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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Volume 6, Issue 1
Reaching both academic and practitioners of interactive marketing
This is the first issue to be published since I took over as Editor-in-Chief and it includes several fine articles that can broadly be grouped under the topic of effective management of marketing communication on the firm’s web site and through social media. We have studies on the perceived value of micro-blogging, online product presentation both on web sites and through social media outlets and how to incorporate cultural values on social media sites. I hope you will enjoy these articles and that they provide insight and encourage more questions and research ideas.
In this issue, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the readers of the journal and provide some idea of future direction and where we can most benefit our field. First, I wish to thank outgoing Editor Dr Amanda Broderick and all past and present editors and reviewers of this publication who have worked so hard to create a journal that is relevant and useful to those in this growing area. I wanted to be involved because I believe we need more research in this area not only to expand academic knowledge but to help practitioners chart their way in this ever-changing field. In fact, I accepted the position of Editor-in-Chief for this journal in particular because the journal seeks “to publish progressive, innovative and rigorous scholarly research for marketing academics and practitioners”.
In my position as head of the Interactive Marketing Certificate Program in at Northern Illinois University (http://interactivemarketing.niu.edu), I have had a unique chance to span both academia and practice. On the academic side, in addition to my academic publications in database marketing and marketing personalization, I recently co-authored the third edition of a textbook, Internet Marketing: Integrating Online and Offline Strategies with MaryLou Roberts. On the practitioner side, I coordinate a corporate advisory board for our program as well as work with companies to improve their internet marketing practices.
When writing the textbook I noticed that although there has been a significant increase in the number of academic articles on subjects relating to internet and interactive marketing, on some topics, such as the integration of search and social or paid and organic search, I could find very little. In fact, I created a word cloud (above) of the topics covered in the last two years in our journal alone to see where the emphasis has been in our publication. This word cloud seems to be consistent with the overall research emphases in the field and I wonder if we as academics are hitting the mark and really helping practice?
Some topics listed above such as social media and mobile marketing are important to practitioners, but I see little research in this cloud in search optimization, e-mail marketing, multi-channel management, video marketing, B2B lead generation, online branding or other issues that might be of relevance to marketers. Notably absent are the measurement issues which seem to plague all marketers. Each topic also seems to be covered in a vacuum and not in the context of other marketing programs.
In fact I conducted an informal survey of advisory board members to our interactive program, individuals who represent companies that are both long-standing firms as well as newer, purely interactive firms. The survey indicates that their top issues are tracking, measurement and channel attribution as well as how to organize and implement these divergent channels. These practitioners are also interested in content management, understanding analytics and how to implement them online and privacy issues.
In general, the topics cited by practitioners tend to be broader in scope than those typically researched in the field, which tends to be consumer behavior oriented (in spite of the fact that most ecommerce is B2B), take a marketing communications approach and is also focused on micro rather than macro decisions that managers must make. In the coming months I will hope to provide more insight into how academia and practice can work together in our journal to forward the discipline of interactive marketing. I encourage those doing research on how companies can manage and measure interactive marketing processes to consider our journal as an outlet for your work and I encourage practitioners to provide ideas and insights to guide our efforts.
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Dr Debra Zahay is the Professor of Interactive Marketing at Northern Illinois University. She holds her Doctorate in Marketing from the University of Illinois, her Master of Management from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, her Juris Doctor from Loyola University in Chicago and her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St Louis. Dr Zahay researches how firms can facilitate customer relationships, particularly using customer information. Some current and recent research topics include customer information management for competitive advantage, information use in new product development and particularly crowd-sourcing, data warehousing in CRM environments, e-mail personalization and other aspects of interactive marketing. Some of the journals in which she has published include Journal of Product Innovation Management, Decision Sciences, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Journal of Database Marketing, and in the working paper series for the Marketing Science Institute. She has presented her work at many academic and practitioner conferences. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Database Marketing and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing. Prior teaching experiences include North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina and DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.
Dr Zahay has been the President of her own database and relationship management consulting firm since 1993 and has extensive experience helping companies identify and develop customer relationships. Her prior business experience includes senior marketing management responsibilities at MCI Telecommunications and Dun & Bradstreet. She has also served as a Vice President on the Executive Board of the Chicago American Marketing Association and currently serves on the Board of the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing.