Experiential marketing and value creation have become paramount for businesses, worldwide, to remain competitive and sustainable. Due to the global economic crisis which put all public and private sector businesses under financial stress, experiential marketing has become necessary as a mechanism in facilitating value creation for the mobile network operators (MNOs) in Ghana to survive and to outdo their counterparts in the industry. The effective and efficient implementation of the experiential marketing programmes and campaigns, aside from helping these businesses in deriving value, could further assist the government of Ghana in its quest to develop the telecommunications industry.
The government has stated that the mobile network industry of the country should be based upon the principles of open markets and fair competition, which requires strong policies and strategies in experiential marketing to create value as well as to survive. It must be noted that a unique product or service experience creates a memorable customer experience where emotion has a significant impact on business performance in terms of customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty, as well as growth in sales and revenue and return on capital employed (ROCE). It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that network operators have the necessary resources and techniques in experiential marketing to facilitate sustainable value creation in the industry, as a lack of proper resources and implementation strategies can hinder the successful creation of value.
Given this situation, this study sought to create value through experiential marketing for MNOs in Ghana. The study sought to empirically test a hypothetical model reflecting 11 independent variables on experiential marketing (i.e. mediating variables), particularly with proper attention to the experiential value gained by consumers after consumption. Also, the study addressed the contribution of all mobile components, namely processes, physical evidence, and people, in experiential marketing and creating value for businesses. The remaining hypothesis aimed at identifying the impact of the mediating variable (i.e. experiential marketing) on the dependent variable (i.e. business value) to assess how value is created through experiential marketing for MNOs in Ghana.
The outcome of the primary research helped in recommending strategies that could be employed by businesses for improving competitiveness and sustainability. The debate about value creation through experiential marketing to MNOs in Ghana is not available. Consequently, this study attempted to develop a hypothetical model to provide a scientific, theoretical, and empirical contribution to MNOs, other businesses, and the entire telecommunications industry of Ghana in order to aid them in creating value through experiential marketing.
To achieve the objectives of this study, a quantitative approach using a face-to-face self-administered questionnaire was adopted to test the hypotheses. The participants were randomly selected based on the 10 regions to which they belong in the country. With a visit to the regional offices of the mobile operators, the questionnaires were conveniently administered. A total of 384 participants were selected through a stratification sampling and, in addition, a total of 31 participants were conveniently added, producing a total of 415 respondents who completed the survey.
Based on the analysis of various secondary sources, a hypothetical model regarding creating value through experiential marketing for MNOs in Ghana was constructed. The proposed hypothetical model indicated that the mediating variable of experiential marketing, with sub-variables related to experiential mix (i.e. sense, feel, think, act, and relate) and experiential value (i.e. emotional, functional, and social), is possibly influenced by the independent variables. This influence is also known as the mobile mix, namely 1) physical evidence with sub-variables related to the physical environment, building and spatial layout, and corporate branding; 2) process with sub-variables related to technology development, research and development, and machines and operation; and 3) people with sub-elements related to input and output logistics, marketing and customers services, human resource management, and procurement managing. The business value (i.e. the dependent variables) was identified as consisting of sales value, growth value, and return on capital employed value (ROEV).
IBM’s SPSS AMOS (Version 25) was utilised for data analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise the data of respondents leading to easy interpretation by the researcher. Inferential statistical analysis was utilised to test for relationships between identified variables by using a validity test, a reliability test, correlation, and a structural
equation model (SEM). The empirical results revealed that the mobile mix (i.e. the independent variables) has a significant positive influence and relationship with experiential marketing (i.e. the mediating variables). On the other hand, experiential marketing was identified as having a significant positive influence on business value (i.e. the dependent variables). The majority of the respondents agreed concerning the variable items measuring experiential marketing and its influence on creating value to MNOs in Ghana.
It is envisaged that the empirical evidence provided in this study could assist MNOs in Ghana in understanding the factors influencing experiential marketing and its role in creating value and, thereby, assist these businesses in strategy development and decision-making. This study provides relevant and practical recommendations that could make MNOs in Ghana generate sustainable long-term value. Thus, the objectives of this study were achieved, and the research problem was answered. This study could also act as a foundation for other studies, thereby contributing to the body of knowledge in this regard.