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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
George R. Milne
Elizabeth G. Miller
Managing customer interactions has evolved, with firms shifting their focus from simply “selling” to customers to instead building more meaningful personal relationships with them. A key part of this new thinking is the customer experience, involving interactions between a customer and brand that provoke a meaningful personal reaction, and often include the consumer playing an active role in tailoring the experience. I examine two interactive innovations, the quantification of self (QOS) and gamification, that are being utilized by marketers to enrich the customer experience. QOS involves the production of highly-detailed individualized performance metrics for personal activity monitoring. Gamification is the use of game design elements to enhance products and services. There is a significant overlap between the two, when gamification is based on QOS metrics.
Both QOS and gamification are meant to deepen the consumer experience with a product/brand, in terms of more engagement and more personal benefits derived. In addition, both involve co-creation. My dissertation explores these marketing tactics and their impact on the customer experience.
The purpose of essay one is to establish if QOS data, provided via a consumer product, positively impacts motivation toward a goal pursuit. I propose and show support for a mediation model that captures the psychological process underlying QOS’s positive motivational impact. My model suggests three factors mediate the impact of QOS on motivation: 1) feedback loop enhancement, 2) self-empowerment amplification, and 3) goal focus strengthening. This research suggests QOS-based consumer products used as part of a goal pursuit will provide the user with a more personally meaningful experience than a similar non-QOS product.
The purpose of essay two is to understand the impact of QOS in wellness programs that are directed by a third party. Since an increase in perceived self-empowerment is found in essay one to be a critical mediating factor in the impact of QOS, this essay explores the hypothesis that QOS loses much of its appeal when run by a third party that is seen as having a power advantage. The theoretical framework for this essay draws from self-determination theory and the consumer empowerment literature. This research identifies an important boundary condition for the impact of QOS.
Essay three examines the use of gamification in marketing contexts, including gamification’s impact on the gamified marketing activity itself (enjoyment, emotional attachment) as well as the potential spillover benefits for the brand associated with the activity. I also gauge potential moderators of gamification’s appeal, such as individual’s innate competitiveness and innate propensity for risk. My results suggest gamification has some ability to bolster anticipated enjoyment and interest in joining a marketing activity, though this can vary substantially due to innate personal characteristics and situational factors. No support was found for gamification’s ability to strengthen emotional engagement with the activity or the brand.
Drawing from established theoretical foundations such as goal setting theory, self-determination theory and the consumer empowerment literature, these three essays extend marketing theory regarding how interactive, digital-based environments can help marketers strengthen the consumer experience. My research provides models to understand the meaningful benefits consumers derive from these marketing approaches. It also identifies important boundary conditions and modifiers, including innate personal characteristics and situational contexts. In my discussion of results, I provide applicable managerial insights for strengthening relationships between consumers and products/brands.
Pettinico, George, "Strengthening the Customer Experience via Interactive Digital Tactics: Evaluating the Quantification of Self and Gamification" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations. 1267.