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Boosting consumers’ self-efficacy by repositioning the self

Michal Ben-Ami (Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)
Jacob Hornik (ESG Management School, Paris, France)
Dov Eden (Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, and)
Oren Kaplan (College of Management, Rishon Lezion, Israel)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




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.


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.


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.


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.



This research was partially supported by the Center of Business Research, Tel-Aviv University.


Ben-Ami, M., Hornik, J., Eden, D. and Kaplan, O. (2014), "Boosting consumers’ self-efficacy by repositioning the self", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 48 No. 11/12, pp. 1914-1938.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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