Developed in 1966, the Nicoscia model shows consumer behaviour as being represented as a series of decisions which follow each other. It is divided into four fields and assumes that neither the consumer nor the firm has had any previous experience directly related to a specific product or brand.
The first field covers the flow of message from its origin (the firm advertising the product) to the ultimate reception of the message by the consumer. The second field covers data search and comparative evaluation. The third field deals with the act of purchase and the fourth field deals with feedback which may or may not lead to repeat purchase.
In field one the firm will promote an unfamiliar product to the consumer. This will lead to the consumer developing an attitude towards the product, after the product has been evaluated against the consumer’s predispositions. In the second field, motivation will be developed on completion of an evaluation of the product and information search. The search could be in the form of the consumer relating conscious and unconscious associations with the product or brand (internal search) or gathering information from family, work group and advertisements (external search). In field three, the consumer would purchase the product. However availability of the advertised brand could limit the purchase of the product. Finally, in field four if satisfied with the product, the consumer will memorise the result of the purchase circle in order to make repeat purchases.
The Nicosia model is a good example of computer stimulation techniques. It is also relatively complete, logical and understandable. It can also be useful for launching a new product. Despite its strong points, there are limitations to the model which may affect its effectiveness. These limitations include the fact that it oversimplifies the motivation and attitude formation processes which rarely happen in the logical and mechanistic way described by Nicosia
Also the Nicosia model is very restricting since it is based on advertising and product acceptance, where there is a lack of early experience of the product by both the seller and buyer. The model had a tendency to represent the search and evaluation process as ‘over-rational’ and it does not give a clear indication of the interaction between the variables. There is an assumption that attitudes, motivation and experience occur in the same sequence. This may not necessarily be so. The effects reference-groups have on consumer choice decision are not taken into consideration. Rather, there is a description of only the psychological factors involved in decision making. Finally, this model has never been completely or empirically tested, thus its predictive power is unknown