Digital Customer Empowerment Tools for Marketers: An Abstract

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Date of Original Version



This work offers a conceptual typology for digital customer empowerment (DCE; informative, productive, and experiential), which results from offering customers digital tools that expand the freedom of and control over the choice and action to shape their consumption experiences. There are various marketing opportunities and challenges that exist in today’s fast-changing digital landscape. Especially, marketing scholars acknowledge the digital age’s unique capacity for empowering customers (Erdem et al. 2016; Labrecque et al. 2013). Traditionally, customer empowerment has been defined as a challenge with an antagonistic power struggle between customers and marketers focusing on the power shift, from marketers to customers, as a consequence of widespread communication among customers (Deighton and Kornfeld 2009). Yet, more recently, the marketing opportunities associated with empowering customers have been acknowledged in the field with a view of customer empowerment as complementary to marketer power (Erdem et al. 2016). One such opportunity is the increased customer engagement resulting from the feelings of empowerment that strengthens customer–brand relationships (Kull and Heath 2016). Given the ever-growing interest in customer engagement, both scholarly and managerially, and that empowered customers engage more with brands, the advantages of appropriately empowering customers are invaluable. This work represents a conceptual categorization of customer empowerment in digital platforms, with the purpose of pushing marketing scholars to think more clearly and broadly about the construct in this fast-changing digital landscape. Accordingly, digital customer empowerment (DCE) tools are described as digital products, services, and practices that expand the freedom of and control over the choice and action to shape consumption experiences (Yuksel et al. 2016). Accounting for a wide spectrum of such digital tools, this work presents a typology of DCE (informative, productive, and experiential) and our future goal for this conceptual work is to explore how the use of such tools results in enhanced customer engagement with illustrative examples. We contribute to the literature by demonstrating how empowerment differentiates across different digital tools, as this differentiation may make it easier to compare findings across papers and help identify novel insights (see MacInnis 2011).

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science