Social Media Think:Lab Thought Leaders’ Summit 2012

“Strategies for Successfully Managing Businesses in a Social Media Environment”

Themes Track 1-6:

1.            Consumer Behavior in Social Media

Understanding consumer behavior is essential for effective marketing decision making. Yet, very little is known about consumers’ motivations for engaging in social media as well as their attitudes, emotions, and perceptions toward social media. This is true for both “pure” interactions among consumers and interactions between consumers and commercial social media sites (such as brand pages on Facebook). This track will develop a framework for analyzing consumer behavior in social media, highlight existing findings and identify future research questions.

Exemplary readings: Seraj, Mina (2012): We Create, We Connect, We Respect, Therefore We Are: Intellectual, Social, and Cultural Value in Online Communities, Journal of Interactive Marketing, forthcoming.


Brown, Jo, Amanda J. Broderick, and Nick Lee (2007): Word of Mouth within Online Communities: Conceptualizing the Online Social Network, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21 (3), 2-20.

Schau, Hope Jensen, Albert M. Muñiz, Jr., and Eric J. Arnould (2009): How Brand Community Practices Create Value, Journal of Marketing, 73 (5).

Scientific Participants Business Participants
Prof. Dr. Tom Novak (chair) Holger Dietrich (GfK)
Prof. Dr. Charla Mathwick
Prof. Dr. Lauren I. Labrecque
Jonas vor dem Esche

2.            Social Media Metrics – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Managing Social Media

With the enormous growth of social media, a plethora of monitoring applications has evolved, with each application using a different set of KPIs. For measuring the effectiveness of social media investments, it is essential for firms to be able to compare the different monitoring approaches as well as to compare investments made in social media with other, more traditional marketing investments. Thus, a set of universal metrics in needed (but yet missing) that meets these requirements. This track will review existing metrics, identify criteria for metrics evaluations, and develop a framework of social media metrics that will help managers to make adequate investments into social media.

Exemplary readings: Hoffman, Donna L. and Marek Fodor (2010): Can You Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing?, MITSloan Management Review, vol. 52 (1), pp. 41-49.


Bijmolt, Tammo H. A., Peter S. H. Leeflang, Frank Block, Maik Eisenbeiss, Bruce G. S. Hardie, Aurélie Lemmens, and Peter Saffert (2010): Analytics for Customer Engagement, Journal of Service Research, 13 (3), 341-356.

Scientific Paricipants Business Participants
Prof. Dr. Kay Peters (chair) Björn Ognibeni (BuzzRank)
Prof. Dr. Yubo Chen
Prof. Dr. Andreas Kaplan
Prof. Dr. Koen Pauwels

3.            Using Social Media Data to Manage Customer Relationships

Over the last ten years, customer relationship management (CRM) research has provided a rich understanding of how companies can use information about customers to build and maintain stable long-term relationships by providing customer value. But how does social media fit into these approaches? Social media generates an extensive amount of customer data. However, it is unclear how that information should be integrated into existing models of customer equity. Also, such integration requires companies to find ways to link social media data with other data sources, which raises questions about the means which enable such linkage and also customer privacy. This track will offer a way to extend existing CRM approaches for harvesting the customer information generated by social media.

Exemplary readings: Baird, Carolyn Heller and Gautam Parasnis (2012): From Social Media to Social CRM – What Customers Want, The First in a Two Part Series, IBM Institute for Business Value.


Sarner, Adam et al. (2011): Magic Quadrant for Social CRM, Gartner Research Study.


Nitzan, Irit and Barak Libai (2011): Social Effects on Customer Retention, Journal of Marketing, 75 (6), 24-38.

Scientific Paricipants Business Participants
Prof. Dr. Edward C. Malthouse (chair) Egbert Wege (Roland Berger)
Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera  
Prof. Dr. Xiaoquan (Michael) Zhang  
Prof. Dr. Michael Haenlein  

4.            Managing Brands in the Social Media Environment

Social media is often about brands – but often the content and sentiment of brand-related articulations in social media such as YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook deviate from the intended brand positioning of the brand owner, as reflected in the “pinball” metaphor of social media (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2010). Several brands have been the subject of so-called “shitstorms” – critical and often harsh articulations of customers which are broadly visible and are often multiplied by mass media. At the same time, social media is said to have a strong potential to intensify key brand variables such as brand awareness and attachment, as well as consumer-brand relationships. How should companies respond to this loss of control about their brands? How should brand management handle consumers’ public brand-related articulations in social media? This track will develop a framework of how brands can be managed effectively in such a “pinball” environment, both on company-controlled sites (e.g., Facebook brand pages), but also on neutral sites such as YouTube.

Exemplary readings: Hennig-Thurau, Thorsten, Edward C. Malthouse, Christian Friege, Sonja Gensler, Lara Lobschat, Arvind Rangaswamy, and Bernd Skiera (2010): The Impact of New Media on Customer Relationships, Journal of Service Research, 13(3), 311-330.

Singh, Sangeeta and Stephan Sonnenburg (2012): Brand Performances in Social Media, Journal of Interactive Marketing, forthcoming.


Burmann, Christoph (2010): A Call for “User-generated Branding”, Journal of Brand Management, vol. 18 (1), pp. 1-4.


Scientific Paricipants Business Participants
Prof. Dr. Sonja Gensler (chair) tbd
Prof. Dr. Yuping Liu-Thompkins
Prof. Dr. Franziska Völckner
Prof. Dr. Caroline Wiertz

5.            The Business Potential of Social Commerce

Social media has developed a reputation for being an important communications and information channel for consumers. But can it also be used for distribution of products and services? Some companies have tried to sell their products through Facebook, but results for such social commerce activities are mixed at best, and scientific insights are not available by now. This track will investigate the concept of social commerce, highlight differences and similarities between social commerce and established distribution channels, and try to shed light on whether social commerce is a substantial business model, identifying the factors and conditions that determine its attractiveness for companies.

Recommended reading: Mulpuru, Sucharita (2011): Will Facebook ever drive eCommerce?, Forrester Research.


Scientific Paricipants Business Participants
Prof. Dr. Donna Hoffman (chair) Christoph Brenner (Otto Group)
Prof. Dr. Kristine de Valck  
Prof. Dr. Martin Spann  
Prof. Dr. Manjit S. Yadav  

6.            The Organizational Dimension of Social Media

By opening social media channels, companies offer customers new means of direct communication among each other as well as with the company. Oftentimes, these channels are initiated and moderated by certain functional departments, such as marketing or public relations, and often outsourced to external service providers (e.g., “social media specialists”). However, customers often do not distinguish between functional divisions within a company, but expect the firm to be able to respond, regardless whether they face a service problem, want to express their brand enthusiasm, offer advice for product improvements, or need answers for technical questions. Making full use of the business potential of new media (as well as avoiding its pitfalls) thus requires organizational conditions that reflect the active contributions by customers, the potentially wide-ranging effects of negative customer articulations, as well as their inter-departmental perspective. This track will investigate how companies should respond to such requirements by making changes with regard to structures, processes, leadership, and culture, among others. It will identify organizational barriers that prevent “good social media” and discuss organizational alternatives with regard to their effects on value generation for the customer and company alike.

Exemplary readings: Owyang, Jeremiah (2011): Social Business Readiness – How Advanced Companies Prepare Internally, Research Report, Altimeter Group.


Owyang, Jeremiah and Charlene Li (2011): How Corporations Should Prioritize Social Business Budgets, Research Report, Altimeter Group.


Scientific Paricipants Business Participants
Prof. Dr. Bruce D. Weinberg (chair) Michael Buck (Dell)
Prof. Dr. Chris Dellarocas  
Prof. Dr. Ko de Ruyter  


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