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A Behavior Modification Perspective on Marketing Author(s): Walter R. Nord and J. Paul Peter Source:

A Behavior Modification Perspective on Marketing Author(s): Walter R. Nord and J. Paul Peter Source: The Journal of Marketing, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Spring, 1980), pp. 36-47 Published by: American Marketing Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1249975

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WALTERR.NORD&J.PAULPETER

This article presents an overview of behavior modification

and investigates its applicability to marketing. It is suggested

to the

more cognitively-oriented approaches which currently dom- inate the marketing literature. Some of the approach's potential contributions and unresolved issues are also dis- cussed.

that this

perspective

provides

a useful

complement

BEHAVIORMODIFICA

PERSPECTIVEON MARKETIN

A

TUDENTS of marketinghave borrowed freely

For example,

from many areas of

models,

psychology. need satisfaction

cognitive psychology,

and stimulus-

response theory

for understanding and predicting

ior. However, marketing

considerationto one of the most influential

tives developed in psychology in the last 40 years-

the behavior modification approach stimulated

the work of B. F. Skinner'

purpose of this paper is to provide an overview

of the Behavior Modification Perspective (BMP)

which has evolved from the work of Skinner and others and investigate its applicability to marketing.

field

theory, psychoanalytic theory,

have all

provided useful insights

consumer behav-

scholars have given little

perspec-

by

(e.g., 1953, 1969). The

Fundamental Elements of Behavior Modification

There is an important basic difference between the

BMP and the psychological perspectives

currently dominate

BMP focuses

which

the marketing literature: the

on environmental factors

which in-

Walter R. Nord is Professor of

and J. Paul Peter is Associate Professor

at Washington

would

reviewers

Organizational

St.

Louis,

of

Psychology

Marketing

University,

MO. The authors

like to thank C. William

Emory and two anonymous

for their helpful comments.

36 / Journal

of Marketing,

Spring

1980

fluence behavior. It takes the prediction and control

of behavior as problematic and deliberately shuns

speculation about processes

occur within the individualsuch as needs, motives,

attitudes, information

so-called radical behaviorists

reject considering these internal processes

approach

is far less radical and more consistent

theories of Bandura (1978)

and Staats (1975). We believe that it is useful and

investigate internal,

the value of at all. Our

which are assumed to

processing, etc. In fact, the

with the social learning

desirable to theorize about and

psychological

However, we maintainthat

tives can be (and in without such theories

mental conditions and

fluence consumer behavior.

stimulus

ternal focus.

processes

which

behavior.

many marketingobjec-

fact have been) accomplished

environ-

them to in-

The BMP provides the

affect

by simply studying

manipulating

and technology for systematizing this ex-

Frequently, treatmentsof behaviormodification

of environmental manipula-

respondent (classical) produce operant (in-

are limited to two types

tions-those

which result in

conditioning and those which

to be

S-R theorists. While there are important similarities, the differences

are significant enough that leading psychologists consider Skinner's

work separately from their Lindzey 1970).

S-R theory (see Hall and

'Some

psychologists

consider Skinner and his followers

treatment of

Journal of

Vol. 44 (Spring 1980), 36-7.

Marketing

strumental)conditioning.2 This treatmentof behav-

ior modification will

as well

vicarious learning and ecological design.

A review of the literature revealed that these

include these

manipulations

as those

which

alter behavior through

four ways of modifying behavior have been given

little systematic attention in marketing. While re-

has been discussed at length

in the marketing literaturein an

behavior, it has not been discussed as a method

attempt to explain

spondent conditioning

of modifying or controlling behavior.

conditioning has been discussed (e.g., Carey et al.

1973; Kas-

Operant

1976; Engel,

Kollat, and Blackwell

sarjian 1978;Ray

integrated

into the mainstream of marketing thinking. Treat-

ment of vicarious

is almost totally absent.3As a result many students of marketing are apt to be unfamiliar with these processes. Therefore, all four will be described in some detail.

RespondentConditioning

Respondents are a class of behaviors which are

under the control of stimuli

Generally, these behaviors are assumed to be gov-

erned by the autonomic nervous

fore, are not susceptible to conscious control by

conditioning

the

experiments provide the basic paradigm

approach.

1973) but has not been

learning and ecological design

which precede them.

system and, there-

classical

for this

individual.

Pavlov's

In

general, respondent conditioning can be de-

fined as a process through which a previously neutral

an unconditioned

stimulus, comes to elicit a

to the response originally elicited by the uncondi-

tioned stimulus. It is well established that a variety

of human behaviors responses, and what

can be modified through the

conditioning.4 For example, when a new

for which advertised ble for the

on its own solely through the repeated pairing with

excitement

duringexciting sports events,

people have neutral feelings is repeatedly

product

respondent

stimulus, by being paired with

response very similar

called "emotions" of

process

it is

possi-

including reflexes, glandular

are often

product

to

eventuallygenerate

the exciting events.

Similarly, an unknown political

candidate may come to elicit patriotic feelings in

2It has been may not be as

discussion

purposes they will

argued that respondent

separable processes

(1976, p. 324)

and operant conditioning

thought. For a

for present

e.g.,

as previously

(1969).

notion of

of this

point, see Miller

be treated as conceptually distinct.

However,

3However, Kotler's

as several

and social

of ecological

atmospherics as well

physical

with the principles

can also

of Belk's (1974, 1975) situational influences,

surroundings, are fully consistent

design

(and

respondent

conditioning).

4Miller (1969) has demonstrated that

these behaviors

be conditioned by stimuli which occur after them.

voters simply by having patriotic

played in the background of his/her political com- mercials.

Since it is a process which can account for many

of the responses which environmental stimuli elicit

from individuals, respondent

number of important implications for

marketing.

Throughit, a particular stimulus can come to evoke

positive, negative, or neutral feelings. Consequent-

ly,

wide

an individual will indifferent to.

At this point, it should be clear that what the

BMP views as

for many of the

also been accounted for

models. We are not saying that the BMP view is

incompatible with these traditionalconcerns or that

it is a perfect substitute for such models. However,

these traditionalconcerns have led marketing schol-

researchin which

internal psychological processes are focal and as- sumed to be "causal." As a result, the role of external events has received insufficient attention.

Respondent conditioning and other elements of the

arsto accept models and to design

music

constantly

conditioning has a

respondent conditioning influences whether a

variety of objects or events are those which

work to obtain, to avoid, or be

respondentconditioning can account

reactions to stimuli which have

by cognitive or affective

BMP focus on the manipulation

and it

emphasis without

a complete psychology of internal processes.5 Considera product ora product-related stimulus.

External stimuli which elicit positive emotions can

be paired with the

in the product itself eliciting positive effect. Conse-

quently, behavior may be triggered which brings

the potential consumer into "closer contact" with

the product.6 Similarly, stimuli may be presented

product in ways which result

influenced through this external

of external factors

is

clear that consumer behavior can be

by which researchers attempt to

One

method may be termed

from

his/her observations of another person's behavior. A third means can be termed empirical. This involves presentation of a stimulus

these three are marketers not

and description of its consequences.

often

to discount the advantages of the empirical approach.

relationship between a

For

example, if a product elicits positive effect, an individual

it than if negative

apt to be a function

of respondently

emotional responses (either positive or negative) are, at least over

a considerable range, apt to receive more attention from an individual

than are stimuli which are affectively

attending behavior is necessary for product purchase or other product-related behavior, respondent conditioning influences prod- uct contact.

Stimuli which elicit stronger

to the product is more apt to move towards emotions are elicited. Attending behavior is also

person's behavior and a given stimulus (e.g., a

5There are three basic ways

determine what properties certain

stimuli have for people.

properties

way is through verbal reports. A second

projection whereby the investigator infers the

used in combination.

6"Closer contact"

refers

conditioned

Of course,

The BMP encourages

to a general

effect.

product).

exposed

neutral. To the degree that

A Behavior Modification Perspective on Marketing / 37

which produce certain general emotional responses

such as relaxation, excitement,

other emotion which is likely to increase

the proba-

bility of some desired response such as product

be useful to obtain

verbal reports or physiological measures in deciding

what stimuli to employ to elicit such emotions, the

and focuses direct-

ly on ways to modify

of psychological theories could be used to account

be modified

processes, without such theories. In fact, it seems clear that the actions of practitioners often follow this atheo-

retical

for these

behavior. While a number

BMP bypasses these procedures

purchase. Note, while it may

nostalgia, or some

behavior can

approach.

Consider the following examples. Radio and

for years

exciting sports a result of

These

voices

elicit

this frequent pairing.

of the voices with the advertised

can

result, via higher-order respondent

excitement associated

voices and bodies,

in similar ways. Often

to have

through previous

in society. The use of telephones

television advertisements often use famous sports-

casters whose voices have been paired

events.

with

excitement as

Repeated pairings

product

conditioning, in feelings of

with the product. Music, sexy

and other stimuli are used

these stimuli may influence behavior without this

"higher order conditioning" simply by drawing

attentionto the ad. Of course, the attention generat-

ing properties of the stimulus itself are apt

conditioning which

occurs "naturally"

ringing or sirens in the background of radio and

version of the phrase of famous ce- of how stimuli,

content of an ad or

the function of the product, are used to increase

attention to the ad itself. In this sense, one of the

major resources that

their

respondent conditioning of members of society.

developed

television ads, some legal

"news bulletin," and the presence

lebrities, are common examples

which are irrelevant to the

organizations use to market

through previous

products

is made available

of marketers

Stimuli at or near the

goals

point of purchase also

through

their

serve the

ability

to elicit respondent behaviors. Christmas music in

a toy department

data are available to

that Christmas carols are useful

Once

these feelings have been elicited, we suspect (and

retailersseem to share our expectations) that

people

are more apt to purchase a potential gift for a loved

one. In other words,

generating emotions which are incompatible with

can serve as a basis for several

generalizations about the role of respondent condi-

is a good example. Although no

support the point, we suspect

the

in

eliciting

emotions labeled as the "Christmas spirit."

Christmas carols are useful

in

"sales resistance."

These examples

38 / Journal of Marketing, Spring 1980

tioning as a marketing tool. First, the concept of respondent conditioning directs attention to the

presentation of stimuli which, due to previous condi-

tioning, elicit certain feelings in the potential con-

sumer. Sometimes (as with Christmas music) these

stimuli trigger certain emotions which are apt to

of certain desired behaviors

increase the probability

or reduce the

Second, in many cases the marketer may

useful to actually

For example,

casters, it may be desirable to pair the stimuli

with the product repeatedly

the feelings elicited by a

product. Then, the product itself may stimulate

similar reactions. Finally, some of

which can be gained

of respondent conditioning have already been used

by marketingpractitioners in an (apparently) ad hoc

manner. While the systematic application of the

respondent paradigm is unlikely to result in any

new principles, by calling

control process

a number of

and to

stimuli are apt to be arranged in ways which are

more effective

sponses. Thus, the primary benefit of respondent

conditioning, as with other elements of the BMP,

is that it encourages the systematic analysis of

purchase and purchase-related

cates specific techniques for

trolling

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning

conditioning in at least two importantways.

whereas respondent conditioning

involuntary responses, with behaviors which

under the conscious control of the individual. Sec-

ond, respondent behaviors are elicited by stimuli

which occur prior to the response; operants

conditioned by consequences behavior.

are

probability of undesired responses.

find it

condition responses

to stimuli.

as with the voices of famous sports-

in order to condition

particular stimulus to the

the benefits

from employing the principles

attention to the actual

being employed, it is apt to yield

in eliciting

desired emotional re-

behaviors and indi-

modifying and con-

differs

from

respondent

First,

is concerned with

practical benefits both to advertising

point of purchase promotion. In particular,

these behaviors.

operant conditioning deals are usually assumed to be

which occur after the

In any given situation, at any given time, there

that an individual will emit

all of the possible

behaviors

are arranged in descending order of probability of

occurrence,

Operantconditioning

bility

behaviors is altered

behavior.

increase the fre-

Some events

consequences which follow the particular

is a certain

a particular behavior. If

probability

the result is

a response hierarchy.

proba-

or more

changing the events or

has occurred when the

that an individual will emit one

by

or consequences

quency that a given behavioris likely to be repeated.

For example, a cash rebate given at the time of

purchase increases the probability that a shopper

will purchase in the same store in

things being equal. In this case,since the cash rebate

has the effect of

preceding behavior, it is referred to as a positive

reinforcer. In other cases,

behavior can be increased by

stimulus. This is called negative reinforcement.

the future, other

increasing the probability of the

the frequency of a given

removing

an aversive

negative rein-

forcement in marketing, one illustrationis the situa-

tion where a consumer purchases a

ly to avoid the high pressure tactics of an overzeal- ous salesperson.

are used to de-

Although there are few examples

of

productprimari-

Sometimes operant

techniques

crease the probability

ment is

results in neutral time that response

This

process is referred to as extinction. If the

is followed by a noxious or "undesired" result,

the frequency

The term

this process.7

addition to these general procedures, there

are a number of

tioning. (For a rather complete description

possibilities, Honig 1966and

mended.) However, there are three concepts which

deserve specific mention: reinforcement shaping, and discriminative stimuli.

Reinforcement Schedules. A numberof different

employed. For

conditions where

a positive reinforcer is administeredafter: (1) every

desired behavior, (2)every second desired behavior, etc. When every occurrence of the behavior is

reinforced, a continuous schedule of reinforcement

is being employed. When every second, third, tenth,

etc. response

example, it is possible to arrange

schedules of reinforcement can be

Staats 1975are recom-

of a response. If the environ-

arranged so that the particular response

of

consequences, over a period

will

diminishin frequency.

response

of

the response is likely to decrease.

is

usually used to describe

punishment

In

other principles of operant

of these

schedules,

is

reinforced, a fixed ratio schedule

possible to have a

average

time,

time or third time, etc. Such

a desired consequence

on

of the

is being used. Similarly, it is

reinforcerfollow

one-half, one-third, one-fourth, etc.

but not every second

a schedule is called a variable ratio schedule.

The ratio schedules are of

because they produce high rates of

particular interest

behavior which

are reasonably resistant to extinction. Gambling

devices are

effective in producing high rates of response, even

under conditions which often result in substantial

financial losses. This

is particularly important for marketers because it suggests how a great deal of desired behavior can

be developed and maintained for relatively small, infrequent rewards. For example, Deslauriers and

Eberett (1977) found that

small rewards

for riding a bus on a variable ratio schedule, the

same amount of bus riding

when rewardswere given on a continuous schedule.

Thus, for approximately one-third the cost of the continuous schedule, the same amounts of behavior were sustained.8

of the use of the

variable ratio schedule can be found in

practice. Lotteries, door prizes, and other tactics

whereby individualsareaskedto respond in a certain

way to be eligible for a prize are common examples (when the prize is assigned by chance).

operant

traditionwhich has importantimplications for mar-

keting is "shaping." Shaping is important because

given an individual's

response hierarchy,

condi- the probability that he/she will make a particular

good examples. Slot machines are very

property

of the ratio schedule

by giving

could be obtained as

Numerous other examples

marketing

Shaping. Another concept

existing

from the

desired response may be

conditions

which change the probabilities of certain behaviors

but to increase the

probabilities of other behaviors.

involves the positive reinforcement of successive approximations of the desired behavior or of behav-

iors which must be performed before the desired response can be emitted.

marketing activities

For exam-

ple, loss leaders and

which are roughly analogous to shaping.

other special deals are used

as rewards for individuals

coming to a store. Once

customers are in the store, the

will make some other response

very small. In general,

Usually, shaping

shaping involves a process of arranging

not as ends in themselves,

Many firms

already employ

probability that they such as purchasing

parking

other full-priced items is much greater than when

shopping centers

or auto dealers who put carnivals in their

lots may be viewed

as attempting to shape behavior.

may be employed to

make it more likely that the user will have contact

Similarly, free trial periods

they are not in the store. Also,

7In this paper, we will focus

sell

products.

current socioeconomic

primarily on the use of positive

First,

should

of

practical in

reinforcement. We are making this choice for two reasons.

we personally do not believe

be used to

Second, it is

aversive consequences to sell products

the

predisposed to use them.

organizations

that aversive

system

even

if

consequences

unlikely

is

that the use

generally

were

8There are a number of other

possible

reinforcement schedules.

However, we will limit our attention to continuous and ratio

that the

consequences on the pattern, rate, and maintenance

different schedules

schedules.

Also we will not deal with the

have

of behavior. For a detailed treatment of these effects, Honig (1966)

is recommended.

A Behavior Modification Perspective on Marketing / 39

with the product so that he/she

the

can experience

to distin-

product's reinforcing properties.

DiscriminativeStimuli.

It is

important

between the reinforcementand discriminative

guish

functions played by

In our treatment

noted that a stimulus can act

can function to

behaviors. So far in this section, the focus has been

on the reinforcing

presence

change

are called discriminative stimuli. Many marketing stimuli are of a discriminative

nature. Store

logos

brandmarks (e.g., the Levi

Previous experiences

stimuli in the operant model.

of respondent conditioning, we

as a reinforcer or

trigger

certain emotions or other

function. However, the mere

or probabilities of behavior; such stimuli

signs (e.g.,

"50%off sale") and store

K-Mart's big red "K") or distinctive

have

tag)

perhaps taught the cus-

are good examples.

rewardedwhen

is present

and not rewarded

the principles of behavior modi-

absence of a stimulus can serve to

the

(e.g.,

tomerthat purchase behaviorwill be

the distinctive symbol

is absent. Here then is yet another

when the symbol

parallel between

fication

Vicarious Learning

Vicarious learning(or modeling) refers to a process which attempts to change behavior by having an

individual

models) and the consequences

to Bandura (1969) there are three

major types

fluences.

First, there are observational learning or

modeling effects whereby an observer

pre-

or more new response patterns

of vicarious learning or modeling in-

and common marketingpractice.

observe

the

actions

of

others (i.e.,

of those behaviors.

According

acquires one

Sec-

that did not

viously exist in his/her

ond,

whereby an observer's inhibitory responses

either

a

there is response facilitation whereby the behavior

Third,

behavioral repertoire.

there are inhibitory and disinhibitory

strengthened

or weakened

by

effects

are

observation of

model's

behavior and its consequences.

of

others

".

serves

merely

as

discriminative

stimulifor the observerin facilitating the occurrence

of

previously

learned

responses

"

(Bandura

1969, p. 120). Developing New Responses. There are at least

of new behaviors that marketers often

three

types wish to inducein consumers or

First, it is often desirable to "educate" consumers

consumers.

potential

in productusage. Second, it may be helpful to induce

consumers to shop

Finally, by

developing certain types of "attending behavior,"

the sensitivity of a potential customer to advertising

learning

information can be increased. Vicarious

can be very useful in

in certain ways.

achieving these three goals.

First, modeling can be used to develop behaviors

40 / Journal of Marketing, Spring 1980

which enable potential consumers to utilize particu-

lar products appropriately.

ways

probable, particularly

experiencing positive consequences from using

product. Moreover, repurchase or purchaseby

friends

has learned, by watching This use

product

common to both industrialand consumer products

technically

complex

with taped

retail

salespeople who are attempting to sell

The demonstration of

the

one's

if the consumer

else, to use the

modeling is

self-service

of

using a product may make purchase more

the model(s) appear to be

if

may become more probable

appropriately.

someone

of

products. Also, many

stores now use video cassette machines

demonstrations of proper product usage.

ing the desired purchasing

suppose a firm has a technically superior to

important

questions

point

uals doingjust

purchase.

behaviors.

product which is

its

about such technical

of

Second, models may be very helpful in develop-

For example,

currently

competitors. It may be

to teach the potential consumer to ask

at the

individ-

advantages

showing

Advertisements

this or behaving in other ways which

a

necessary

customers attend to

messages

application

of

findings

which influence the

example,

particular product a differential be useful.

Third,particularly at early stages in the purchase

process,

the

potential

information in advertisements and other

about a product. Attaining this objective can be

from

recent research

attention observers pay to models. For

attending behavior is

as: incentive conditions, the characteristics of the

observers, the characteristics of the model, and the characteristics of the modeling cues themselves.

Advertising practitioners seem to be very sensi- tive to these factors. Many ads reflect theircreators'

acute awareness of

target

audience, the characteristics of the users of

the product in the ad, and the behaviors exhibited

ads show the models

receiving positive social or otherreinforcementfrom

by the model. Moreover, many

salient characteristics of the

influenced by such factors

appear to give advantage may

to find ways to increase

it is often

degree

to which

facilitated through the

on factors

the purchase or use of the

product.

Inhibiting UndesiredBehaviors.

practical

Because of the

obvious ethical and

attempting to use punishment in marketing, we have

to ways of reducing the fre-

quency of "undesired" responses. However, while

these problems exist in the directuse of punishment,

they are far less prevalent when aversive conse-

quences areadministeredto models. Thus, vicarious

learning may be one of the few approaches which

can be used in marketing to reduce the frequency

of unwanted elements in the behavioral repertoire

given little attention

problems involved in

of a

potential or present consumer.

It is well known from the modeling literature

that, under appropriateconditions, observers who

see a model experience

a particularact,

that behavior. Similarly, vicarious learning can

employ an extinction situation to reduce the fre- quency of behavior., While most marketing efforts are directed at increasing rather than decreasing behaviors, some ads are directed at reducing such behaviors as smoking, drinking,overeating, wasting energy, pol-

reduce their tendency to exhibit

aversive outcomes

following

will

luting and littering, as well as purchasing or using a competitor's product. The effectiveness of mes-

sages

use of vicarious

Response Facilitation. In addition to its role in

developing

sired" behaviors,

the occurrence of

currently in the individual's repertoire. For example,

modeling has been used extensively in advertising

not only

show what "types" of people use it and in what

settings. Since many of these uses involve behaviors

already

desired behaviors which are

to achieve these goals may benefit from the

negative conditioning.

new behaviors and inhibiting "unde-

modeling can be used to facilitate

to illustrate the uses of a product but to

in the

product

in a

merely

to facilitate these

particularway.

This

observer's response hierarchy, the

function of the model is

responses by depicting positive consequences for

use of the

technique

advertising for high status

products. Such ads do not demonstrate any new

of

recent series of

Lowenbrau ads

very special occasions is a clear example of this.

Itis also possible to influence emotionalbehavior

through a

many emotional behaviors can

be acquiredthrough observations of others, as well

(1969) noted that

appears frequently in

behaviors, but show the positive consequences

using a particular product. The

stressing

the use of this beer for

paradigm. Bandura

vicarious learning

as through direct respondent conditioning:

?

vicarious

emotional

conditioning

positive

with

results

from

observing others experience

emotional effects in stimulus events. Both

tioning processes

principles of associative

in the force of the emotional

prototype, the learner himself is the recipient

pain-

in vicarious

reinforcing stimulation and his affective

sions,

observer

or negative

particular

condi-

conjunction

direct

and

vicarious

are governed by the same basic

learning, but they differ

arousal. In the direct

of

whereas

the

expres- for the

or

pleasure-producing

forms

stimulation,

somebody else experiences

in turn, serve as the arousal stimuli

(p. 167).

To the degree that positive emotions toward a

product are desired,

vicarious emotional

condition-

ing

effective advertisements.

may be a useful

concept for the design of

In sum, vicarious learning or modeling has a

numberof current and potential uses in marketing. If a potential consumer has observed appropriate

models, then

appropriate behaviors; if the model has been

rewarded appropriately, the potential consumer may

be more likely to engage

wise, if the potential consumer has observed in-

appropriate models receiving aversive conse-

quences, he/she

Models may be used to develop, inhibit, or facilitate

behavior. In short, as with the other

of the BMP, it is clear that this technique for modifying behavior is commonly employed in cur-

rent television

fact, Markin and

that many of today's most successful products are

promoted and advertised on the basis of modeling

approaches which show the model receivingpositive functional or social benefits from the use of the product. Products they suggest have used this ap- proach include "Coca-Cola," "Pepsi Cola," "Mc-

Narayana (1976, p. 225) suggest

and other advertising messages. In

he/she is more likely to know the

in these behaviors. Like-

may be less likely to emit them.

components

Donald's,"

Donald's,"

"Absorbine

"Absorbine

of

Magnesia,"

"Kentucky Fried Chicken," "Nyquil,"

Jr.," "Alka Seltzer," Philip's "Milk

"Pepto

Bismol,"

"Folgers,"

"Crest," and "Head and Shoulders." However,

since the link of

BMP has not been

application of the principles of vicarious learning

to marketing settings is lacking. Such research is

apt to have both

students of modeling

as previous findings less artificial settings.

EcologicalDesign

Althoughknowledge aboutthe role of physical space

andother aspects of environmental design is meager,

there is considerable evidence that the design of

physical situations and the presence or absence of

various stimuli have powerful effects on behavior

(Barker 1968;

will use the term ecological design to refer to the

deliberate design of environmentsto modify human

behavior.

Ecological design is widely used in marketing.

For

high traffic areas (e.g., at the end of an escalator)

to increase the likelihood that consumers will ob-

serve the

displays in supermarkets and the internal arrange-

ments of stores involve efforts to place stimuli in

positions which increase the likelihoodof consumers

making one or more desired

is

andtheoretical implications for

practicalimportance for marketing

current marketing practice to the

explicit, research exploring the

are tested in more general,

Hall 1959, 1966; Sommers 1969). We

example, department stores place

product on display.

displays

in

Similarly,

end aisle

responses. Direct mail

in

the potential

also a means of placing stimuli

A Behavior Modification Perspective on Marketing / 41

consumer's environment to increase the likelihood that the individual will at least be aware of the particular product. Other techniques include the use of sound, odors, lights, and other stimuli to increase attentive behaviors. In fact, store location and external arrangements (e.g., design of malls, ar- rangement of parking space) are all efforts to alter behavior through environmental design. In a be-

havioral sense, these are all ways to increase the probability that the individual will make certain responses which increase the likelihood that pur- chase or some other desired response will follow. Like shaping, ecological manipulations are fre- quently employed to modify behavior early in the purchase process. Thus, their major impact is through their role in inducing the potential consumer

TABLE 1 Illustrative Applications

of the BMP in Marketing

I. Some Applications of

Respondent Conditioning Principles

to new stimuli

A. Conditioning responses

Unconditioned or

Previously

Conditioned Stimulus

Exciting event

A

Conditioned Stimulus product or theme song

Patrioticevents or music

A product or person

B. Use of familiarstimuli to elicit responses

Conditioned Stimulus Familiarmusic

Familiarvoices

Co nditioned Response(s)

Relaxati ion, excitement, "good

will" Excitem tent, attention

Sexy voices, bodies

Familiarsocial cues

Excitem lent, attention, relaxation

Excitem lent, attention, anxiety

II. Some Applications of

Operant Conditioning Principles

(continuous schedules)

A. Rewards for desired behavior

Examples

Gillette theme song followed by

sports event

Patrioticmusic as

background in political commercial

Examples Christmas music in retail store

Famous

sportscaster narrating a commercial Noxema television ads and many others

Sirens sounding or telephones

in commercials

ringing

Desired Behavior Product purchase

B. Rewards for desired behavior (partialschedules) Desired Behavior Product purchase

C. Shaping

Reward Given

Following Behavior

Tradingstamps, cash bonus or rebate, prizes,

coupons

Reward Given

(sometimes)

Prizefor every second, or third, etc. purchase

Prizeto some fraction of people who purchase

Approximation of Desired Response Opening a charge account

Trip to point-of-purchase

location Entry into store Producttrial

D. DiscriminativeStimuli Desired Behavior Entry into store

Brand purchase

Consequent ce Following

:imation

Approx Prizes, etc., for o

Loss leaders, ent tertainment,or event at the shor )ping center

Door prize Free product and I/or some

using

bonus for

pening account

Reward Signal

Store

Store logos Distinctive brandmarks

signs

Final Response Desired

Expenditure of funds

Purchase of products

Purchase of products

Purchase of

product

Examples 50% off sale K-Mart's big red "K" Levi tag

42 / Journal

of Marketing,

Spring

1980

to come into contact with the product and / or perform product-related behavior. As such, eco- logical design is best viewed as one part of a comprehensive marketing approach; ecological

modifications can be conveniently sequenced with other techniques (e.g. modeling, respondent condi- tioning, operant conditioning).

subsumed under the

BMP, ecological designs to modify behavior have received far less attention in the academic literature than they deserve in view of how frequently they are used by marketing practitioners. A major ad- vantage of the BMP is that it encourages the

integration of these various techniques to lead to a coherent approach for modifying the entire se- quence of behaviors desired of consumers and potential consumers.

As

with

other

elements

Summary of Some Applications of the BMP in

Marketing

Table 1 provides a framework for considering some applications of the BMP to marketing. Each of the four sections of the table outlines the general

procedures of the four

one table lists a number of the specific

marketers may wish to develop and organizes the

examples presented in the previous sections of the paper. In reviewing this table, two qualifications should be kept in mind. First, there are many tactics for modifying behavior which are combinations of a number of techniques which do not fit neatly into the simple categories presented in the table. For example, Anheuser-Busch has a series of com- mercials which begin with a sports trivia question and then give the listener "time to think" while

the virtues

beer are dis-

cussed.

Determination of exactly which principles this ap-

proach uses and whether or not the approach can be reduced to principles of behavior modification

at all requires a complex analysis of the acquisition

and use

is

clearly

listening to the commercial)

to increase

(i.e., and organizing stimuli

which

would

basic

be followed

in applying

The

elements

of the BMP.

behaviors which

of

a particular brand of

Then, the answer to the question

is given.

of

one

language.

of

picking

However,

a

desired

the

approach

behavior

the probability of this behavior.

Second,

most,

if not

all of

these

tactics

have

TABLE 1 (Continued)

III.Some Applications of Modeling Principles

Modeling Employed Instructor,expert, salesperson using product

(in ads or at

Models in ads asking questions at point-of-

purchase Models in ads

for product purchase or use

Models in ads receiving

receiving punishment for performing undesired behaviors

Individualor group (similar to target) using

product in novel, enjoyable way

point-of-purchase)

receiving

positive reinforcement

no reinforcement or

Desired

Response

Use of product in technically competent way

Ask questions at point-of-purchase which highlight product advantages Increase product purchase and use

Extinctionor decrease undesired behaviors

Use of