Seeking Customer Involvement in Innovation? A Social Strategy Can Help

This content relates to : MARKETING INNOVATION

HIGHLIGHTS

Connecting customers to each other on social media (i.e., using a social strategy) can yield both greater customer involvement in innovation and greater knowledge gained for innovation. 

Maintaining a high level of engagement (online and offline) between employees and customers leads to greater knowledge gained for innovation. 

Customers using social media for personal purposes (i.e., Facebook) vs professional purposes (i.e., LinkedIn) are more likely to be more involved in and offer more knowledge for innovation. 

Gloria Barczak

Northeastern University

This study examines the relationship between social strategy (i.e., putting effort into connecting customers on social media), customer involvement in innovation thru social media, and knowledge gained for innovation from customers. Further, the study explores the moderating effect of personal vs professional social media platforms. 

The research setting comprised small and medium size businesses (SMEs; no more than 250 employees) who provided insights into their firm’s innovation activities. 350 managers participated; 203 were from the US and 147 were from Europe. 

Our key findings are as follows: 

  1. Firms that adopt a social strategy are more likely than others to benefit from customer involvement in innovation on social media. 
  1. Customer involvement in innovation on social media is related to greater knowledge gained for innovation from customers. 
  1. Maintaining a high level of engagement between employees and customers is positively related to a higher likelihood of gaining knowledge for innovation from customers 
  1. Both personal and professional social media platforms positively moderate the relationship between social strategy and customer involvement for innovation, however, the effect is significantly larger for social media platforms used primarily for personal purposes. 
  1. Both personal and professional social media platforms positively moderate the relationship between customer involvement and knowledge gained for innovation, however, the effect is significantly larger for social media platforms used primarily for personal purposes. 

Author: 

Gloria Barczak,  ’87 Ph.D. 

Professor Emeritus, Marketing Group, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University 

Former Editor, Journal of Product Innovation Management

To learn more, read: 

Candi, M., Roberts, D., Marion, T. and Barczak, G. (2018), “Social Strategy to Gain Knowledge for Innovation,” British Journal of Management, 29(4): 731-749. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12280