Engaging consumers through innovation: Measuring event innovativeness in spectator sports
Marketing researchers have primarily studied radical and incremental product innovations based on technological development from the firm's perspective. The inescapable observation is that product innovation research has developed with an emphasis on tangible products (i.e., goods) and little empirical effort to investigate the innovativeness of intangible products (i.e., services, experiences, and events) from the customer's perspective. Although recent discussions in the marketing literature highlight the importance of studying service and experience innovations, most existing models are still conceptual. This dissertation is one of the first attempts to develop a model of intangible event innovativeness from the consumer's perspective and for relating event innovativeness to customer retention. From a pragmatic perspective, the conceptual model of event innovativeness is developed based on a review of the relevant literature and an examination of data collected from two focus groups.
Two quantitative research studies (n = 297, n = 333) validate the proposed conceptualization of event innovativeness and examine the hypothesized relationships impacting consumer behavioral intentions through innovative event experiences. In the early stages of the study, an exploratory maximum likelihood factor analysis with an oblique rotation was employed. From the factor analysis, six dimensions emerged and were interpreted as (1) player performance, (2) respectful access, (3) self-service technology, (4) aesthetic environment, (5) brand community, and (6) loyalty program. The number of dimensions in the original model was reduced from eight to six; consumers did not seem to distinguish between skill performance and thrill performance and between social environment and brand community.
The second data set was collected from spectators at a college football game in order to validate the idea of event innovativeness. A confirmatory maximum likelihood factor analysis found that two dimensions (player performance and aesthetic environment) had positive effects on overall innovativeness in the context of spectator sports. Furthermore, this study extended previous research by examining the link between event innovativeness and customer retention. Including two attitudinal constructs (consumer satisfaction and brand equity) as mediators, the results indicate that innovative event experiences lead not only to increased consumer satisfaction in the affective domain, but also to enhanced brand equity in the cognitive domain, and eventually to increased behavioral intentions (i.e., repeat purchase, word-of-mouth, and share of wallet).
The current study represents an initial effort to provide managers with more holistic information pertaining to the factors engaging consumers through innovative event experiences. The ideas merit further research with respect to formulating an explanation of what factors contribute most to engaging consumers through innovative event experiences. The proposed model and recommendations for future research provide numerous opportunities to continue advancing our knowledge of customer retention through innovation.
0430: Sports Management
0451: Social psychology