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Virtual worlds: The new marketing landscape?

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Time: 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Venue: Room 324, Kingston Business School, Kingston Hill campus, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 7LB
Price: free
Speaker(s): Dr Andrew Pressey (University of Birmingham)

Virtual worlds: The new marketing landscape?

Dr Andrew Pressey is Reader in Marketing at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, and Head of the Department of Marketing. His principal research interests include business-to-business networks, the intersection between marketing and antitrust laws, and consumer behaviour in virtual worlds. His work has been published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Psychology and Marketing, European Journal of Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, and Journal of Marketing Management, among others, and was co-editor of the four volume series Business-to-Business Marketing published by Sage (2011). Andrew has acted as guest editor for Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, and the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing. He has recently acted as co-Chair of the Business-to-Business research stream for the British Academy of Marketing, is a member of the editorial board of Industrial Marketing Management, and an alumnus of the ESRC funded Centre for Competition Policy (University of East Anglia).

Billions of dollars have been invested in online and digital technologies by businesses in recent years, providing consumers new venues for interaction with companies and other consumers. As a consequence, in addition to the traditional 'bricks-and-mortar' stores, consumers can engage in consumption activities in a range of digital channels with virtual worlds being one of the most popular where users can create businesses and communities and buy and sell goods. Virtual worlds have been referred to as "the new marketing landscape" (Saren et al. 2013: 1435) in a recent special issue of the Journal of Marketing Management (Vol.29 (13-14)), but extant empirical evidence of consumer engagement in virtual worlds remains scant.

The presentation will represent a mash-up of research based on three surveys conducted in the virtual worlds Second Life and World of Warcraft, and will examine the positive aspects of virtual world usage (the presence of market mavens – or 'cyber mavens' – in virtual worlds; the achievement of optimal experiences, or 'flow'). It will also examine some of the potentially negative aspects of virtual world participation (usage addiction and its pathological consequences and problematic spending in virtual world channels). Though some may dismiss virtual worlds as transient and a fad, they are increasing in both popularity and as economic entities; this presentation will present some of the positive aspects of participation but will also consider the deleterious and darker side of virtual world usage and its implications for marketers.

Recommended reading and references

  • Barnes, S. J., and Pressey, A. D., (2012). 'In Search of the 'Meta Maven?' An Examination of Market Maven Behaviour Across Real-life, Web and Virtual World Marketing Channels', Psychology and Marketing, 29(3): 167-185.
  • Barnes, S. J., and Pressey, A. D., (forthcoming, 2014). 'Caught in the Web? Addictive Behaviour in Cyberspace and the Role of Goal-Orientation', Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

For further information about this event:

Contact: Jaywant Singh
Tel: 020 8417 5158


Directions to Room 324, Kingston Business School, Kingston Hill campus, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 7LB: