Pandemic Aftershock


Tracking the Impact of Technology Adoption and Social Distancing Behaviour on Interactive Marketing Practice, Special issue of the Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing; Deadline 18 Jan 2021

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: James Whiteley

Pandemic Aftershock: tracking the impact of technology adoption and social distancing behaviour on interactive marketing practice

Call for papers for: Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

Special Issue

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

Aim and Scope

As the celebrated management guru, Peter Drucker once said: “The only thing we know about the future is that it is going to be different”. Our challenge right now is to explore how different this future will be following such the Coronavirus crisis and what impact this will have in the marketplace. The last 30 years have seen significant changes in marketing practices in response to evolving economic, political, technological, societal and environmental issues but these changes now appear to be minor compared to what is likely to emerge from the changes we are experiencing with the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. An exploration of the major new challenges for marketers who have to adopt fundamental widespread changes and improvisations at a speed never before witnessed is critical. This event appears to have accelerated digital transformation, home working practices, and online purchase behaviours, among other changes. Businesses, organizations and governments require novel and innovative solutions, some of which are likely to be game changing, in order to cope with rapid digitalisation and changing consumer behaviour with homebound employees, consumer panic-buying, health fears, economic worries, and what is likely to be a protracted global recession. Some marketing practices and business models are likely to be revealed by the crisis to be at best out-dated and at worst obsolete, and others will be developed in their place. Some businesses are taking advantage of the new environment and others automatically benefit from it. Technology changes which were expected to diffuse slowly are being adopted rapidly including home working and online education models. The creation of the technology dominated ecosystem has its own challenges whether leaning towards the utopian and the idea of a social web of globally connected consumers or the dystopian fear of a digitally encoded Orwellian society. This is no better revealed than when considering the privacy implications of Covid-19 infection mapping and health messaging. Marketers, citizens, policy makers, and consumers are on a journey with no known destination. Envisioning the future of marketing and reimagining the role and provision of marketing practice and marketing theory developments is therefore timely and critical.

This special issue will help to guide and inform marketers on this journey and hopefully provide much needed critical evaluation, discussion, and debate while also preparing the marketing world (academic and business) to address and rise to the challenge. This special issue will explore and trace emerging dynamics predominantly arising as a result of the pandemic, including dynamics within consumer behaviour and digitalisation to map new trends in digital and societal innovation. They include the speed and ubiquity of massively changed business and competitive dynamics, the role of societal expectations and environmental factors, and the speed, complexity, and variety of technological assimilations and transformation (indeed acceleration) of the digital landscape, among many others. All of this suggests that maintaining the same model of practice within organisations and maintaining the delivery and engagement within marketing management education may be neither sustainable nor optimal for future generations of marketers and students. Tracking the trajectory of digitalisation from the current dominance due to the pandemic and the resulting transformation of marketing through the many aspects of technological and technology/enabled delivery innovations is crucial. Some of the tensions and drivers of change will affect the role, the power structures, and the dynamics of the winners and losers of the corporate world. Such transformation might not follow current and known patterns, and additional influences and tensions may arise from unexpected sources, all of which are perspectives which will be encouraged in this special issue.

The focus of the special issue is to seek to provide a map of how the incidence of Covid-19 has changed marketing activities/strategies/practice, especially direct and interactive marketing practice, and consumption behaviour. We hope that this issue will explore what we gain and lose in this new world of pandemic or post pandemic marketing.

This special issue will bring together academics to provide a critical, comprehensive, reflexive, and multi-disciplinary investigation of the impacts of the Coronavirus crisis on marketing. Aligning with the focus of the Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, we welcome papers with conceptual, multi-disciplinary, theoretical, and methodological perspectives in the following areas:

  1. Consumer behavioural change (e.g. changes in social media and other technology usage, buying habits) and the resulting need for changes in marketing practices (e.g. to tailor customers’ digital customer experiences). How will Covid-19 affect future consumption behaviour: e.g., forecasts and attitudinal studies of perceptions of consumers through extrapolations of consumption behaviour during and after lockdown? New skills sets for consumers. What are the new digital and social skills that consumers must learn? What models of consumer behaviour will dominate post-pandemic? What will be the role of factors like scarcity, anxiety, contagion, and cultural stereotypes in impacting consumer judgments? How will the collaborative sharing economy be impacted? How will tracking and tracing citizens across the globe with a surveillance and defence-dominant world be experienced? How will such transformations influence consumption?
  2. How has Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation (particularly but not solely in retailing) and what are the challenges of automation, smart technologies, chatbots, robotics, virtual reality platforms, surveillance and real time location information and more generally AI (Artificial Intelligence) in a pandemic or post-pandemic world? The arrival of Web 4.0 through the rapid and radical creative destruction and almost global adoption of technological change: What is the impact of technological adoption and thus transformations that were expected to take 2-5 years occurring almost overnight and particularly in certain industries like education, retail, media/advertising and health to name but a few.
  3. How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected multi-channel/omni-channel marketing activities and consumption?

Topics for this special issue might also include, but not be limited to, the following themes:

  • How has Covid-19 affected how firms design and deliver multi-channel/omni-channel marketing in the immediate, medium and longer-term? How is this split between at-home and mobile internet?
  • How have consumers’ para-social activities changed in the pandemic and post-pandemic world?
  • What are the new marketing skills – data analytics, managing automation, AI, and robotics, managing within social distancing regulations and with Covid 19 as a backdrop?
  • Marketing activities and consumption behaviour during periods of crisis and instability – what can we learn from historical responses to crises (2008 recession, World Wars, Great Depression) and how do these compare to the current crisis?
  • How should marketing recovery be managed from the perspective of go-to-market speeds for different sectors.
  • What models of marketing will dominate after this pandemic or have dominated during it? What are the challenges for capitalism and marketing’s place within that in a pandemic world?
  • Surveillance, marketing and the pandemic: With real time location information, what are the policy and practice implications of using it? Are privacy issues negated because of the health concerns?

Indicative References

Bush, A. J., & Boller, G. W. (1991). Rethinking the role of television advertising during health crises: A rhetorical analysis of the federal AIDS campaigns. Journal of Advertising20(1), 28-37.

Chen, C., Whitaker, K., Fæste, L., Reeves, M., & Carlsson Szlezak, P. (2020). How Chinese Companies Have Responded to Coronavirus. Harvard Business School Cases, 1.

Cundiff, E. W. (1975). What is the role of marketing in a recession? Journal of Marketing39(2), 1.

Davenport, T., Guha, A., Grewal, D., & Bressgott, T. (2020). How artificial intelligence will change the future of marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 48(1), pp. 24-42.

Dholakia, N. and Firat, A.F. (2019). Markets, consumers and society in the age of heteromation, European Journal of Marketing, 53 (8), 1504-1520.

Fehrer, J.A.Benoit, S.Aksoy, L.Baker, T.L.Bell, S.J.Brodie, R.J. and Marimuthu, M. (2018). Future scenarios of the collaborative economy: Centrally orchestrated, social bubbles or decentralized autonomous? Journal of Service Management, 29(5), 859-882.

Go, E. & Sundar, S., (2019) Humanizing chatbots: The effects of visual, identity and conversational cues on humanness perceptions. Computers in Human Behaviour, 97, pp. 304-316

Hilken, T.Heller, J.Chylinski, M.Keeling, D.I.Mahr, D. and de Ruyter, K. (2018). Making omnichannel an augmented reality: the current and future state of the art. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 12 (4), 509-523.

Hollebeek, L.D.Sprott, D.E.Andreassen, T.W.Costley, C.Klaus, P.Kuppelwieser, V.Karahasanovic, A.Taguchi, T.Ul Islam, J. and Rather, R.A. (2019). Customer engagement in evolving technological environments: synopsis and guiding propositions. European Journal of Marketing, 53 (9), 2018-2023.

Jones, S. C., Waters, L., Holland, O., Bevins, J., & Iverson, D. (2010). Developing pandemic communication strategies: Preparation without panic. Journal of Business Research63(2), 126-132.

Kennedy, C. R., Harris, F. H. D., & Lord, M. (2004). Integrating public policy and public affairs in a pharmaceutical marketing program: The AIDS pandemic. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing23(2), 128-139.

Lee, S. T., & Basnyat, I. (2013). From press release to news: mapping the framing of the 2009 H1N1 A influenza pandemic. Health Communication28(2), 119-132.

Overby, J., Rayburn, M., Hammond, K., & Wyld, D. C. (2004). The China syndrome: the impact of the SARS epidemic in Southeast Asia. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics.

Page, S., Yeoman, I., Munro, C., Connell, J., & Walker, L. (2006). A case study of best practice—Visit Scotland’s prepared response to an influenza pandemic. Tourism Management27(3), 361-393.

Piercy, N. F., Cravens, D. W., & Lane, N. (2010). Marketing out of the recession: recovery is coming, but things will never be the same again. The Marketing Review10(1), 3-23.

Quinn, L., Dibb, S., Simkin, L., Canhoto A., & Analogbei M., (2016) Troubled waters: The transformation of marketing in a digital world. European Journal of Marketing, 50(12), pp. 2103-2103.

Rust, R.T. (2018). The future of marketing. International Journal of Research in Marketing

Smith, D., & Sipika, C. (1993). Back from the brink—post-crisis management. Long Range Planning26(1), 28-38.

Srinivasan, R., Rangaswamy, A., & Lilien, G. L. (2005). Turning adversity into advantage: does proactive marketing during a recession pay off? International Journal of Research in Marketing22(2), 109-125.

Tellis, G. J., & Tellis, K. (2009). Research on advertising in a recession: a critical review and synthesis. Journal of Advertising Research49(3), 304-327.

Yuksel, M. & Labrecque, L.I. (2016). “Digital buddies”: Parasocial  interactions in social media. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 10(4), 305-320.

Zahay, D. (2017). “Guest editorial”: Special Issue: Digitalization in Retailing – Moving Beyond e-Commerce. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 11(4), 338-340.

3. Submission Process

All manuscripts should be submitted through the JRIM online submission system at inside the following period: 1 Dec 2020 – 18 Jan 2021.

Further details about the aims and scope of the journal are here: The journal had an impact factor of 2.156 in 2019.

4. Guest Editors:

If you would like to discuss this Call for Papers please do not hesitate to contact us at:

  • Paul Baines, Professor of Political Marketing, University of Leicester School of Business, UK. Email: Tel: +44 116 229 758041
  • Mairead Brady, Associate Professor in Marketing, Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, Tel + 353 872 027721.
  • Shailendra Pratap Jain, James D. Currie Professor of Marketing & International Business, University of Washington, USA. Email: Tel: + 1 206 221 2946.

The authoritative version of this call can be found here.