Boosting consumers’ self-efficacy by repositioning the self

Michal Ben-Ami, Jacob Hornik*, Dov Eden, Oren Kaplan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This article aims to lend insight into the consumption situation wherein consumers are unmotivated to try new products or behaviors that they perceive as too difficult to adopt as a result of low self-efficacy. Design/methodology/approach - Two experiments were introduced to test hypotheses. In Studies 1 and 2, we demonstrated that enhancing specific self-efficacy (SSE) by repositioning the self, through marketing messages, increased participants’ behavioral intentions toward difficult to adopt (DTA) products. Findings - In this research, an important issue is elucidated in consumer behavior: a phenomenon wherein consumers lack the motivation, as a result of low self-efficacy (i.e. assessing the disparity between their current situation and some desired goals as too wide to bridge over), to try a product that would benefit them. Thus, the marketer’s role in this case is to convince the consumers that they are able to achieve these goals. Research limitations/implications - This study focuses on health and fitness products and on the effectiveness of messages targeted at raising SSE among undergraduate students through verbal persuasion. For better generalizability, it is recommended that future research focus on other product categories (e.g. do-it-yourself products, technological products) aimed at other segments (e.g. elderly consumers) and use other means of boosting consumers’ self-efficacy. Practical implications - The practical importance of the findings is especially relevant in DTA situations in which marketers aim to motivate consumers to engage in effortful consumption tasks. Originality/value - The uniqueness of our approach is, in addition to introducing the theoretical concepts, to demonstrate that marketers can boost individuals’ self-efficacy by means of marketing messages that emphasize their ability to face challenges and, consequently, increase their preferences, behavioral intentions and financial commitments toward a DTA product.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1914-1938
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 2014


  • External efficacy
  • Fear appeals
  • General self-efficacy
  • Negative framing
  • Positive framing
  • Specific self-efficacy
  • Threat arousal


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