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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Beyond interactive marketing
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Volume 8, Issue 4
This issue lays the groundwork for future research and also has some ground-breaking work in our field (Figure 1). Our authors explore the rich but under-researched fields of content management and customer engagement as well as developing an agenda for research in interactive marketing, as it relates to the personal selling and sales management context. The timing of this issue is quite appropriate, as marketers struggle to understand how to implement content marketing strategies, engage the customer and re-define the role of the salesperson for the digital age. While we were not looking, or perhaps while we were, the concept of interactive marketing has expanded and been consumed in to the concept of digital marketing.
Figure 1. What happens after Interactive Marketing?
Our Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing had its roots in direct marketing as Direct Marketing: An International Journal. Direct marketing involved making offers and measuring response and used the available technology, such as customer databases and the Web. Changing the title of the Journal was meant to reflect the evolution of marketing thought that marketing is now a two-way conversation with the customer across channels. However, the customer has, to some extent, taken control of that conversation through social media and taken control of the purchase decision by conducting research online before contacting a salesperson in the store or in a business-to-business context. As the graphic above illustrates, the concept of digital marketing now includes measuring response and fostering interactive conversations but also attempts engagement through relevant content and other means. Interactive marketing as a concept is now included in the definition of digital marketing.
Gartner defines digital marketing as “a set of techniques, enabled by technology, which allows marketing to improve its processes to engage in a dynamic conversation with people who are influencers and buyers and ultimately target, acquire and retain customers. It includes the ability to interactively communicate with customers through electronic channels, such as the Web, email, smart devices such as phones and tablets and mobile applications”. The definition of digital marketing thus includes interactivity and expands the process to include dynamic engagement with customers specifically using digital technology. These papers in this issue take interactive marketing to the next step and beyond by exploring the concepts of engagement, content marketing, the role of the sales force and technology and brand-building in the light of the most recent directions in marketing thought. Thus, the issue is consistent with our mission of delivering rigorous research with application in practice.
The first two papers in this issue focus on the world of B2B interactive marketing. In the first paper, “Business to business digital content marketing: marketers’ perceptions of best practice”, authors Geraint Holliman and Jennifer Rowley develop a robust definition of content marketing and explore some of the challenges in its practice in a B2B environment. Following next with a continued B2B theme, “A Review of the Interactive Marketing Literature in the Content of Personal Selling and Sales Management: A Research Agenda”, co-authors Michael Rodriguez, Andrea Dixon and James Peltier push the traditional boundaries of research in the sales function and posit a research framework that connects the topic with the areas of measurement and multi-channel marketing.
As the salesforce uses interactive technology and as customers interact with the firm digitally before making a purchase, more research will be needed in this area to further define the sales person’s role. To that end, we draw your attention to our Call for Papers in this area. Papers are due March 31, 2015 for the Special Issue on The Convergence of Interactive Marketing and Personal Selling and Sale Management, Guest-edited by James Peltier and Andrea Dixon. More information is available on the Web site, or contact the editors at: mailto:Andrea_Dixon@baylor.edu or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Our final two papers focus on the topic of engagement. The third paper, “Cross Promotion of Web References in Print Ads: Are Advertisers Attempting to Engage Consumers?” by Elzbieta Lepkowska-White, Amy Parsons and Aylin Ceylan suggests that even as channels proliferate, advertisers fail to capitalize on cross-promotional efforts. This paper highlights that much more research needs to be conducted on the operational aspects of engagement. Also on the topic of engagement, the last paper in this issue “Metric Proposal for Customer Engagement in Facebook” by Ma Ángeles Oviedo-García, Miriam Muñoz-Expósito, Mario Castellanos-Verdugo and María Sancho-Mejías makes some headway in the operational aspects of engagement by suggesting some metrics for measuring customer engagement in this popular social media platform.
We have another Special Issue Call for Papers due in January as well on Teaching with Interactive Technology. As we move forward in this area, we will need to teach the next generations how to effectively use technology in marketing. Teaching with interactive technology helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, as well as facilitates learning. Papers are due January 15, 2015. Again, more information is available on our Web site. Our Guest Editor is Alisa Agozzino, mailto:email@example.com, and she welcomes your questions and your papers.
Enjoy the issue. Please contact me with any questions or comments at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Zahay - Editor-in-Chief