Savoring an Upcoming Experience Affects Ongoing and Remembered Consumption Enjoyment

HaeEun Helen Chun, Kristin Diehl and Deborah J. MacInnis
Article Snapshot
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Key Takeaways

What? Today consumers are spending considerably more money and time on experiences (e.g., a trip to the movies, vacations, etc.).

So What? Consumers can increase how much enjoyment they get from a consumption experience when they savor it in advance.

Now What? Marketers can use a variety of tactics (e.g., reminders of upcoming events/experiences, product/service reviews, emails, product pre-announcements, evocative ads, evocative brand names, social media engagement, blogs) to encourage consumers to savor their consumption experience in advance.

Full Article

Article Snapshot: Executive Summaries from the Journal of Marketing

Researchers at Cornell University and University of Southern California show that consumers enjoy ongoing and remembered consumption experiences (e.g., a vacation, watching a movie, playing a video game) more when they do (vs. do not) savor it before it happens.


Five studies, using diverse methodologies, distinct consumption experiences, and different manipulations, demonstrate the novel finding that savoring an upcoming consumption experience heightens enjoyment of the experience both as it unfolds in real time and how it is remembered in retrospect.

Savoring induce these effects because it creates affective memory traces that are reactivated and integrated into the actual and remembered consumption experience.


Research Question

Prior research on savoring is quite limited. No research has asked whether savoring consumption experience in advance affects enhances ongoing and remembered consumption enjoyment. We predict that savoring an experience before it happens enhances ongoing and remembered consumption enjoyment because the positive feelings evoked from savoring are reactivated from memory and are integrated into the actual and remembered experience. Anything that inhibits the formation or retrieval of these feelings will dampen the effect of savoring.

Methods

We had five studies that used (a) real and meaningful consumption experiences that participants actually lived through (e.g., Spring break, movies, on-line video games, and hotel stays). (b) We used diverse research methodologies (e.g., field study, lab experiments, and secondary data), (c) we studied different consumer populations (students, online participants, and a JD Power traveler panel), and (d) we observed the predicted effect using diverse manipulations of savoring.

Findings

Marketers should want to encourage consumers to savor a consumption experience in advance since they'll enjoy it more and remember it as more enjoyabe when they savor it in advance. As enjoyment increases, consumers are more likely to repeate the experience and tell others about it; effects which should have positive revenue implications.

Implications

Consumers can increase how much enjoyment they get from a consumption experience when they savor it in advance. Managers can use a variety of tactics (e.g., reminders of upcoming events/experiences, product/service reviews, emails, product pre-announcements, evocative ads, evocative brand names, social media engagement, blogs) to encourage consumers to savor their consumption experience in advance. The findings are relevant to any product or service for which there is an experiential consumption element.

Questions for the Classroom

  • What is the difference between savoring an upcoming experience and imagining and/or anticipating the upcoming experience?

  • What marketing tools or tactics can encourage consumers to savor a consumption experience before it occurs? 

  • Are there any conditions under which asking consumers to savor an experience in advance might backfire?


Article Citation: HaeEun Helen Chun, Kristin Diehl, and Deborah J. MacInnis (2017) Savoring an Upcoming Experience Affects Ongoing and Remembered Consumption Enjoyment. Journal of Marketing: May 2017, Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. 96-110.

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1509/jm.15.0267



Author Bio:

 
HaeEun Helen Chun, Kristin Diehl and Deborah J. MacInnis
HaeEun Helen Chun is Assistant Professor of Marketing, School of Hotel Administration, S.C. Johnson College of Business, Cornell University (e-mail: hc633@cornell.edu). Kristin Diehl is Associate Professor of Marketing, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California (e-mail: kdiehl@usc.edu). Deborah J. MacInnis is Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Marketing, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California (e-mail: macinnis@usc.edu).
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