A special issue of International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing
From the very beginnings of the Web, voices from many different backgrounds warned about the potential of this revolutionary public communication infrastructure for fostering individualistic behaviour in people. Somehow, this reasoning looked on the Internet, and the Web in particular, as a “place” where each individual could get into a process that isolated him/her from their physical context of reference. This fact was even said to lead, when considered from a worldwide perspective, to autistic societies.
Just one decade later, the net social benefits of the Web are unquestionable, as is its social dimension. The continuous advances in new Internet tools and applications have metamorphosed the Web communication model tremendously in the past years. Basically, the Internet has evolved from being a space for organisations to publish information, with little opportunity for users to take their own communicational initiatives, towards a collaborative platform where every user becomes a potential publisher. Such a platform is articulated in diverse new concepts and a growing number of services like the e-communities, social networks, blogs, wikis, podcasting, videocasting, and so on. With this new scenario, there is an obvious transference of power and informational control from the online organisations, those mainly responsible for editing contents in the past Web model, to the massive population of Internet users. Doubtless, the Web is nowadays more democratic than ever.
Taking a commercial perspective, this implies talking about an evolution from the classic transactional Web-based model to what has recently been called the social Web model. This kind of Web is obviously much more difficult for companies to control. Nowadays, the companies’ sites are just one of the thousands of web sites where current or potential customers can find information about their offers. So, there are more and more sources of information about the companies’ offers, which they cannot control. This strategic issue needs to be managed, if one takes into account that people are increasingly more involved, in general, with a Web-based model of social interaction. Consequently, visiting these places becomes more and more common for customers when developing their consumption processes, as they rely more on information about the brands’ evaluations posted there by other users. Therefore, just as being online was not enough a couple of years ago for a company to be successful on the Internet, the present Web model requires more than just creating an online brand community. In fact, this marketing decision could probably be, except in certain cases, of little interest to the firm’s customers of today. Indeed, considerable thought on how current e-marketing mindsets, applications and tools should evolve in order to suitably manage this new Web model is more than necessary.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Conversational marketing
- Viral marketing
- Crowdsourcing marketing
- Social network marketing
- Podcasting and videocasting marketing strategies
- Blog marketing
- Search engine marketing
Full paper submission: 1 October, 2008
Notification of acceptance: 31 January, 2009
Final version of paper due: 1 April, 2009