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This ad’s for you: the indirect effect of advertising perceptions on salesperson effort and performance

Abstract

Considerable research explores advertising’s role in influencing consumer perceptions and behavior. However, advertising’s impact on another key audience—the sales force—has been largely overlooked. Drawing from social identity and expectancy theories, and using survey and objective performance data across multiple wholesalers, the authors demonstrate that a salesperson’s perception of brand advertising has a significant effect on salesperson effort and performance by positively influencing the extent to which the salesperson identifies with the brand and his or her expectancy that such effort will generate results. These effects are moderated by internal communications and brand size. Model results suggest that advertising’s role may extend beyond “pull” to “push” by motivating salespeople to exert more effort on behalf of a brand. As a result, firms should take steps to proactively manage salesperson perceptions of brand advertising while also considering this dual role when assessing advertising effectiveness and efficiency.

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Correspondence to Douglas E. Hughes.

Appendix: construct measures

Appendix: construct measures

Perceived ad quality

Using a 7-pt Likert scale with 1 being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree

  1. 1.

    Overall, I have a favorable impression of these advertisements.

  2. 2.

    I feel good about these ads.

  3. 3.

    These ads are meant for people like me.

  4. 4.

    These ads appeal to people like me.

  5. 5.

    This advertising campaign is popular with consumers.

  6. 6.

    This advertising campaign is popular with retailers.

  7. 7.

    I like these ads.

Perceived ad quantity

Using a 7-pt Likert scale with 1 being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree

  1. 1.

    There seems to be a lot of this advertising airing in the market.

  2. 2.

    The quantity of advertising is sufficient to get the message across.

  3. 3.

    There is a heavy media schedule supporting this ad campaign.

Outcome expectancy

Using a 5-pt Likert scale with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree

  1. 1.

    When I put forth special effort in selling this brand, my customers usually give me what I ask for.

  2. 2.

    When I sell this brand to retailers, it attracts a strong consumer response.

  3. 3.

    I am sometimes reluctant to put too much effort on this brand because I am not sure it will sell well. (R)

Brand identification

Using a 7-pt Likert scale with 1 being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree

  1. 1.

    (Brand) is an important part of who I am.

  2. 2.

    (Brand)’s successes are my successes

  3. 3.

    When someone criticizes (Brand) it feels like a personal insult.

  4. 4.

    If a story in the media criticized (Brand), I would feel embarrassed.

Internal communications

Using a 7-pt Likert scale with 1 being strongly disagree and 7being strongly agree

Altogether, the written and verbal communications that I personally receive pertaining to (Brand) are …

  1. 1.

    Adequate

  2. 2.

    Complete

  3. 3.

    Credible

  4. 4.

    Useful

  5. 5.

    Clear

Effort

Using a 7-pt Likert scale with 1 being little effort and 7 being strong effort, the salesperson was asked to rate the amount of effort placed on the brand…

  1. 1.

    Overall

  2. 2.

    Versus other brands that you sell

  3. 3.

    Compared to other salespeople

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Hughes, D.E. This ad’s for you: the indirect effect of advertising perceptions on salesperson effort and performance. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 41, 1–18 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-011-0293-y

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Keywords

  • Salesperson
  • Advertising
  • Brand identification
  • Expectancy
  • Effort
  • Sales performance
  • Internal marketing