Research Insights 15.3 Customer Engagement

Services and Relationship Marketing

Source: Pansari, A., and Kumar, V. (2017). Customer engagement: the construct, antecedents, and consequences. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45(3), 294–311.

Abstract: In this study, we highlight the need and develop a framework for customer engagement (CE) by reviewing the marketing literature and analyzing popular press articles. By understanding the evolution of customer management, we develop the theory of engagement, arguing that when a relationship is satisfying and has emotional connectedness, the partners become engaged in their concern for each other. As a result, the components of customer engagement include both the direct and the indirect contributions of CE. Based on the theoretical support, our proposed framework elaborates on the components of CE as well as the antecedents (satisfaction and emotion) and consequences (tangible and intangible outcomes) of CE. We also discuss how convenience, nature of the firm (B2B vs. B2C), type of industry (service vs. product), value of the brand (high vs. low), and level of involvement (high vs. low) moderate the link between satisfaction and direct contribution, and between emotions and indirect contribution of CE, respectively. Further, we show how customer engagement can be gained and how firm performance can be maximized by discussing relevant strategies.


This recent article is destined to become a marketing classic because it conceptualizes customer engagement and examines its potential consequences for companies. It aims to start academic debates on this topic, offering a set of theoretical propositions that can be examined in future empirical investigations of this construct. For companies, the article identifies drivers of engagement and contingent factors that reinforce its outcomes. Managers can consider these crucial variables and evaluate their current performance in terms of these indicators, as well as devise marketing programmes able to increase customer engagement. The key message of the article is that engagement is driven by a mixture of customer satisfaction and positive emotions towards the brand. The authors also present a customer engagement matrix based on high or low levels of these two variables. Strategies are offered for each of the four categories identified.