The Influence of Communication Channels on the Response of Customers in the Exploration and Maturity Stage of the Customer Lifecycle

Anne Vandenberk Saeid Vafainia
This master thesis examines the effect of different channels on a consumer’s willingness to accept a hypothetical promotional invitation. The channels that are investigated are mobile, social media, direct mail and personal selling. The goal of this thesis is to recommend to retailers which channels they should use and at what point in the customer relationship these should be applied.

Personalization and interaction: a retailer’s road to success

Antwerp – A recent study indicates that consumers are more inclined to respond to a promotional message from a retailer, if they receive it via a personalized and interactive channel. As the brand becomes more established, other forms of communication gain in effectiveness.

In today’s digital revolution, retailers are overwhelmed with alternatives to communicate with consumers. They are continuously searching for ways to reach and communicate effectively with consumers. Effective communication is vital for retailers in building valuable relationships with their customers. A recent study conducted by a master student at KU Leuven indicates that personal relevance and interactivity are the key characteristics of a commercial communication channel.

Mobile channel to be avoided

The research is effectuated among 513 respondents and surveyed via which channels consumers would be more inclined to respond to a promotional message, taking into account the strength of their buyer-seller relationship. From the research it appeared that in general, in-store communication and personal selling are preferred the most. In contrast, retailers should be careful with the mobile channel, as consumers appear to dislike promotional messages via mobile the most, because of its obtrusive and impersonalized characteristics. Since personal selling is not always present or achievable, it is beneficial for retailers to improve the interactivity and personal relevance of their communication. The ongoing digitalization offers numerous alternatives and techniques to achieve this.

The impact of loyalty

As consumers become more familiar with brands, other forms of communication gain in effectiveness. Consumers that are more familiar with a brand are easier to convince than those who are still getting to know the brand. This implies that it is important for retailers to tailor their communication strategy to the relationship status with their customers. For consumers who are still getting to know the brand, personal selling is most appropriate because of its persuasive strengths and high personal relevance. Social media does the job for loyal customers thanks to its interactive capabilities and its high personal relevance. Also direct mail that touches upon the personal interest spheres of the receivers is appreciated by loyal customers.

Personal relevance, interactivity and relational strength are thus very important elements retailers should take into account when developing their communication strategy. A highly relevant and interactive communication that is adapted to the commercial relational status of the customer, can result in a high added value and satisfied customers for retailers.

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master in de handelswetenschappen, Marketing Management
Publicatiejaar
2016
Promotor(en)
Els Breugelmans
Kernwoorden
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