Does Your Demonstration Tell the Whole Story? How a Process Mindset and Social Presence Impact the Effectiveness of Product Demonstrations
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
Product demonstrations are powerful promotional tools which can vary in how they present information, either illustrating step-by-step processes, or showcasing final outcomes customers may achieve after product usage. Our research investigates customers’ cognitive and social experiences while viewing product demonstrations to reveal which type is most effective in driving purchase intentions. Drawing on theories of mental simulation, cognitive flow, and narrative transportation, we propose that when a customer views a demonstration with a process (versus outcome) focus, this encourages a cognitive flow state which facilitates customers’ absorption into the product story, and results in increased purchase intentions for the demonstrated product(s). Effects are attenuated when the customer experiences the social presence of other audience members. We find support for our proposed process across five studies using multiple product categories and presentation modalities and offer practical guidance to help marketers optimize product demonstrations to motivate purchasing in a constantly evolving, increasingly digital marketplace.