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Improvised Marketing Interventions in Social Media

Improvised Marketing Interventions in Social Media

Abhishek Borah, Sourindra Banerjee, Yu-Ting Lin and Apurv Jain

JM Insights in the Classroom

Teaching Insights

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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Related Marketing Courses: ​
Brand Management; Consumer Behavior; Digital Marketing; Marketing Strategy; Principles of Marketing, Core Marketing, Intro to Marketing Management; Social Media Marketing​​​

Full Citation: ​
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.

Article Abstract
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.

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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Abhishek Borah is Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Washington.

Sourindra Banerjee is Associate Professor, Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, UK.

Yu-Ting Lin is Teaching and Research Associate in Marketing, Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London, UK.

Apurv Jain is CEO and Co-Founder, MacroXstudio, USA.