Chronic illness medication compliance: a liminal and contextual consumer journey

  • Cheryl NakataEmail author
  • Elif Izberk-Bilgin
  • Lisa Sharp
  • Jelena Spanjol
  • Anna Shaojie Cui
  • Stephanie Y. Crawford
  • Yazhen Xiao


The consumer journey has drawn interest from marketers as an avenue to strengthen sales through managing touchpoints. However, a firm-centric view has produced limited models of the journey, particularly on consumers’ usage experiences over extended periods in everyday settings. We attempt to redress this limitation by studying the situated experiences of disadvantaged consumers endeavoring to comply with medication therapies for chronic hypertension. Our broad aim is to understand more fully the influences on and nature of the journey. We find that compliance is a liminal state of provisional actions shaped contextually by life spheres of meso-structural conditions, micro-individual factors, and interpretive sense-making practices. We contribute a novel, integrated, and nuanced journey framework beyond the detached, steadily progressive model predominant in the literature. Our paper ends with practice, theory, and policy implications for marketing and healthcare, including touchpoint strategies.


Consumer journeys Medication compliance Post-purchase usage Healthcare touchpoints 



The authors gratefully acknowledge funding of this study by the Dean’s Grant Program in the College of Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bryan School of Business and EconomicsUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of Management Studies, College of BusinessUniversity of Michigan-DearbornDearbornUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Health Research and PolicyChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes, and Policy in the College of PharmacyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Munich School of ManagementLudwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) MünchenMunichGermany
  6. 6.Department of Managerial Studies, College of Business AdministrationUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  7. 7.College of PharmacyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  8. 8.Department of Marketing & Supply Chain ManagementUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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