Chapter 15
Consumer Influence and the
Diffusion of Innovations
Consumer Behavior,
Ninth Edition
Schiffman & Kanuk
Copyright 2007 by Prentice Hall
Chapter Outline
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What Is Opinion Leadership?
Dynamics of the Opinion Leadership Process
The Motivation Behind Opinion Leadership
Measurement of Opinion Leadership
The Interpersonal Flow of Communication
Diffusion of Innovations
The Adoption Process
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Opinion
Leadership
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The process by which
one person (the
opinion leader)
informally influences
the consumption
actions or attitudes of
others who may be
opinion seekers or
opinion recipients.
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What Is Opinion Leadership?
Opinion
Leader
Opinion
Receiver
Opinion
Seeker
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Word of Mouth in Action
Figure 15-1
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Discussion Question
• Who are the most influential opinion
leaders to college-aged people?
• Why are they influential?
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Dynamics of the Opinion
Leadership Process
• Credibility
• Positive and Negative Product Information
(favorable or unfavorable)
• Information and Advice either to buy or not
• Opinion Leadership Is Category-Specific
specialized in cretin product
• Opinion Leadership Is a Two-way Street
Who are opinion leader in one product will be
opinion leader receiver in another
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Motivations Behind Opinion
Leadership
Issues
• The Needs of
Opinion Leaders
• The Needs of
Opinion Receivers
• Purchase Pals
• Surrogate Buyers
versus Opinion
Leaders
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• Self-involvement
Feel like adventurer
• Social involvement
Express friendship by discussion products
that may be useful for others
• Product involvement
Express satisfaction or dissatisfaction
with product
• Message involvement
Telling others about it
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Motivations Behind Opinion
Leadership
Issues
• The Needs of
Opinion Leaders
• The Needs of
Opinion Receivers
• Purchase Pals
• Surrogate Buyers
versus Opinion
Leaders
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• New product or new usage
information
• Reduction of perceived
risk
• Reduction of search time
• Receiving the approval of
the opinion leader
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Motivations Behind Opinion
Leadership
Issues
• The Needs of
Opinion Leaders
• The Needs of
Opinion Receivers
• Purchase Pals
(friend ship)
• Surrogate Buyers
versus Opinion
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2007 by Prentice Hall
Leaders
• Actually accompany
consumers on
shopping trips
• Used 25 percent of
the time for purchases
of electronic
equipment
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Motivations Behind Opinion
Leadership
Issues
• The Needs of
Opinion Leaders
• The Needs of
Opinion Receivers
• Purchase Pals
• Surrogate Buyers
versus Opinion
Leaders
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• Surrogate buyers may
replace opinion
leaders
• An example is a
wardrobe consultant
who helps in the
purchase of business
clothes
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Table 15.3 Key Differences Between Opinion
Leaders and Surrogate Buyers
Part I: Opinion Leaders
OPINION LEADER
1. Informal relationship with end users
2. Information exchange occurs in the context of a casual interaction
4. Does not get paid for advice
5. Usually socially more active than end users
6. Accountability limited regarding the outcome of advice
8. Likely to have used the product personally
9. More than one can be consulted before making a final decision
10. Same person can be an opinion leader for a variety of related product
categories
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Table 15.3 Key Differences Between Opinion
Leaders and Surrogate Buyers
Part II: Surrogate Buyers
SURROGATE BUYER
1. Formal relationship; occupation-related status
2. Information exchange in the form of formal instructions/advice
4. Usually hired, therefore gets paid
5. Not necessarily socially more active than end-users
6. High level of accountability
7. Search and screening of alternatives more rigorous
8. May not have used the product for personal consumption
9. Second opinion taken on rare occasions
10. Usually specializes for a specific product/service category
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Measurement of Opinion
Leadership
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Self-Designating Method
Sociometric Method
Key Informant Method
Objective Method
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Discussion Question
• Who do you know, personally, that you
would consider an opinion leader?
• What is it about that person that makes
them an opinion leader? What
personality traits might they have
which prompt their status?
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Table 15.4 Measuring Opinion Leadership
OPINION LEADERSHIP
MEASUREMENT
METHOD
DESCRIPTION OF METHOD
SAMPLE
QUESTIONS ASKED
SELF-DESIGNATING
METHOD
Each respondent is asked a
series of questions to determine
the degree to which he or she
perceives himself or herself to
be an opinion leader.
“Do you influence
other people in their
selection of
products?”
SOCIOMETRIC
METHOD
Members of a social system are
asked to identify to whom they
give advice and to whom they
go for advice.
“Whom do you
ask?”“Who asks you
for info about that
product category?”
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Table 15.4 continued
OPINION
LEADERSHIP
MEASUREMENT
METHOD
DESCRIPTION OF METHOD
SAMPLE
QUESTIONS
ASKED
KEY INFORMANT
METHOD
Carefully selected key informants in “Who are the most
a social system are asked to
influential people in
designate opinion leaders.
the group?”
OBJECTIVE
METHOD
Artificially places individuals in a
“Have you tried the
position to act as opinion leaders
product?”
and measures results of their efforts.
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Table 15.6 Profile of Opinion Leaders
GENERALIZED
ATTRIBUTES ACROSS
PRODUCT CATEGORIES
Innovativeness
Willingness to talk
Self-confidence
Gregariousness
Cognitive differentiation
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CATEGORY-SPECIFIC
ATTRIBUTES
Interest
Knowledge
Special-interest media exposure
Same age
Same social status
Social exposure outside group
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Market
Maven
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Individuals whose
influence stems from a
general knowledge or
market expertise that
leads to an early
awareness of new
products and services.
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The Interpersonal Flow of
Communication
• Two-Step Flow
– A communication model that portrays
(represent) opinion leaders as direct
receivers of information from mass media
sources who, in turn, interpret and
transmit this information
• Multistep Flow
– A revision of the traditional two-step
theory that shows multiple communication
flows
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Two-Step Flow of
Communication Theory
Figure 15.3
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Multistep Flow of
Communication Theory
Figure 15.4
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Issues in Opinion Leadership
and Marketing Strategy
• Advertisements Stimulating Opinion
Leadership
• Word of Mouth May Be Uncontrollable
eGo Bikes Video
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Marketers Seek to Take Control of
the Opinion Leadership Process
• Creating products with built-in buzz
potential let customers talk about it
• Strategy designed to stimulate buzz
web site or hire actors
• Viral marketing marriage of e-mail and
word mouth it allow massage to spread
as viral
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Proctor & Gamble Uses Tremor
to Influence Buzz Marketing
weblink
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Diffusion
Process
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The process by which the
acceptance of an
innovation is spread by
communication to
members of social
system over a period of
time.
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Adoption
Process
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The stages through
which an individual
consumer passes in
arriving at a decision to
try (or not to try), to
continue using (or
discontinue using) a new
product.
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Elements of the Diffusion
Process
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The Innovation
The Channels of Communication
The Social System
Time
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Defining Innovations
• Firm-oriented definitions
– Product is “new” to the company
• Product-oriented definitions
– Continuous modified product
• Market-oriented definitions
– Based on consumer exposure purchased in small
quantity present short time
• Consumer-oriented definitions
– Consumer judges it as “new”
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What type
of product
innovation
is this
product?
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Product Characteristics That
Influence Diffusion
• Relative Advantage
• Compatibility match the needs of
customers
• Complexity difficult to use
• Trialability
• Observability attributes ,benefits
observed
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Time and Diffusion
• Purchase Time times needed to aware
new products
• Adopter Categories
• Rate of Adoption
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Adopter
Categories
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A sequence of
categories that
describes how early (or
late) a consumer adopts
a new product in
relation to other
adopters.
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Adopter Categories
Figure 15.8
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Discussion Question
• Which adaptor category are you?
• Does it differ with different product
categories?
• How about your parents, what category
are they?
• Is age a factor in innovation behavior?
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Table 15.14 Stages in Adoption Process
WHAT HAPPENS
NAME OF
DURING THIS STAGE
STAGE
EXAMPLE
Awareness
Consumer is first
exposed to the product
innovation.
Eric sees an ad for a 23-inch thin LCD
HDTV in a magazine he is reading.
Interest
Consumer is interested in
the product and searches
for additional
information.
Eric reads about the HDTV set on the
manufacturer’s Web site and then goes to
an electronics store near his apartment and
has a sales person show him the unit.
Evaluation
Consumer decides
whether or not to believe
that this product or
service will satisfy the
need--a kind of “mental
trial.”
After talking to a knowledgeable friend,
Eric decides that his TV will fit nicely on
top of the chest in his bedroom. He also
calls his cable company and finds out that
he can exchange his “standard” cable box
at no cost for an HDTV cable box.
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Table 15.14 Stages in Adoption Process
WHAT HAPPENS
NAME OF DURING THIS STAGE
STAGE
Trial
Adoption
(Rejection)
Consumer uses the
product on a limited
basis
If trial is favorable,
consumer decides to use
the product on a full,
rather than a limited
basis--if unfavorable, the
consumer decides to
reject it.
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EXAMPLE
Since the HDTV set cannot be “tried” like
a small tube of toothpaste, Eric buys the
TV at this local electronics store on his
way home from work. The store offers a
14-day full refund policy.
Eric loves his new HDTV set and expects
many year of service from it.
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Issues in Profiling Consumer
Innovators
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Defining the Consumer Innovator 2.5%
Interest in the Product Category early adopters
The Innovator Is an Opinion Leader
Personality Traits
Social Characteristics
Demographic Characterist
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