This book explores the consumption behaviour of ‘extreme’ athletes from a quantitative perspective. Extreme sports are a multi-billion-dollar industry. The behaviour of athletes who participate in them differs from the majority of consumers in that they voluntarily seek out risky and dangerous situations that other consumers actively avoid. It has therefore been suggested that these consumer-athletes may have a unique psychology in this regard.
The book adopts a novel approach based on established psychological theories concerning the behaviour of extreme individuals, applying and translating them into marketing research and practice. It discusses how specific psychological drivers impact the consumption behaviour of consumer-athletes and a variety of marketing-relevant outcomes.
By demonstrating that extreme consumers are characterized by a unique psychology that leads them to act and think differently, this book offers scholars deeper insights into consumer behaviour, while also helping practitioners target this lucrative marketing segment more effectively.
The introduction presents the overarching research question denoting the entire book proposal:
“How do psychological drivers impact on extreme consumption behaviors?”The overview of the book contents is presented highlighting the contribution of the single book section in framing answers to the general, guiding research question of the book. Further, the introduction specifies the focus of the book in terms of research setting and context, and particularly specifying which kind of consumer behavior it will consider (i.e., behavior of active consumer-athletes)
CHAPTER 1 – THE EXTREME SPORTS PHENOMENON: DUST TO GLORY.
This chapter describes the setting of extreme sports, tracing the origins of its emergence as a novel consumption phenomenon, through its evolution throughout the action of marketers, media, and societal changes. This chapter will provide the definition of extreme sports which will be adopted in the entire book.
CHAPTER 2 – I’M ON THE EDGE. PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON EXTREME SPORT PARTICIPANTS.This chapter reviews the major theoretical approaches addressing individuals engaging in extreme behaviors, providing a multidisciplinary literature review and reviewing existing empirical evidence (both qualitative and quantitative) on the topic. Chapter 2 will present the basic psychology-based concepts that will be extensively employed and explored in the remainder of the book proposal.
CHAPTER 3 – LIVE (AND SPEND?) TO TELL. AN INVESTIGATION OF DRIVERS OF CONSUMER UPGRADING IN EXTREME SPORTS.
Major headings (draft version):
Literature review and hypotheses development
Discussion of resultsImplications for theory and practice
Chapter 3 addresses extreme sports’ novel consumer importance providing a representation of the drivers of consumer intention to upgrade (i.e., the relationship with product/service provider(s)). Despite most of existing marketing research insisted on considering repurchase intentions as a major positive signal in the consumer-provider relationship, some authors suggested that, instead, it often is the decision to enhance the relationship (through higher merchandise spending, more equipment expenditures, higher purchase frequency, etc.) that signals a positive outcome of management of the relationship and increases value for the seller (Visentin & Scarpi, 2012). Such enhancement may comprise up-selling, cross-selling and, in general, an upgrade to the relationship with the partner or brand (Visentin & Scarpi, 2012). The model developed and tested in Chapter 3 hence addresses consumer intention to upgrade in extreme sports, combining two separate streams of literature. A model branch addresses traditional sports marketing drivers of upgrading, well assessed in industrial and relationship marketing, such as loyalty, trust, satisfaction, and image related to extreme sports events. Further, the model proposes that such constructs might work differently in extreme sports rather than in traditional ones, as extreme activities emphasize a sense of challenge, thrill, risk, and self-improvement and have been shown by psychological literature to induce different behavioral patterns. Thus, basing on two leading psychological theories examining behavior of individuals facing extreme challenges (i.e., edgework theory and cognitive adaptation theory), an additional, self-enhancement-based model branch addresses further drivers of the intention to upgrade, accounting for the unique psychology of extreme sport active participants.
Data were collected by means of a paper and pencil questionnaire administered to 580 athletes participating in two leading championships for extreme sports: the BMX European Cup in Italy and Ironman in Austria. Data collection was carried out on the days in which events took place. Model estimation was carried out using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM).
Findings provide some key outcomes:
There is full support for previous research findings in showing that satisfaction, trust and event image are relevant drivers of loyalty;
The present study further combines risk-taking attitude, perceived control and image congruence with self-enhancement to demonstrate that they in?uence the consumer's intention to upgrade. From this viewpoint, findings show that it matters how the event image is interiorized by consumers and experienced in relationship with personal capabilities and self-image;Multigroup comparisons show that some consumers’ characteristics impact on drivers of the intention to upgrade, namely consumers’ age and distance travelled to reach the event venue. On the one hand, younger consumers are driven more than older consumers by self- enhancement; further, loyalty in older consumers is driven mostly by satisfaction, whereas for younger consumers trust is more important than satisfaction in driving loyalty. On the other hand, risk-taking is important in shaping the intention to upgrade for those coming from afar, whereas control has a greater impact on the intention to upgrade for those coming from nearby. Loyalty is more important in shaping the intention to upgrade for those coming from afar; conversely, self-enhancement is more important in shaping the intention to upgrade for those coming from nearby.
In summary, findings suggest that, in extreme sports settings, traditional marketing drivers are conditioned by other drivers, accounting for the role of personal enhancement, which require looking at consumers on a more personal, psychological level. In other words, drivers of consumer upgrading in extreme sports both include marketing-related variables and features related to the unique psychology of extreme consumer-athletes (perceived control, risk-taking attitude, image congruence, self-enhancement). From a practitioner viewpoint, it is worth to note that these drivers are not mutually exclusive, rather, they should be jointly addressed to maximize the positive outcomes of the relationship between the consumer and the service provider. Psychological drivers included in this study can be explicitly affected by organizers’ actions (e.g., emphasizing consumers’ perceived control over the event by providing detailed information about the event and about participants; adopting a more customer-based perspective in delivering the image of the event). Further insights for practice can be provided by the multigroup comparisons, suggesting variables to differentiate between different consumer target and how to differentiate strategies between them.
CHAPTER 4 – THRILL ME! ADVERTISING EFFECTIVENESS IN EXTREME VS TRADITIONAL SPORTS.
Major headings (draft version):
IntroductionLiterature review and hypotheses development
Results and discussionImplications for theory and practice
Following the recent, massive popularity of extreme sports, and in a continuous search to find attractive contexts, marketers today are increasingly using such disciplines as an advertising setting; extreme sports are used also by a number of brands that often sell products unrelated to sports (e.g., watches, cameras, perfumes). This real-world evidence suggests the opportunity to managerially investigating extreme sports not just as a consumer phenomenon, but also as a context of advertising. When advertising in extreme sports, literature on such sports disciplines and on psychology of extreme participants suggests these contexts to be de
Francesco Raggiotto is Research Fellow in Marketing at the Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Udine, Italy. His current research interests are in tourism management and sport management. He has published extensively in various academic journals, including the Journal of Business Research, Tourism Management and the Sport Management Review.
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