevant and more risky buy.

The Elaboration Likelihood Model by Cacioppo and Petty can provide a framework for analyzing the most effective balance in the media mix for marketing communications. Cacioppo and Petty define the primary relationships in persuasive communication as communication engagement and cognitive commitment.

According to the model, the greater our communication engagement with the other party the more likely that party is to use what the model calls central route processing, which is to say a great deal of message related thinking. Media appropriate for in-depth thinking and evaluation of the message should be used in such a case. On the other hand, if communication engagement is low, what the model calls peripheral cues are best. In this case, more attention getting media that do not necessarily lend themselves to protracted analysis would be a better choice.

Perceived Risk
Perceived risk may be difficult for advertisiers to identify. Perceived risk is related to unsatisfactory product performance and as noted above is related to consumer involvement. The level of risk may depend on context. Hawkins, et al (2007, p 550) give an example of buying wine. If you are buying for yourself, no big problem if it is unsatisfactory. The same decision, if you are buying for a dinner with a significant other, can be much riskier.

In some ways, a different context can make one product perform like a completely different product in response to IMC. Hawkins, et al (p 551) do give examples of products that generally have high perceived risk. They are classified by types of failure:
  • Social costs (e.g. new suit not appreciated by peers)

  • Financial cost (e.g. expensive vacation that had rain everyday)

  • Time Cost (e.g. auto repairs are not just cash costs)

  • Physical cost (e.g. interactions or side effects of prescription drugs)

It also seems intuitive that context may be ascertainable from the audience characteristics of the specific media companies employed. In these cases, advertisers should be able to make a good bet on risk level.


Cacioppo, John and Richard Petty (1986.) THE ELABORATION LIKELIHOOD MODEL OF PERSUASION. Retrieved on Feb 19, 2009 from the EBSCOHost database.

Drewniany, B and J Jewler (2008). Creative Strategy in Advertising. Wadsworth.

Hawkins, D., Mothersbaugh, D. and Best, R. (2007). Consumer behavior: building marketing strategy. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

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