Customer Interaction and Co-Creation
Supervisor: Emma Macdonald
Interaction between organisations and customers has been impacted upon by the rapid increase in the availability and power of enabling information technologies and the resultant speed of information flow. One indicator of the impact of information technology is broadband connectivity which Garter reports had penetrated 18% of households globally in 2007*; by 2012, seventeen countries worldwide will surpass 60% home broadband penetration. The internet provides customers with the potential to source valuable information in any node of the globally-connected information network. In addition, the two-way interactive properties of many of these information technologies mean that each individual has the potential to be “heard” by firms, organisations and institutions (provided they are listening), or any other third party with whom they choose to connect. And even if organisations are not paying attention, the online world provides individuals the opportunity to make contact with and join forces with other individuals.
For organisations these trends suggest dramatic changes as information is no longer asymmetrically controlled by the firm. Peer-to-peer networks have much greater potential to shape markets and impact on brands through word-of-mouth and online publishing. Individuals have many more resources at their disposal to co-create the value that they desire. For organisations in B2B and B2C contexts these changes have implications for information flow with existing and potential customers, for the management of value propositions and for customer management in general. As this change is rapid and ongoing there are many areas of research interest for practitioners and society in general including:
What impact are social networks having on organisations and individuals? How do organisations implement successful social networking strategies for marketing, including communications, product design and customer support – especially when they may not control the network? What is the impact of customer-to-customer word-of-mouth? What determines the relative influence of individuals in the social network?
Customer insight is traditionally captured via cross-sectional “snapshots in time”. How can organisations harness technology (such as mobile and internet) to obtain real-time customer insights?
Managing Information and Co-Creating Value
Information is a resource – but it is no longer a scarce resource. How do resource-integrating customers manage the information at their disposal to co-create the value they require? How can organisations assist customers in value co-creation?
These are just some of the areas that might be of interest. These doctoral research topics could be researched using qualitative or quantitative techniques.
About Dr Emma Macdonald
Emma is a faculty member in the Marketing group at Cranfield School of Management. She has received industry and academic recognition for her research developing a profiling tool of consumer competency in a technologically-enabled marketplace. She worked for several years in interactive marketing (in the Australian telecommunications and mobile marketing industries) and as a commercial researcher. She is principal researcher for the Cranfield Customer Management Forum. For further details click here.
*Electronic News, 2008.