Changes in information processing in children and their implications for marketing strategy

  • A.M. Flett

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    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 parts.
    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 consumer 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 orientation of memory structure on retrieval; these conclusions are accounted for in terms of input and integration failure.
    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 commercial 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.
    Date of AwardMar 1984
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid J. van Rest (Supervisor)


    • consumer
    • children
    • organisational processing
    • marketing
    • advertising

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