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Westminster Business School launches major new research study into what makes consumers loyal

29 March 2010

The University’s Westminster Business School has linked up with the Institute of Sales Promotions (ISP) for the first major study of how marketing promotions affect consumer behaviour and loyalty. 

The research project will consider all areas of promotional marketing, with particular emphasis on what drives customer loyalty. It’s the first time the ISP, soon to be rebranded as the Institute of Promotional Marketing, has worked with a UK university to investigate specific industry issues.

Richard West, senior lecturer and researcher in marketing and business strategy at Westminster Business School, said the new partnership would bring benefit to both organisations.

“Promotional marketing has been relatively overlooked by academic researchers, but there are exciting areas with rich research potential within it,” he said. For example, when it comes to customer loyalty, we assume that ‘awareness’ through advertising is the first step of the ‘attention-interest-desire-action’ (AIDA) process. But many people’s first experience of a brand comes through a promotional purchase, so we need to examine this area more closely and perhaps revise the traditional AIDA model.”

Colin Harper, head of insight at the ISP, said: "The whole area of promotional marketing is changing very rapidly. So too is our understanding of what drives loyalty and consumer choice.

“It is clear that promotions play a central role in encouraging early adoption; but manufacturers need to make sure that the promotions they are using are actually building loyalty and increasing the probability of subsequent repurchase and not, as so often seems to happen today, decreasing the likelihood of repurchase and rewarding brand promiscuity.

“We are delighted to link up with the University to investigate issues such as the impact of media delivery, the most appropriate types of promotion and the way promotions impact the path to loyalty. Westminster Business School has an excellent reputation in the area of marketing and marketing communications, and we look forward to producing some very interesting research for both practitioners and the academic community.”

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