We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

How can Marketers Apply Modeling or Observational Learning?

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

The decisions a consumer makes to purchase a product and services are based on a process of learning. Learning is the process each person absorbs and retains information and/or skills (2000). It is a process based on newly acquired knowledge and past personal experience. Both newly acquired knowledge and personal experience lead consumers to future behavior in similar situations. Among all researches and studies of consumer learning, there’re two major branches: behavioral learning theories and cognitive learning theories.

Behavioral Learning Theories

Behavioral learning theories are sometimes called stimulus-response theories, explaining an association between a stimulus and a response (2000). In the context of consumer behavior, the result of this association is a change in the consumer’s behavior toward a product or service. For example, the consumer might develop an association between drinking the beverage and the satisfaction of thirst. This is associate may lead the consumers to be more likely to use the product in the future. Various principles are included in behavioral learning theories, such as classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning, and modeling/observational learning. Here modeling/observational learning will be further examined.

Modeling/observational learning exams the capacity of humans to learn through the observation of others and results of someone else’s behavior (2000). Some observational learning can occur under instrumental conditioning. For example, if a child was grounded for not passing the class, another child observer would be less likely to fail the class. In many cases, observational learning happens because the role models have some traits such as appearance, accomplishment, skill that observer admires (2000), and often it result in positive consumer behavior.

If anyone asks me when I started consciously taking care of my health, it was from the date when I met a friend of mine. She was 58 when we first met and amazingly she looked like she was at her forties. She hardly had any wrinkles and her skin was so firm. It seems that she had lot of energy all the time as if she were at her twenties and would bring people around alive. At the first meeting, I knew immediately that I admired her look and energy. I asked for her secret, she gave me back five words – “you are what you eat”. Back then I was still working at McDonald’s. Everyday I could have anything I want from McDonald’s for my free meals: hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets and McFlurry. I used to love fries to death. Not speaking of gaining weight, I felt tired all the time (Being tired could be from a new culture and environment, too). My friend advised me to cut off fast food and eat more fruit and vegetable and meanwhile introduced a new product to me. Although I took her advice to start eating more fruit and vegetable, I didn’t take the product she introduced me right away.

I perceived drugs and vitamins supplement as equal. They all have positive and negative sides and sometimes negative sides outweigh positive sides. I would take them only if I had to. However, meeting her in a regular basis increased my wants to be looking like her and be as energetic as she is. I did a research on the product and was convinced it is nothing but whole food. I contribute my taking care of my health completely to a role of model – my friend. With no doubt, she passed positive influence on me. Marketers know how to influence consumers using modeling learning. In the milk mustache campaign, famous stars, speakers or reporters are. In the reality, the model is not always positive. Rather it’s negative under many situations.

I had a talk with another friend of mine, who is a compulsive smoker and drinker. I was interested in when, how and why he got the habit of smoking and drinking. He started smoking and illegal drinking at about 18 because “I was around kids older than I was and it looked cool to see them smoking and drinking. I wanted to be one of them.” Back then cigarette TV commercial was not banned yet, and marketers knew exactly what model they used in the ad: sexy women and men with a lightened cigarette. The behavior is all about one word “cool”.

Behavioral learning theory stresses repeated trials and association of a stimulus with a response. Therefore marketers run the ads again and again to arouse the consumer awareness or increase the usage of the product. Milk mustache campaign used the “repeated trial” strategy to remind consumers to drink milk daily. Meanwhile, marketers tend to use stimuli, such as reward, punishment or models as mentioned above to stimulate certain consumer behavior. Unlike Behavioral learning theories, cognitive learning theories emphasizes on “the role of motivation and mental processes in producing a desired response” (1998).


Hoyer, W. D., & Maclnnis, D.J., 2001 (2nd ed.). Consumer Behavior. Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin.

Zimbardo, Philip G. Psychology and Life. (1988, 12th ed.) Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.

Haugtvedt, C.P., Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T., “Need for Cognition and Advertising: Understanding the Role of Personality Variables in Consumer Behavior,” Journal of Consumer Psychology (1992, pp. 239-260): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59