What does digital mean for the development of target market strategy, segmentation and customer engagement?
That’s what several academics discussed today at a workshop combining the interest of two of the Academy of Marketing’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs): the Market Segmentation and Target Market Strategy SIG and the newly formed SIG in Customer Relationship Management and Services. Over the course of 4 hours, we heard about exciting research and work in progress from a range of colleagues.
Merlin Stone proposed a social business maturity model that takes into consideration the scale of change and the benefits obtained.
Bang Nguyen introduced a typology to classify an organisation’s online channel strategy. The typology considers a broad range of factors, such as the objectives, the business processes and the level of integration, among others.
Musfiq Choudhury presented a conceptual framework to study user interactions with organisations on social networks. He is now looking into applying that framework on a university’s setting and, possibly, third-sector organisations.
Sarah Quinton reflected on the value and, indeed, the need to use social media in research. Specifically, she suggests using social media as a tool for research, as well as a site for research.
Bang Nguyen reported on the results of qualitative research into how organisations use social media, alongside other channels, to manage the online customer experience
Sanjit Kumar Roy presented the results of a research project regarding the link between Relationship Quality and customer attitudes and behaviours.
I presented on the results of an investigation into the role of segmentation in the age of the social customer. I noted how social media is a really effective way to deliver differential value in a personalised, cost-effective and dynamic way, and is a fantastic mechanism to identify and target key influencers.
Merlin Stone revealed how digital and social media has been used to inform a variety of programmes to win, keep, develop and manage customers in a range of industries.
Overall, the range of presentations showed the broad impact of digital not only on business but also on society. There is definitely scope for really interesting research initiatives. However, there are also concerns.
Ultimately, research needs to be funded. Are the interests and priorities of funding bodies aligned with the interests and priorities of practitioners? Not in our experience.
And, of course, research needs to be disseminated. Yet, with research papers taking many, many, many months (indeed, years!) between submission and eventual publication in academic journals, it is difficult to see how the academic community can make an impact in this area if we use only the recognised dissemination channels (i.e., peer-reviewed academic journals).
As a practitioner, how do you access academic research, if at all? What sources? Ad-hoc or regularly? With what results?
As an academic, how do you share your research findings, over and above academic journals?