Social computing is the use of software to support interaction and communication. (see Dourish 2001) Social media, a form of new media, is how marketers express the relevance of social computing. The dominant forms of social media for relationship marketing purposes : Social Networking Sites (e.g. MySpace, Facebook) Blogs (consumer-initiated and firm-sponsored) Virtual Communities (consumer-initiated and firm-sponsored) Others types of social media include: Podcasting Instant Messaging
Advances in Relationship Marketing Thought and Practice: The Influence of Social Network Theory Presented at the Networks and Complex Systems A talk series at Indiana University Bloomington September 18, 2006 Constance Elise Porter, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Marketing University of Notre Dame
Marketing focuses on the exchange process, making it relational, by definition.
Relationship marketing is a dominant paradigm of marketing practice. (Dwyer, Schurr and Oh 1987; Morgan and Hunt 1994)
It emerged in the B2B arena because the number of relationships managed were smaller (e.g. B2B sales)
Is is now dominant in the B2C arena via due to technology-laden concepts such as “CRM and “One-to-One Marketing”
Marketing researchers and practitioners seek to understand relational behavior:
Between firms and customers/consumers (traditional)
Among customers/Among business partners (emerging work in customer collaboration, customer/professional communities/knowledge networks)
Consumers and marketers are engaged by social media.
Over 50 million people read blogs (forbes.com; Lenhart and Fox 2006)
27% of bloggers want to influence what other people think
29% of bloggers want to motivate others to take action
Social Networking Sites
MySpace hit #1 on web —29 billion pageviews during two weeks in July 2006..beating Yahoo and Google (cnn.com)…
Facebook …over half of college students use
(Mark Chassman (Facebook), Carol Phillips (Brand Amplitude)—Jan 2006
84% of Americans visit or obtain info from VCs … more than participate in transactions online… (Horrigan 2001) …
Young consumers dominate the use of social media. (Forrester 2006)
Younger consumers lead in cross channel use
54% of Gen Yers research online and buy offline
Gen Xers also are more likely to have researched and purchased a product online
Gen Xers also dominate online shopping
Younger consumers are:
more likely to be influenced by “what’s hot/what’s not”
more likely to read a blog
Older consumers prefer face-to-face interactions
Older consumers are more brand loyal.
Marketing researchers are re-engaged with the sociological aspects of consumer behavior.
Using brand communities and virtual customer communities
Focus on fostering consumer relationships and achieve relationship marketing outcomes (Balasubramanian and Mahajan 2001; Devaraj, Porter and Sun 2006; Dholakia et al 2004; Kozinets 2002; Muniz and O’Ginn 2001; Porter and Donthu 2004; Schouten and Koenig 2002)
Questions for future research integrating SNT and marketing
Marketing across cultures
We know very little about the role of culture in social networks…any new studies could inform us!
Leveraging social media to drive marketing relationships
Viral marketing via the Internet
Social Networking Sites
Interdisciplinary research opportunities are plentiful!
Is it possible for marketers to proactively manage VCs in a way that fosters trust? If so, what should they do and what type of outcomes should they expect?
Does gender matter in the trust formation process in marketer-sponsored VCs?
What is the relative value of marketer-sponsored vs. consumer-initiated virtual communities?
Study 1: Relational Trust & Attribution Theory in Virtual Communities… Embeddedness Content Interaction Sociability Framework Cooperation with NPD Info Sharing Loyalty Shared Values Respect Opportunism Attribution Theory Relationship Marketing Framework Trust Perceived Effort of Marketer Relational Outcomes Cognitive Response of the Community Member
Opportunism has little influence on trust formation
Study 2: Social Role Theory and Uses and Gratifications Paradigm of Trust Formation in Virtual Communities Perceived Degree of Consumer Embeddedness Perceived Quality Of Community Content Perceived Degree Of Community Interaction Trust in a Community Sponsor Belief About A Sponsor’s Sense of Shared Values Belief About Sponsor Opportunism Belief About A Sponsor’s Sense of Respect GENDER