Use of similarities between numbers to show cause and effect

Another application of numbers in marketing research is in the analysis and understanding of the similarities between variables. Many surveys try to measure the sales impact of advertising or other marketing efforts. One often-used procedure compares the proportion of purchasers among two groups: those who remember seeing or hearing the advertising and those who do not.

Table 10.3 displays these data, this time ignoring the gender of the respondents. It also shows brand awareness of the washing machine by those who recall the brand's advertising and those who do not. An obvious but incorrect conclusion from the table is that advertising accounted for the 15% difference in the awareness level. However, the results merely show only that there is a correlation between advertising awareness and brand awareness. The correlation may be because people become aware of the brand by other means and then notice its advertising.

Interpreting the meaning of cross-tabulations amounts to more than simply taking the figures at face value. There has to be some underlying logical explanation behind the inferences that are drawn from the numbers alone. In this case, there is some evidence to support the argument presented. In the case of higher-priced items, psychologists have found that people pay attention to advertisements after purchase to help reinforce their purchase choice (allaying post-purchase cognitive dissonance).

Brand awareness and advertising recall

Those remembering Those not remembering advertising advertising

Total group Aware of brand Not aware of brand

100% 100% 20% 5% B0% 95%

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