K.U.Leuven - Departement toegepaste economische wetenschappen
DTEW Research Report 9544 pages:1-32
Although attention is a key construct in models of marketing communications and consumer choice, its selective nature has rarely been examined in the time-pressured conditions that consumers face everyday. We investigate how consumers' goals influence selective attention to product features under such conditions. Specifically, we focus on the role of goal salience, that is, the readiness with which particular goals (e.g., personalized customer service) are brought to mind by consumers in relation to a given product category (e.g., banks). Study1 demonstrated that when product feature information was presented rapidly, individuals for whom the goal of personalized customer service had high chronic or habitual salience displayed selective attention in terms of their elevated recall of a target feature (a bank's 'friendly employees'). Also, as expected, individual differences in chronic goal salience affected judgments of the target product. Study2 showed that when subjects were additionally informed about a specific product usage situation (e.g., being new in town or experiencing difficulty in balancing a checkbook), selective attention was no longer affected by individuals' chronic tendencies. Instead, both feature recall and judgments were influenced by the relevance of the target feature to the goals made salient by the situational context. Discussion emphasizes the theoretical and managerial implications of the findings regarding the role of goal salience in selective attention to product features.