Improvised marketing interventions (IMIs)—social media actions that are composed and executed in real-time proximal to an external event —through quick wit and, in particular, the interaction between humor paired with timeliness and humor paired with unanticipation—enables firms to drive virality and enhance firm value.
There is a hidden opportunity for managers to spot trends and utilize those trends to seed social media campaigns, which can become viral.
Managers need to consider IMI proactively in order to be part of and shape the current Zeitgeist—rather than be driven by it—and to achieve greater virality and generate stronger stock market returns.
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Borah, Abhishek, Sourindra Banerjee, Yu-ting Lin, Apurv Jain, and Andreas Eisingerich (2020), “Improvised Marketing Interventions in Social Media,” Journal of Marketing, 84(2)69-91.
Online virality has attracted the attention of academics and marketers who seek to identify the characteristics of online content that promote sharing. This article adds to this body of research by examining the phenomenon of improvised marketing interventions (IMIs)—social media actions that are composed and executed in real-time proximal to an external event. Using the concept of quick wit and theorizing that the effect of IMIs is furthered by humor and timeliness or unanticipation, the authors find evidence of this effect on both virality and firm value across five multi-method studies, including quasi-experiments, experiments, and archival data analysis. These findings point to the potential of improvised marketing actions in social media and to the features that firms should proactively focus on managing in order to reap the observed online sharing and firm value benefits.
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