The impact of new media on customer relationships

From Journal of Service Research

The ways consumers communicate with each other have been changing dramatically over the last decade.  New media require a shift in marketing thinking – consumers have become highly active partners, serving as customers as well as producers and retailers, being strongly connected with a network of other consumers. This paper introduces a new ‘‘pinball’’ framework of new media’s impact and from a detailed analysis of the specific characteristics of new media, the authors identify challenges relating to understanding of consumer behavior. 10 new media phenomena have been identified, for each they summarize the existing literature and highlight important areas for future research. While the enormous rise of new media is highly disruptive for the management of relationships with customers, it also creates extensive opportunities for new business models.


Recent years have witnessed the rise of new media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Google, and Twitter, which enable customers to take a more active role as market players and reach (and be reached by) almost everyone anywhere and anytime. These new media threaten long established business models and corporate strategies, but also provide ample opportunities for growth through new adaptive strategies. This paper introduces a new ‘‘pinball’’ framework of new media’s impact on relationships with customers and identifies key new media phenomena which companies should take into account when managing their relationships with customers in the new media universe. For each phenomenon, we identify challenges for researchers and managers which relate to (a) the understanding of consumer behavior, (b) the use of new media to successfully manage customer interactions, and (c) the effective measurement of customers’ activities and outcomes.

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Article details
Hennig-Thurau, T., Malthouse, E., Friege, C., Gensler, S., Lobschat, L., Rangaswamy, A., & Skiera, B. (2010). The Impact of New Media on Customer Relationships Journal of Service Research, 13 (3), 311-330 DOI: 10.1177/1094670510375460

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