Interactive media and new customer roles


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Workshop on Media Interactivity, Neuchatel, Switzerland, 30.10.2009

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Interactive media and new customer roles

  1. 1. International WorkshopMedia Interactivity: Economic and Managerial IssuesNeuchatel, Switzerland, 30.10.2009Interactive media and newcustomer roles among magazineand newspaper industriesMiia KosonenHanna-Kaisa Ellonen
  2. 2. Background of the study”If you have reasoned opinions, share them here…and if you don’t, please go to discuss on otherwebsite than ours”⇒Contradiction between the nature of social-media types of interaction and the ideal of ”goodcontent”⇒Any other types of contradictions/tensionsrelated to interaction by media consumers?Where do they emerge from?
  3. 3. Background of the study• Interactivity as a constitutive feature of the Internet andsocial media• Increased opportunities of customers– to participate in idea generation, designing and testingproducts– to share information with other customers• The challenge of managing tensions in mediaorganizations– the existence of ”seemingly opposite butsimultaneously occurring demands”, involving bothcompetition and complementarity (Achtenhagen &Raviola, 2007)– tensions may trigger or inhibit change
  4. 4. Research questions• Prior studies focusing on– what are the types of interactive features• e.g. categorizations, listing social-media types of services– how journalists perceive interactive media and how the Internetaffects journalism• Less attention has been given to the new roles of customers– both sides of the coin must be explored in order to understandinteractive media• How publishing companies perceive the new roles of customers?• Which kind of tensions does customer interaction through Internet-based channels provoke?
  5. 5. Methodology• Qualitative study drawing on semi-structured interviews• Companies demonstrating systematic and on-goingeffort in developing their online offerings• Two newspapers and three magazines, 31 interviewsaltogether– Four informant groups: managers, chief editors,editors, online service developers• Inductive analysis, three rounds of analysis– Coding the data thematically– Identifying recurrent themes, grouping them andforming upper-level categories– Comparing between groups of informants
  6. 6. Results: new customer roles• Agents - spontaneous feedback, tips, opinions• Dialoguers – on-going dialogue and feedback• Debaters – customer-to-customer opinion exchange• Messengers – spreading content in social media• Testers - panels and pilot groups, concrete use of the product• Content-producers – directly adding content to publishingcompany’s online services• Customers engage in value-creation processes and support thecompany’s objectives• Yet harnessing their full potential requires internal changes – how tomanage the tensions related to new customer roles?
  7. 7. Results: new customer rolesDirection Roles ExamplesCustomer-to-business AgentsTestersSending photos or videosTesting online service features,evaluating contentCustomer-to-business andBusiness-to-customerDialoguersContent-producersCommenting news andspecifying their contentAdding information to databasesCustomer-to-customer DebatersMessengersContent-producersExchanging opinionsLinking to interesting articlesAdding information to databases,sharing experiences with othercustomers, giving ratings
  8. 8. Results: the related tensionsTension Which new customer roles provoke thetension1. The traditional role of editors vs. the newrole as a facilitator of customer interactionDialoguersDebaters2. The existing organizational structures vs.demand for new structures, responsibilities,processes, and technologyAll3. Being closed vs. being open to the voiceof customersAll4. Active vs. inactive customers DebatersMessengersContent-producers5. The expected quality vs. the nature ofcustomer interactionDialoguersDebaters6. Customer loyalty vs. customers’fragmented use of interactive mediaMessengers
  9. 9. Challenges related to managing tensions• In managerial terms, the tensions raise challengesrelated to– The amount of interaction– The quality of interaction– The attitude towards interaction
  10. 10. Challenges related to managing tensionscompany-external(customers)company-internalamount ofinteractionquality ofinteractionattitude towardsinteractionTension 4 Inability to harnesscustomer networksTension 1 InactiveparticipationTension 2 InappropriateorganizingTension 3 Losing control overreadersTension 5 Inability to understandthe nature of customer-driven interactionsTension 6 Ignorance bycustomers
  11. 11. Conclusions• The study contributes by– identifying and categorizing six new customer roles– unraveling the tensions arisen by new roles ofcustomers• Managerially, the key issue is being aware of thetensions and being able to use them to catalyst change• In further research, capturing the perceptions ofcustomers themselves• Also linking the identified customer roles with differenttypes of interactive services
  12. 12. Thank you!Miia Kosonen (Dr.Sc., Econ.) andHanna-Kaisa Ellonen (Dr.Sc., Econ.)Lappeenranta University of TechnologyP.O.Box 20, 53851 Lappeenranta,