Browsing by Subject "Customers and Relations"

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  • Mickelsson, Karl-Jacob (2017-01-04)
    Purpose – The paper introduces the idea that consumers have relationships with their own recurring activities. Instead of the usual notion of investigating the relationships between actors, or between actors and their possessions, the paper focuses on the relationship between an actor and a particular activity that the actor regularly participates in. Design – The paper is conceptual and exploratory in nature. It discusses different perspectives on consumer activity in marketing, and then introduces a relationship view on activity. The paper proceeds to outline the conceptual foundations of this view by applying relationship characteristics found in the literature. Quotes from runners’ blogs are used to illustrate the different identified relationship themes. Findings – The paper argues that consumers can be seen as having long-term relationships with their activities, and introduces the concept of the “activity-relationship”. The paper proceeds to demonstrate how this concept differs from previous conceptualization of consumer activity and relationships. Implications – The activity-relationship perspective on consumer behavior opens up new venues for marketing research. It also facilitates new types of marketing practice, whereby
  • Ciuchita, Robert; Medberg, Gustav; Penttinen, Valeria; Lutz, Christoph; Heinonen, Kristina (2022)
    Purpose: Digital platform users not only consume but also produce communication related to their experiences. Although service research has explored users' motivations to communicate and focused on outcomes such as electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), it remains largely unexplored how users iteratively interact with communication artifacts and potentially create value for themselves, other users and service providers. The purpose of this paper is, thus, to introduce communicative affordances as a framework to advance user-created communication (UCC) in service. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing from the literature in communication, service research and interactive marketing, an affordance perspective on UCC in service is introduced. Findings: Three UCC affordances for the service context are presented – interactivity, visibility and anonymity – opportunities and challenges for service providers associated with these affordances are discussed and, finally, affordance-specific research questions and general recommendations for future research are offered. Research limitations/implications: By conceptualizing UCC in service from an affordances perspective, this paper moves beyond the traditional sender–receiver communication framework and emphasizes opportunities and challenges for service research and practice. Practical implications: Instead of focusing separately on specific technologies or user behaviors, it is recommended that service managers adopt a holistic perspective of user goals and motivations, use experiences and platform design. Originality/value: By conceptualizing UCC as an augmenting, dialogical process concerning users’ experiences, and by introducing communicative affordances as a framework to advance UCC in service, an in-depth understanding of the diverse and ever-evolving landscape of communication in service is offered.
  • Kauppinen-Räisänen, Hannele; Gummerus, Johanna; von Koskull, Catharina; Finne, Åke; Helkkula, Anu; Kowalkowski, Christian; Rindell, Anne (2014)
  • Grönroos, Christian (Sage publications, 2019)
    Relationship marketing (RM) has become a prevalent approach to marketing. According to the Nordic School of marketing thought, RM cannot be undertaken within a conventional marketing framework. RM has to break traditional marketing borders and permeate large parts of the organization. It cannot be managed by a separate marketing department. It is a larger thinking that requires cross-functional support within the organization. Based on the promise theory and related management approach, an RM grid, which enables the analysis of a firm's readiness for RM, is developed. It is argued that we need to analyse a firm's readiness for RM by addressing two important questions: 'Does the firm know its customers' processes as well as its own processes?' and '"Does the firm understand what its customers' consider good quality versus what's their own perspective of the quality of its offerings?'
  • Vanyushyn, Vladimir; Holmlund, Maria; Kock, Sören (2009)
  • Schauman, Sebastian; Heinonen, Kristina; Holmlund, Maria (2021)
    The recent resurgence of the vinyl record and the proliferation of so-called craft and artisanal products offer unique opportunities to observe ongoing shifts in the contemporary consumer’s values and attitudes. In this article, we explore such thought-provoking market developments and their implications by contrasting them with the conventional understanding of markets and consumers. This understanding can lead to marketing myopia as it works from the utility-oriented assumption that what ultimately matters for both the company and the customer is cost efficiency and convenience. Against this backdrop, in this article, we discuss how market developments representing the contemporary consumer’s mindset prove valuable in creating customer insight that highlights aspects often obscured by an exaggerated focus on cost efficiency and convenience. We provide an alternative approach to evaluating markets and consumers that encourages companies to build their customer-centric market strategies around questions of context, authenticity, story, and resonance. This will help them narrow the gap between their market offerings and the actual wants and needs of their customer, and consequently allow them to revitalize their market.
  • Holmlund, Maria; Van Vaerenbergh, Yves; Ciuchita, Robert; Ravald, Annika; Sarantopoulos, Panagiotis; Villarroel Ordenes, Francisco; Zaki, Mohamed (2020-02-06)
    Customer experience (CX) has emerged as a sustainable source of competitive differentiation. Recent developments in big data analytics (BDA) have exposed possibilities to unlock customer insights for customer experience management (CXM). Research at the intersection of these two fields is scarce and there is a need for conceptual work that (1) provides an overview of opportunities to use BDA for CXM and (2) guides management practice and future research. The purpose of this paper is therefore to develop a strategic framework for CXM based on CX insights resulting from BDA. Our conceptualisation is comprehensive and is particularly relevant for researchers and practitioners who are less familiar with the potential of BDA for CXM. For managers, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to kick-start or implement our strategic framework. For researchers, we propose some opportunities for future studies in this promising research area.
  • Klein, Jan F.; Zhang, Yuchi; Falk, Tomas; Aspara, Jaakko; Luo, Xueming (2020-06-17)
    Purpose In the age of digital media, customers have access to vast digital information sources, within and outside a company's direct control. Yet managers lack a metric to capture customers' cross-media exposure and its ramifications for individual customer journeys. To solve this issue, this article introduces media entropy as a new metric for assessing cross-media exposure on the individual customer level and illustrates its effect on consumers' purchase decisions. Design/methodology/approach Building on information and signalling theory, this study proposes the entropy of company-controlled and peer-driven media sources as a measure of cross-media exposure. A probit model analyses individual-level customer journey data across more than 25,000 digital and traditional media touchpoints. Findings Cross-media exposure, measured as the entropy of information sources in a customer journey, drives purchase decisions. The positive effect is particularly pronounced for (1) digital (online) versus traditional (offline) media environments, (2) customers who currently do not own the brand and (3) brands that customers perceive as weak. Practical implications The proposed metric of cross-media exposure can help managers understand customers' information structures in pre-purchase phases. Assessing the consequences of customers' cross-media exposure is especially relevant for service companies that seek to support customers' information search efforts. Marketing agencies, consultancies and platform providers also need actionable customer journey metrics, particularly in early stages of the journey. Originality/value Service managers and marketers can integrate the media entropy metric into their marketing dashboards and use it to steer their investments in different media types. Researchers can include the metric in empirical models to explore customers' omni-channel journeys.
  • Strandvik, Tore; Holmlund, Maria; Edvardsson, Bo (2012-01-20)
  • Biggemann, Sergio; Kowalkowski, Christian; Maley, Jane; Brege, Staffan (2013)
  • Witell, Lars; Holmlund, Maria; Gustafsson, Anders (2020-02-14)
    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to highlight the role of qualitative research in service research. This study discusses what qualitative research is, what role it has in service research and what interest, rigor, relevance and richness mean for qualitative service research. Design/methodology/approach: This study examines the most common qualitative research methods and discusses interest, rigor, relevance and richness as key characteristics of qualitative research. The manuscripts in the special issue are introduced and categorized based on their contributions to service research. Findings: The findings suggest that the amount of research using qualitative research methods has remained stable over the last 30 years. An increased focus on transparency and traceability is important for improving the perceived rigor of qualitative service research. Originality/value: This special issue is the first issue that is explicitly devoted to the qualitative research methodology in service research. In particular, the issue seeks to contribute to a better use and application of qualitative research methodology.
  • Kauppinen-Räisänen, Hannele; Björk, Peter; Lönnström, Alexandra; Jauffret, Marie-Nathalie (2018)
    This study theorizes and tests the effects of consumers' personality and social traits on preferences for brand prominence, and it explores the mediating effects of gender and culture. It focuses on how consumers' need for uniqueness and self-monitoring affects their choices between luxury brands that shout (are loud) versus those that whisper (are discreet), that is, the degree of brand prominence. This study uses a quantitative methodology to study 215 young consumers from Finland, Italy, and France. The findings show that most consumers in the sample were connoisseur consumers who prefer luxury brands that whisper. Social norms affect luxury brand choices; the Finns were found to prefer discreet visible markings on products more than the French and the Italians did. Finally, more men than women were found to link luxury brands to self-expression and self-presentation; this has marketing implications in terms of segmentation and brand management.
  • Edvardsson, Bo; Holmlund, Maria; Strandvik, Tore (2008)
  • Medberg, Gustav; Heinonen, Kristina (2014)
  • Ciuchita, Robert; Heller, Jonas; Köcher, Sarah; Köcher, Sören; Leclercq, Thomas; Sidaoui, Karim; Stead, Susan (2022-04-11)
    Gamification has attracted considerable practitioner attention and has become a viable tactic for influencing behavior, boosting innovation, and improving marketing outcomes across industries. Simultaneously, studies on the use of gamification techniques have emerged in diverse fields, including computer science, education, and healthcare. Despite the broad popularity of gamification in other fields, it has received only limited attention in the service literature. Moreover, the findings of extant studies on gamification in the service field are inconclusive and suggest an incomplete understanding of the employment of gamification in service contexts. Thus, this study aims to integrate the growing but scattered cross-disciplinary literature on gamification and to emphasize its relevance to service research. Specifically, we first conceptualize gamification for service and differentiate it from related concepts. Then, using a systematic literature review, we identify 34 empirical articles that reflect this gamification conceptualization and can be connected to relevant service research themes (e.g., customer participation, experience, and loyalty). Employing activity theory, we derive four higher-order functions of gamification: production, consumption, exchange, and distribution. Finally, we develop a research agenda to generate a better understanding of the central aspects within each of the identified gamification functions and stimulate future academic efforts on gamification in services.
  • Edvardsson, Bo; Kowalkowski, Christian; Strandvik, Tore; Voima, Päivi (2014)
  • Holmlund, Maria; Kowalkowski, Christian; Biggemann, Sergio (2016)
    Many businesses today recognize the increased significance of service and the transition toward service orientation. Nonetheless, organizational practitioners frequently encounter problems managing this shift and seizing service-related business opportunities. This practical relevance, together with many still-unanswered service research questions, has inspired the preparation of this special section that advances the extant literatures on business services. We finish by providing a research agenda. First, more research is needed on the buyer perspective. Second, researchers need to keep in mind financial issues related to business services. Third, more researchers could tap into management, leadership, and decision-making in business service companies. Finally, sustainability, social responsibility, and environmental considerations are important topics for further exploration.