Research Highlights - June 2020

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How can you use the findings from the latest research studies to improve your performance and the performance of your organization?  We’ll provide the highlights and key ideas you won’t get anywhere else.

A new study from Michigan State University published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science shows that leveraging “consumer arrogance” might be a marketer’s most effective strategy for promoting their brands and products.  Arrogance is when you broadcast your superiority to others; consumer arrogance is broadcasting your superiority to others via consumption. Whether it’s, ‘I got a better deal on a product than you,’ or, ‘Look at my new car,’ it’s all about showing others how great a consumer you are, and “how much better you are than them.”

Companies spend billions of dollars advertising products, services, and experiences, but word-of-mouth, which is the information consumers share about products, deals, brands, or anything that is consumption related, is an invaluable promotion tactic that is driven by consumer arrogance.

Some experts predict that in 10 years, the conventional world of marketing will disappear and we will rely only on word-of-mouth marketing — especially for those of the younger generation who do not trust marketing messages from companies and rely on influencers, recommendations and other forms of word-of-mouth communication. This is why the social phenomenon of consumer arrogance is critically important to understand.

In an era of “oversharing” one’s consumption practices and triumphs, the researchers wanted to find out what role consumer arrogance played in word-of-mouth sharing — for better or worse.

In five studies, they showed how consumer arrogance drives word-of-mouth communication.  Indeed, they confirmed that if you can trigger people’s sense of consumer arrogance, they’re more likely to engage in word-of-mouth communication. 

However, they still faced the question: “is that always good for marketers?”  As frequently happens in marketing, the answer is: “It depends.” The study found that such a tendency can be a double-edged sword for marketers.

While most consumers prefer to engage in positive...

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