Call for Papers: Enhancing Customer Engagement.

Call for Papers for a JAMS Special Issue on Enhancing Customer Engagement.

Editors: V. Kumar (St. John’s University), Robert P. Leone (Texas Christian University), and Leigh McAlister (University of Texas at Austin)

Customer engagement (CE), defined as a customer’s contribution to the firm directly through purchases and/or indirectly through referrals, social media influence and feedback (Kumar 2013), is fast becoming a business top priority in increasing customer loyalty and profitability. Not surprisingly, CE has become a recent marketing buzzword and has emerged as a hot topic among practitioners and academics. However, at the same time, marketing managers are confronted with a variety of challenges surrounding the customer journey - how it is composed of numerous touch points to attain CE, from search to purchase to post-purchase support. Firms need to take proactive steps to initiate and manage customer engagement as CE enhances emotional bonding, customer loyalty, satisfaction, trust, and commitment (Beckers, Risselada, and Verhoef 2014; Brodie et al. 2013). CE behavior affects value co-creation by virtue of customers’ resource contribution toward the focal firm and other stakeholders (Jaakkola and Alexander 2014). Interestingly, firm-initiated CE behavior does not always benefit the firm (Beckers, Van Doorn, and Verhoef 2018). Harmeling et al. (2017) also urge for the proper management of customer engagement. Marketing strategists need academic marketing and consumer research-based insights to display thought leadership to learn how they can enhance customer engagement that is beneficial for the firm, customers, and all other key stakeholders including the environment and the society.

Customer engagement can be influenced by both firms and consumers/customers.  From a firm’s perspective, several strategies have been tried to enhance customer engagement. For example, new age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoTs), Machine Learning (ML), Robotics, Drones and Blockchain have been used to personalize or customize products/services, communications, and delivery. Research into their effectiveness at increasing customer engagement, however, is nascent.  Moreover, there the numerous other avenues that firms can pursue which have the potential to increase engagement.  For example, (a) can introducing continuous innovations of multiple generations of a product (e.g., iPhone) or expanding a product’s portfolio (e.g., Apple) to offer multiple products of successive generations help engage with its customer better; (b) can interactive video advertising enhance customer engagement; (c) would introducing products or services in global markets through a sprinkler or waterfall strategy help engage customers faster and deeper in lag markets compared to lead markets; (d) will efficient service recovery strategies (Borah, Prakhya, and Sharma 2020) be effective in engaging customers post service failure?

From consumers’/customers’ action/response perspective, opportunities exist to study (a) the motivations behind why customerswould want to engage with a firm; (b) their privacy concerns; (c) the perception of value alignment between what the customer receives in relation to what they offer to the firm; (d) the role of customer experience; (e) if customers are willing to engage with low involvement versus high involvement products/services, and (f) other relevant topics including the use of consciousness as the foundational philosophy (Grewal et al. 2017).

While the concept of customer engagement (CE) has attracted significant interest from both the academic and practitioner communities as evidenced from many research studies, business conferences, educational seminars, and events organized on topics related to CE in recent years (Kumar and Pansari 2016; Palmatier, Kumar, and Harmeling 2017; Van Doorn et al. 2010; Verhoef, Reinartz and Krafft 2010), the focus of papers for the special issue of the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (JAMS) will be on driving a more substantive understanding of new and improved strategies of the firms and consumers/customers response to the firm’s engagement strategy with the goal of enhancing customer engagement. Papers targeting the special issue can be either quantitative or qualitative studies that specifically address the above issues and bring significant new knowledge to academia and practices; and, come from consumer behavior domains in marketing as well as from other disciplines (e.g., Operations management, Finance, Management, International Business, etc.) which can offer solutions to enhance CE.

Potential research topics on CE may include but are not limited to:

1. Involvement Strategies
2. Mobile Payment strategies
3. Service Strategies
4. Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives
5. Addressing Data Privacy Issues
6. Co-production process
7. Maximizing Customer experience
8. Innovation and Creativity
9. New Age Technologies
10. Marketing-Mix Strategies
11. Digitalization and Globalization Strategies
12. Social Media and Social Network Marketing
13. Efficiency and Effectiveness in Operations

Papers targeting the special issue on the same topic should be submitted through the JAMS submission system (https://www.editorialmanager.com/jams/default.aspx) and will undergo the same review process as regularly submitted papers. The window for submitting papers to JAMS for this special issue starts July 1, 2022 and ends September 30, 2022

References

Beckers, S. F., Risselada, H., & Verhoef, P. C. (2014). Customer engagement: A new frontier in customer value management. In Handbook of Service Marketing Research. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Beckers, S. F., Van Doorn, J., & Verhoef, P. C. (2018). Good, better, engaged? The effect of company-initiated customer engagement behavior on shareholder value. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science46(3), 366-383.


Borah, S. B., Prakhya, S., & Sharma, A. (2020). Leveraging service recovery strategies to reduce customer churn in an emerging market. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science48(5), 848-868.


Brodie, R. J., Ilic, A., Juric, B., & Hollebeek, L. (2013). Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Business Research66(1), 105-114.


Grewal, D., Roggeveen, A. L., Sisodia, R., & Nordfält, J. (2017). Enhancing customer engagement through consciousness. Journal of Retailing93(1), 55-64.


Harmeling, C. M., Moffett, J. W., Arnold, M. J., & Carlson, B. D. (2017). Toward a theory of customer engagement marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science45(3), 312-335.


Jaakkola, E., & Alexander, M. (2014). The role of customer engagement behavior in value co-creation: a service system perspective. Journal of Service Research17(3), 247-261.


Kumar, V. (2013). Profitable Customer Engagement: Concept, Metrics and Strategies. SAGE Publications India.


Kumar, V., & Pansari, A. (2016). Competitive advantage through engagement. Journal of Marketing Research53(4), 497-514.


Palmatier, R. W., Kumar, V., & Harmeling, C. M. (Eds.). (2017). Customer Engagement Marketing. Springer.


Pansari, A., & Kumar, V. (2017). Customer engagement: the construct, antecedents, and consequences. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science45(3), 294-311.


Van Doorn, J., Lemon, K. N., Mittal, V., Nass, S., Pick, D., Pirner, P., & Verhoef, P. C. (2010). Customer engagement behavior: Theoretical foundations and research directions. Journal of Service Research13(3), 253-266.


Verhoef, P. C., Reinartz, W. J., & Krafft, M. (2010). Customer engagement as a new perspective in customer management. Journal of Service Research13(3), 247-252.


Vivek, S. D., Beatty, S. E., & Morgan, R. M. (2012). Customer Engagement: Exploring customer relationships beyond purchase. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice20(2), 122-146.

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