2015 Marketing Science Insitute/H. Paul Root Award
A Meta-Analysis of Electronic Word-of-Mouth Elasticity
Ya You, Gautham G. Vadakkepatt, and Amit M. Joshi
Journal of Marketing: March 2015, Vol. 79, No. 2, pp. 19-39
What motivated you to research this particular area?
While studying this field, we realized that (a) there were a lot of conflicting results, (b) there was no consensus on which metrics were to be studied, and (c) there were numerous important questions that had not been addressed, and we realized that a meta-analysis would be a rigorous way to achieve all these goals. We also felt that managers were severely hampered by the lack of consolidated results in this growing and important area.
Describe any challenges related to research and writing of your article?
The hardest part of the paper was to develop a coherent and comprehensive conceptual framework that included contextual moderators that could explain ambiguous results observed in empirical studies thus far. We were (rightfully) pushed by reviewers to address this issue, and our paper improved as a result.
Also, data collection was an important part of our meta-analysis. We developed a comprehensive data set from the existing eWOM research across a variety of disciplines including marketing, management and information systems to make sure our findings are rigorous and impactful.
How might marketing managers apply your findings in the field?
Given the ubiquity of Social Media in today’s marketing environment, our findings are of critical importance to managers. We not only inform them of the aggregate effects that they can expect, but also delineate the product categories, industry conditions, social media platforms and message content that drives the impact of social media on sales.
Our research has received extensive press coverage, and is being used by marketing managers.
Were there any interesting questions stemming from your article that you hope will be explored in future research?
There are several avenues of future research that we list in our article. For example, how a variety of traditional and social media channels may interact with each other to impact on firm performance; how eWOM sender and recipient characteristics influence eWOM effectiveness; and how different eWOM metrics simultaneously affect consumer purchase behavior.
We are very excited to find a few most recent publications in top marketing and information systems journals have explored these interesting questions and provided insights in this important field.
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