Journal article

Communicating technological innovations: The role of technical complexity and product involvement

Publication Details
Author(s): Wagner T, Baccarella C, Voigt KI
Publication year: 2017
Volume: 20
Journal issue: 3
Pages range: 392-405
ISSN: 1460-1060
Language: English


Purpose – Consumers’ perceptions of new technologies are vital for the adoption of innovations. However, due to the complexity of technological innovations and associated consumer concerns, marketing communications play a crucial role in shaping attitudes. In this context, the level of technical complexity presented in advertisements can be a critical determinant of communication effectiveness.

Design/methodology/approach – By conducting an experiment in the context of plug-in hybrid electric cars, this study examines the impact of technical complexity on communication effectiveness. We also include consumers’ product involvement as a potential moderator of this relationship.

Findings – This article reveals that individuals with low product involvement respond more favourably toward technically simple ads. However, medium-involved consumers show the best responses towards ads with a high level of technical complexity. Interestingly, we could not find significant attitude differences for high-involvement individuals in terms of the level of technical complexity.

Practical implications – The results support the notion that advice such as ‘keep it short and simple’ is not always appropriate. In particular, when marketers want to communicate technological innovations, a more complex presentation can provoke positive reactions, when the audience has at least a medium level of product involvement.

Originality/value – There is only little evidence concerning how technical complexity within marketing communications affects consumer attitudes. This study significantly contributes to the understanding of how advertisements of technological innovations are perceived by consumers.

How to cite
APA: Wagner, T., Baccarella, C., & Voigt, K.-I. (2017). Communicating technological innovations: The role of technical complexity and product involvement. European Journal of Innovation Management, 20(3), 392-405.

MLA: Wagner, Timm, Christian Baccarella, and Kai-Ingo Voigt. "Communicating technological innovations: The role of technical complexity and product involvement." European Journal of Innovation Management 20.3 (2017): 392-405.

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