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Journal of Marketing Insights in the Classroom

A Thematic Exploration of Digital, Social Media, and Mobile Marketing: Research Evolution from 2000 to 2015 and an Agenda for Future Inquiry

Cait Lamberton and Andrew Stephen

Journal of Marketing Insights in the Classroom

JM Insights in the Classroom

Full Citation: ​
Lamberton, Cait and Andrew T. Stephen (2016), “A Thematic Exploration of Digital, Social Media, and Mobile Marketing: Research Evolution from 2000 to 2015 and an Agenda for Future Inquiry,” Journal of Marketing, 80 (6), 146-172.

There may be some disconnect between the topics on which academics have focused and those of greatest interest in the business press; whereas academics and firms have both explored digital and social for their advertising capability, academics have focused more on analytic methods overall, and are increasingly devoting attention to psychological processes that underlie online activities. By contrast, by 2014, only a little bit of industry attention had been driven to big data – and little media evidence exists that practice is using social media to explore the “why” behind consumer behavior.

Abstract Article
Over the past 15 years, digital media platforms have revolutionized marketing, offering new ways to reach, inform, engage, sell to, learn about, and provide service to customers. As a means of taking stock of academic work’s ability to contribute to this revolution, this article tracks the changes in scholarly researchers’ perspectives on three major digital, social media, and mobile (DSMM) marketing themes from 2000 to 2015. The authors first use keyword counts from the premier general marketing journals to gain a macro-level view of the shifting importance of various DSMM topics since 2000. They then identify key themes emerging in five-year time frames during this period: (1) DSMM as a facilitator of individual expression, (2) DSMM as decision support tool, and (3) DSMM as a market intelligence source. In both academic research to date and corresponding practitioner discussion, there is much to appreciate. However, there are also several shortcomings of extant research that have limited its relevance and created points of disconnect between academia and practice. Finally, in light of this, an agenda for future research based on emerging research topics is advanced. 


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Topic Areas: ​
Co-creation, Crowdsourcing, and Creativity; Customer Behavior, Consumer Behavior; Consumer Psychology; Digital Marketing; Marketing Analytics; Marketing Communications; Marketing Metrics; Mobile Marketing/Location-based Marketing; Social Media; and Word of Mouth, User-Generated Content, Text Analysis

Special thanks to Kelley Gullo and Holly Howe, Ph.D. candidates at Duke University, for their support in working with authors on submissions to this program. 

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Cait Lamberton is Alberto I. Duran President's Distinguished Professor or Marketing, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.