The role of product involvement and sensory brand experience on customer engagement behaviour
The Marketing Sciences Institute’s 2006-2008 and 2010-2012 Research Priorities highlight the need for further research addressing the customer engagement behaviours, as it is a key research area for understanding customer experience and behaviour. Despite the potential contributions, along with the mounting interest and acceptance among marketing practitioners, the concept of customer engagement has attracted little academic interest . Moreover, sports marketing literature seems to have totally ignored the MSI priority. The present study is among the first attempts to empirically examine customer engagement issues in the sports marketing context.
The aim of this research is to generate further insights into the customer engagement behaviour by studying the relationship between Product Involvement, Sensory Brand Experience and Customer Engagement Behaviours in the form of word-of-mouth (WOM) activity and online interactions. Also, drawing from previous literature, brand engagement in self-concept (BESC) and frequency of playing the sport are integrated in this study as important moderating variables of those relationships.
The hypothesized positive direct effects of Product Involvement and Sensory Brand Experience on different dimensions of WOM activity including Intensity, Positive Valence, and Content were supported. Also a significant positive direct effect was found on online interactions. In most relationships, BESC and frequency of playing the sport had significant interaction effects. For instance, BESC positively moderated the relationship between Product Involvement and the Content dimension of WOM activity. BESC was also found to have positive moderation effects on the relationship between Sensory Brand Experience and the Intensity and Content dimensions of WOM activity. Moreover, a positive direct effect of BESC on WOM Positive Valence and online interactions was uncovered.
With the exception of Product Involvement and WOM Positive Valence, frequency of playing the sport moderated all relationships as well as a positive direct effect on all dimensions of WOM and an online interaction activity was found. A number of hypotheses were not supported, which calls for further academic inquiry on the evolving topic of customer engagement.
The results presented in this study shed light on the dynamical aspects of customer engagement. They also stressed the importance of socio-psychological and experiential constructs in enhancing customer-firm relationships and customer-to-customer interactions. While customer engagement metrics still need to be developed, exploring engagement behaviours allow marketing scholars and practitioners to further understand this evolving topic. This dissertation is therefore expected to provide valuable insights for both marketing scholars and practitioners.