In a new Journal of Marketing special issue, “New Technologies in Marketing,” Maryland Smith’s Michel Wedel co-authors an editorial that outlines how academics can support marketers to deliver data-driven growth.
The article introduces the special issue and provides several frameworks for thinking about how new technologies affect the field of marketing. Wedel and his co-authors also propose an agenda for future research.
Wedel, the PepsiCo Chaired Professor of Consumer Science and Distinguished University Professor, co-authored the article with Donna L. Hoffman of George Washington University; C. Page Moreau of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Stefan Stremersch of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Marketing researchers have long studied the adoption of new technologies, and firms that invest heavily in new technology usually have an edge over firms that don’t. But, say Wedel and his co-authors, research has not paid enough attention to how new technologies give rise to innovations in marketing tools, techniques and strategies. They call on scholars to develop ways for marketers to use technology to their competitive advantage.
The special issue of the journal includes cutting-edge research on a range of new technologies driving marketing theory and practice. In the editorial, Wedel and his co-authors say that new technologies impact marketing by:
- Supporting new forms of interaction among consumers and firms.
- Providing new types of data that enable new analytic methods.
- Creating marketing innovations.
- Requiring new strategic marketing frameworks.
New technology makes new forms of interactions between consumers and firms possible – for example, many firms engage consumers around their brands through direct consumers-to-consumers interactions.
“By altering consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-firm interactions, new technologies produce new forms of data,” Wedel says in a Journal of Marketing news release on the editorial. “In turn, these new data forms often require the development of new methods or the adaptation of existing ones to process or analyze that data. New technologies have the potential to provide new marketing tools and techniques that lead to innovations in the marketing of products and services. Finally, new technologies enable new marketing strategies and strategic frameworks.”
Wedel and his co-authors also offer guidance for new relevant research. They suggest more research using more of the consumer data created by the explosive growth of digital devices and software applications – “data streams that capture how consumers think, feel, behave, and interact with other consumers and firms at various points along the customer journey,” they write.
New technology has made collecting and analyzing some data – such as eye movement, speech and facial recognition, and genetic data – much easier and much less expensive. It also makes it easier for companies to better assess the effects of their marketing actions to better optimize their ad targeting, website designs, and other consumer interactions.
Wedel and his co-authors detail how richer data can lead to new and better methods for marketers to gather valuable insights and analyze it, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. That then enables better and faster decision-making by both consumers and firms.
Personalization and recommendation systems, and virtual and augmented reality technologies allow consumers to engage with products, brands, stores, firms and other consumers and provide rich insights along the way. Those areas are ripe for more research, say the authors.
Autonomous products are also a key trend to study in consumer behavior, they say.
The editorial team stresses the importance of addressing ethical issues in future research on technology: “The potential for algorithmic bias across all digital applications, particularly social media, requires a clear understanding of the ways in which these systems may operate sub-optimally and negatively impact consumer welfare.”
They caution that new marketing methodologies that utilize richer and bigger data flows and improvise marketing decision-making can also inadvertently harm stakeholders.
Read the article, “The Rise of New Technologies in Marketing: A Framework and Outlook,” Journal of Marketing,” in the Journal of Marketing.
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