Marketing Competition


Evolving Marketing Competition in the 21st Century, Wiesbaden, 24-25 Jun 2008; Deadline 15 Jan

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Call for Papers:

Evolving Marketing Competition in the 21st Century


Oliver Heil (U. of Mainz)
David B. Montgomery (Stanford & Singapore Management U.)

Wiesbaden, Germany June 24 -25, 2008

Announcing a conference on "Evolving Marketing Competition in the 21st Century" to be held in Wiesbaden (Germany) and globally co-sponsored by the Marketing Science Institute, EMAC, Singapore Management University, and the University of Mainz. The overall goal of the conference is to advance research on marketing competition in the 21st century.

We expect leading researchers from all over the world that work on a variety of issues pertaining to competition and marketing. Additionally, we anticipate senior executives to participate and discuss their insights and expertise on all facets of competition in the 21st century market place.

A special issue of the International Journal of Research in Marketing (IJRM) that will contain the best papers presented at the conference will be published in 2010.

  1. Evolving Marketing Competition in the 21st century:

    Marketing competition is undergoing fundamental changes as markets are becoming increasingly global, the Internet is emerging as a fundamental catalyst for dynamic change in the competitive interplay between firms, and—at the same time—legislation on competition is falling behind. Below we offer an indicative but incomplete list of current issues in the area of competition. We are, however, very much interested in papers tackling any new and additional issues.

    There is a realization among marketing academics and practitioners that a better understanding of competition is needed. This seems especially true as the competitive interplay is constantly evolving. Aside from the more traditional forms of oligopolistic competition, other competitive species appear to be emerging.

    1. Global competition

      Global competition clearly marks an important competitive form. An increasing number of European firms seem to run out of competitive advantages that used to rest in the core of their products. As a result, Europeans may be forced to focus–almost as a “last resort”—to compete on heritage. Chinese firms are often perceived as possessing not a lot more of a competitive advantage than low cost and an ability to “repeat” what others invented. India may come out ahead due to her ability to combine some kind of heritage due to her European—democratic—“upbringing” while being “hungry” at the same time.

      Naturally, one might ask if these developments leave American companies a bit “stuck in the middle”? Finally, does all of this leave most of Africa and Southern America “competitively hope- and helpless”?

    2. New Competitive Species

      The Internet seems to produce at least two new specimens: The so-called long-tail market structure may fundamentally affect the way companies interact in market places that are strongly affected by the Net. Notably, this competitive structure is likely to allow for the most heterogeneous preferences of a truly global set of consumers and seems to have variable costs that are close to zero. As a result, cost considerations, one of the key constraints in oligopolistic competition, may be rendered (almost) unimportant.

      Similarly, the emergence of blogs appears to provide a new form of competition. For example, blogs (together with “posts” and “comments”) have been witnessed to be very powerful new forms of word of mouth. A most infamous illustration may be the case of the Kryptonite lock company. In that instance, blogs, posts, and comments about an unexpected flaw of the Kryptonite lock almost killed the company—and certainly destroyed it’s premium image. Naturally, we should expect that the right comprehension and handling of blogs may allow for a competitive advantage and will grow into an important facet of competitive interaction. Further, it will be important to investigate how blogs should be managed to a firm’s advantage. Additionally, one may expect that a customer orientated and straightforward communication policy implied by what characterizes the web 2.0 in general and blogs in particular, again complies with MSI’s research priority # 2 “connecting customers with the company.

    3. New Competitive Foci

      In many markets, products and markets have matured. As a result, competitive foci seemingly move to augmentations including design, heritage, and even humor. Interestingly, competing for and winning on the humor side has proven extremely successful for the German electronics retailer Media Markt. That company is neither the cheapest nor the one with the best stores or locations. However, it is viewed as the “funniest” and consumers arrive in hordes making Media Markt the market leader. In short, “soft issues” such as humor may amount to a top source for competitive advantages in the future—a stark contrast to advantages such as low production costs or high product quality. Notably, this development links directly to MSI’s most recent research priorities. Companies are very interested in new ways of connecting customers with the company, e.g. through emotional connection such as humor.

    4. Shifts in the lead / lag relationship between marketing and legislation

      What roll will country of origin play as recent disasters such as the poisoning of pet food, the fatal contamination of toothpaste, and lead in children’s toys impact consumer preferences? What will legislatures do to protect their consumers and their economic bases in reaction to these and other events such as predatory competitive practices?

    5. Shifting Balance of Power in the Supply Chain

      Historically, there has been a shift in power from suppliers toward customers. Will this continue to be the case, or will upsteam suppliers reverse this process? For example, will China integrate forward and seize more control over the entire supply chain rather than simply being a low cost supplier?

  2. The Conference

    Papers are expected to reflect academic and practitioner views of different aspects of competition from various disciplinary backgrounds including strategic management, organizational theory, marketing, economics, psychology, public relations, organizational communications, and other backgrounds related to firms and industries.

    Ideally the audience and participants would be fairly evenly split between academics and practitioners (managers, public officials). Conference attendance will be 100 persons max. Longer presentations (30-40 minutes each) in no more than three tracks are anticipated.

    The papers selected for presentation will be submitted for review toward publication in a special issue (of the International Journal of Research in Marketing (IJRM) to be published in 2010. The usual high editorial standards of IJRM will apply. Submissions could encompass empirical and theoretical contributions

    A registration fee of no more than $290 will be charged. Qualified Ph.D. students will be charged a smaller fee. Depending on sponsorship monies, the registration fee may decrease.

    Guidelines for Authors (next steps)

    1. Please submit an abstract of 200-500 words by January 15, 2008 either to

      Oliver Heil, University of Mainz, Germany or
      David Montgomery, Stanford,

    2. The abstracts will be reviewed and the authors will be notified of acceptance and/or reviewer’s comments by end February 2008.

    3. If a paper has been accepted for presentation at the conference, the authors should submit a complete paper by September 15, 2008. These papers will be submitted to IJRM for review for publication in a special issue on competition.