Are we all equals when facing an influence attempt? Do we all have the same dispositions to push back or avoid a salesman trying to make us buy a product? To resist advertising arguments? To elude marketing traps? To prevent ourselves from succumbing to a promotion? These everyday situations activate for certain consumers a propensity to resist which varies in strength.
This predisposition is the focus of Annie-Stephanie Banikema and Dominique Roux’s latest article. They show the propensity to resist has two facets: self-assertion (reflecting the refusal of being distracted or disturbed by the source of influence), and self-protection (reflecting the desire to protect oneself from mercantile influences and avoid them through escape or inertia).
I resist, therefore I am
Consumers showing a propensity to resist through self-assertion have a high self-confidence and good knowledge of about different forms of persuasion. They show little sensitivity to salesmen recommendations but accept their information. They are not subject to impulsive buying, nor do they succumb to promotions. As for their choices, their behaviours lead them to a responsible consumption rather than smart purchase or second-hand. For these individuals, resistance to attempts of mercantile influences is a way to construct themselves.
I resist, therefore I protect myself
The second category of resisting consumers looks for protection before any other thing. These individuals care a lot about their liberty. They pay little attention, neither to the recommendations, nor to the information the salesmen provide. Unlike the first type, they are very sensitive to promotions and to impulsive buying. They succumb a lot more than they think to marketing programs, whereas they want to protect themselves from it! As for their choices, their behaviour leads them to smart buying and second-hand, rather than responsible choice.
Ultimately, this work sheds light on two profiles of resisting consumers. One is less permeable to all sources of influence while the other is fearful towards interpersonal sources (eg salesmen) but more likely to accept marketing apparatus (eg. Promotion) for which he or she do not perceive the effect on his or her behaviour. Once again, we are far from being equals, even in the way we resist!
Banikema A. & Roux D. (2014), Consumers’ propensity to resist: A contribution to the study of the Disposition to oppose market influence attempts, Research and Applications in Marketing, 29(2), 32-56.