The purpose of this short report is to discuss the selective attention process and further to that discuss how it affects consumers.
Every decision a consumer makes, whether to purchase or not, will be influenced by a number of factors. Consumers today experience a wide variety of messages (stimuli) from marketers across many different mediums.
It is the consumers’ ability to decide whether to accept or reject which messages resonate with them according to their own needs, wants and other lifestyle factors that form the basis for selective attention.
In particular Avery & Baker’s explanation of the late selection theory of selective attention allows consumers to make decisions of selection or rejection of stimuli after they have been presented with the information.[i] This will be discussed in more detail later in this report with an example of the importance of colours in branding across the key competitors in the Australian mobile phone industry.
Selective attention can be described as the situation where consumers maintain a heightened awareness of stimuli that meet their needs or interests and conversely hold a lower awareness of stimuli that are irrelevant to their needs[ii].
Avery & Baker defined two clear theories of selective attention: Broadbent’s 1958 early selection theory, which limits consumers’ ability to process multiple stimuli at any one time; and, Triesman’s 1969 late selection theory, which is currently favoured now by both Broadbent and Triesman and instead allows for a primary and secondary ‘channel’ where a consumers’ attention may be taken from their first stimuli to another in the event of something significant.
To extend from Triesman’s theory are concepts about the two key ways in which a consumer may address information they are presented with. Schneider and Shiffrin (1977) suggest that predictable or familiar situations are dealt with in an automatic way, while stimuli that is new or...
[i] Avery & Baker 1990, Psychology at Work (2nd Ed.) Sydney: Prentice Hall, Chapter 3.
[ii] Schiffman, Kanuk & others 1997, Consumer Behaviour, Sydney: Prentice Hall, Chapter 6.
[iii] Schiffman, Kanuk & others 1997, Consumer Behaviour, Sydney: Prentice Hall, Chapter 5.
[iv] Internet references:
www.telstra.com August 14th 2007
www.optus.com.au August 14th 2007
www.three.com.au August 14th 2007
www.vodafone.com.au August 14th 2007
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