Can Uncertainty Improve Promotions?

Goldsmith, Kelly and On Amir (2010). “Can Uncertainty Improve Promotions?” Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 1070-1077

9 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2007 Last revised: 3 Oct 2013

Kelly Goldsmith

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

On Amir

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Abstract

When should retailers offer promotions with uncertain rewards? The current research investigates this question and finds there are instances when uncertain incentives may seem more attractive than their expected value. For example, a lottery between small and large rewards may even be as attractive as the large reward for certain. We demonstrate this effect in hypothetical scenarios as well as a field experiment involving actual purchases. We suggest that this effect occurs because consumers exhibit reflexive positivity whereby their intuitive appraisal of the lottery leads to a response beyond what would be justified by an expected value consideration. This underlying psychological mechanism informs research on risk and uncertainty and outlines boundary conditions for this positive effect of uncertainty that have direct practical implications for marketers.

Keywords: Uncertainty, Promotions, Wishful Thinking, Optimism

JEL Classification: D80, D81, E3, M3, M31

Suggested Citation

Goldsmith, Kelly and Amir, On, Can Uncertainty Improve Promotions?. Goldsmith, Kelly and On Amir (2010). “Can Uncertainty Improve Promotions?” Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 1070-1077. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1095452 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1095452

Kelly Goldsmith

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/goldsmith/htm/

On Amir (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States
858-534-2023 (Phone)
858-534-0745 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://management.ucsd.edu/faculty/directory/amir/

Paper statistics

Downloads
419
Rank
53,711
Abstract Views
2,417