Market Segmentation Using Participant Involvement Profiles


  • Gerard T. Kyle
  • Deborah L. Kerstetter
  • Frank B. Guadagnolo


Market segmentation, involvement, running.


Research using participant involvement profiles for market segmentation has illustrated the procedure’s utility both in terms of its managerial applicability as well as its legitimacy as a research tool for academic inquiry into consumer behavior. This study builds upon previous efforts that have noted how varying levels and types of involvement affect human behavior and attempts to classify participants of a 10K road race into homogenous segments based on their involvement profiles.The three objectives that guided this study were: (1) to construct profiles of participants based on their level and type of involvement; (2) to identify distinct market segments using participants’ involvement profiles; and (3) to profile selected market segments based on their socio-demographic characteristics, self-reported behaviors, and participants’ perceptions of important service elements as well as evaluations of the organizing agency’s performance in providing those service elements.Three distinct segments emerged from the analysis and were profiled using self-reported behavioral measures consisting of past participation in the event, annual participation in similar events, running magazine subscription, perceptions of important service attributes, and evaluations of agency performance in providing service attributes. The results demonstrate the complexity of the involvement construct by highlighting that in addition to varying across leisure activities, the type and level of involvement also varies across segments of participants. Future research examining involvement in this manner will enhance our understanding of the construct in addition to providing agencies with valuable marketing tools.While problems remain concerning the measurement of risk in the context of the leisure experience, these results suggest that distinct and meaningful target markets can still be identified through the use of involvement profiles. Further, target markets can be differentiated on the basis of self-reported behavioral characteristics, service preferences and service evaluations. Implications related to the pricing, promotion, programming, and distribution of the service are discussed. Segmentation using consumer involvement profiles provides managers with insights concerning their clients’ underlying motives for participation. Used in conjunction with traditional market categorizations (e.g., socio-demographic variables, psychographic variables, benefits derived from participation), managers of leisure services are then in a better position to improve service delivery and provide greater participant satisfaction.





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