The emerging ‘customer engagement behaviour’ (CEB) literature predominantly discusses behaviours displayed by paying customers. However, the rise of free offerings, including free product trials, generates a need for re-examining the relevance of the existing paradigm based on paying customers. We propose the concept of ‘non-paying CEBs’ and outline how these may be leveraged to create value for the firm. We define non-paying CEBs as ‘a non-paying consumer’s motivationally-driven, positive behaviours toward a product, brand or firm, which are predicated on free offerings’. Using mixed methods and two field studies, we develop a model of non-paying CEBs. Our investigations confirm that CEBs from previous studies are also applicable to non-paying consumers, but also identify additional CEBs. We examine the value created by non-paying CEBs for the firm, individuals as well as individual networks and indicate ways in which firms can capture value from non-paying consumers. We make a substantive contribution to the extant theory relating to CEBs and enhance the understanding of managerial practice.
- customer engagement behaviours (CEBs)
- mixed method approach
- model development
- non-paying CEB
- product seeding