Infiltrating an e-tribe: marketing within the Machinima [computerised games] community

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Relationship marketing principals of co-creating value and interactivity through a process of co-production are fundamental (e.g. Ballantyne 2004; Egan 2004) and yet there has been little investigation into how this translates to an online socially networked context. This paper examines one such online tribal community to investigate its characteristics and examine its relationship marketing potential. Drawing on the social psychology literature and in particular, the self and social identification and tribal marketing literature, this paper explores the concept of tribalism and tribal marketing within one such net based community. Machinima is the making of 3D animated films using computerised games engines in real time. Findings suggest the Machinima community exhibits many of the features of a tribal based community but in an on-line environment which is informed by the media and the message. Commercial organisations appear sensitive to the values of the community and their marketing activities may be described as both 'covert and collusive'. Where this is successful, tribal members collaborate and become critical informants to the community. The implications of these findings suggest organisations will need to consider more subtle and sophisticated relationship marketing activities within some e-contexts than have been used in more traditional offline contexts if they are to be successful.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2009

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