Literature Review Chapter: Need of Swarovski's Customer in the Digital World

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¶ … Swarovski's customer in the digital world

Introduction to the literature review chapter

Swarovski is one of the most popular luxury brands at the international level, and similar to any other company, it has to continually assess and recognize the changing features in the micro and macro environments and adapt to them.

The organizational efforts are such concentrated not only around the production of high end crystal products, but also on the business decisions surrounding production, distribution, retail and so on. In this order of ideas, an important emphasis falls on the marketing efforts completed by the company in ensuring the retail of its products, their appeal among the customer base and the final profitability of the firm.

Based on this starting point, the current section focuses on three distinctive areas, as follows:

The experiential marketing, with specific emphasis on the means in which the target market influences the company and other customer and community decisions

The emotional brand engagement, referring specifically to the means in which the company engages its customers and creates strong brand relationships with them, and finally

The integrated marketing communications, at which level emphasis is placed on united efforts of customer decisions and relationships, including the integration of technologies within customer communications.

This chapter has the scope of introducing the reader to the marketing efforts completed by the crystal products manufacturer, and the deeper analysis is completed throughout the integrated three sections. The limitation of this chapter is that it relies primarily on secondary sources, which could be biased or influenced by specific factors (such as author perceptions, time of the study conducted and so on). The limitation is however addressed through the usage of reliable sources and the integration of valid information.

The strength of this current section is represented by the fact that it centralizes relevant information in the specialized literature and presents it in an integrated manner. The section as such represents a solid starting point in the completion of the current research effort, as well as in the completion of other research endeavors in the future.

In order to maximize the relevance and utility of the literature review section, the study of the available literature will focus on three different categories of resources, each one characterized by its own strengths and weaknesses. These sources are listed and briefly described below:

Books and textbooks, which are characterized by the fact that they address the issues in an in depth manner and they retrieve vast information on the studied topic. Nevertheless, they can be outdated and present information that is no longer relevant in the contemporaneous context and the setting of the currently assessed matter.

Journal articles in the specialized sources, which are characterized by the fact that they are highly reliable, by being peer reviewed. Nevertheless, they can be difficult to access and they generally address specific and niche subjects, which may reveal a decreased relevance to the assessed topic.

Finally, the review of the literature also integrates articles on the internet, at various websites. The downside to using these sources is that they are seldom peer reviewed and they can be biased. Nevertheless, they are easy to access and they present timely information, of increased relevance to the studied topic. The combination of the three sources helps maximize their strengths and minimize their limitations.

2. Experiential marketing

This section of the literature review chapter, as well as the following two sections, will be characterized by the integration of two sub-sections. Emphasis would fall on ensuring the comprehension of the topic of experiential marketing, and then presenting how this has been implemented at the crystal products manufacturer. The primary scope is that of assessing the concept in the context of Swarovski, but this endeavor might be limited by the scarcity of resources detailing the subject. Through these lenses then, the assessment of Swarovski's engagement in experiential marketing is limited by the volume of information released by the firm in this direction.

2.1. Understanding experiential marketing

The specialized literature approaches the concept of experiential marketing from a multitude of angles and devices a series of definitions to explain the meaning of the concept. Nonetheless, the essence of the various definitions is virtually the same, and the differences are observed at the level of the terminology used. Some examples of definitions of experiential marketing, as these are presented in various sources, are revealed below. Schmitt and Rogers (2008, p.132) for instance state that:

"Experiential marketing is said to occur 'when a company intentionally uses services as the stage and goods as props to engage individual consumers in a way that creates a memorable event' (Pine and Gilmore, 1997)."

This first definition as such revolves around the creation of memorable customer experiences, which in turn determine the customers to return to the firm and make sustained purchases. The definition provided by Pine and Gilmore, and quoted by Schmitt and Rogers (2008) also introduces into the discussion the concepts of products and services, which are manipulated by the firm to create customer value; the products and the services do not represent the final offer of the firm, but the means to creating customer experiences. A similar approach is also seen in the following definition, where nevertheless emphasis falls on the creation of a powerful relationship between the company and its customer base. According to the editors at Wise Geek:

"As a unique approach to the task of marketing goods and services, experiential marketing is a concept that integrates elements of emotions, logic, and general thought processes to connect with the consumer. The goal of experiential marketing is to establish the connection in such a way that the consumer responds to a product offering based on both emotional and rational response levels."

The above definition is noteworthy due to its mentioning of the customer response to the company's experiential marketing efforts. Subsequently, the usage of experiential marketing is aimed to generate a purchase decision on the part of the customer, and this purchase decision would be supported at both emotional as well as rational levels. In this setting, it is important to note the distinction made by Glyn Atwal and Alistair Williams (2009), who argue that under traditional marketing perceptions, customers are rational and make purchase decisions based on logical processes of thinking. However, in the context of experiential marketing, the customers are perceived as emotional individuals, who base their purchase decisions on the desire to gin personal pleasure; this feature is highly applicable in the jewelry industry.

Clinton Lanier (2008) takes a different approach and states that a major part in experiential marketing is played by the drama of the interaction, namely the drama in creating the customer value, and the drama in perceiving the message by the customers.

Lanier (2008, p.239) as such states that it is important to redefine "the domain of experiential marketing as the creating, staging, engaging and incorporating of a market-based, firm-driven experiential offering. The domain begins with the intended dramatic effects and ends with the perceived dramatic effects. The drama is captured in the type of offering that is created, distributed and engaged. As a result, the dramatic intentionality of both the firm and the consumer play a key role in experiential marketing and distinguish it from the experiential consumption, which is only the intention of the consumer plays a role."

While the above definitions revolve around similar applications of experiential marketing, Don Schultz, Beth Barnes, Heidi Schultz and Marian Azzaro (2009) point out to a distinctive feature of experiential marketing, namely its possibility to include a live event, which helps strengthen customer-company relationships. Furthermore, the authors believe that experiential marketing inspires the customers and constitutes a solid marketing tool, which further advances brand trust and awareness. According to Schultz, Barnes, Schultz and Azzaro (2009, p.277)

"Experiential marketing is generally defined as any kind of live event marketing experience where customers have the opportunity to interact with a product or brand face-to-face. […] Experiential marketing was an effective way to generate brand understanding and purchase and even inspire brand advocacy or positive word-of-mouth communications among consumers."

The modern day companies become more and more interested in experiential marketing due to the financial advantage of the effort. Specifically, experiential marketing creates and enforces positive experiences for the customers, who then become more willing to pay the extra price for the purchase of the items of interest. These companies do not only sell products, but positive experiences which capture consumer interest. This translates into a situation in which the customers become more interested in the respective items and companies and increase their purchase volumes. Subsequently, this materializes in higher revenues and profits for the respective firms (Schmitt and Rogers, 2008).

Within the specific context of jewelry products, experiential marketing has become an essential tool. Luxury products customers have high expectations of the luxury products manufacturers and it is no longer sufficient for these to create high quality products. The luxury products manufacturers as such have to combine high product quality with… [END OF PREVIEW]

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