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Customer inertia marketing

Conor M. Henderson (), Lena Steinhoff (), Colleen M. Harmeling () and Robert W. Palmatier ()
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Conor M. Henderson: Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon
Lena Steinhoff: University of Rostock
Colleen M. Harmeling: College of Business, Florida State University
Robert W. Palmatier: Foster School of Business, University of Washington

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 2021, vol. 49, issue 2, No 7, 350-373

Abstract: Abstract Inertia might secure consumers’ continued patronage, but it also can stunt potential expansion. By examining the psychology underlying inertia, this research informs managers about whether to engage inertial consumers proactively. In the proposed conceptual model, an inertia mindset orients a customer toward status quo consumption. This mindset emerges from dual sources, and each source consists of a behavioral and a psychological component. Specifically, the behavioral consistency of prior consumption activates an inertia mindset by prompting a psychological inclination to minimize thinking; the magnitude of prior consumption leads to inertia by evoking an inclination to minimize regret. Complementary survey and field studies offer support for the proposed model and reveal that a proactive loyalty reward can reinforce inertia based on regret minimization but disrupt inertia based on thinking minimization. Even well-intentioned marketing initiatives thus might be ineffective or detrimental, depending on the source and strength of inertia already present in the customer.

Keywords: Customer inertia; Mindset; Retention; Loyalty rewards; Customer relationship management (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s11747-020-00744-0

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