Business Competitive Edge and Event Marketing

Introduction

The nature of marketing communication has become dynamic as evidenced by the shift from the push approaches to highly interactive methods. Dahlen, Lange, and Smith (2008) affirm that the traditional ‘above-the-line’ advertising only account for 25% of the marketing communication budgets. Moreover, consumers have gained substantial control over the reception and interpretation of brand messages. The dynamism in marketing communication underscores the importance of making the process highly integrated. Dahlen, Lange, and Smith (2008, p. 3) emphasise that marketing is ‘moving away from managing customer transactions to managing internal and external relationships and from passive to interactive multi-channel marketing communication strategies’. A well-formulated brand narrative promotes integrated marketing communication (Percy 2008). Therefore, businesses must be concerned with the coherence of the marketing message as opposed to its replication. Achieving this goal requires businesses to develop and maintain an ongoing brand narrative. Moreover, extensive customer involvement is essential in strengthening the brand’s story (Drengner, Hansjoerg, & Steffen 2008).

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One of the most notable changes in the marketing communication arena entails the adoption of interactive marketing communication techniques. Events are being considered as effective strategic marketing tools. A study conducted in the corporate community in 2010 shows that over 27% of the firms’ marketing budget was allocated to organising events. Thus, event marketing has become a significant element of the marketing communication mix (Gerritsen 2014).

Event marketing presents businesses with an opportunity to increase the customers’ attention by establishing a link between the brand and the intended communication message. Moreover, firms are increasingly using marketing events as a platform to undertake brand presentation (Haig 2015). Moreover, investing in event marketing has a positive effect on a firm’s performance. A study conducted in the US firms in 2004 shows that event marketing accounts for the greatest contribution to a firm’s Return On Investment [ROI] as opposed to other forms of marketing such as public relations, sales promotion, direct marketing, and Internet advertising (Sneath, Finney, & Close 2005).

This paper is a review of the available literature on how businesses can improve their competitive edge by leveraging on the various aspects of event marketing by using brand as a communication tool. The review entails a comprehensive assessment of the different materials such as journals and books. Moreover, the paper further details the methodological approaches employed in conducting the research design. This goal has been achieved by identifying the research design and techniques.

Review of relevant literature

Event Marketing

The application of event marketing as a marketing communication tool varies across industries. The healthcare and automotive industries lead in the application of event marketing (Sneath, Finney, & Close 2005). A survey conducted on these industries shows that 53% of executives in the automotive industry and 44% of their counterparts in the healthcare sector consider event marketing as one of the most effective marketing communication approaches. Different consumer goods companies are increasing their allocation to event marketing, which indicates its effectiveness in promoting a firm’s performance (Sneath, Finney, & Close 2005).

The growth in the significance of event marketing can be attributed to several factors. First, the conventional marketing communication tools such as print and broadcast mediums have experienced a reduction in their effectiveness in assisting firms establish a strong connection with the target audience. The emergence of new technology platforms such as social media has led to a reduction in newspaper subscriptions (Kapoor & Kulshretha 2012). Therefore, a firm might not reach the targeted number of the audience through newspapers. Similarly, the growth in broadcast media has fragmented the listeners and viewers’ attention thus reducing their effectiveness (Gerritsen 2014).

Secondly, event marketing is highly effective in ingraining the intended message in the target customers’ mind. Niesing (2013) affirms that the application of event marketing leads to the creation of a strong emotional value amongst the target customers. Blythe (2006, p. 107) thus concludes that the ‘probability of consumers including the product in the purchase decision-making process is enhanced’. Furthermore, individuals who attend events organised by companies develop lasting memories on a product. According to Dahlen, Lange, and Smith (2008), consumers develop varying brand image every time they encounter a brand. Niesing (2013) emphasises that the brand message originates from different sources such as the product, unplanned, service, and planned messages.

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The planned messages entail carefully selected brand identity factors to be communicated to consumers. The product messages relate the products’ features and their physical characteristics such as pricing and design. Conversely, the service messages are generated from the interaction with the marketing representatives (Hatch & Schultz 2008). Marketers can control the three categories of messages (Dewhirst & Brad 2005). However, the unplanned messages are difficult to control because they relate to the messages created by competitors (Niesing 2013). It is critical for marketers to ensure that the marketing message is developed and communicated effectively to ensure that customers cherish the memories created by attending marketing events (Gerritsen 2014).

A reduction in the efficacy of the conventional marketing communication mediums has compelled marketers to consider different alternative approaches with one of them being organising strategic events (Kapferer 2008). Kapferer (2008) defines event marketing as the incorporation of events as a marketing communication approach. Event marketing can also be referred to be an experiential marketing communication approach whose objective is to create a positive consumer experience (Close 2006). The concept of event marketing can be applied to four main types of marketing that include customer relationship marketing, city marketing, marketing communication, and branding.

In 2006, over 96% of firms in the US had incorporated the concept of event marketing in their marketing communication (Close 2006). A survey conducted by the Advertising Association projected event marketing to grow by 7.8% in 2012, which represents a significant increment from the 3.6% in 2011 (Zarantonello & Schmitt 2013). Unlike the mass-media marketing communication approach, which is largely one-way and broad-based in nature, event marketing is highly interactive. Gaur (2009) argues that events form the foundation for customers to interact and share knowledge on products. Therefore, event marketing creates an opportunity for consumers to experience the brand directly through the interactions hence increasing the chances of developing memorable brand experiences (Zarantonello & Schmitt 2013). Moreover, organisations can leverage on event marketing in building strong brand equity through the developed experiences (Ludicke 2006).

Event marketing and branding

Despite the growth in the attractiveness of event marketing as a marketing communication approach, most organisations are not certain on how the integration of event marketing influences the marketing outcomes positively (Bagozzi 1986). Besides, most organisations are not knowledgeable on how they can apply event marketing. Gupta (2007, p. 88) states that event marketing ‘has been viewed as valuable in generating awareness for the brand and corporate images, but less has been studied on its ability to communicate a more sophisticated, specific message, or contribute to other aspects of brand equity’. This assertion indicates the existence of a gap concerning the application of event marketing. Therefore, academicians and practitioners must consider increasing the level of awareness of how events can be applied effectively in the promotional practices (Gupta, 2007).

Developing an attractive brand name is not sufficient to promote an organisation’s competitiveness in the market. On the contrary, it is crucial for organisations to formulate a comprehensive brand communication plan (Pride, Hughes, & Kapoor 2008). According to Bell (2008), brand communication seeks to attain optimal positioning of a brand in the target market. This aspect increases the chances of influencing the consumers’ decision to purchase the brand. Niesing (2013) defines brand positioning as the process of ensuring that a firm’s product attains a distinctive place in the consumers’ minds.

One of the issues that organisational managers should take into account in using event marketing as a brand positioning technique entails national brand positioning (Sengupta 2005). Niesing (2013) affirms that organisations should ensure that their brand communicate unique value proposition. The value proposition may involve communicating how the brand has integrated the unique offering. The national values must be trustworthy and believable rather than fabricated. This goal can be achieved through the incorporation of different national aspects such as culture in the product development process (Ramsoy & Skov 2014). For example, companies in the food processing industry should consider integrating the specific country’s tastes. This goal can be achieved by understanding the people’s behaviour. Therefore, the integration of a nation’s values is vital in improving the efficacy with which a brand communicates its point of difference (Niesing 2013). Thus, brand communication culminates in the establishment of a strong positive connection between the target audience and a particular brand.

Niesing (2013, p. 103) affirms that brand communication ‘goes beyond communicating to the minds of the audience but communicating directly to their hearts’. Bell (2008) corroborates that brand communication occurs if the brand meets the consumers. This communication also occurs when consumers meet the brand frequently through different platforms such as the point-of-purchase, sponsorships, personal selling, and advertising. However, Samuel (2007) argues that the integration of these techniques does not amount to effective brand communication if the target audiences do not notice the brand. Thus, the importance of effective organisation of event marketing should not be underestimated.

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In the process of organising marketing events, it is imperative for organisational leaders to ensure that the consumers are involved. For instance, in organising a marketing event such as sporting event, marketers should ensure that the target customers are engaged optimally to ensure that the function meet a specific need in the market. Close (2005) identifies community involvement as an essential element in organisation’s success in event marketing.

Bell (2008) cites enhancing brand image and promoting brand awareness as the core objective of brand communication. Kuang, Yeh, and Yang (2009) define brand awareness as the degree of a brand’s presence amongst the target consumers’ mind. This aspect makes a brand a likely alternative for consideration in the consumers’ purchase decision process. Chitale and Gupta (2013) support this finding by stating that firms use activities related to event marketing to create brand awareness, promote sales, and enhance their brand image.

Gaur (2009) cites the integration of different event marketing activities and associating with celebrities and renowned industry leaders as essential elements in improving brand image. Moreover, it is imperative for marketers to ensure that the people facilitating the marketing event are knowledgeable on how to create a positive influence on the target audience. Gaur (2009) affirms that the event facilitators form the foundation of event marketing. This assertion arises from the view that the people’s talents determine the effectiveness with which a firm succeeds in influencing the target audiences’ mind.

The incorporation of event marketing in the marketing communication process translates into improved brand equity. Brand equity entails the benefit that a firm generates from its brand. A firm can develop brand communication from two main perspectives of brand equity. These perspectives include the consumer-based brand equity and firm-based brand equity. Dibb and Simkin (1996, p. 83) posit that the ‘firm-based brand equity is concerned with the financial value of brands’. Conversely, the consumer-based brand equity entails an evaluation of how consumers respond to brands (Zarantonello & Schmitt 2013). Buttle and Maklan (2015) emphasise that event marketing fosters the creation of positive brand experience and brand attitude. Therefore, the overall sustainability of a firm is improved.

Event marketing is correlated strongly with the development of brand attitude, which entails the extent to which a brand is likeable or unlikeable, and favourable or unfavourable. The consumers’ brand attitude is not constant but it is subject to change, which underscores the need to reinforce brand attitude to benefit the firm (Zarantonello & Schmitt 2013). Assessing brand attitude is fundamental in evaluating the contribution of marketing communication activities to a firm’s overall performance. Some of the models used in evaluating the effectiveness of marketing communication like the Lavidge and Steiner’s model, the DAGMAR model, and Rossister-Percy Grid model, are founded on the assumption that effective marketing communication must culminate in the development of positive consumer brand attitude (Riesenbeck & Perry 2008).

Scholars have revealed that event attendance may influence the development of positive brand attitude amongst consumers, hence their purchase intentions (Sneath, Finney, & Close 2005). These scholars further affirm that the consumer’s purchase decision is stimulated by brand-related variables such as brand emotions and brand attitudes as opposed to event related variables such as the attendees’ attitude and emotion towards certain marketing event (Sneath, Finney, & Close 2005). The capacity to influence the consumers’ purchase intention, thus fostering a positive brand attitude is vital in attaining high brand equity.

The second aspect that organisations should focus on in integrating event marketing relates to brand experience. Brakus, Schmitt, and Zarantonello (2009, p.53) assert that brand experience includes ‘a subjective, internal consumer responses, as well as behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communication practices, and environments’. Studies conducted on event marketing show that the practice leads to positive brand experience due to direct interaction with the brands. The concept of event marketing is being perceived as a theatrical event and an effective marketing communication tool. Event marketing forms the foundation for the development of strong emotional attachment with the customers (O’Guinn, Allen, & Semenik 2009).

By integrating event marketing in the marketing communication process, a firm is in a position to ‘let the customers in’ by creating an environment for ongoing dialogue. The conversations that the consumers engage in giving them a chance to weigh their perception on a particular brand (Event Marketing Institute 2011). Thus, the attachment gained from marketing event can translate into the creation of a strong brand loyalty and resonance, which are essential for the attainment of a high level of brand equity (Keller 2003).

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As a form of experiential marketing, the success of event marketing in promoting brand communication is subject to the effectiveness with which a firm incorporates word-of-mouth during the interaction process. Event Marketing Institute (2011) affirms that word-of-mouth advocacy is very effective in establishing a long-lasting opinion regarding a particular brand. Moreover, experiential marketing leads to the generation of exponential returns. The participants in a particular marketing event might not constitute a component of the target market. However, Gupta (2007, p. 87) asserts that the ‘media coverage and word-of-mouth publicity helps the events reach much larger audiences, who are the target audiences’. A study on event marketing indicates that over 93.5% of respondents considered in the study shared their brand experience from an event that they participated in earlier (Event Marketing Institute 2011). This aspect indicates that events are fundamental in building brand image, which later translates into improved revenue collection from sales.

Themes and organisations

Some themes can be identified from the literature review on the application of event marketing and using a brand in promoting an organisation’s performance. The dominant theme entails brand building. Gaur (2009) affirms that event marketing has become a critical component in creating adequate brand awareness. Relying on traditional marketing communication techniques such as advertising might not be effective due to the numerous products being introduced into the market through conventional mediums (Masterman & Wood 2007). Therefore, it is imperative for marketers to safeguard themselves against ‘yet-another-product’ syndrome, which limits the creation of brand awareness. This goal can be achieved through the adoption of highly interactive approaches such as event marketing. An example of such events entails sponsoring sporting activities (Boone & Kurtz 2015).

Through event marketing, an organisation is in a position to communicate its brand symbol and brand name. Niesing (2013) ranks these two components second based on influencing the consumers’ purchase decision against the competing products. Events increase the consumers’ familiarity with a particular brand (Buttle & Maklan 2015). Effective selection of marketing event is essential in creating brand awareness. For example, in launching a non-alcoholic energy drink named ‘Wings’, the product owner might consider holding a competitive event such as parachuting.

The participants may include renowned extreme sports athletes. The choice of personalities selected in undertaking the event should be congruent with the brand personality that the firm intends to develop (Jueterbock 2012). Undertaking this event will play a fundamental role in improving the efficiency with which the product owner literary illustrates the energising effect of its product. Subsequently, the chances of the target consumers relating to the meaning of the brand name will improve significantly. The target customers will associate the energy drink with athleticism, which will amount to the development of a positive brand reputation. Brand reputation is being considered as a critical aspect in organisations’ pursuit of competitive advantage (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson 2009). Kotler and Keller (2009) argue that the brand name adopted by a firm should be easy to recall and meaningful.

Organising such a marketing event will improve the firm’s efficiency in drawing the consumers’ attention due to the exciting nature of the event (Gaur 2009). Hence, the firm will benefit from the brand name as an intangible organisational resource (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson 2009). Moreover, conducting such events is highly effective in illustrating the brand’s point of difference. Niesing (2013) affirms that the point of difference entails the features that make consumers believe that they cannot obtain such product attributes from a competing product. Thus, event marketing is very effective in distinguishing a product from the competing products. Gaur (2009) argues that such competitive events tend to be mass audience oriented. Therefore, holding such events increases brand exposure.

Event marketing further enhances the development of strong brand knowledge. Considering its interactive characteristic, the successful organisation and hosting of the marketing event provides firms with an opportunity to undertake detailed presentation of its brand by describing its product features. In the course of operation, organisations have an obligation to ensure that their products align with the market needs (Tjiptono 2005). Firms have a duty to undertake continuous improvement on their products to achieve this goal. This aspect is critical in promoting the products’ competitiveness. Integrating event marketing contributes to the creation of a strong understanding of the added product features. Thus, the chances of creating a strong brand loyalty increase significantly.

The contribution of event marketing in brand building is further underscored by its effectiveness in assisting organisations to rejuvenate their brands. Organisations incur substantial costs in creating market awareness during the new product introduction process (Gaur 2009). The budgetary allocation in creating awareness reduces as the product progresses through its lifecycle. However, the pressure to maintain a high customer base remains. In such situations, event marketing is the most appropriate approach that a firm can consider in sustaining brand recognition and loyalty (Gaur 2009).

The review further indicates that organisations can leverage on event marketing in undertaking brand repositioning. The positioning theory emphasises the significance of entrenching a positive consumer perception, which can be achieved through the incorporation of event marketing (James 2014). In conducting event marketing, organisations should focus on presenting the strengths of their brands (Batra & Kazmi 2008). Roll (2006) further supports this assertion by stating that effective brand repositioning arises from successful communication on product features such as quality, which are entrenched in the consumers’ minds.

Past studies conducted on perceived quality shows the existence of a direct relationship between a firm’s financial performance and the perceived quality of its products. A study involving over 3,000 businesses in the US shows that positively perceived quality translates into an improved market share and return on investment (Aaker 2003). Therefore, aggressive event marketing increases the chance of restoring a product’s brand image (Hoyle 2002). Samsung is one of the firms that have succeeded in using event marketing in repositioning its brands as premium products. The firm achieved this goal by communicating the new product features, design, and quality.

Event marketing is further important in the creation and sustenance of the brand identity. Past studies show that organisations that have integrated event marketing have succeeded in entrenching a strong brand identity (Gaur 2009). One of the firms that have integrated event marketing is Foster’s Brewing Group. In its quest to enter the Australian market by introducing a new beer brand, viz. Foster’s Larger, the firm adopted sporting as its event marketing. The firm identified with the Australian climate, culture, people, and landscape. Besides, the company identified itself with Australia by selecting cricket as its marketing event. The choice of this sport arose from the recognition of cricket as the core sport that Aussies identify with (Gelder 2005). Another dominant theme in the literature review relates to the integration of effective event infrastructure.

The event infrastructure refers to the fundamental elements that should be integrated into the event marketing process (Gaur 2009). These elements include the talent, people, concept, and structure. The marketing event should be based on a well-defined concept (Fill & Hughes 2015). In this case, event marketing is based on the concept of branding as a marketing communication tool. On the other hand, effective selection of event facilitators is critical in creating a lasting and memorable brand image amongst the audience. The event facilitators should be selected based on their talent. This aspect is critical to improving the effectiveness with which the event facilitators influence the development of a positive brand image on the attendees (Franzen & Moriaty 2009).

Moreover, marketing events should be structured effectively by assigning distinct roles and responsibilities to different parties. This aspect is paramount in achieving the intended event marketing objectives such as the creation of a positive brand image and increasing brand awareness. Therefore, the literature review highlights the contribution of event infrastructure in enhancing attainment of brand equity.

Conclusion

Despite the increase in the application of traditional marketing communication approaches such as advertising in creating product market awareness, the effectiveness of these techniques remains low. The integration of emerging technologies such as social media and other web-based technologies has not resolved the problem. The lack of efficacy of traditional mass communication techniques arises from the view that the message communicated is fragmented. Moreover, most mass communication mediums used do not result in adequate interaction with the target audience. This assertion means that the probability of creating a positive brand experience amongst the target audience is limited. Thus, the literature review underscores the existence of a significant challenge in influencing the target audience.

The review identifies the adoption of event marketing as one of the most effective approaches that organisations can adopt in creating sustainable brand awareness. Organising and holding marketing events present an opportunity for marketers to interact with the target customers effectively. For example, attendees at a particular marketing event have an opportunity to gain adequate understanding on the product features and benefits. Thus, the possibility of the attendees considering a specific brand over other competing products increases significantly. Thus, the literature review has shown that marketing events are very effective in creating a strong connection between the customers and the brand.

Regarding the brand image, the literature review has emphasised the importance of effective selection of the marketing event. The nature of the event selected influences the extent to which a firm succeeds in creating a unique brand experience and image. The literature highlights the significance of considering cultural aspects in selecting the marketing event. Cultural aspects are effective in ensuring that the target consumers identify with the event, hence the brand. Moreover, the review shows that the marketing event should relate to the product being marketed. Establishing a relationship like that will lead to the creation of lasting memories on the brand. Therefore, marketing events are essential in ensuring that brands attain an optimal market position amongst the target audience minds. The ultimate effect is that consumers are likely to consider the brand in their purchase decision-making process.

Research Methodology

Research design

The objective of the study is to explore how businesses can strengthen their brand by adopting event marketing as a marketing communication approach. The study achieves this goal by evaluating the different aspects of branding that organisations’ marketing managers should take into account in conducting event marketing. Therefore, the study has integrated the qualitative research design hence making it interpretive. Considering the qualitative nature of the research, the study can be defined as descriptive. This aspect has played an essential role in improving the effectiveness with which the researcher succeeds in undertaking fact-finding (Creswell 2003). The incorporation of qualitative research design has enabled the researcher to gather sufficient data from the field, which enriches the research findings.

The choice of the descriptive research approach arose from the need to integrate reflective thinking in evaluating the study’s assumptions and facts gathered. The descriptive research approach is undertaken by employing the survey design. Tappen (2011, p. 71) affirms that surveys ‘are used primarily to obtain answers that can be tallied and reported numerically’. The adoption of the survey research approach increases the ease with which the research findings are understood due to the integration of numerical analysis of the data collected. Moreover, the choice of survey research design is informed by its versatile nature. Therefore, the study has captured the different attitudes and opinions elicited by the research respondents (Fombrun 2008).

Data collection

The research study is aimed at examining how firms in the European and Romanian dairy markets can improve their performance by leveraging on event marketing and using the brand as the core communication tool. The study has relied on primary sources of data to achieve this goal. The use of primary sources of data arose from the need to gather relevant data on event marketing and branding. Sourcing data from primary sources increases the credibility of the research findings.

The study has identified dairy product consumers in the target markets as the study population. In the data collection process, the researcher has recognised the existence of a large number of dairy product consumers. Subsequently, simple random sampling technique has been adopted in constructing the sample study. The purpose of using the simple random sampling has been informed by the need to make the study feasible.

Data collection has been achieved using research questionnaires as the core instruments for data collection. The questionnaires used were structured effectively by integrating open-ended and close-ended questions. The open-ended questions were aimed at increasing the chances of the study gathering sufficient data from the market. Myers and Hansen (2011) claim that using open-ended questions provide respondents with an opportunity to share their views on the research topic. Thus, the respondents are not under pressure to give a specific answer. Conversely, a close-ended questionnaire has enabled the researcher to gather specific data on the research subject. The questionnaires were designed effectively by undertaking an extensive review to eliminate grammatical errors and ambiguity. Thus, the ease of respondents understanding and response to the questions was increased.

Due to the dispersion of the respondents over a wide area, the study has adopted the self-administration technique in distributing the questionnaires to the respondents. This goal has been achieved through the integration of online technologies. The questionnaires were sent to the respondents through emails. The mail survey has made the data collection process to be cost-effective (Myers & Hansen 2011).

Sampling design

Conducting a research study on a large population is not feasible due to the enormous resource requirements (Tappen 2011). Thus, the sampling technique has been employed. According to Bryman and Bell (2005, p.185), sampling entails ‘the process of choosing relevant data sources to be used in generating the required data’. Purposive sampling design has been employed in selecting the research respondents. Kent (2007) affirms that purposive sampling increases the chances of gathering relevant data from the field. Thus, the study has only considered respondents who are conversant with the application of the research variables, which include event marketing and branding.

The simple random sampling technique has been applied to give the different subjects in the target population an opportunity of being considered in the research study. Thus, the likelihood of bias occurring in the selection of the research respondents has been eliminated. The simple random sampling technique has enabled the researcher to construct a sample comprised of 100 respondents. The respondents comprise marketing experts selected from 25 different companies in the Romanian and European market segments. These respondents were considered due to their knowledge of event marketing and branding. The use of simple random sampling has increased the chances generalising the research findings by ensuring that the sample selected is representative of the total population (Myers & Hansen 2011).

The sample size selected influences the reliability of the study results. The inclusion of 100 respondents has enabled the study to eliminate errors. Kent (2007, p. 23) affirms that a ‘small sample size diminishes the power of a study while a large sample size increases the degree to which the results of a study are statistically significant’.

Data analysis and presentation

The study is concerned with improving the relevance of data collected from the field. The study is based on effective data analysis, which has been achieved through the incorporation of descriptive data analysis technique. The descriptive data analysis technique has been achieved by integrating different data analysis tools. One of the tools entails the use of Microsoft Excel. The Microsoft Excel has enabled the researcher to analyse and present the collected data using graphs and charts. The use of Microsoft Excel has enabled the research to integrate different descriptive statistics such as the determination of the median and mode, standard deviation, and variance.

The researcher has incorporated the concept of data coding to enhance data analysis. This goal has been achieved by assigning codes to the different responses from the participants. The choice of data coding is further subject to the need of condensing the collected data. Longnecker (2008, p. 56) asserts that data reduction ‘makes the data collected to be sharp and focused by eliminating irrelevant data’.

The concept of data coding has been enhanced by the integration of the Likert scaling technique. The purpose of the scaling technique is to assist the researcher analyse the respondents attitude and opinion. McNabb (2015) emphasises that the Likert Scale aids in evaluating opinion by developing a set of statements that assess the respondents’ opinion on the research subject. Therefore, the Likert scale has enabled the researcher to analyse the respondents’ opinion on the concept of event marketing and branding.

Ethical Considerations

The process of conducting the research study has been facilitated by the integration of several ethical considerations. McBurney and White (2009, p. 9) identify ethical considerations as fundamental elements in conducting the research study. The researcher observed some ethics as a way of increasing the rate of participation by the selected respondents. First, the researcher ensured that the respondents were informed adequately of the research objective. Creating such knowledge increases the chances of selected respondents participating in the research study willingly (McBurney & White 2009).

During the research process, the researcher ensured that the respondents were respected. One of the issues considered entail assuring the respondents the adherence to utmost confidentiality of the information provided. This aspect played an essential role in protecting the respondents’ identity. Moreover, the respondents were assured of the right to pull out of the study without any consequences.

The researcher ensured that the research process stayed free of practices that might amount to coercion, deceit, over-reaching, and duress according to the given guidelines of conducting research work. The researcher recognises that such practices might influence the respondents’ participation in the study, which might affect the quality of the research data. Prior to conducting the study, the researcher sought permission from the relevant authorities. The study sought the permission from the identified companies’ management teams. Thus, the study has succeeded in eliminating the occurrence of suspicion from the public.

Strengths and limitations of the methodology

Maxwell (2005, p. 106) notes that one of the ‘major strengths of the research methodology relates to the choice descriptive research design’. This research designed has enabled the researcher to collect data from primary sources. Subsequently, the research data is collected from the natural setting. Therefore, the researcher has ensured that the data collected is relevant to the research topic. For example, the researcher has selected respondents who are conversant with the research variables such as branding and event marketing. These aspects have increased the reliability and relevance of the collected data significantly. Maxwell (2005, p. 109) posits that the choice of ‘sampling technique makes it possible for the research findings to be generalised to the general target population’. This assertion arises from the view that the technique has enabled the elimination of bias.

Despite these strengths, the researcher might encounter a challenge in collecting data. One of the major challenges relates to resource limitations, which include time and finance. In this research study, only a sample of 100 respondents has been considered. The selection of this sample size has been subject to the scarcity of resources. In addition to the above aspects, the data collection process might be hindered by the existence of doubts. For example, the respondents might be sceptical of how confidentiality will be ensured in the study. Some of the respondents might not respond to questions that they consider as personal. However, the research has assumed that none of the respondents selected will pull out of the study before its completion.

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