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Professionals and scholars in the field of marketing and management have since become fascinated with the idea of co-creation. Zwick et al. (2008, pp. 163-196) emphasized the importance of co-creation with regard to its political impact in the cultural, social and economic realms, taking into consideration the notion of Michel Foucault on the government and labor-and-value theories advocated by neo-Marxism. Contrary to the traditional perception of consumers as passive entities in any given market, co-creation brings to light their capabilities in terms of practicing their power to interact with firms on resource combination and renewal. The creativity and freedom of consumers is best emphasized in co-creation, where they shape the norms in the market through the production of supplies in line their demands. In co-creation, firms are no longer solely influential in terms of setting the norms in the market, given that their interaction with consumers has opened them up to producing favorable responses. Consumer labor, in co-creation, thus leads to the production of more creative and value-driven products, subject to the proper administration of firms as they interact with their consumers (Zwick et al. 2008, pp. 163-196).
Co-creation has led firms to consider the usage of big-data analysis to cater to consumers better, in that their interests and preferences are considered in terms of marketing and advertising. Yet, such was the problem of Couldry and Turow (2014, pp. 1710-1726) in their research, in which they emphasized that big-data analysis has since been harmful to the democratic ecology of consumers. In other words, the use of big-data analysis – taking into consideration the case of the media, has led to targeted marketing and advertising efforts that, while being instrumental to the proliferation of co-creation, have entailed to the curtailment of democratic attitudes in that consumers have started to argue and empathize with firms. Under such a scenario, firms use big-data analysis as a mechanism to personalize their product delivery to consumers without enabling them to question whatever they receive as products due to the controlled flow of marketing and advertising efforts based mainly on their interests and preferences, as detected (Couldry & Turow 2014, pp. 1710-1726).
Structurally speaking, marketing and advertising within the contemporary media landscape has since shifted from the traditional passive-consumer concept to one that focuses on co-creation. As stated by Zwick et al. (2008, pp. 163-196), co-creation has led to the empowerment of consumers with regard to influencing firms on what they want. Service delivery, on the part of firms, thus becomes focused to the creative and free expressions of consumers. In circumspect, the democratic attitude of consumers becomes highly valued in co-creation, leading firms to become more responsible to what consumer labor demands. Yet, Couldry and Turow (2014, pp. 1710-1726) raised an equally valid and important point against the dangers of co-creation to the destruction of democratic spaces thrived in by consumers, specifically with the involvement of big data analysis. As mentioned, the incorporation of big-data analysis in marketing and advertising efforts has led to the personalized delivery of products – information in the case of media, to consumers. However, it is perceivable in such a case that democratic attitudes may be disrupted mainly through the control of big-data analysis, in which the consumer only gets information based on their interests and preferences as detected, thus depriving them of others that may actually trigger their involvement in debates and discourses (Couldry & Turow 2014, pp. 1710-1726). In light of the ambivalence of co-creation as raised in the literature review, it has now become more important to pay attention to how it affects consumer behavior and dynamics related to consumer-firm interaction. “Prosumer” capitalism, as emphasized by Ritzer and Jurgenson (pp. 13-36), has since led to co-creative behavior among consumers where consumer labor comes at no cost through their creative and free expressions on products offered online, specifically through user-generated content, thus leading to an abundance for marketers and advertisers. In such a case, marketers and advertisers can now have better definitions of the kinds of consumers they need to target, contrary to the scarcity involved in having to set norms for consumer behavior once characterized by passivity (Ritzer & Jurgenson pp. 13-36). Uldam (2014) also emphasized the importance of the risks introduced by co-creation to democracy, specifically in social media where social movements have since thrived, by focusing on how firms monitor individuals. In such a case, the danger lies on the undermining of social movements through the use of big-data analysis by firms to monitor criticisms against them on social media and rendering official responses centered more on their self-interests. As a result, big data analysis undermines democracy by leading firms not to discuss issues with social movements, but to monitor them and effectively deny them of reforms in the name of self-interests (Uldam 2014).
The issue of co-creation, given the prevailing paradox involving greater agency on the part of consumers and the reduction of democracy by the responses of firms, should find further elaboration in the research scope of future studies, starting with looking for possible ways to refine co-creation towards promoting stronger firm-consumer relationships. Future studies must help prevent the media from damaging democratic values in using big-data analysis. Also, future studies must assist firms to contribute to improving democratic attitudes among consumers, amidst the use of big-data analysis.
Couldry, N., and Turow, J. 2014. Advertising, big data, and the clearance of the public realm” Marketers’ new approaches to the content subsidy. International Journal of Communication, 8, pp.1710-1726.
Ritzer, G., and Jurgenson, N. 2010. Production, consumption, presumption: The nature of capitalism in the age of the digital “prosumer”. Journal of Consumer Culture, 10(1), pp.13-36.
Uldam, J. 2014. Corporate management of visibility and the fantasy of the post-political: Social media and surveillance. New Media & Society.
Zwick, D., Bonsu, S., and Darmody, A. 2008. Putting consumers to work: “Co-creation” and new marketing govern-mentality. Journal of Consumer Culture, 8, pp.163-196.
Technology continues to influence every facet of human life through beneficial means. The field of marketing ushered in a digital age, and new practices under the said field became common and have grown over the years. Thus, the idea and the prototype of Internet marketing came into fruition. Internet marketing eventually segments into three separate markets in the form of social media, search engine optimization, and online auction platforms. Haucap and Heimeshoff (2013, pp. 1-17) analyzed the competition between these new online markets through comparison and contrast of business structural models, and from a competitive standpoint. It became apparent and evident that online marketing sectors are forces to be reckoned in general marketing – Google leads the search engine department, Amazon and eBay led the online auction and shopping services, while Facebook led the social media sector. Further analysis by Haucap and Heimeshoff (2013, pp. 1-17) reiterated that online competition is constantly thin and one-sided, so a competitive-centric approach in implementing regulations is considered to be put in place. In one way or another, the Internet became an avenue for entrepreneurs – to the point that even those in the upper echelons of their respective fields and disciplines would even compete by using monetization campaigns and customer driven approaches as respective strategies (Haucap & Heimeshoff, 2013 pp. 1-17).
Search engines like Google have long been the kingpin of Internet marketing. When business innovators and entrepreneurs lead the pack in their respective field, they are often the target of controversies and subject of critical scrutiny. Google has been known for its innovations that contributed to the cloud computing and smartphone technologies, but they are often embroiled in ethical issues such as the lack of transparency. The particular issue made a detailed analysis on studying the complex prototypes surrounding Google more difficult, but the inclusion of microeconomic concepts can help in further analysis of Google’s search engine algorithms. Microeconomics is defined as the study of economics that deal with transactional behaviors in an attempt to determine decision-making processes and allocation of resources. Rieder and Sire (2014, pp. 195-211) has used such a definition to emphasize on understanding Google through a microeconomic approach, specifically when it comes to information visibility. The three-sided market concept reveals the success of Google based on its business model, in which it combines its services for search and advertising, and its services for advertising network to provide search results that serves its interests, alongside the fact that it is the dominant player in its markets. Given the power of Google and search engines, in general, to exert influence akin to that of mass media, the need for regulation emerges from its attendant economic forces (Rieder & Sire 2014, pp. 195-211).
One could not simply deny the power of digital marketing in contemporary times, given that it has exerted its force in perhaps the same impact experienced by people under mass media. In short, digital marketing can perhaps now be considered not only as a competitor of mass media, but also an integral part of it as well. Haucap and Heimeshoff (2013, pp. 1-17) talked about the immense impact of online marketing in the fields of social media (Facebook), search engine optimization (Google), and online auction platforms (Amazon and eBay) – forces that contemporary general marketers would ignore at their peril. It is crucial to understand that with online marketing exerting the same influence – and may even exceed, in fact, as media, the thin and one-sided nature of online competition needs to be remedied by proper policies. (Haucap & Heimeshoff 2013, pp. 1-17). Such has been further discussed by Rieder and Sire (2014, pp. 195-211), who contended that the business model of Google – combining services for search and advertising, and services for advertising network, has led its constant maintenance as the top search engine. It is therefore agreeable to contend that digital marketing is currently a powerful force run by players who provide little space for competition. Wenzel (2014, pp. 89-96) emphasized the importance of unshrouding in advertising, which relies on the growing number of firms. The more competing firms that arise, the lesser shrouding is practiced. Therefore, the shrouding practices associated with Google can be lessened, provided that competing firms be competitive enough to encourage shrouding (Wenzel 2014, pp. 89-96). Tylor (2014), for her part, emphasized that student journalists rely too much on search engines when it comes to credibility assessment of websites. Such practice is somewhat dangerous and inadequate for the purposes of credibility assessment, given that Google, the most prominent search engine, is known for its shrouding practices, as noted by Rieder and Sire (2014, pp. 195-211).
In considering an ideal research scope for further studies on digital marketing, it is important to pay attention to coming up with possible ways on how digital marketers can open up their field to greater and healthier competition, amidst the seemingly monopolistic influences of websites like Google, Facebook, Amazon and eBay. Further studies must also seek to provide possible recommendations for a strong and effective regulatory environment on digital marketing. It is also essential for further studies to explore on the ways in which policies regulating digital marketing can help in improving democratic attitudes in the Internet.
Haucap, J., and Heimeshoff, U. 2013. Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay: Is the Internet driving competition or market monopolization? DICE, Discussion Paper No. 83, pp.1-17.
Rieder, B., and Sire, G. 2013. Conflicts of interest and incentives to bias: A microeconomic critique of Google’s tangled position on the Web. New Media & Society, 16(2), pp.195-211.
Tylor, J. 2014. An examination of how student journalists seek information and evaluate online sources during the newsgathering process. New Media & Society.
Wenzel, T. 2014. Conflicts of interest and incentives to bias: A microeconomic critique of Google’s tangled position on the Web. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 98, pp.89-96.
Christophers (2008, pp. 239-257) emphasized the importance of knowing the extent of influence distributors have in the television sector of the United Kingdom (UK), stating that it is essential for having a better understanding of the power of the media. Distributors, after all, are responsible for circulating materials and information in the media, hence their importance in terms of understanding power relations in the television sector. Given that, Christophers (2008, pp. 239-257) has specified that there have been recent developments, specifically on digitization of television, in the relationship between producers and distributors and producers and advertisers, largely with respect to the benefit received by the production community. Nonetheless, Christophers (2008, pp. 239-257) argued that leading distributors, specifically terrestrial broadcasters, held the greatest benefit due to the constant inflation of premium in the mass market. The foregoing has helped sustain the power of terrestrial broadcasters, with respect to the activities of multichannel distributors, producer-suppliers and consumers.
Interactive television (iTV) is the subject discussed by Bora (2012, pp. 9-25), which she related to the Australian setting. Between 1999 and 2007, Australia has failed to adopt iTV technology and such is the starting point of Bora (2012, pp. 9-25), who asserted that iTV technology is a rising field of study given the contemporary setting of expanding network digitization. The main reason as to why Australia has failed to adopt iTV technology, identified by Bora (2012, pp. 9-25), rests on the revenue streams said technology has failed to produce for broadcasters. At most, iTV only complemented digital TV services from existing providers. As the Internet grew in terms of its potential to promote interactivity, propositions for collaborative service propositions emerged with the support coming from the engagement of users. Yet, Bora (2012, pp. 9-25) found that neither television nor the Internet can provide viable business models for iTV, as it continued to rely on offline and online structures for revenue. Such thus provides for an uncertain future for iTV in Australia (Bora 2012, pp. 9-25).
As stated in the literature, it is evident that the growing digitization of television has yet to fully translate to fully feasible revenue models. In short, the transition of television towards digitization has yet to produce results in terms of revenue. It is from that instance where the question of sustainability emerges, and the literature has since shown that contemporarily, distributors have the power to enhance the influence of digitization of television. Christophers (2008, pp. 239-257) noted that distributors rely on the rising premium of the mass market for its sustainability, thus making them viable conduits for digitizing television in the UK. In the case of Australia, however, iTV has yet to take flight in terms of having a stable revenue stream, as Bora (2012, pp. 9-25) has shown. The findings of Bora (2012, pp. 9-25) state that Australia, in its failure to adopt iTV between 1999 and 2007, has failed to find ways on how to exact revenue from such technology. Yet, despite the lack of a feasible business model for iTV, development in the Australian setting is perceivable given the emergence of collaborative service propositions and growing support among consumers (Bora 2012, pp. 9-25). Iosifidis (2011, pp. 3-17) emphasized the same trend in Europe, referring to it as “growing pains” in the form of pressure coming from the audiovisual policy of the European Union (EU). EU audiovisual policy has since pressured member-nations to hasten the process of transition towards digital television. It is noteworthy to consider within said context that national policies for digital television of EU member-nations are influenced by politics, the market and supranational entities. On the issue of retransmission payments, which Evens and Donders (2013, pp. 417-434) cited as a problem related to revenue models in digital television, the cases of the Flanders region and Denmark are duly considered. Findings of Evens and Donders (2013, pp. 417-434) show that competitiveness of actors in digital television rely on factors related to context – market, integration and differentiation of products. Overall, one could not just simply ignore the problem of revenue in digital television. Future studies must concentrate on producing recommendations in the form of revenue models for digital television, considering its positive prospects in the form of growing support from consumers. For that, it is truly essential to study more on the indispensable role of distributors in the television industry, alongside the role of national and international policies on digital television.
The possible role of foreign direct investment (FDIs) in the form of technology transfers in nations where technological innovations are relatively outdated prove a compelling topic within an ideal research scope for future studies on the consequences of digital television. Also, future studies must also deal with the problem of distributors in dealing with the issue of technological discrepancies with regard to the transition to digital television. Furthermore, future studies must not ignore the impact of markets in accelerating digital television adoption in nations – a matter that must find further elaboration.
Bora, M. 2012. The barriers for proliferation of Interactive Television (iTV) in Australia in the period 1999-2007. PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication, 4(1), pp.9-25.
Christophers, B. 2008. Television’s power relations in the transition to digital: The case of the United Kingdom. Television New Media, 9(3), pp.239-257.
Evens, T., & Donders, K. 2013. Broadcast market structures and retransmission payments: A European perspective. Media Culture Society, 35(4), pp.417-434.
Iosifidis, P. 2011. Growing pains? The transition to digital television in Europe. European Journal of Communication, 26(1), pp.3-17.