Changes in information processing in children and their implications for marketing strategy
This thesis examines children's consumer choice behaviour using an
information processing perspective, with the fundamental goal of
applying academic research to practical marketing and commercial
problems. Proceeding a preface, which describes the academic and
commercial terms of reference within which this interdisciplinary study
is couched, the thesis comprises four discernible paris.
Initially, the rationale inherent in adopting an information processing
perspective is justified and the diverse array of topics which have
bearing on children's consumer processing and behaviour are aggregated.
The second part uses this perspective as a springboard to appraise the
little explored role of memory, and especially memory structure, as a
central cognitive component in children's con~umer choice processing.
The main research theme explores the ease with which 10 and 11 year
olds retrieve contemporary consumer information from subjectively
defined memory organisations. Adopting a sort-recall paradigm,
hierarchical retrieval processing is stimulated and it is contended
that when two items, known to be stored proximally in the memory
organisation are not recalled adjacently, this discrepancy is
indicative of retrieval processing ease. Results illustrate the marked
influence of task conditions and orienta tion of memory structure on
re trieval; these c oncl us ions are ac coun ted for in terms of input and
The third section develops the foregoing interpellations in the
marketing context. A straightforward methodology for structuring
marketing situations is postulated, a basis for segmenting children's
markets using processing characteristics is adopted, and criteria for
communicating brand support information to children are discussed. A
taxonomy of market-induced processing conditions is developed.
Finally, a case study with topical commerci.al significance is
described. The development, launch and marketing of a new product in
the confectionery market is outlined, the aetiology of its subsequent
demise identified and expounded, and prescriptive guidelines are put
forward to help avert future repetition of marketing misjudgements.