Customer engagement planning emerging from the “individualist-collectivist”-framework

Bang Nguyen (Marketing Science Institute, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China)
Kirk Chang (Salford Business School, University of Salford, Manchester, UK)
Lyndon Simkin (Henley Business School, University of Reading, London, UK)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Publication date: 28 January 2014



Today marketers operate in globalised markets, planning new ways to engage with domestic and foreign customers alike. While there is a greater need to understand these two customer groups, few studies examine the impact of customer engagement tactics on the two customer groups, focusing on their perceptual differences. Even less attention is given to customer engagement tactics in a cross-cultural framework. In this research, the authors investigate customers in China and UK, aiming to compare their perceptual differences on the impact of multiple customer engagement tactics.


Using a quantitative approach with 286 usable responses from China and the UK obtained through a combination of person-administered survey and computer-based survey screening process, the authors test a series of hypotheses to distinguish across-cultural differences.


Findings show that the collectivists (Chinese customers) perceive customer engagement tactics differently than the individualists (UK customers). The Chinese customers are more sensitive to price and reputation, whereas the UK customers respond more strongly to service, communication and customisation. Chinese customers’ concerns with extensive price and reputation comparisons may be explained by their awareness towards face (status), increased self-expression and equality.

Practical implications

The findings challenge the conventional practice of using similar customer engagement tactics for a specific market place with little concern for multiple cultural backgrounds. The paper proposes strategies for marketers facing challenges in this globalised context.


Several contributions have been made to the literatures. First, the study showed the effects of culture on the customers’ perceptual differences. Second, the study provided more information to clarify customers’ different reactions towards customer engagement tactics, highlighted by concerns towards face and status. Third, the study provided empirical evidence to support the use of multiple customer engagement tactics to the across cultural studies.



Nguyen, B., Chang, K. and Simkin, L. (2014), "Customer engagement planning emerging from the “individualist-collectivist”-framework ", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 41-65.

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