Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #316
Marketer-Consumer Contingencies in an Online Environment
Monday, May 25, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
202AB (CC)
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Valdimar Sigurdsson (Reykjavik University)
Discussant: Valdimar Sigurdsson (Reykjavik University)

Marketer and consumer behavior are closely interconnected. They are mutually reinforced and entail literal exchange. The primary purpose of the theory of the marketing firm (TMF) is therefore to retain customers profitably. In such a scenario, for an organization to be successful, it has to adopt a consumer-centric approach for which a thorough knowledge of consumer behavior is mandatory. The Behavioral Perspective Model (BPM) was developed to explain consumer choice behaviors in affluent environments. It is an elaboration of the three-term contingency and matching applied to the context of economic behavior. In this symposium we will discuss recent theoretical developments and empirical analysis in online behavior analysis from the standpoint of the BPM and TMF. The symposium starts with a theoretical paper on the inter-relationships between a firm and the collective behaviors of consumers. The second paper extends the discussion to the current digital marketplace where the authors emphasize the importance of studying online consumer behavior from a behavioral perspective and explore the contingency categories from the view point of the digital marketer. The third paper extends the BPM to Facebook marketing using alternating treatment designs and the final paper explores the impacts of advertisements on social media marketing.

Keyword(s): BPM, Consumer behavior, Facebook, Marketing Firm
The Marketing Firm: Bilateral Contingency and Organizational Behavior
GORDON R. FOXALL (Cardiff University)
Abstract: Given the dynamic interaction between marketing organizations and their publics, it is unusual for theories of corporate behavior to be based firmly on theories of consumer behavior. However, consumer behavior analysis (Foxall, 2001, 2002) provides an operant understanding of consumption as the result of the scope of the consumer behavior setting and the pattern of reinforcement that maintains it, which is directly compatible with the theory of the marketing firm (Foxall, 1999; Vella & Foxall, 2011), that shows how organizations respond to consumer behavior by managing consumer behavior setting scope and pattern of reinforcement. The question remains how we can understand the complex inter-relationships between a contextual system like a firm, the behavior of which is predictable and controllable by considering its emergent operant consequences, and the collective behaviors of consumers, each of whom is a contextual system responding uniquely to the peculiar pattern of contingencies that shapes and maintains its behavior. The paper seeks the solution in terms of an analysis of bilateral contingencies, relating these to issues arising from the theory of metacontingency and macro-behavior.
Consumers and Marketers – Interdependent Behaviors in the Digital World
VISHNU MENON (Reykjavik University), Valdimar Sigurdsson (Reykjavik University), Gordon R. Foxall (Cardiff University)
Abstract: The digital environment has changed the way organizations and consumers behave. In order to understand their nature, a thorough account of marketer actions and subsequent consumer behavior is necessary. According to Foxall (1999) consumer and marketer behaviors are mutually reinforced and necessarily entail literal exchange. Considering the outreach of digital activities by both consumers and marketers, there exists an opportunity to understand marketer action and consumer choice from a behavioral perspective by conducting online marketing experiments using real time measurement tools. In this paper we discuss the importance of studying online consumer research from a behavioral perspective and also look into the contingency categories from a marketer point of view. We discuss the possibilities of experimental analysis of online consumer behavior through social media applications in the context of Foxall’s Behavioral Perspective Model (BPM) (Foxall, 1990/2004), which is an elaborate attempt to combine behavioral psychology and consumer behavior in real life settings.
Marketing a Behavior Analysis Program with Facebook: An Extension of the Behavioral Perspective Model
TODD A. WARD (University of North Texas), Sandy Magee (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Over the past decade, Consumer Behavior Analysis has emerged as a cohesive sub-discipline of behavior analysis. Central to the CBA approach is the shift in focus of the organization from one that is “management-centered” to one that explicitly includes an interaction with consumers of the goods and services produced by the company. Within this field, the Behavioral Perspective Model (BPM) emerged as an interdisciplinary framework that brings together behavior analysis and marketing. The BPM has evoked numerous studies in recent years, some of which pertain to online marketing. The current study extends the BPM to a Facebook marketing effort geared towards a behavior analysis program. Using an alternating treatments design across 17 weeks, researchers manipulated informational, utilitarian, and control posts consisting of text and graphics. Each week, three posts in the same condition were released on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at noon. Each condition was separated by a “break” week with no posts to control for carryover effects between weeks. The posts centered on themes related to BACB certifications and continuing education opportunities. Data was gathered from Facebook Insights and Google Analytics to track Facebook activity as well as the program’s website referrals coming directly from Facebook. Results indicate that the informational posts evoked the highest number of website referrals but received the fewest number of clicks on Facebook. This finding suggests a potential “potency” effect for informational posts in that a higher proportion of interactions led to referrals to the program’s page. The utilitarian posts were least effective at generating referrals. The study has implications for the interaction of the consumer behavior setting via visual media with accompanying marketing messages. Lastly, the study could expand the concept of consumer behavior beyond monetary transactions to include the consumption of information.

Understanding the Impacts of Advertisements in Social Networking Sites

ASLE FAGERSTROM (Westerdals � Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology), Valdimar Sigurdsson (Reykjavik University), Maria Lillemoen (Oslo and Akershus University College)

Social network advertising is a term that is used to describe a form of online advertising that is distributed through social networking sites. This study investigates the impact advertisement in social media has on a target segments behavior, and to investigate whether there is a difference in the response to different type of advertisements. A Norwegian drug helpline service that provides the public with information about alcohol, drugs and substance abuse, wanted to enhance traffic to its website. Their target segment is mainly youths interesting in and experimenting with drugs. A pre-study of focus group interviews were conducted to identify the use of social media within the target segment. After this, a social networking advertisement campaign was arranged according to ABAB research design. Referring traffic from Facebook to the website of the case organization was measured during the first week with no advertisements running (A). The second week, six advertisements were published on Facebook and the traffic was measured (B). The advertisements were then withdrawn in the third week (A), and in the forth week the same advertisements as in week two were published on Facebook. Results show that traffic to the website was higher in the weeks with advertisements running (week 2 and 4), compared to the weeks without advertisements (week 1 and 3). In addition, results show differences in responses to different advertisements. Discussion of the results are given in relation to verbal behavior, rules, and rule-governed behavior. Implications for marketers as well as suggestions for future research are given.




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