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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
We start volume 26 of Marketing Intelligence & Planning with a truly international issue. The issue opens with a Viewpoint contributed by editors past and present addressing “The past, present and future of Marketing Intelligence & Planning” but after that the British influence diminishes very sharply indeed. Only one of the authors of the six refereed papers in this issue is employed at a British university, and he is only one of two authors who are employed in Europe. It follows that 10 of our 12 authors are employed outside Europe, but not, as you may have thought, at universities in the USA – a country that produces such a prodigious quantity of academic output – but, rather, in the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.
Our world tour starts with Australia, Hong Kong and China and “An empirical study of relationship quality in a service setting: a Chinese case” by Zhen Xiong Chen, Yizheng Shi and Da-Hai Dong. Relationship quality is a concept that has been receiving increasing attention in recent years as those who are interested in relationship marketing strive to operationalise the key factors that make the difference to customer retention, repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendation.
Having arrived in China it is a fairly short trip across the Formosa Strait to Taiwan to read about “The moderating effect of brand image on public relations perception and customer loyalty” by An-Tien Hsieh and Chung-Kai Li. Like the previous article, this study also seeks to address factors that contribute to customer loyalty. In this case, however, the focus of the paper is on a specific tool – public relations – and how this tool interacts with the brand image to bring about desirable marketing outcomes.
We are on our way back to Australia for the next article “Are supermarket shoppers attracted to specialty merchandise rewards?” by Mario Miranda and László Kónya. This is the first of two articles addressing issues to do with retailing. It investigates loyalty schemes, addressing specifically the questions of how aware consumers are of credit card loyalty schemes, and whether a credit card loyalty scheme can influence consumers to make greater use of their card for grocery shopping. Our second article to do with retailing (after the reasonably short hop over the Tasman Sea to New Zealand) is “Customer perceptions of factory outlet stores versus traditional department stores” by G.S. Shergill and Y. Chen. The question here is customers' relative perceptions and preferences for department stores and factory outlets. In terms of marketing practice, the paper asks whether the future of traditional department stores in New Zealand is genuinely threatened by the rise of factory outlets.
For the last two articles of the issue, we are finally on our way back to Northern Europe (going by way of Thailand), for two articles that address different aspects of the way in which information technology is affecting today's marketing practices. In “Application of data mining techniques in the online travel industry: a case study from Thailand” Pongsak Hoontrakul (from Thailand) and Sunil Sahadev (of Sheffield University) look at how the availability of large quantities of customer data when combined with powerful computer-based analytical techniques can benefit the online travel industry. In traditional marketing terms, it could be said that this is simply another paper about segmentation, but the industry context and the analytical techniques described ensure that this is very much a twenty-first century contribution. Another twenty-first century contribution comes from Sweden in the shape of Bo Rundh's “Radio frequency identification (RFID): invaluable technology or a new obstacle in the marketing process”. Rundh provides us with a clear and helpful overview of the latest developments in RFID and their implications for management. A feature of this paper is that it does not simply, and artificially, focus on the “marketing implications” of RFID. Rather, Rundh takes a supply chain perspective, recognising that the influence of this technology will be felt through the entire length of the supply chain. Contributions such as this, which recognise that marketing does not take place in a vacuum but has to be an integrated part of an organisation's strategy and operations, are very welcome at Marketing Intelligence & Planning.