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Role of Consumer Involvement

  1. It is an inner urge that creates within an individual an interest/desire to hold certain product/service offerings in greater relevance/importance.

2. Involvement possesses certain properties:

a) It has a level of strength and intensity that determines the degree of involvement that a consumer possesses. This could be high or low. A highly involved consumer would actively search for information and collect facts, compare the various brands against each other on the basis of the information, assess differences and similarities between the various alternatives and finally make a choice. In other words, they collect, process and integrate information very intensely, and finally arrive at a decision regarding the brand choice. On the other hand, a consumer low on involvement would not make so much of effort in collecting and processing information about varying alternative brands and taking a decision.

b) The length of time that the consumer remains in this heightened state determines the level of persistence. It could be short term and situational interest in the product/service category; or it could be long term and enduring.

c) It is directed towards any or all of the elements of the marketing mix. A person may show involvement towards the product (its features/attributes and benefits), the price, the store or the dealer or even the promotional effort (advertisement/sales promotion etc).

  1. A mechanism underlies the very process of involvement. As a process, involvement is impacted by certain “antecedents” that get restrained by “moderating factors,” and finally affect its degree of intensity and level of persistence.

Depending on whether the involvement is short term or long term, consumer involvement could be of two types, viz., situational and enduring.

  1. Situational involvement: This is a state of arousal directed towards attaching relevance to a person/object/situation for a short term. As an affective state, it creates a level of involvement when a person thinks about a particular person/object/situation. It is specific to a situation and is thus temporary in nature. It could vary from low to high, depending upon the situational factors.

For example, a middle aged lady suddenly decides to gift a laptop to her son on his birthday. She is not techno savvy and has little interest with the product category. She goes to the electronics mall and visits the various stores that sell computers and laptops. She collects information on the product features, prices, etc and finally takes the help of her middle aged neighbor to reach a final decision. Her involvement with the purchase activity would be regarded as a situational involvement.

  1. Enduring involvement: When the level of involvement towards the product/service category extends over a period of time across situations, it is referred to as enduring involvement. The person shows a high-level of interest in the product category and spends time collecting and processing information and integrating it within his memory.

For example, a person desires to buy a laptop for his son to be gifted to him when he goes to college, which would be three years later. The father plans well in advance, tries to collect information through advertisements, brochures, trade journals, visits to dealers, and word of mouth from peers and colleagues. Within this period he gets involved with the product category and after three years is in a position to take a decision based on the facts that he has collected. This is referred to as enduring involvement.

Enduring involvement with a product category often gives birth to an opinion leader. An opinion leader is a person who holds interest in a particular product/service category, and becomes a specialist; he makes efforts to gather all information about the category, the brand offering etc.; he talks about and spreads the information and the knowledge that he possesses. When a person wants to make a purchase, he seeks the

advice and guidance of such an opinion leader who helps him make a decision. Opinion leaders are product specific. In the example above, if the lady approaches her neighbour and takes his advice/guidance because the neighbour is young, techno savvy and knows a lot about electronics and in particular laptops, she would actually be taking help of what is known as an “opinion leader”.

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