Marketing and Consumer Behavior

Marketing and Consumer Behavior group’s research focuses on consumers’ preferences and choices, international marketing, health related consumer behavior, consumer traits, social networks and e-marketing. The group’s empirical research covers a diverse range of methodological approaches such as structural equation modeling and experimental design. The group members’ research has been published by highly ranked journals (e.g. Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Business Research, Journal of International Marketing, Advances in Consumer Research). Marketing and Consumer Behavior group researchers have experience in attracting and successfully implementing national and international grants and actively pursue research collaborations with Groningen University, VU Amsterdam University, Vienna University of Economics and Management, KU Leuven, Vienna University, Monfort College of Business, University of Tokyo, and others.
International markets and consumers​
International trade fosters freedom by breaking the cycle of poverty, enhancing development, competition, creating jobs, lowering prices and reducing inequalities among countries. For decades governments have made efforts to reduce trade barriers such as tariffs, taxes, or subsidies. However, these efforts fall short of their expectations as the main barriers to free international trade may lay not within physical borders or regulatory rules, but within consumer minds. International consumer research shows that, indeed, consumers may encounter psychological barriers, such as consumer ethnocentrism (Shimp and Sharma 1987), consumer animosity (Klein et al, 1998) or domestic psychological ownership (Gineikiene, Schlegelmilch and Auruskeviciene, 2016) when buying foreign products. In contrast, people also can host favorable attitudes toward foreign countries such as country affinity (Oberecker and Diamantopoulos, 2011) or cosmopolitanism (Riefler et al., 2012). Understanding the conditions when and how consumers favor foreign or domestic products may extend our knowledge on how to reduce inequalities between countries. In order to answer these questions new concepts and theoretical approaches have to be tested. International markets and consumers is one of the major ISM research lines which focuses on testing how different contexts define consumer behavior across countries. Drawing from negativity bias, fading affect bias, and ambivalence literature, ISM researchers provided evidence that consumer nostalgia acts as a countervailing force to consumer animosity in historically connected markets (Gineikiene and Diamantopoulos, 2017). We also shed understanding by exploring the role of ingroup favoritism, expressed as collective psychological ownership for domestic goods and developed a measurement scale to assess this phenomenon (Gineikiene, Schlegelmilch, & Auruškevičienė, 2017). Integrating findings from international marketing and health related consumer behavior, we provided evidence that domestic and foreign food products elicit different perceptions of healthiness (Gineikiene, Schlegelmilch, & Ruzeviciute, 2016). We show that consumer disidentification with the former ingroup can hinder consumption of foreign products (Gineikiene and Škudiene, 2017).
In the area we seek to answer the following questions:
• How and why do we choose between domestic versus foreign versus global products?
• What is the role of country animosity, nostalgia, collective psychological ownership, consumer disidentification in consumption of domestic versus foreign goods?
• How is healthiness bias for domestic goods formed?
Sustainable and healthy consumption
Sustainable consumption ensures that present needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission 1987). Similarly, acting in a responsible way towards one’s health can improve the quality of lives we lead. Research in the area of sustainable and healthy consumption can expand our understanding on what factors drive positive changes in people’s behavior. Integrating recent findings from health-related consumer behavior, social influence and psychology literature, ISM researchers work on novel approaches to help consumers make better decisions and smarter choices. We test how various consumer decision making insights can be applied to encourage such changes in different domains – making more sustainable decisions, changing unhealthy lifestyle and habits to healthier ones, increasing consumer satisfaction and overall consumer welfare and wellbeing. In the area of health-related consumer behavior we delve deeper into the psychological processes of attitude formation by extending findings in the consumer decision making area and showing that exposure to functional food can increase ambivalent evaluations that may consequently spill over to the evaluations of the entire product category (Gineikiene & Fennis, 2017). Furthermore, we show that consumer disinhibition drives both licensing (choosing an indulging option after a healthy one) and its antipode, consistency, in consumer judgment and choice (Fennis & Gineikiene, 2017). In another set of papers, we explore the process of healthiness bias formation for domestic goods (Gineikiene, Schlegelmilch, & Ruzeviciute, 2016); and food choices of health conscious and sceptical consumers (Gineikiene, Kiudyte, Degutis, 2017). ISM research contributes to revealing how different emotions and aversive states, such as stress, can affect consumer decisions in the market place and what the downstream consequences for consumer behavior are (Fennis, Gineikiene, Barauskaite, Koningsbruggen, under review).
In the area we seek to answer the following questions:
• How can consumers be encouraged to choose more sustainable and healthier products?
• Why and under what conditions are health interventions effective and when can they produce an opposite boomerang effect?
• How do people from stressful and scarce environments adapt their health-related behavior when confronted with wealthy and abundant environments?
• What drives consumers’ preferences in regard to healthy vs unhealthy food products?
Consumer attitudes and decision making
Consumers are constantly confronted with a wide variety of advertising messages, product information, social influence attempts and other environmental cues targeted at changing their behavior. How do people think, reason and feel in these situations? How do they select between different products, brands, companies? How can culture, environment and significant others change the ways we think and behave? These are several overarching questions our researchers are exploring in the area of Consumer attitudes and decision making. The core themes in this research area concentrate around such topics as consumer purchasing behavior, motivation and emotions, identity, and social influence. ISM research tackles such questions as how consumers reason and select between alternative products and services. For example, we extend findings in the consumer decision making area by showing that exposure to innovative food products can backfire and yield ambivalent evaluations that may spill over from single product exemplars to evaluations of the entire product category (Gineikiene and Fennis, 2017). Our researchers show that values are important determinants of attitudes towards recycling and recent recycling behavior is the most important predictor of intentions to recycle (Pikturnienė and Bäumle, 2016) and ambient scent changes risk related to behavior and decision making (Gagarina & Pikturniene, 2016, 2017). ISM researchers also explore the role of nostalgia in consumer decision making and provide evidence that the bigger the discrepancy between one’s chronological and cognitive age, the more nostalgic products one buys (Barauskaitė-Kazlauskė and Gineikienė, 2017) and that activated disease threat promotes consumer preferences for nostalgic products (Barauskaite, Gineikiene and Fennis, 2017).
In the area we seek to answer the following questions:
• How do consumers choose different brands, products and make decisions?
• What individual traits drive consumer behavior?
• How do consumers embrace or turn away from product innovations?
• What is the role of nostalgia in consumption contexts?
• How do external factors, such as culture, change the ways consumers think and behave?
Social networks and e-marketing
Over the last decades e-marketing and social networks have dramatically changed the way businesses operate and market themselves. Due to the rise of the Internet and social media, firms can reach way more customers and communicate with them over various platforms in a faster and relatively low-cost way. New knowledge is needed for researchers, policy makers and practitioners in order to understand how consumer and firm behavior change giving the rise of the Internet and social networks. The main focus of the research on Social networks and e-marketing at ISM is related to the effects of these practices on firm’s strategy, performance and consumer behavior. Our researchers demonstrate that social media marketing capabilities are critical to improving a firm’s performance: looking into social media marketing capabilities from resource-based view (RBV) perspective we show how generation, dissemination and responsiveness to information contribute to a firm’s marketing strategy and performance (Venciūtė, in progress). In another line of research, we explore the influence of e-marketing strategy on the success of internationalization process and show that remote technologies have changed the networks and communication behavior of a company (e.g, Škudiene, Auruškevičienė, & Šukevičiūtė, 2015, Ivanauskienė, Auruškevičienė, Ramonienė, & Škudienė, 2015). Moreover, our researchers provide evidence on key drivers affecting purchase decisions online and via mobile channels (Šalčiuvienė; Auruškevičienė, Ivanauskienė, 2014; McCorkle; Jurkus; Auruškevičienė; Reardon, 2013; Miller, Reardon, Šalčiuvienė, Auruškevičienė, Lee, Miller, 2009).
In the area we seek to answer the following questions:
• How does consumer behavior change given the rise of the Internet and social networks?
• Should firms reject other channels and focus solely on the Internet and social networks?
• Do the Internet and social networks really play a major role when determining a firm’s competitive advantage and a firm’s performance subsequently or only a supporting role next to traditional media outlets?