Interest and reaction time analysis of credit card offers: Improving the odds by understanding information processing

Researchers are well aware of different cognitive styles. They realise that people assimilate information differently. A great deal of their knowledge comes from well-controlled experiments comprising limited stimuli, conducted with great care, in a relatively relaxed atmosphere. Researchers and marketers dealing with consumers do not have this time luxury because they are judged on how well the stimuli (ie offerings) perform in the marketplace. Added to the time and cost pressures are competitive pressures. Hence, the notion of cognitive style for assimilating information may be in the mind of the marketer, but it usually does not come into play in terms of marketing strategy for a particular product offering.

These data suggest that the marketer may gain additional volume with a promotion or product offering by better understanding how a customer processes information. The ‘stuff segment (No.1) appears to act impulsively in their judgments. If they like something, then the response time is short. In contrast, the lifestyle segment (No.2) appears to take their time reading the information sent to them. This difference in style may lend itself profitably to differences in the way that the stimuli are presented in the marketplace. Communications meant for the ‘stuff’ segment may need to be set up so that they lead to rapid action. Communications meant for the ‘lifestyle’ segment may need to be set up so that they involve the customer and make the acquisition more of a pleasant process. Certainly, differences in the way that a customer is engaged in the process are important. If there are cognitive differences then it may well be that there are two campaigns, one for each segment, complete with different messages and with different ways of engaging the customer.


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