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Event Stakeholder Behaviour
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Wilson (2000) stated that he believes the factors determining buyer behaviour is a proposition that is extremely difficult in that the processes are both complex as well as difficult to understand as a result of the many external influences at work acting upon and affecting the decisions. The purpose of buyer behavioral models is to aid marketers in mapping out the factors and influences that could affect the outcome, and then weighing those factors to assist in the decisions that will result in their favor.
Identifying the buying behaviour patterns of both the attendee and the sponsor in the sports sector of the events industry entails considering that such is taking place within a semi controlled environment which in effect aids the sponsor as there are less outside competing influences vying for the attendees attention even though the atmosphere is charged with intense mental and other stimuli. The relationship involved in the setting indicated, sports sector of the events industry, means that the sponsor represents the marketer seeking to influence the outcome with reference to the attendee, to have him or her try, purchase, or consider their offering. In this context, the sponsor is seeking multiple outcomes representing a past, now and future connotation in that the preceding represent either changing an attendees preconceived notions or ideas of his offering, this represents past influences, having the attendee purchase or try the product within the setting at the event, and influencing the attendee to re-consider their ideas on his offering that could result in trial, consideration, inquiry, trial or purchase after leaving the event.
These preceding multiple objectives are valid approaches in that a singular approach, seeking ‘now’ results, overlooks and ignores the other equally important factors that are present in any gathering of distinctly different individuals of varied age groups, experiences, backgrounds and demographics. The opinions expressed by Engel et al (1968) suggest that an advertiser or sponsor should be mindful not to overstate nor understand the attributes, features or other aspects of their offering as this might result in a negative perception when real world circumstances such as actual usage or trail occur. Dubois (2000) reminds us that theorists such as Sigmund Freud have attempted to analyze what might influence individuals studying the psyche as well as subconscious motivations as their means of doing so.
The implications of planning for such an event means that sponsors must consider a number of differing and unique aspects in consideration of the circumstantial context in the planning of marketing activities.
Buyer behaviour differs from consumer behaviour in that the former is the domain of business and marketing professionals seeking to understand this phenomenon (Schiffman et al, 2000). The Sheth et al (1969) model, which consists of multi variables, attempts to inculcate knowledge concerning a consumer’s purchase along with their behaviour, through the utilization of a transformation process. In this model it shows the stages concerning influences that affect the behaviour process (Sheth et al, 1969):
- The ‘Significative’ Stage
- The ‘Symbolic’ Stage, and
- The ‘Social’ Stage
Contained within the preceding stages ‘reference groups’ are mentioned, which Bearden et al (1982) describe as “… a person or group of people that significantly influences…” the behaviour of an individual. The three types of reference groups described by Bearden et al (1982) are:
- Information Influences:
This type of group seeks out the information by which to make a decision that is reliable.
- Utilitarian Influences:
This group seeks to want to appear like others within the group to either avoid punishments and/or to receive certain benefits.
- Value-expressive Influences:
In this reference group the influenced party accepts the positions and or perceptions of others as a result of the need to belong.
The preceding contextual ramifications are factors which need to be considered by sponsors in their more active role in the process as they represent influences upon the attendee. It should be noted that the Sheth et al (1969) model does not predict purchase behaviour; it simply lays out the influences that might affect behaviour that can then be utilized as a frame of reference. The model explains how influence and inputs are evaluated as well as utilized by the buyer as a result of perceptual and learning constructs (Sheth et al, 1969), and then goes on to identify the eventual outcomes and outputs of the process. Marketers utilize buyer behaviour, models, to aid them in arriving at assumptions. The preceding helps them to analyze, understand, evaluate, criticize and monitor a specific market and or product. Chisnal (1994) indicates that there are the following uses for models:
- That they aid in mapping out the various characteristics that might affect the eventual purchase of an offering in a manner that is more simplified.
- And that they result in marketing strategies that are more effective as they are developed as a result of outcomes that are likely as predicted from the model.
Additionally, Chisnall (1994) indicates that a well-structured and effective model will be:
In that the model(s) must be applicable to marketing situations that are real.
In this instance the models need to be both well constructed as well as clear.
This type of model is verifiable in terms of occurrences in the real world.
The utilization of multi-variable models refer to the attendee, sponsor aspects as being examined herein as the factors, circumstances and influences acting within and without are more complex as well as include multiple relationships and aspects from behavioral sciences. Said models are more representative concerning the actual characteristics regarding buyer behaviour, however they are not easily analyzed.
Inherent in this equation is the consideration of temporal constraints. The situation that considers the buyer behaviour in the sports sector of the events industry that is time dependent. Said events have a time period correlation which represents the length said event shall take place. Fraisse (1963) pointed out that individuals are usually influenced by conditions of situation in making judgments about time. The preceding is important in helping to mold buyer behavior in that studies conducted regarding the influence of varied mood states has shown that it has a factor in the way they estimate the duration of an event as well as their temporal orientation (Hornik, 1981). The further implications of the foregoing presents the opportunity for sponsors to introduce an additional element into the equation to aid in increasing the net effect of their efforts, as well as the other input variables. As all of these factors have differing effects with respect to their input on buyer behavior, common sense dictates that the utilization of as many non-conflicting elements as possible will thus skew the potential outcome more in one’s favor. Thus, understanding the need to induce a positive and uplifting mood as a factor in buyer behaviour inducement represents an opportunity to increase the net effect of the message, action, influence or course one desires or seeks to obtain as a result. Hornik’s (1981) studies suggested that individuals in a positive mood will more than likely be disposed to be future oriented, whereas individuals in a negative mood will have an orientation more geared to the present, or now. This explains the utilization of bright lights, colors, theme music and a festive atmosphere as important variables.
The preceding is the general overall mood present in events conducted in the sports sector as they are seen or perceived as recreational or entertaining, thus striking or establishing a pre-conceived mood expectation that needs to be amplified or at least rise to those expectations in order to maintain the positive future orientation factor. The second time-based research that enters into consideration is called ‘intertemporal choice.’ (Hornik’s, 1984) Hornik (1984) continued his work on temporal studies in another work in this area brought out the fact that in such, intertemoral choice, decisions concerning buying behaviour entail the consideration of costs and benefits that are spread over time. Utilization of presentation, message delivery and the non-complexity of information are important variables to be attended to as part of the planning of marketing activities.
With the conditional boundaries being understood as occurring in the sports sector of the events industry, the analysis contains a number of constraints which can be adjusted to work in favor of the sponsor, but which work upon the attendee. The proper event, based upon its demographic and other component factors, represents an opportunity for a particular business or corporation to have a forum to reach segments of their demographic profile on a more personal and controlled basis. The event entails a participatory structure whereby the attendee either elects to make an appearance, or is expected to do so by his peers, or other considerations. As the first option is the overwhelming choice, due to the voluntary nature, said attendees are more than likely to be in an anticipatory mode with the expectation of an enjoyable time.
With this as the foundational mood sponsors should be more disposed to buying into the circumstances as a platform to reach attendees, who conversely are likely to be in a more receptive mood to influences as a result of the festive occasion, in general. Chisnall (1994) refers to the foregoing, on the part of the attendee, as the importance of social considerations in consumer behaviour. Palmer (1998) as well as Chisnall (1994) refer to the importance of establishing and building customer loyalty as variables in the buying process. The foregoing applicability with respect to sponsors in event marketing is a factor of the manner in which the event is conducted, organized and the interest factor inherent within the event and sporting connection. The loyalty of the attendee can be enhanced by his perception that the sponsor or advertiser support the activity, thus tend to be viewed positively. Today’s general public is aware of corporate participation and support as a result of pronouncements in the media, as well as comparison with other activities. This awareness represents the opportunity to establish a foundation of loyalty perception that is beneficial.
The importance of the social setting is a further positive aspect which influences and impacts upon buyer behaviour, as well as the group associations (Rice, 1997). The relatively ‘captive’ nature of event marketing has its appeal in reaching a defined number of individuals within a context and setting that is conductive to buying behavior as well as one which the marketer has considerable control, and influence, relative to the other participants. Sherif et al (1961) refer to the preceding as involvement as described below:
- High involvement products set up the parameters for a positive balance in the relationship between the performance outcome and the expectation level(s)
- Low Involvement products set up or result in a negative relationship correlation between performance and expectations.
The preceding implication is that active participation and a level of balanced and believable performance sets the foundation for trust and thus a positive relationship. There is effort on the part of the sponsor to be there through selling means, thus setting up an important component of buyer recognition, and thus influence. Passive advertising or promotional forms entail magazine or print utilizations and thus are not participatory. The distinction is that a specific occurrence, or event, entails the participation of active as well as passive individuals, with the advantage going to the active participants influencing the passive. The attendees represent the passive element and thus the climate for buyer behavior is enhanced as it brings together both elements under conditions that foster more intense involvement and interaction.
Buying behaviour is a condition that can either be amplified or left at its relative levels based upon the everyday forces, influences and circumstances of and behavioral group. This includes attendees as well as sponsors. The common glue that binds the aforementioned is the relationship between the two parties. They represent passive and active modes, and these forces are consistently present as a condition of life. We are either being influenced, or influencing. The levels and amount of individuals thus affected, is a determinant of the degree of organization as well as purpose and offering. Thus, underwriting events within the sporting sector represents an optimum opportunity to be associated with a captive audience that is coming together for a festive occasion, be this a baseball, football, soccer or basketball game or other competitive endeavor.
Such an occasion represents a situation whereby a sponsor’s interest in such an event is heightened as a result of it providing more buying behavioral factors to be brought to bear. This thus creates buying behavior difference on the part of the attendee. Increased buyer behavioral patterns are also present on the attendee side as a result of the same elemental input factors that influence such an event, as described by (Sheth et al, 1969), Bearden et al (1982), and Chisnal (1994) in their mention of ‘significance, symbolic and social stages”, along with influences of an ‘ informational, utilitarian or value-expressive nature, and the mapping out the ‘characteristics useful in developing marketing strategies’, respectively.
Bearden, W., Etzel, M. J. 1982. Reference Group Influence on Product and Brand Purchase Decisions. Vol. 14, Issue 9, p-184, 09/1982. Journal of Consumer Research
Chisnall. Peter. 1994. Consumer Behaviour. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, New York. ISBN: 0077076168
Dubois, B. 2000. Understanding the Consumer: A European Perspective. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, the United States. ISBN: 0136163688
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