February 18, 2020

Google Scholar: The top cited reseacher on the topic of Digital Marketing Publishes research about Physics

I have published about this before but no one seems to listen 😠😠😠😠😠

Incredible that Google has not noticed anything. Looking to the rest of the list of top citations in Digital Marketing you see more mostly publications from the area of medicine and physics.


January 7, 2020

AI as Education topic in the BMS Faculty

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already part of the education and research in our department at the University of Twente. Not a common thing in a Business Administration study! Three examples of our work #utwente #ai #education #DigitalMarketing

The 2020 BMS Faculty New Year's gathering

This morning the Faculty BMS had its annual New Year gathering in the atrium of the Ravelijn building. After a speech by the Dean, four special prizes were awarded. Proud that the cooperation award was given to my colleagues of the BMS Lab: congratulations for the great work and cooperation with us in Digital Marketing research#utwente #BMS #BMSlab #academia #education #technology #university #digitalmarketing

The UT study Int. Business Administration is a Top study in 2020

The University of Twente study International Business Administration / IBA (together with 5 more studies) is one of the Top Studies in The Netherlands in 2020. Considering that the University of Twente is a technical university this is a great achievement. The secret is the focus and excellence on topics utilizing the unique UT ecosystem to its maximum. Next to this, the UT is chosen as the best technical university of the Netherlands in 2020 (Source Keuzegids, 2020) #utwente #highereducation #businessadministration

November 27, 2019

The University of Twente was pronounced the best Technical University in the Netherlands for 2020

The hard work pays off: in 2020 the University of Twente is the best technical university in the Netherlands (although not the best known) and the International Business Administration is a Top-rated program for the first time

Proud to be part of the International Business Administration and the Communication Science programs

November 24, 2019

Digital Marketing topics according to Google Scholar: Nanotechnology in dentistry, cancer stem cells and Photocatalytic Degradation of Pollutants

Like most researchers, I look sometimes how my research work performs versus the work of fellow researchers in the field. Google Scholar offers an easy to use tool for this purpose: it allows you to see the number of citations of your scientific articles per year and in total, the number citations per article and your H-index. Metrics like citations and H-index are important indicators of scientific quality and research impact; they are also widely used, among other criteria, for promotions and recruiting of academic personnel.
While Google Scholar offers in principle a good service to academics, I  watch with frustration for some time already the rankings in my domain, namely Digital Marketing. The problem: next to well-known names in this field (like Prof. John Deighton from HBS and Prof Utpal Dholakia from Rice University) there are five persons on the 1st page of the listing that are totally unknown to me (and to the rest of the researchers on Digital Marketing I suppose). A closer look at the publications of these high-cited individuals reveals that their publications are coming from totally unrelated fields like medicine and physics for example. Even a blogger appears to occupy a high position in the list with publications dating to 1993 when most probably this person was a toddler!
 Maybe a coincidence but all names in question seem to be common Indian names; this brings me to the conclusion that Google Scholar is adding-up all publications having as (co-)author someone with the same name no matter what the scientific field is, and places these persons in the list without their knowledge or intention but crediting them with publications that are not even theirs. In the Digital Marketing category, 4 of the top 5 in the list are such incorrect cases (at the time this blog was published)!!!
I think that the people who appear in these listings have done nothing wrong, Google is responsible for this error. Next to the very bad service to the academic community, the unreliable information in Google Scholar can create also problems in academic appraisals and recruitment.
I am not aware of the scale of the problem in other disciplines, but I think it is a shame that Google allows something like this to happen. With all the publicity around the unlimited possibilities of their algorithms, their AI technologies and the latest about the mastering of Quantum Computing I find it incredible that something so simple has escaped the attention of their algorithms or the curators of such results. I tried to inform them by contacting the Google Scholar help desk but no response after more than a month. Also, alerting an international newspaper (who found this extraordinary and promised to act) and a technology magazine did not bring any action on their part so far.
In my view, it would be easy for Google Scholar to avoid such errors by putting some of their smart algorithms to work, namely to identify such cases by simply scanning the content of the articles and decide whether articles about Nanotechnology in dentistry, cancer stem cells or Photocatalytic Degradation of Pollutants belong to the Digital Marketing domain. Also, in the case of common names, an extra control layer could place the various authors to the correct domains. check this using some of their technology but obviously, they do not do that, making their results reliable.
As I mentioned, I don’t know the extent of the problem so if other colleagues are aware of this situation in their domains can contact me. I also hope that Google maybe will read this post and take action

February 9, 2019

Call for the High Technology Small Firms Conference (HTSF) 2019 in the University of Twente

I’m pleased to share with you the call for papers of the High Technology Small Firms (HTSF) Conference that will be held at the University of Twente on 27-28 May 2019.

This year the HTSF Conference dedicates a special session on Consumer Behavior in Digitally Enabled Environments, organized by our UT research team working on the Digital Transformation and in particular the changing consumer behavior, and the identification of new approaches in comprehending and responding to the customer behavior change.

The special session focuses on unique, innovative and practically applicable research, practices and insights into the behavioral change of customers as consumers of products and services under the influence of the digital transformation. The impact of the digital transformation on customer behavior is visible in new forms of customer journeys, new types and sources of influence, new forms of marketing communication and new customer decision-making patterns.

The special session is in line with a number of issues shaping the research agenda of the Marketing, as these are specified in the Marketing Science Institute’s (MSI) research priorities for 2018-2020[1] under the umbrella topic Cultivating the Customer Asset.  In that respect, we welcome abstracts of papers related to topics like the following (indicative topics):
1. Characterizing and analyzing the Customer Journey along the purchase funnel
2. Investigating new roles of customers as networked customers and co-creators
3. Strategies to influence the customer journey
4. The Customer -Technology interface, bridging the gap of online and off-line
5. Macro-trends influencing Customer Decision Making

The methodology can be theoretical, empirical or drawing from the practice, especially drawing from entrepreneurship, marketing, strategy, sustainability, business, management, economics, and other social sciences, but transdisciplinary approaches are also encouraged.

Contributions from scholars, practitioners, and young researchers are welcome!
The deadline for abstract submissions is 15 March 2019 in the following link
You can find the general and detailed information on the 2019  HTSF  Conference and the Call for Papers, at the UT HTSF Conference website.

Please, do not hesitate to contact me for any further information on the SBM special session, and apologies for any cross-posting.

I look forward to seeing you at the University of Twente next May.

Dr. Efthymios Constantinides
Assistant Professor Digital Marketing

Email:                         e.constantinides@utwente.nl

My Web Page:          https://people.utwente.nl/e.constantinides

Phone (work):            0031 – 534893799

Mobile:                      0031 6 48779153

November 28, 2018

The Customer Empowerment Fallacy: How Technology is Eroding the Customer Power

Do you remember who was the TIME magazine the 2006 Person of the Year? In case you don’t, it was you, me and all the people of the world who had access to the Net: armed with the Internet and the social media the customer seemed to have been able to change the market power game and be for the first in modern history on the market steering wheel (See link). Marketers baffled by the decreasing effectiveness of the traditional marketing communication and the time-honored persuasion tactics had no other choice but accept the fact that their full and undisputed control on the media and message was a thing of the past.
Praised as one of the major upshots of technology democratization, social networking, citizen journalism, and customer engagement, the customer empowerment became a major nightmare of the marketers forced to open their business to customer scrutiny and expose them to social media publicity disasters. The Customer Empowerment as a game changer was something I consistently would mention to my students at the very start of my Digital Marketing courses the last years: the smart, tech-savvy and networked customer was not anymore the weak link in the Marketing Equation.

Is the Customer Empowerment still the case? I am not sure at all and certainly, I have to think twice before I say this to my students again. The very technology that empowered the consumer during the last decade seems to work some time now again to the marketer's advantage. In fact, I have some bad news for the empowered consumer: Marketers armed with AI, immense computer power and zillions of bytes of customer data are quickly gaining the market upper hand. Customer profiling based on data trails consumers create online gives marketers new tools to create detailed customer profiles and predict as well as influence their behavior in ways we need to look at and discuss in more detail.

In the Market Power / Technology grid I attempt to describe how I look to this issue. The years in the timeline represent some in my view milestones of the marketing power journey.


March 21, 2018

The Cambridge Analytica case: Old News

I am really surprised with the recent outburst of anger and frustration following revelations about the tactics of Cambridge Analytica in influencing the results of the American elections and the Brexit referendum with the possible tolerance of Facebook. 
This is in my view old news: In the winter of 2017 the case was already presented to my Bachelor students by SocialInc in a guest lecture and on June 2017 I discussed the Cambridge Analytica's case in a talk in June in the UT titled "Algorithmic Marketing".
I was surprised till 2 days ago that no one seemed to worry about this story that was also extensively discussed in various platforms, for example in the article in the Observer from May 2017, with a very graphic title (this article was also posted in our Smart Marketing Group Facebook group  on 23 October 2017).
Maybe when the mainstream media pick up a story and decide that the public is ripe to hear about it, the story reaches the increasingly passive, hypnotized public.
The question is what will happen from now on: Is this the beginning of the end of Facebook or even of the social media hype? Are there legal steps to be 

 taken against various over-jealous marketers and nerdy professors who sacrifice their intellectual capacities to profit? Will the wider public finally understand what is at stake here? And, last but not least, will the new EU GDPR put an end to these practices? Stay tuned!

March 12, 2018

What is the best time to buy an online airline ticket? The "6-week rule" (of thumb).

This is a question that keeps passengers and analysts/experts busy (https://fd.nl/werk-en-ge…/…/vliegen-het-kan-altijd-goedkoper), as much as the question how airlines price their seats considering the prices differences online customers encounter even on daily basis. The sometimes serious price differences even within the same day or between different people booking a rip at the same time have given food to urban legends and are often the source of customer frustration.
In 2011 the consumer advocacy program Tros Radar of the Dutch TV https://radar.avrotros.nl/uitzendingen/gemist/10-05-2011/vliegtickets/ asked me to help them find out if customer profiling by airlines using cookies was the reason for these differences. In the specific setting that we conducted the experiment at that time, we did not find any evidence of profiling. The conclusion was that the prices differences in online prices for the flights and the period we controlled were the result of capacity management algorithms. The findings were reported in my blog post of 11 March 2011 http://bit.ly/2HsAuOe
The question remains of course and is always timely: what is the cheapest time to book an online ticket? There are several studies in this, mostly by travel organizations or commercial parties. An older study (2012) http://business.time.com/…/study-the-best-time-to-buy-chea…/ and a more recent one (2017) https://nitravelnews.com/…/book-six-weeks-before-you-fly-f…/ agree that six weeks before departure is the best time to book an online ticket. Interestingly I did a small scale study covering a period of 2 months before departure for a return flight Amsterdam - Athens. I followed with Google Flights the prices of 3 airlines flying directly this route and the results were quite similar to the studies I mentioned: In this case, the lowest average price of the 3 companies (KLM, Aegean Airlines, and Transavia) was offered exactly 6 weeks before departure (42 days before departure). On the other hand, the cheapest price for Transavia over the whole period (119 Euro) and for Aegean Air (152 Euro) were noticed 60 days before departure while the cheapest price for KLM (170 Euro) was noticed for 4 times in a period between 40 and 45 days before departure. There are more interesting things to see in the ticket price development (see graphs) until the departure date.
It looks that the six-week rule holds some truth, Interestingly though, next to our 2011 study (that as a scientific article was accepted only by a conference) there is still no academic research on this issue. Maybe one of our next research projects for more scientific evidence on what is the best day to book a fight and how the algorithms of the airline capacity management work.

February 14, 2018

Introduction to Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Today our Bachelor students following our Module Digital Marketing in our International Business Administration studies were introduced to the Search Engine Marketing by the Team Nijhuis, one of the top Google partners in Europe.
The guest lecture was in the context of the UT AdWords Challenge project, a group assignment introducing the students to the world of online marketing

December 8, 2017


Interested in an AdWords campaign in partnership with one of our student groups? We look for partner companies in the UT / Saxion AdWords online Challenge.

During the last 3 years, our Bachelor students of the course @Digital Marketing for Networked Businesses in the University of Twente have participated in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, a worldwide college competition introducing students to the topic of Search Engine Advertising (SEA).

After ten years of organizing this annual challenge, Google stopped this project this year. Given the importance of SEA for the modern Digital Marketing education, we developed a new assignment in the @UT in cooperation with the EIT Digital and the Saxion University of Applied Sciences. The new challenge is quite similar to the Google Challenge but since a free-of-charge AdWords campaign and the organization are not available anymore by Google, we ask the participating partner companies a contribution covering the campaign and some of the organizational costs. 

Partner companies can count on a motivated group of students who under the supervision of our staff and external experts will develop and execute a 3-week AdWords campaign, will conduct an audit of the company website and will report the results of the project to the partner company. More details and registration form are available at the link: Registration UT AdWords Challenge

November 28, 2017

AMAZON: a Leader and Disrupter of Retail

No doubt that Amazon has seriously impacted on and transformed retail and online shopping in general for more than 20 years. I follow this company since the 90s and I was one of those wondering if Amazon would survive the dot.com disaster of the beginning of the 20th century. They indeed survived it based on a strategy of (mainly) diversification as I described in my 2004 article "Strategies for surviving the Internet meltdown: The case of two Internet incumbents". They still go strong and keep disrupting, if not always without controversy: see the Black Friday strikes of Amazon personnel in Europe. 

October 13, 2017

October 4, 2017

Master Class Behavioral Targeting in the University of Twente

Our Master Class Behavioral Targeting of October 2, 2017 in the Gallery Building in the Campus of the the University of Twente was very successful according to the comments we received from the participants. A lot of interest by students, educators and practitioners, very interesting presentations and a very lively panel discussion. Our thanks to all participants and contributors.

The presentations will be soon available online. Requests to e.constantinides@utweente.nl
Videos of the session are posted in our smart Marketing Facebook group Smart Marketing Facebook group

A popular article on Web Experience

Glad to see that my 2004 article Influencing the Online Consumer's behavior: The Web Experience published in the Internet Research Journal is still among the top-5 most read papers

September 22, 2017

Master Class Behavioral Targeting on Oct. 2

The Master Class Behavioral Targeting (see previous post) seems to be very popular since more than 90 participants are registered already. https://www.facebook.com/events/1433086260061874 Considering our target of 75 participants we are quite happy that we were wrong!
The registration is now closed and we keep a waiting list https://www.utwente.nl/en/bms/nikos/education/masterclass-behavioral-targeting/#introduction in case of cancellations.
Given the overwhelming interest also form colleagues and contacts abroad we will livestream the event.
The morning session (09:30 - 12:30) will be live in our Smart Marketing Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1674296056130955/ , the afternoon session and the panel discussion (13:30 - 16:45) will be livestreamed in the UT USTREAM channel http://www.ustream.tv/channel/universityoftwente

For those interested the program of the day below

September 4, 2017

Master Class Behavioral Targeting as Marketing Approach: Theory, Practice and Challenges

Organized by the UT / Faculty BMS (Digital Marketing Lab / Departments ESIM and CS), the UT Department Marketing and Communications (M&C) and the
European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Digital)

 Date: October 2, 2017

Location: Erlenmeyer room in Gallery building. UT Campus 

Master Class Behavioral Targeting

The extensive use of the Internet as interaction,  transaction and information platforms in combination with the explosive use of Social Media offers marketers many new possibilities to monitor customers and their behavior and create very specific and accurate customer profiles. Big Data and a number of new analytics technologies provide also marketers the means to locate customers and approach them one-to-one.  
Behavioral Targeting (also known as Online Profiling and Behavioral Advertising) is a term used for online one-to-one communication with customers, leading to effective recruitment and high conversion rates.  Behavioral targeting is based on online customer profiling and one-to-one approach with advertisement. Artificial Intelligence and advanced algorithms make such approaches very effective and cost efficient and according to field experiences Behavioral Targeting is becoming increasingly effective as communication and persuasion tool in comparison to traditional online approaches and SEM techniques.
The practice is widely applied yet controversial: There are several ethical and legal aspects related to customer profiling. Wide publicity has been given recently to the role of behavioral targeting in the success of the Brexit campaign and the victory of Donald Trump in the latest US elections. Such developments are raising questions about the “weaponizing” of behavioral targeting in particular for political purposes and exercising effective influence on individuals.
The Master Class Behavioral Targeting is a contribution of the Faculty BMS of the University of Twente in cooperation with the UT department of Marketing & Communications and the EIT Digital in the context of the research, teaching programs and projects carried out in the faculty in the area of Digital Marketing. The Master Class will bring academics and practitioners in touch with this new online marketing technique and will present proven methodologies for profiling and applying behavioral targeting in real life situations with accent to the educational markets. The master class will also look critically to ethical and other issues that emerge when such techniques are applied.
The guest speakers include Willem Berings and Felix Geeraths from Social Inc, an Amsterdam-based agency that specializes in developing customer profiling strategies and online campaigns. Marc Zinck, CEO of the highly successful Spanish start-up Subastia de Ocio will present his experiences with behavioral targeting as the main marketing approach for recruiting new customers. Dr. Sophie Boerman, Assistant Professor of Persuasive Communication from the UVA, co-author of a research paper on Online Behavioral Advertising will present the findings of this study and the research agenda on this topic. Floris Metzner from the department Marketing and Communication of the UT will present the UT M&C approach on measuring Advertising Effects in creative ways.
The day will close with a panel discussion evaluating the takeaways of the day and focusing on the various technical and ethical issues of personalization and behavioral targeting.

June 26, 2017

To developers of self-driving cars: Ever heard about Marketing Myopia?

Self-driving cars are hot and most technology companies and many Silicon Valley start-ups are leading the autonomous vehicle hype. Engineering firms are working on developing autonomous car technologies and new testing projects of prototypes are an almost daily phenomenon. Fearing to miss the market opportunity many traditional automakers are launching research projects and prototypes. The autonomous vehicle makes experts excited and local as well as national governments are eagerly providing all sorts of facilities and help to attract and test robot cars.

I will not talk about a number of serious ethical or legal issues that have still to be addressed if such a technology becomes mainstream. I will limit this advice to the marketing dimension only.  
The marketing practice is full of anecdotes of failed new products and new ventures; some of them were based on state-of-the-art technologies that created substantial publicity and interest; A rather recent and well known example are the multiple failures of dot.com ventures at the beginning of this century.
While the reasons for new product failures are many in many and diverse, the "Product Orientation" (also known as Marketing Myopia, a concept every marketing college student knows about) has been a main reason of new product failures and responsible for billions of dollars burned in the market test. Marketing myopia is particularly present in the technology sector where often new and very promising technologies lead to very interesting concepts that without much scrutiny were launched to markets that were neither ready nor interested. This because more often than not the developers of such ideas fail to ask the target consumer / customer if a need for such a product exists.

I am afraid the autonomous car is also such a case. Despite the going volume of press posts and all types of media / social media debates I did not see yet a serious industry study measuring such a market need for self-driving cars. Maybe such a study lays in the drawers of some of the businesses in question but if I look to the - seldom - scientific literature studies about the possible adoption of self-driving cars these are sketching a rather negative picture; legal liability, comfort and safety concerns seem to be important issues for future possible users. 

Next to customer perceptions or even attitudes that can be potentially be very hard to change I think the most important issue around this technology is a radical change it will bring to the concept of "driving"! We know very well that people buy a car for various reasons, a very important one is because they see it as an expression of freedom, fun and of course because they like driving. 
The self-driving car is not anymore a vehicle under the driver's control and comes close to a -small size -  city bus or train. A typical potential buyer will make, even unconsciously, this association when in the consideration / alternative comparison stage. And while a robot car can be exciting to a computer scientists like the ones sitting inside the test cars today it can be repulsive to the mainstream user. I am afraid that potential buyers of a self-driving car will see this as an alternative to public transportation, an expensive alternative indeed. 
I countries with highly developed public transportation the chances of mainstream drivers to choose for a robot car will be limited. In countries with bad public transport the chances are better, I would argue though that countries with bad public transport maybe could use the R&D costs for the self-driving car for improving their public transportation instead.

I am afraid that if the industry does not conduct a serious study on the customer's needs and usage perceptions, the self-driving car will follow the fate of the hyped introduction of the e-readers of some years ago that not only did not wipe out the printed book but did not even manage to become a mainstream product. 

I would not argue however that the self-driving vehicle is useless, there are several cases that I think it can be useful,  mainly in the b2b and public domain, but I am afraid that in this cases the typical car driver will not be the main target.
Before the self-driving car becomes another marketing failure anecdotes I would highly recommend to developers to ask some people with marketing knowledge to help them understanding their potential market better avoiding the product orientation trap