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Web-based social movements contesting marketing strategy: The mobilisation of multiple actors and rhetorical strategies

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Previous studies suggest that marketing strategy is developed and used to mobilise and configure the actions of firm actors, creating a set of stabilising activities focused on the firm–customer dyad. Destabilising forces precipitated by the Internet and associated digital technologies involving contention and disruption by multiple actors are much less prevalent in the marketing literature. The central point we advance is that rather than marketing strategy being a controlled and stabilising force for firms in their relationships with customers, it can often lead to socially produced spaces where consumers and, importantly, other multiple actors form a social movement to actively attempt to destabilise it and contest its legitimacy. Using an innovative research approach, the findings of this study show how social movements proactively enrol and mobilise a wide range of relevant actors into a network of influence. Critical to this are rhetorical strategies, acting as important levers in attempts to destabilise and delegitimise a dominant firm’s marketing strategy.

Keywords: Internet marketing; marketing legitimacy; marketing strategy; rhetorical strategies; social movements

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Queen’s University Belfast, UK 2: Lancaster University, UK

Publication date: March 3, 2014

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