To carry out marketing events or projects to achieve certain marketing objectives is widely referenced to as the concept of “event marketing”. Some of the forms of event marketing may include the following: road show, fair, concert, trade show, charity, fun events, competition, lucky draw, free sample, exhibition, or even as simple as providing some discount on certain occasions (Wood, 2009; Tranter & Lowes, 2009; Tinnish & Mangal, 2012). To conduct marketing events to influence consumers is not something unusual in current business environment, as for many firms, to leverage on marketing campaigns to reach, communicate to, persuade and sell to consumers are necessary and crucial (Gottlieb, Brown & Drennan, 2011). This is because the nature of event marketing as providing the opportunity for a company to reach the targeted audiences or consumers on having direct or face to face contacts with the consumers, or in enabling the participants or customers to participant in certain events designed by the marketers; thereby make it possible to affect the experiences of the consumers significantly. In other words, there are some distinctive advantages to be offered by event marketing – of which these advantages are not accessible by traditional marketing strategies such as the use of television advertisement or brand endorsement by celebrity. For that and as will be further articulated below, conducting marketing events can be important for businesses.
The use of event marketing can be a distinctive and yet effective way to interact with the participants or targeted audience. It not only capable of providing more information to the participants or the targeted audience, but would also bring fun or certain intended experiences to the consumers, in order to associate the positive feelings within participants to a particular brand, product or a company (Pokrywczynski & Brinker, 2014; Gottlieb, Brown & Drennan, 2011; Piesiewicz, 2010; Arcodia & Reid, 2004). For that, event marketing can be leveraged to alter the perceptions, attitudes or behaviours of targeted audience; given that the participation of someone in an event demand him to participate or involve in that event. For such reason and as a very important feature of event marketing, it is therefore crucial to acknowledge that as compared to the traditional marketing strategies (such as to merely give price discount, the use of product bundling or to reach consumers via different channels); the use of event marketing can achieve more long lasting results. This is because through event marketing, the participants can be reached and their attention can be grabbed, leaving them memorable or impactful experiences towards a particular brand or company (Wood, 2009). Indeed, it is also through the interactive communication with the customers during event marketing that a longer lasting and positive relationship with the customers can be made – well beyond the completion of the events (Parent & Séguin, 2008; Piesiewicz, 2010). Therefore, considering all of these information, it can be argued that the conduct of marketing events or projects can be crucial for firms to achieve certain marketing objectives, such as to influence the consumers, to communicate the consumers, to enhance branding effectiveness or outcomes; of which these will eventually contributed to better firm performance. In the next sections, some of the empirical evidence that marketing events or projects can affect consumers’ outcomes will be articulated.
It is discussed earlier that marketing events or projects can be used to influence the consumers. There are many evidences available on how the use of marketing events or projects may assist a firm in achieving certain objectives or outcomes. For that, many of the studies concentrated on the effectiveness of marketing events or projects in contributing to the achievement of certain social marketing objectives or outcomes. For instance, marketing events were found to be useful or effective in: raising public awareness on oral cancer as well as in educating the public in the importance of early detection (Ismail, Jedele, Lim & Tellez, 2012), promoting the use of condom as a measure for birth control (Agha & Meekers, 2010), educating the public on the harms from tobacco (Duke, Vallone, Allen, Cullen, Mowery, Xiao & Healton, 2009), influence consumers to purchases of ‘green’ vehicles (Siriwardena, Hunt, Teisl & Noblet, 2012), promote healthier eating or consumption behaviours (Xinying, Yan, Sisun & Jing, 2007; Samuels, 1993; Evans, Uhrig, Davis & McCormack, 2009), and but not limited to the effective fighting against spread of AIDS in a society (Porto, 2007).
Then, other than how marketing events may be used to accomplish or achieve certain social marketing objectives, there are also evidence on how events can be used to enhance the attractiveness of a tourism destination, through influencing the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of the tourists or visitors. For instance, the study conducted by Shonk, Greenwell, Bravo & Won (2012) had found that the perceptions of the visitors to events may affect their intentions to return. Yet, in Bojanic & Warnick (2012), it is also found that satisfaction of visitors on an event will affect their likelihood of returning to the event. In similar vein, Lee, Kim, Lee & Kim (2014) had also found that the success of an event can affect the consumers’ intention to revisit a particular destination.
As such, it can be seen that event marketing had been widely applied in the context of social marketing and tourism management. The research on event management within the context of marketing management within commercial organisations however is rare. Nevertheless, there are indeed some evidences available on how marketing events conducted by commercial organisations can affect the purchase intention or repeat purchase of consumers. These limited studies will be presented in Section 2.5. In a way, these evidence available indicates that events can be used to achieve certain marketing objectives, in different fields (such as in the field of social marketing, tourism management or marketing management for commercial organisations). Nevertheless, before discussing about how marketing events may be related to or affecting purchase intention of consumers, the literature related to the concept of “purchase intention” will firstly be presented, analysed and discussed. These discussions are presented accordingly below.
As defined by Dodds & Monroe (1991), purchase intention can be simply defined as the attempt by a particular customer to buy a product or service (as cited in Raturi & Parekh, 2012: p. 44). In a similar vein, Khan, Ghauri & Majeed (2012) had also defined purchase intention as a particular individual’s intention to buy certain brand, after certain evaluation process. Indeed, it is also further argued that purchase intention can be measured by considering about the consumers’ perceptions on brand for purchasing and if the consumers are expecting to purchase the brand in the future. Other than that, academic scholars such as Kwek, Tan & Lau (2010) had also defined about purchase intention as the strength of a consumer’s intention to carry out a specified purchasing behaviour. Overall, these definitions suggest that the concept of purchase intention is straightforward, whereby it is merely about the description if a customer had the intention to buy certain product or service. With that in mind, the importance of purchase intention in the context of business management, marketing management or consumer behaviours will be further articulated below.
The importance of purchase intention within the field of business management, marketing management or consumer behaviours can be seen from the increasing of research into the subject, on how purchase intentions of consumers can be affected. There are many reasons for that, as purchase intention is important in affecting the business performance and eventually the profitability of a particular business (Yaseen, Tahira, Gulzar & Anwar, 2011; Ranjbarian, Sanayei, Kaboli & Hadadian, 2012). Then, from another view of point, purchase intention is also crucial as the intentions of the consumers will eventually indicate about their actual buying behaviours. In a way, any marketers would likely to have a situation of high purchase intention among the consumers, as that would indicate that the customers are likely to make actual purchase in the future (Kuang-Peng, Annie, Peng, Hackley, Rungpaka & Chun-Lun, 2011). There are indeed empirical evidences suggesting the link between purchase intention and actual purchase decisions or behaviours. For that, based on the research executed by De Cannière, De Pelsmacker & Geuens (2010), it is found that the intentions of consumers to make a purchase are related positively and statistical significantly to their eventual purchase behaviours (which include: actual amount spent on shopping, the number of visits made, and the numbers of product types purchased). Indeed, in a similar way, within the study by Barber, Pei-Jou, Bishop & Goodman (2012), it is also found that respondents’ stated intentions and their actual behaviours are related – after analysing and comparing the data on consumers’ actual purchase behaviour versus self-reported purchase intentions.
Overall, from the discussion presented above, it is then not hard to comprehend about the importance of purchase intention from the business management point of view, as it is by itself a useful measure to indicate the success or effectiveness of a marketing initiatives or business management efforts. Nevertheless, while it would be easy to understand about the importance of purchase intention, purchase intention can be a complicated construct or outcome to be managed. For that, some of the factors that can affect purchase intention will be outlined accordingly below. A review on how the various factors may affect purchase intention can be valuable in further informing how different issues or determinants may affect purchase intention. For that, how many other different factors may affect purchase intention will be presented and discussed blow.
In recent years, there are more and more studies being conducted to examine about how purchase intention of consumers may be affected by other factors or variables. From a review of the relevant literature, it can be found that scholars had indeed found statistical significant evidence on how different factors can affect or related to purchase intention of consumers. Purchase intention of a consumer can be affected by a variety of factors of which that may be due to the individual characteristics, the influences from the marketers or even the impacts from the society (Raturi & Parekh, 2012). For example, some of the individual characteristics that may affect the purchase intention of a particular consumer may include these: perceptions of consumers (Yang, Zhou & Liu, 2012; Hsu, Chang & Chen, 2012; Zhu, Lee, O’Neal & Chen, 2011; Norazah, Ramayah & Norbayah, 2011; Ashton, Scott, Solnet & Breakey, 2010; Chiu, 2009; Summers, Belleau & Xu, 2006), personality traits (Summers, Belleau & Xu, 2006), attitudes of a consumer (Paul & Rana, 2012; Tang, Luo & Xiao, 2011; Basheer & Ibrahim, 2010; Akhter, 2010; Page & Luding, 2003), past experience (Khan, Ghauri & Majeed, 2012; Ling, Chai & Piew, 2010), tendency for impulse purchase (Thamizhvanan & Xavier, 2013), consumers’ product knowledge (Eze, Yee & Wamala, 2012), consumers’ level of involvement (Bester & Jere, 2012), age and race of a particular consumers (Mo & Wong, 2012), religious beliefs or ethical consciousness (Riquelme, Eman Mahdi & Rios, 2012), and even the gender of the particular consumer (Nel, Raubenheimer & Bounagui, 2009).
Yet, the marketing efforts of a firm may also affect the purchase intention of consumers. Some of the influential marketing initiatives of a firm that can affect purchase intention of consumers may include the following: advertising (Levy & Gendel-Guterman, 2012), in-store point-of-purchase (POP) posters (Zhou & Wong, 2003), pricing of a product or service (Zhang, Yu & Zou, 2011; Faryabi, Sadeghzadeh & Saed, 2012), store image (Chen & Teng, 2013), corporate image (Long-Yi & Ching-Yuh, 2010), branding effects (Son, Jin & George, 2013), advertising, product quality (Eze, Yee & Wamala, 2012), service quality (Rahman, Haque & Khan, 2012; Tang, Luo & Xiao, 2011), marketing communication messages (Bester & Jere, 2012), or endorsement from celebrity (Ilicic & Webster, 2011).
Last but not least, societal related factors may also affect the purchase intention of consumers. These include: influences from societal values and norms (Yang, Zhou & Liu, 2012; Kuang-Peng, Annie, Peng, Hackley, Rungpaka & Chun-Lun, 2011), influences from peers (Madahi & Sukati, 2012), as well as influences from viral effects (Jalilvand & Samiei, 2012).
Overall, the discussion above informs the researchers that purchase intention may be affected by a variety of factors. While it is postulated that marketing events can affect the purchase intention of consumers positively, it is also crucial to acknowledge about the fact that purchase intention may be subjected to other sort of influences. In other words, the successful execution of a marketing event is just one of the many factors that can influence the purchase intention of consumers, and any marketer should get such idea of concept right; as to have more accurate assessment on how marketing events can be leveraged to affect the purchase intention of the targeted audiences. Nonetheless, there are indeed some evidences that marketing events can significantly affect the purchase intention of consumers. These evidences are outlined accordingly below.
To gain better view on how marketing events may or may not affect the purchase intention of consumers, a review of the studies available within the literature; that concerns about how marketing events may affect purchase intention will be reviewed. This is important as to provide some comparison basis or reference to this research, which will be necessary later for the researcher to compare the findings from this study to those findings or empirical evidences available in the literature.
For that, Hein (2008) discussed about a research conducted and eventually published by the Advertising Research Foundation. Based on the research, there is evidence that marketing events can be used to enhance purchase intention of the targeted audience by 52%. Such evidence is consistent across the different types of marketing events performed by marketers, and that include: sports championships, walkathons and theme parks events organised by marketers to influence consumers. In a similar vein, study performed by Tanvir & Shahid (2012) as well as Wang & Kaplanidou (2013) had also found that sports sponsorship can enhance purchase intention of the targeted audiences.
Then, there are also evidences that marketing events such a trade show or road show can enhance the purchase intention of consumers. To explain, Hosein (2012) had carried out a study to examine about how several factors that potentially influence a consumer’s purchasing decision when visiting an auto show. Based on a total of 740 respondents visiting to the auto show, it is found that auto show can serve as the platform to influence consumers’ attributes and buying intentions.
Next, in a similar fashion, the study carried out by Gottlieb, Brown & Drennan (2011) had investigated into the influence of service quality and trade show effectiveness on post-show purchase intention. From a total of 592 attendees at a major automotive trade show in a large metropolitan centre; it is found that improving trade show visitors’ perceived service quality positively affects visitor perceptions of trade show effectiveness; and that both trade show effectiveness and service quality directly influence future purchase intention.
In short, while there are limited and insufficient researches into how marketing events may affect the purchase intention of consumers, it is nonetheless indicated by the limited findings that marketing events can affect the purchase intention of consumers. Such concept will be later examined further within this study, if the marketing events conducted by China Mobile are related or associated to the purchase intention of the targeted audience or participants attending to those marketing events conducted by China Mobile. The research methodology employed will later be presented further in the next chapter.
Overall, this essay had performed an intensive review on two main areas. The first area is about the area or topic on event marketing, or how events are used or employed to achieve certain marketing objectives. For that, it is discussed that event marketing is becoming more common and important in the current business environment, given that event marketing tend to exert more long lasting and memorable impacts or effects upon the consumers. It is also discussed about how event marketing can be leveraged to achieve certain marketing objectives. Some empirical evidences on how events may affect or contributing to the achievement of certain marketing outcomes are also reviewed, discussed and presented. It is found that majority of such studies are actually related to the use of events in advancing social marketing objectives, or in enhancing the attractiveness or popularity of certain tourism destinations. In other words, the studies on the use of marketing events in achieving certain marketing objectives largely fall within the field of social marketing or tourism management. The studies on how events were employed to assist marketers from commercial organisations in achieving the marketing objectives of their respective organisations are very limited, and insufficient. Such findings nonetheless reaffirm the necessity of more research into how marketing events can be leveraged in affecting consumers (which is the rationale for the execution of this particular study in this dissertation).
Yet, from another perspective, the materials within the literature on purchase intention were also examined, reviewed and analysed. It is found that the concept of purchase intention is straightforward, and that the construct of purchase intention is important within the field of business management, marketing management or in the field of consumer behaviours. Indeed, it is further argued that purchase intention of consumers can be used as the key performance measures to gauge the effectiveness of a marketing events or marketing initiatives of a company – as higher degree of purchase intention among consumers tend to be positively and significantly associated with the actual purchase behaviours of the consumers. Nevertheless, it is also found from within the literature that many different factors may affect consumers’ purchase intention (such as: the individual consumers’ characteristics, the influences from the businesses, or the impacts from the society). It is argued that such information is crucial to set the right expectation for researchers on the complexities of the construct of purchase intention, and to acknowledge that marketing events might just one of the many factors or determinants of purchase intention.
In the final part of the review, some of the limited research in the past performed by other scholars on how marketing events may affect purchase intention of consumers were also examined and discussed. It is found that the use of marketing events can indeed contribute to enhanced or improved purchase intentions of those visitors or participants of those events. Nevertheless, such findings are indeed inconclusive.
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