An analysis of the practice and theory of the advertising of consumer services: creation of a framework for effective advertising
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AbstractThe objective of this study was to establish whether consumer services need to be advertised differently from goods and, if so, in what way. A review of the services advertising and the general advertising literature revealed discrepancies between not only the services advertising theory and generic advertising theory but also between services advertising theory and services advertising practice. Exploratory research and a further literature review were undertaken to investigate the rationale and any justification for these inconsistencies. The programme of research culminated into a services consumer behaviour and advertising framework that was tested and verified. Phase one of the empirical research consisted of two pieces of exploratory analysis, which examined the UK advertising industry from different angles to establish how consumer services are advertised. Firstly, a content analysis of 270 service and goods advertisements was performed to compare the amount and type of information they contained. Secondly, nine in-depth personal interviews with advertising practitioners were conducted to explore their views on how services should be advertised. A discussion of the findings from the exploratory research and a further literature review led to the development of fourteen hypotheses. Phase two also comprised of two pieces of empirical research. Firstly, the hypotheses were tested by undertaking a questionnaire survey, which explored the buying behaviour of 400 consumers who had recently purchased a variety of different consumer services. The results from the survey were then utilised, alongside further advertising literature, to create advertising guidelines which were compared with the executional tools utilised in a selection of award winning, successful service advertisements. The final framework classifies services into four groups: high involvement utilitarian, high involvement experiential, low involvement utilitarian and low involvement experiential. The buying behaviour relevant to each category in terms of information search and evaluation is provided. In addition, the influences of motivation and opportunity as well as the involvement dimensions i.e. importance and interest, are included. The framework also contains appropriate advertising appeals and specific executional guidelines for each classification.
CitationMortimer, K. (2003) 'An analysis of the practice and theory of the advertising of consumer services: creation of a framework for effective advertising'. PhD thesis. University of Luton.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to Luton Business School, University of Luton
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