Beating the Market: The Allure of Unintended Value
Journal of Marketing Research, 50 (December 2013)
15 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012 Last revised: 15 May 2017
Date Written: October 19, 2012
Consumers face many options that are presented to them as bargains, but in reality only a fraction of these are subjectively construed as valuable. The authors propose that consumers are particularly attracted to offers they perceive as more valuable than presumably intended by the marketer. Consistent with their analysis, five experiments indicate that customized offers that are presented as tailored to the consumer’s individual preferences or circumstances may be perceived as less valuable than offers that are believed to fit the consumer and be valuable without the marketer’s intent. The experiments also suggest that the urge to exploit unintended value reflects a competitive desire to outsmart the market. The findings have theoretical implications for understanding consumers’ subjective perceptions of value, as well as important practical implications for designing customized offers and targeted promotions.
Keywords: Value perception, lay theories, bargain, persuasion knowledge, idiosyncratic fit
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