Digitalisation between Marketing Opportunities and Consumer Vulnerabilities
This course brings together technology-focused, marketing-focused, consumer-focused as well as society-focused perspectives to address the phenomenon of digitalisation understood as a profound socio-technical transformation resulting in a vast contemporary digital marketplace. On the one hand, the course seeks to provide a practice-focused overview of the main digital marketing tools, frameworks and best practices, focusing primarily on the essential principles and underlying logics that currently govern digital marketing strategies oriented at seizing opportunities to create value for consumers. On the other, it aims at broadening understanding of data-driven digital marketplace practices by drawing attention not only to the cases when digital marketing practices result in rewarding and empowering consumer experiences, but also to a wide range of circumstances under which consumers (as well as marketers themselves) are, or can be, rendered vulnerable.
As opposed as looking at digitalisation of marketing practices solely as sources of value creation and competitive advantage, this course also dedicates special consideration to:
• consumer groups victims of digital divide who are systematically at-risk and/or under-represented within digital marketing strategies (e.g., children, elderly, impaired, bottom of the pyramid, low literacy);
• (potentially) negative effects of individual digital life events and experiences (e.g., data surrender/data loss, cancel culture, cyberbullying, experience of being an influencer etc.); and
• technological infrastructures and contexts (e.g., data-driven marketing management culture, recommendation engines, conversion-focused choice architecture, persuasion products and systems, extreme automation, artificial intelligence, de-materialization, programmed obsolescence, fast speed technological change) that create disabling/disempowering conditions for personal and/or social well-being.
The course is structured around a pursuit of three educational ambitions:
(1) to undertake a theory-informed analysis of the digital shift in marketing, read through the perspective of the technological and societal transformation;
(2) to provide a practice-focused overview of the main digital marketing tools, practices, and activities (such as cloud, big data analytics, omnichannel strategies, email marketing, e-commerce, UX design principles, SEO, SEM, social media, AR, VR; AI, IoT, blockchain, platforms, behavioral targeting);
(3) to engage into a critically-oriented discussion that weighs utilities of contemporary digital marketing practices against their (potential) of rendering consumers vulnerable under certain contexts and conditions, scrutinizing, in particular, such issues as consumer privacy and surveillance, data ownership, exploitation and manipulation, trust in two-sided markets, algorithmic stereotyping, alienation, dependence, choice overload, and accountability.
Both business opportunities and consumer vulnerabilities enabled by digital marketing tools and practices will be addressed throughout the course via traditional lectures, presentation of real-life cases and in-class discussions, thus bringing students’ attention to the need to address a range of actual and potential digital challenges for marketers and consumers in an informed and responsible manner.
• Introduce the digital shift in marketing, read through the perspective of technological and societal transformation.
• Equip students with the knowledge on the principles that currently govern the main digital marketing practices, tools and strategies.
• Broaden students’ understanding of digital markets and digital marketing practices by bringing together technology-focused, marketing-focused as well as consumer-focused perspectives not only on the business opportunities enabled via digital technology, but also on conditions that render consumers vulnerable.
• Balance a technology-focused view on digital marketing with a critically oriented discussion on the implications of data-driven marketing practices.
Traditional lectures, in-class discussions, presentation of real-life cases, invited guest presentations from industry professionals. Attendance and active class participation is strongly recommended. Selected texts and sources for (optional, yet recommended) further reading will be shared via iCorsi.
• 30% group project
• 70% final written exam
Belk, Russel, Humayun, Mariam, Gopaldas, Ahir. "Consumer Reception of New Technologies." International Journal of Business Anthropology, 10, 1 (2020): 49-65.
- Confessore, N., Dance, G.J., Harris, R., Hansen, M. "The Follower Factory." The New York Times (2018)
Dholakia, Nikhilesh, Darmody, Aron, Zwick, Detlev, Dholakia, Ruby Roy, Fırat, A. Fuat. "Consumer Choicemaking and Choicelessness in Hyperdigital Marketspaces." Journal of Macromarketing, 41, 1 (2020): 65-74.
- Dunnett, Susan, Piacentini, Maria, Hamilton, Kathy. Consumer vulnerability: Conditions, contexts and characteristics. London: Routledge, 2016.
- Edelman, G. "Why Don’t We Just Ban Targeted Advertising?" WIRED (2020)
Hamilton, Ryan, Ferraro, Rosellina, Haws, Kelly L., Mukhopadhyay, Anirban. "Traveling with Companions: The Social Customer Journey." Journal of Marketing, 85, 1 (2020): 68-92.
Helberger, N., Sax, M., Strycharz, J., Micklitz, H.-W.. "Choice Architectures in the Digital Economy: Towards a New Understanding of Digital Vulnerability." Journal of Consumer Policy, 45, 2 (2021): 175-200.
- Holt, Douglas. "Branding in the Age of Social Media." Harvard Business Review, March (2016).
- Humphreys, Ashlee. Social media: Enduring principles. New York Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Letheren, Kate, Russell-Bennett, Rebekah, Whittaker, Lucas. "Black, white or grey magic? Our future with artificial intelligence." Journal of Marketing Management, 36, 3-4 (2020): 216-232.
Mick, David Glen, Fournier, Susan. "Paradoxes of Technology: Consumer Cognizance, Emotions, and Coping Strategies." Journal of Consumer Research, 25, 2 (2013): 123-143.
Novak, Thomas P., Hoffman, Donna L.. "Relationship journeys in the Internet of Things: A new framework for understanding interactions between consumers and smart objects." Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 47, 2 (2018): 216-237.
- Oremus, W. "Are you really Facebook’s product? The history of a dangerous idea." Slate (2018).
Puntoni, Stefano, Reczek, Rebecca Walker, Giesler, Markus, Botti, Simona. "Consumers and Artificial Intelligence: An Experiential Perspective." Journal of Marketing, 85, 1 (2020): 131-151.
Scholz, Joachim, Smith, Andrew N.. "Branding in the age of social media firestorms: how to create brand value by fighting back online." Journal of Marketing Management, 35, 11-12 (2019): 1100-1134.
- Zuboff, Shoshana. The age of surveillance capitalism. First edition. London: Profile Books, 2019.