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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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The purpose of the literature review is to provide a critical analysis of appropriate literature relevant to the study. Firstly, in this literature review, a comprehensive literature relating to sport marketing theory will be reviewed which will include sport marketing mix, relationship marketing, and social media marketing. The link between brand equity and social media marketing will be discussed through social media marketing theories. Secondly, the literature review, with restricted focus on the relationship between brand equity and sports teams and consumer brand equity, will discuss the whole of brand equity in general. Social media marketing of an organisation affects its brand equity, hence the decision to include brand equity in the literature review (Bauer, Sauer and Schmitt, 2005; McCarthy, Pioch, Rowley and Ashworth, 2011).

The study has selected a range of literature relating to the segmentation of sports fans and sports consumer loyalty as, in sport marketing theory, it is crucial to segment the target market (Beech and Chadwick, 2007). A direct relationship between consumer loyalty and customer brand equity has been noted (Underwood, Bond and Baer, 2001). Consumer loyalty is significant to sport marketing as it is identical to the word “team identification” (Bridgewater, 2010). There are a variety of reasons for an individual to identify with a team (Wann, 2006; Kerr, 2009; Bridgewater, 2010). Lastly, Kerr (2009) has studied about team identification amongst satellite supporters in profundity and his work on the same topic will be discussed in the last section of the literature review.

Sport Marketing Mix

Londhe (2014) states that marketing is a process that puts the capabilities of a company and the wants of the customers together. The primary importance of marketing is the creation and delivery of unique value to potential customers and to obtain a sustained competitive advantage (Londhe, 2014). Similarly, sport marketing involves the marketing of services, products, and entities (Thrassou, Vrontis, Kartakoullis and Kriemadis, 2012), and consists of all activities designed to satisfy the needs of sport customers through exchange processes (Mullin, Hardy and Sutton, 2000).

The marketing mix is about putting the right product or a combination of products in the right place, at the right time, and at the right price. It is composed of marketing tools used by an organisation to reach its goals and objectives in the target market (Kotler and Armstrong, 1991). The marketing mix consists of four elements, also known as the ‘4 P's'; product, price, place and promotion (Kotler, 2001). And for this study, the promotion element of the marketing mix will be the main focus. The communication to the customers of the information about the product, place and price is done through the promotion aspect of the marketing mix (Thrassou et al, 2012).

Promotion is the way a business makes its products known to customers, both potential and current (Kotler, 2001). The four different elements of promotion as stated by Mullin et al (2000) are advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and publicity. Contrary to the four elements, Kotler (2001) states that there are five elements in the promotional mix, namely, advertising, sales promotion, sales force, public relation and direct marketing.

Consumers these days expect companies to build a relationship with them through regular engagement (Witkember, Lim and Waldburger, 2012). It has been argued that brands should be focusing more on inbound marketing or as it is also called indirect marketing, as direct marketing is deemed as being outdated and ineffective (Halligan and Shah, 2009). Halligan and Shah (2009) also argued that through the use of Caller ID, anti-spam software and TV DVRs, consumers are becoming more proficient at blocking direct marketing interruptions. As stated by Maral (2015), Kotler's (2001) promotional marketing mix should be reviewed and a sixth element should be included that is ‘relationship marketing'. This is so because the deep focus on the consumer relationship needs in marketing activities are met through the creation of a business environment that regularly engages with these consumers (Gronroos, 1994).

Relationship Marketing

A marketing process is one that involves a product or services' attributes, pricing, promotion and distribution. All of these activities must combine well together to ensure successful marketing. Transactional marketing, E-marketing, database marketing, network marketing and interaction marketing are the five major marketing practices (Kotler, Keller and Brady, 2010). As per Kotler et. al. (2010), these five marketing practices are either characterised into relationship perspective or transactional perspective. Transactional marketing perspective intends to create one-off exchanges by laying short term focus on the mass market (Kotler et. al., 2010).

Relationship marketing is an aspect of customer relationship management (CRM) that sheds light on long term customer engagement and customer loyalty rather than short term goals such as individual sales and customer acquisition (Gronroos, 1994). It is a process of satisfying the objectives of all the parties involved through marketing activities that establish, maintain and improve relationships with customers at a profit to the company (Gronroos, 1994). Relationship marketing also contributes to an increased understanding of customer needs, enhanced brand awareness, added consumer value and improved loyalty (Stavros, Pope and Winzar, 2008). Although the main purpose of relationship marketing is building long-term relationships with customers (William and Chin, 2010), there is no guarantee that these relationships will sustain in the long run (Gronroos, 1994). Gronroos (1994) also stated that building such a relationship with customers firstly involves attracting the customer and, secondly, building the relationship to achieve the desired economic goals. Relationship marketing these days has become an important part of marketing operations for most organisations (William and Chin, 2010).

According to Gummesson (1999), ‘relationships, interactions and networks' are the three core components of relationship marketing. However, his model has been believed to be simplistic and in need of further emendations. Contrary to that, Gronroos's (2004) relationship marketing process model which lists ‘communication, interaction and value' as the three core components lays greater emphasis on the belief that successfully integrated interaction and communication processes contribute towards a customers' value processes. Gronroos' (2004) relationship marketing model is a legitimate concept to research as its end result is the customer value process concept. Hence, this study uses Gronroos' academic work on relationship marketing as a theoretical basis.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is that dominating force in the modern world that can change minds, catch more business, increase sales or build and shape a brand or business. Social networking sites (SNS) is defined as a variety of digital sources of information that are generated, initiated, distributed and consumed by internet users as a way of educating one another about issues, products, services, personalities and brands (Chauhan and Pillai, 2013). SNS are based on certain relationships according to Kwon and Wen (2010). These relationships include friendship, interests and activities which allows users to network for the purpose of building relationships and sharing information. Boyd and Ellison (2007) define SNS as internet based services that allows users to construct a personal profile, connect with other users and view others' connections within the system. This definition however can be considered out-of-date as it omits the business-to-customer component of SNS. It can therefore be stated that Kwon and Wen's (2010) definition is a more inclusive and accurate definition for the usage of SNS.

Academics do not agree on social media typologies' categorisation. The seven proposed dimensions stated by Hoffman and Novak (1996) as a framework to categorise media types are; person-interactivity, mode of communication, media feedback symmetry, amount of linked sources and temporal synchronicity. The following classifications were provided by Van Dijck (2013) for social media typologies:

1. Social network sites (SNS), for example Twitter and Facebook

2. User generated content sites, for example YouTube

3. Trading and marketing sites, for example Amazon and eBay

4. Play and gaming sites, for example Fantasy Football and Angry Birds (Van Djick, 2013).

However, Guo (2011) has discussed an alternative classification of social media:

1. Social network sites (SNS), for example Facebook and MySpace

2. Blogs and microblogs, for example Twitter

3. Online message boards/forums and social bookmarks, for example Digg

4. Content sharing communities, for example YouTube and Flickr (Guo, 2011).

There is an evident difference of opinion in the academic discussion about social media typologies. For example, Twitter is considered a social networking site by Van Dijck (2013) and a microblog by Guo (2011). Social media is a new topic for academic discussion as it is a relatively new form of media (Halligan and Shah, 2009). There needs to be a standardised method to classify social media in this age. For the purpose of this study, the term “social

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