Assessing cause-related marketing (CRM): a Thai pharmaceutical study

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Apirattanapimolchai, A 2010, 'Assessing cause-related marketing (CRM): a Thai pharmaceutical study', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

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Copyright A Apirattanapimolchai 2010


In recent years, with people becoming more concerned about social issues, there has been a growing interest from corporations, academics and the community in the use of cause-related marketing. Responding to public interest in social issues has led many companies in various industries to fulfil their social responsibilities via causes which aim to provide benefit to the overall community. Cause-related marketing (CRM) is therefore a widely used strategy among numbers of companies operating their businesses in various markets as a means to obtain a competitive advantage and as a long-term rather than a short-term awareness builder and sales generator Many international companies from around the world are now interested in investing in Asian countries because of those countries’ growing markets. Recognising their vast potential size, some international pharmaceutical companies recently decided to enter these Asian markets. Thailand is seen as an important pharmaceutical market in South-East Asia because of its relatively high level of development, high education level and ready acceptance of Western pharmaceutical products. It relies largely on the importation of pharmaceutical products from multinational companies due to its high domestic demand. These multinationals command a major share of the market and receive significant financial and marketing support from their parent companies. Some of these drug companies have introduced their corporate social responsibility programs as well as cause-related marketing programs into the market. Many industry surveys show the positive effects of cause-related marketing on consumers’ attitudes and behaviours. However, a shortage of empirical research in this discipline still exists, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry and in Asian countries such as Thailand. In order to address these gaps, this thesis therefore investigates the following research problem: What is the impact of cause-related marketing campaigns on consumers’ purchase decision making regarding pharmaceutical products in Thailand? This research thus addresses two specific objectives. Firstly, it examines the impact of a cause-related marketing campaign on consumers’ attitudes towards corporate image in the pharmaceutical industry in Thailand. Secondly, it examines the impact of a cause-related marketing campaign on consumers’ purchase intentions towards the pharmaceutical products of a company engaged in a cause-related marketing campaign. A model of the impact of cause-related marketing is developed based on a review of the literature. The model depicts the relationships between the company, the cause and the customers, all of which impact on corporate image and purchase intention. Personal values were hypothesised to moderate purchase intention. A number of hypotheses are developed based on the model. Based on a conceptual model of cause-related marketing, a survey was developed which included measures of attitudes toward cause-related marketing, the company, the cause-related marketing project, the company-cause fit, customer-cause fit, purchase intention, corporate image, terminal values and demographics. The measures were derived from previous studies and pilot testing. The survey was administered in Thai and completed by 413 Thai pharmaceutical customers. The sample had a slightly larger proportion of females than males (58.8%) and tended to be younger and better educated than the Thai population, but was considered typical of Thai pharmacy consumers. The examination of the data in this study confirms corporate image is positively influenced by respondents’ attitudes towards cause related marketing, the company-cause fit and the customer-cause fit. Furthermore, company image is positively associated with purchase intention. These findings are all in line with expectations based on the literature. Further, in contrast to expectations the findings did not confirm values moderated purchase intention as expected.