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Lucky Loyalty: The Effect of Consumer Effort on Predictions of Randomly Determined Marketing Outcomes

Rebecca Walker Reczek, Kelly L. Haws and Christopher A. Summers

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 41, issue 4, 1065 - 1077

Abstract: This research explores how loyal customers, those who have invested relatively high amounts of effort with a firm in the form of past purchases, respond to randomly determined marketing outcomes (e.g., winning a prize in a random drawing). Across five studies, participants exhibit a "lucky loyalty" effect, in which they believe that greater effort (e.g., dollars spent at a retailer or number of nights stayed at a hotel) results in greater likelihood of obtaining randomly determined promotional outcomes. Loyal customers report these higher subjective likelihoods for randomly determined outcomes because they feel they deserve special treatment from the firm. Theoretically, this work demonstrates that individuals appear to believe that they can earn "unearnable" outcomes through effort, even when the effort and outcome are unrelated. Boundary conditions for the lucky loyalty effect are presented, and the implications of the findings are discussed along with opportunities for future research.

Date: 2014
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