This chapter will seek to address the concept of the consumer, but specifically consumer behaviour for events, as you will be faced with unique ideas, problems and solutions. The consumer is not a single concept, and we will start by identifying the various different types of consumer that exist. We will then assess the practical means by which you can codify your consumers, and then assess the factors which influence buying behaviour. This discussion leads us to a consideration of how an event marketer can use segmentation to reach the right people for their event. The last section will consider the specific nature of the event consumer, especially the importance of customer service. By the end of this chapter students will be able to:
Without knowing who the general market(s) is, and ideally the specific consumers within broad markets, the event marketer will not know how best to use their finite resources. The event marketer needs to know the answer to the question: ‘Who is the consumer of our event?’ For most products and services the concept of the consumer is usually fairly simple to define. This is not necessarily so with an event. Events raise an issue of consideration concerning the consumer which is unique to the industry. With most products and services the consumer is the person(s) or organisation that buys/uses the product, hence the act of consuming. However, events can be viewed as having other ‘consumers’ who do not necessarily consume the event: namely, participants. While some of these, such as artistes, might separately be considered suppliers, many display consumer characteristics. For example, an elite sporting event such as a professional football match has players, referees and officials from the opposing team. The
essence of consumer orientation is to understand their needs, and if referees and players feel that they are being mistreated or not listened to, they could theoretically withdraw their active participation. Events, therefore, have both internal and external consumers.