Speaker: Professor Jennifer Argo from University of Alberta
Title: The Value of a VIP’s Guest: Word-Of-Mouth Reactions to Preferential Treatment
Date: Wednesday 8th May 2019
Venue: 2.214 WBS, Scarman Road – Seminar
Time: Seminar commences 13.00 hrs (Lunch for registered participants available in WBS staff Lounge 1.022 from 12.00hrs)
While research has examined the implications of consumers receiving versus consumers not receiving preferential treatment (i.e., VIPs vs. non-VIPs), the present research diverges by examining a third group of consumers: guests of VIPs. Guests are individuals who share in the preferential treatment received by VIPs not because they have earned this right due to their brand loyalty or purchase volume, but rather because many loyalty programs entitle a VIP to bring others (e.g., family member, friends, colleagues). In a series of five studies using a variety of methods (surveys, secondary data, lab experiments, field studies), we demonstrate the value of firms allowing VIPs to bring a guest. In particular, we find that guests of a VIP are more likely to share positive WOM about preferential treatment experiences as compared to VIPs. This effect arises for two reasons: 1) status transfers from the VIP to guest (i.e., status is contagious) and 2) VIPs’ feeling of status satiate with repeated experience, and feelings of status are a driver of WOM.
Jennifer Argo is the Carthy Professor of Marketing at the University of Alberta. She is currently on sabbatical at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. Her research primarily focuses on the impact of social influences on consumers’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. She has published in leading journals including Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and Psychological Science. She currently serves as an Associate Editor at the Journal of Consumer Research and is on the Editorial Review Board of Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and Marketing Letters. She has won the Erin Anderson Award for an emerging female marketing scholar and mentor and was the co-winner of the inaugural ACR Early Career Award. She has been the President of SCP and has served on the ACR Board. She teaches Principles of Marketing and Marketing Strategy to undergraduates and Consumer Behavior to the Ph.D. students.