Purpose: This paper aims to demonstrate that self-persuasion can be used as a marketing technique to increase consumers’ generosity and that the efficacy of this approach is dependent on consumers’ involvement with target behavior.
Design/methodology/approach: An experimental field-study was conducted to investigate the effects of self-persuasion versus direct persuasion attempts versus no persuasion attempts on consumers’ tipping behavior in a lunchroom. Additionally, in a lab experiment, the moderating role of involvement on self-persuasion versus direct persuasion was tested.
Findings: The results reveal that self-persuasion is more effective than direct persuasion attempts or no persuasive messages in increasing consumers’ generosity. This is moderated by consumers’ involvement with the target behavior. For consumers with high involvement, self-persuasion is more effective than direct persuasion, while no differences were found for consumers with moderate or low involvement.
Practical implications: The scope of self-persuasion is not limited to the inhibition of undesired behavior, but it also extends to the facilitation of desired behavior, which considerably broadens the scope of this technique. Self-persuasion might be used as a marketing technique to influence consumers’ purchase behavior. This might be particularly viable in situations in which consumers feel high involvement with products or behavior.
Originality/value: Recently, research in health psychology demonstrated that self-persuasion is a very effective way of inhibiting undesired, addictive behavior and being more successful than direct persuasion. Yet, insufficient knowledge is available about the efficacy of self-persuasion with regard to promoting other target behaviors. In particular, its potential as a marketing technique to influence consumers’ behavior and its boundary conditions are still understudied.
Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Involvement; Generosity; Tipping; Indirect persuasion; Self-persuasion.
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