Historical Social Research

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Jason Pridmore & Lalu Elias Hämäläinen: Market Segmentation in (In)action: Marketing and ‘Yet to Be Installed’ Role of Big and Social Media Data. [Abstract]

Marketing has always been dependent on the input of new forms of consumer data throughout its history, relying on translations of this data into more and more effective means for targeting and engaging consumers. The focus on the digital segmentation of consumers has been subject to differing marketing orientations, beginning with relationship marketing and moving towards experiential marketing and now more recent efforts towards ‘collaborative’ marketing. The intention behind segmenting consumers is focused on more effectively engaging targeted segments towards repeat buying behaviours. However, as in past practices, the shift to social media marketing and social customer relationship management (social CRM) has been subject to some significant limitations. Although the advent of social media and the opening up of this space for marketing has created (the potential for) an expanded means for tracking and classifying consumer behaviour, this paper highlights the limitations of the practices for all but a few select marketing practices in the ‘successful’ ‘making up’ of markets. This paper examines the limitations in use of social media data. Despite the promises of big data, old ways of segmentation and classification die hard and are seen as and often are evaluated as (more) effective. While the potential for consumers to actively participate in forms of marketing has shifted with the advent of social media, studies of participation in multiple mediums for ‘user’ or consumer participation indicate that this is done infrequently. Social media remains ‘uninstalled’. This paper highlights the limitations of specific marketing segmentations ‘in practice.’ It indicates that narratives of consumer empowerment and participation are limited alongside the slow and incremental adaptation to highly valued trends by most companies in practice.

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