Customer loyalty & face concerns: Differences between Eastern (Chinese) and Western (Dutch) consumers

Sha Zhang


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Consider some of the issues confronting a typical marketing manager of a multinational company (MNC):

Should our customer retention and customer acquisition strategies differ between Western and Eastern cultures?
How should we adjust the elements of the marketing mix to appeal to Eastern and Western cultures?
What are the best marketing strategies for our different products?

This thesis argues that business executives can find better answers to such questions by recognizing the differences between Eastern and Western consumers with regard to two important constructs: customer loyalty and face concerns. This dissertation provides insights into both these important elements, from a cross-cultural perspective.

Eastern (Chinese) consumers generally express higher loyalty intentions than Western (Dutch) consumers, whereas value, brand, and relationship equity all exert greater impacts on loyalty in Western than in Eastern cultures. Therefore, MNC managers need to focus their marketing efforts on customer acquisition, rather than customer retention, in Eastern markets. In Western cultures, MNCs instead should be customer focused and implement active relationship marketing strategies.

Chinese consumers tend to purchase high-priced options more than do Dutch consumers, regardless of product visibility, product tangibility, or social presence. Furthermore, consumers with high face concerns are more likely to choose a high-priced option when purchasing material products, rather than for experiential products. These findings offer some implications for managers who need to define their MNC’s pricing strategies and design differentiated marketing mix strategies for various cultures and industries.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • Leeflang, Peter, Supervisor
  • van Doorn, Jenny, Co-supervisor
Datum van toekenning10-sep.-2015
Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
Gedrukte ISBN's978-90-367-8043-8
Elektronische ISBN's978-90-367-8042-1
StatusPublished - 2015


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