Answer the questions 5 Pages Case Study Discussion Questions1. What challenges are faced by those trying to promote hearing aids to the consumer market?2. How do marketers test the effectiveness of a promotional message?3. What type of message appeared to resonate most with consumers and why?4. Did mass media or private media fare better in terms of promotional results?5. What characteristics of integrated marketing contributed to the success of this campaig
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Many people who might benefit from hearing aids do not wear them. Further, those
who might benefit from surgical treatment are even more unlikely to present for treatment.
Among adults aged 18 years or older with impaired hearing, 78 percent do not own a
hearing aid. As the US population ages, the need for hearing assistance will become nearly
universalbut even today among the hearing impaired who are aged 65 years or older, 61
percent do not wear hearing aids. Research has found that although people would readily
acquiesce to wearing eyeglasses to correct their vision, would have no problem taking pain
relievers to alleviate aches, and would not mind having to walk with a cane, the prospect of
having to wear a hearing aid would be difficult for them to accept.
The hearing and speech communications literature suggests that use of a hearing aid
carries a stigma that implies the wearer is old, feeble, and incompetent. An article in the
American Psychological Associations Monitor on Psychology described the denial and
depres- sion people associate with hearing loss. In addition, hearing loss, if not addressed
with hearing aids, can lead to greater dependence on a spouse and withdrawal from social
events. People do not want to admit their hearing loss to themselves because it connotes
aging; nor do they want to admit it to others for fear of being viewed as incompetent.
Given all these considerations, when Business Week featured a hearing aid
manufacturer in its Annual Design Awards, the product receiving acclaim was tiny and said
to nestle discreetly in the ear canal. Hearing aid sales surged when a prominent person
publicly acknowledged that he had begun to wear one, likely because hearing aids were then
perceived as more acceptable when associated with a popular and purportedly virile
individual rather than one who was old and feeble.
A product with such a negative image as hearing aids clearly pre- sents a challenge
for marketers interested in stimulating sales. Research conducted to determine how to
induce more favorable attitudes toward these personal, stigmatized products assessed the
applicability and effectiveness of integrated marketing communication in the promo- tion of
hearing aids. In addition, the research looked at whether a stigmatized product might best
be approached through multimodality approaches, thereby reinforcing the advertising
A panel of respondents was established as a test market. The researchers contacted
4,344 participants at time 1, before being exposed to the aforementioned marketing
communications. The atti- tudes of 3,351 participants were then measured at time 2, after
being exposed to the combination of synchronized materials. Finally, the atti- tudes of 3,049
respondents were remeasured three months after being exposed to the marketing
materials, at time 3.
Three advertising themes were tested in this study: warm and emo- tional,
educational, and wedge of doubt. The warm and emotional print advertisement began with
the question Honey, can you pick up some nails? A response of Sure was printed in the
middle of the page, with a photograph of a can of escargot. The tagline printed at the
bottom of the page inquired, Is it any wonder hearing loss can frustrate those around you?
Have your hearing checked. For you. For them.
The copy in the educational message stated, Use your head once a year and was
placed above a photograph of headphones. The adver- tisements closing copy read: Annual
hearing checkups help you spot changes in your hearing. Hear today. Hear tomorrow.
The wedge-of-doubt advertisement began with copy that warned: If you think its
difficult admitting your hearing problem, imagine admitting all the mistakes youve made
because of it. At the bottom, the advertisement read: When you cant hear clearly, its
easy to misun- derstand someone. And before you know it, people start thinking youve lost
your mental edge.
Once these messages had been tested with various audiences, they were adapted
for delivery via other media vehicles: mass media (includ- ing print and television ads) and
private media customized to appeal to targeted individuals (including telemarketing phone
calls and direct marketing mailings).
The analysis showed that consistent combinations of media (both mass or both
private) were more effective than mixed media; the two private media (telemarketing
combined with direct marketing) outper- formed any two mixed media (telemarketing and
print, telemarketing and television, direct marketing and print, or direct marketing and television). In addition, the private media combination outperformed the public media
combination. Learning more about the product in a private setting appeared to increase
Finally, the content of the message affected the impact of the par- ticular class of
media (mass or private). The integrated private media (telemarketing and direct marketing)
performed best, first with the wedge-of-doubt content and then with the warm and
emotional content. The combination of two private exposures did not perform well in all
casesthe combination with the educational advertising message was not effective. The
wedge-of-doubt content, which worked best when delivered via the two private media, did
not perform well in all cases, either; it performed the worst when delivered via a mass
Marketing health services can be complicated. As this investigation demonstrates,
rarely can a marketer choose a medium or an advertising message without considering the
big picture. Media cannot be simply pasted together to achieve some seemingly critical
threshold of ad weight; many mixed media can perform worse than fewer exposures of
sensibly integrated media. Similarly, the choice of media outlets depends on both the
product and the content of the ads. A well-thought- out combination of media and messages
appears to have greater influ- ence on consumers than a haphazard collection of media and
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