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Advertising remains one of the avenues by which consumer learning or customer socialisation occurs. Customer socialisation is defined as the process by which a customer is taught how to behave within the consumer environment. Instrumental learning theorists believe that learning occurs through a trial and error process with habits formed as a result of rewards received for certain reposes or behaviours. Every time a customer purchases a shirt or a sweater there that they really like, and become a frequent buyer, their loyalty is rewarded which reinforces their patronage to the store. The end result is a recurrence of the behavior to the point of inveteracy (Schiffman 2013). Some advertisements are notorious for their affective, behavrioural or cognitive appeal. Advertising is one of the avenues by which learning or consumer socialization occurs.
Similar to the process by which a child or even adult is taught how to behave, consumer socialization happens when the buyer adopts the desirable knowledge, skills, attitudes, customs and experiences of the corporation. An advertisement can be viewed as an instructive lesson in which the consumer gradually understands either the utility or desirability of the good or service.
The Four Types of Loyalty Programmes display some advertising methods used to attract customers via rewards or incentives. These assume various forms and may be divided into four sectors: immediate, delayed, directly supporting company and indirectly supporting company. Each sector would appeal to a different customer personality. Immediate rewards grants customers prizes awarded in the short-term, while with delayed rewards customers must take time and work (through repeated purchases) to earn points and win the prize. The directly supporting reward allows the company to regain money spent to manufacture and attract customers and even profit. A good illustration is the discount deals and frequent buyer promotions that stimulate more purchases. The indirect support is not financially profitable but, it promotes the company’s public image by publicity and improves the personal relationship with the customer base e.g. clubs.
In an attempt to make customers loyal through repeated purchases, Cadbury sponsors many price cuts, coupons, contests, competitions and clubs. These incentives would draw customers to increase purchases because of the special deals advertised. Many times, these rewards are successful because they create more public interest among certain targeted segments such as the young for toys, more candy/chocolate or for the older, clothes or cash. Club membership in prestige societies is also another reward that Cadbury and other enterprises set up to reach, incorporate and make loyal their customers.
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