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

See all articles by Aner Sela

Aner Sela

University of Florida - Department of Marketing

Itamar Simonson

Stanford University; Stanford Graduate School of Business

Ran Kivetz

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Date Written: October 19, 2012

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Sela, Aner and Simonson, Itamar and Kivetz, Ran, Beating the Market: The Allure of Unintended Value (October 19, 2012). Journal of Marketing Research, 50 (December 2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2191667 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2191667

Aner Sela (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Department of Marketing ( email )

267F Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/anersela/home

Itamar Simonson

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Center
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Ran Kivetz

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

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