Predictive Validity of Evidence-Based Persuasion Principles: An Application of the Index Method

23 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2015

See all articles by J. Scott Armstrong

J. Scott Armstrong

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Kesten C. Green

University of South Australia - UniSA Business School; Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science

Rui Du

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Andreas Graefe

Macromedia University of Applied Sciences

Date Written: September 15, 2015

Abstract

Purpose: To test whether a structured application of persuasion principles might help improve advertising decisions. Evidence-based principles are currently used to improve decisions in other complex situations, such as those faced in engineering and medicine.

Approach: Scores were calculated from the ratings of 17 self-trained novices who rated 96 matched pairs of print advertisements for adherence to evidence-based persuasion principles. Predictions from traditional methods — 10,809 unaided judgments from novices and 2,764 judgments from people with some expertise in advertising, and 288 copy-testing predictions from 5,285 judgments — provided benchmarks.

Findings: The higher adherence to principles’ consensus score correctly predicted the more effective ad for 75% of the pairs. Copy testing was correct for 59%, and expert judgment was correct for 55%. Guessing would provide 50% accurate predictions. Combining of judgmental predictions led to substantial improvements in accuracy.

Research limitations: Ads for high-involvement utilitarian products were tested on the assumption that persuasion principles would be more effective for such products. The measure of effectiveness that was available — day-after-recall — is a proxy for persuasion or behavioral measures.

Practical implications: Pretesting ads by assessing adherence to evidence-based persuasion principles in a structured way helps in deciding which ads would be best to run. Such a procedure also identifies how to make an ad more effective.

Originality: This is the first study in marketing, and in advertising specifically, to test the predictive validity of evidence-based principles. In addition, the study provides the first test of the predictive validity of the index method for a marketing problem.

Keywords: advertising, combining forecasts, copy testing, expertise, intentions, judgmental forecasting

JEL Classification: C5, M37

Suggested Citation

Armstrong, J. Scott and Green, Kesten C. and Du, Rui and Graefe, Andreas, Predictive Validity of Evidence-Based Persuasion Principles: An Application of the Index Method (September 15, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2660714 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2660714

J. Scott Armstrong (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States
215-898-5087 (Phone)
215-898-2534 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/people/faculty/armstrong.cfm

Kesten C. Green

University of South Australia - UniSA Business School ( email )

GPO Box 2471
Adelaide, SA 5001
Australia
+61 8 83012 9097 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://people.unisa.edu.au/Kesten.Green

Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science ( email )

Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.marketingscience.info/people/KestenGreen.html

Rui Du

University of Hawaii at Manoa ( email )

2500 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI NA 96822
United States

Andreas Graefe

Macromedia University of Applied Sciences ( email )

Sandstrasse 9
Munich, Bavaria 80337
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.andreas-graefe.org

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