DEFINITION of 'Hierarchy-Of-Effects Theory'
A hierarchical representation of how advertising influences a consumer's decision to purchase or not purchase a product or service over time. The hierarchy-of-effects theory is used to set up a structured series of advertising message objectives for a particular product, with the goal of building upon each successive objective until a sale is ultimately made.
The objectives of a campaign are (in order of delivery): awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction and purchase.
BREAKING DOWN 'Hierarchy-Of-Effects Theory'
The hierarchy-of-effects theory is an advanced advertising strategy in that it approaches the sale of a good through well-developed, persuasive advertising messages designed to build brand awareness over time. While an immediate purchase would be preferred, companies using this strategy expect consumers to need a longer decision-making process.