Information, Promotion, and the Addoption of Innovative Consumer Durables

Michael Song, Mark E. Parry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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The diffusion of innovative new products is critically dependent on the transmission of relevant information to potential adopters. Existing research indicates that the relative effectiveness of different communication tools depends on the type of information being communicated. Written and verbal communication tools can be effective when consumers make adoption decisions based on search attributes. However, when adoption depends on experience attributes, marketers must find ways to effectively expose consumers to these attributes. In this paper the authors explore the effectiveness of promotional incentives in motivating consumers to engage in behaviors that should increase their understanding of an innovation's experience attributes. To the authors' knowledge, the research described here is the first published study of the relative effectiveness of different promotional vehicles in stimulating adoption of a consumer durable. The empirical analysis is based on data collected in a real-world experiment involving 614 households. Just over half of these households received a free DVD movie disc as an incentive to participate in the study. The authors assigned the participating households to four treatment groups of 100 households each and a control group of 214 households. The households in the treatment groups received one of four promotional offers that featured some form of a $50 monetary incentive. These promotional offers differed in the degree to which they encouraged behavior that exposed consumers to the experience attributes of a DVD player. After one month the authors surveyed these households again to determine how many purchased a DVD player in the preceding month. An analysis of this experimental data reveals that all four monetary promotions significantly enhanced the probability of adoption. In particular, the average adoption rate among the households receiving one of the monetary incentives was 41%. In contrast, none of the households in the control group reported purchasing a DVD player. Promotions that paid consumers for specific behaviors that precede purchase were no less effective than a coupon that reduces the purchase price by an equivalent amount. In addition, promotions that directly exposed consumers to experience attributes were more effective than promotions that simply provided consumers with the opportunity to learn about experience attributes. Finally, the gift of a free complementary product (a DVD movie) enhanced the effectiveness of three of the four monetary promotions. The authors close with a discussion of managerial implications and directions for future search.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of product innovation management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • IR-82786
  • METIS-257049

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