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Topic: Student Questions

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High Involvement And Low Involvement Products.

Posted by Anonymous on 50 Points
Are all products that we buy either high involvement or low involement? Can they be classified into a third category?
How do we promote a product which may be high involvment to one market segment but low for another,e.g. shampoos are high involement for females but may be low for males.
Can a low involvement product be converted into a high involvement one. Lastly, are all impulse buys low involvement products?
I am just curious about this because I recently read about this concept and it has me thoroughly confused. Please help me understand.
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Member
    What in the world did you read? Can you post a link to it here? What did it say?
  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Accepted
    I decided it would be best for me to see the definition before I tried to answer this. The following are from

    High involvement products - products for which the buyer is prepared to spend considerable time and effort in searching.

    Low involvement products - Products which are bought frequently and with a minimum of thought and effort because they are not of vital concern nor have any great impact on the consumer's lifestyle.

    Given this, all impulse buys would be low involvement.

    Also, the involvement level for a product can change due to circumstances. I think the initial choice of a shampoo for a woman would be high involvement, but once they make the choice to buy that brand, any repurchases of that brand would be low involvement.

    But if she changes her hair style or color such that the current shampoo doesn't work any longer, buying shampoo could then become a high involvement decision again until she settles on a new brand which she likes and repurchases.

    You asked whether there were just high and low, or if there is a third category. I suspect that high and low impact is actually a range, and a product would fall somewhere between the highest and lowest impact depending on how they feel the purchase decision would impact them.

  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Accepted
    Peter is right.

    However, try not to feel the need to catagorize everything. Especially "products". Usually this is done in order for an author to express his/her thoughts and/or theories.

    I challenge you to think about it. We know that high involvement (HIP)requires a lot of thought, and low involvement (LIP) does not. Ok, so look around you and see what falls where.

    An Automobile is a HIP to SOME people, but some consider it a LIP as well. It takes me FOREVER to decide what movie I am going to buy each week, but others run into the store and grab every new release no matter what. Hence my statements about veering away from trying to categorize products according to a perceived buying habit.

    So, lets keep looking. Based on the theory, it is reasonable to assume that a new TV is a HIP and a bottle of shampoo is a LIP. Try to ignore what I said about NOT categorizing, and think about where you would place a product such as a T-shirt. Is a t-shirt a HIP or a LIP? I can be both! So perhaps we can make up a TIP (Transverse involvement product). What about a pack of cigarettes? Can we say it takes ZERO involvement (besides paying the cashier)? Now we have a ZIP.

    HIP, LIP, TIP, ZIP....

    Now, drift back to my original advice and treat each product according to it's characteristics and target market...much easier and less confusing than trying to place everything in a certain group.

    I hope this helps!
  • Posted by Michele on Accepted
    The most interesting take on High vs Low Involvement Products that I have read comes from Prophet's Scott Davies and Michael Dunn in their book Building the Brand Driven Business.

    They argue that the decision cycle for both types of products is exactly the same, it just happens faster (ans less consciously) for LIP.

    The decision cycle (which is also explained in Kotler's Marketing Management) goes something like this:
    Realise the need, research, assimilate, decide.

    Generally, we tend to think that HIP products are expensive, while LIP products are not. I agree with the above, that the context of the purchase is more likely to determine how consciously the brands in the consideration set are evaluated, than the dollar value of the purchase.

    For a corporate buyer the research phase will invariably take longer than for individual buying, as the buyer needs to justify their decisions to the company.

    The holy grail for marketers is to have their products move from a HIP item to a LIP item. This is achieved by removing all doubts that the product solves the need, and that the brand promise resonates with the buyer.

    Interesting question.

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