Online communication technologies have profoundly affected consumption and buying behaviours, and put pressure on businesses to find ways of dealing with these developments. Businesses are increasingly experimenting with new approaches and tools to keep up, and netnography – ethnography applied to the web – has become popular. However, exploiting the potential of netnography requires companies to cope with new problems and acquire new capabilities. The purpose of this paper is to examine the organizational and managerial implications of using the netnographic approach in market research.
After a literature review on netnography in marketing research, the authors present a case study of best practice of netnography for market research: the research project of Dash-Procter & Gamble on Motherhood Support.
The authors found four issues as critical for exploiting the potential of netnography as a tool of market research: first, immersive involvement; second, mediated participation; third, the use of multiple techniques and distributed specialized capabilities; and fourth, the need for orchestrating the emergent network organization of the project. The quality of the research outcomes is related to the resources available and the integration of different roles and competences in the project.
Since netnographic studies involve collaborative research, further studies of experiences in organizing netnography projects are needed. These studies are bound to yield valuable insights.
Exploiting the potential of netnography implies experimenting with novel approaches and solutions in marketing research practices to orient management decisions and calls for developing skills to orchestrate research project networks.
The value of this work lies in zooming in on the methodological principles of netnography and zooming out on the networking managerial processes that make it possible to implement the networking required to exploit the potential of netnography.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of all the participants to the project. A particular thank to R. Flavia and L. Giuliana of TTV and the External Relation Manager D.P. Francesca at the Dash-P&G Italy.
La Rocca, A., Mandelli, A. and Snehota, I. (2014), "Netnography approach as a tool for marketing research: the case of Dash-P&G/TTV", Management Decision, Vol. 52 No. 4, pp. 689-704. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-03-2012-0233
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