Journal Article | Journal of Interactive Marketing | winter 2009

Interactivity's Unanticipated Consequences for Markets and Marketing

by John A. Deighton and Leora Kornfeld


The digital interactive transformation in marketing is not unfolding, as some thought it would, on the model of direct marketing. That model anticipated that marketing, empowered by digital media using rich profiling data, would intrude ever more deeply and more precisely into consumer lives than broadcast media had been able to. Instead, the transformation is unfolding on a model of consumer empowerment, in which consumers use digital media to communicate with one another and deal with marketing's intrusions, showing none of the passivity displayed by mass media audiences. This paper categorizes five roles for the interactive consumer and draws implications for marketing practice. It concludes that the balance of power over marketplace meaning-making is shifting from marketer to consumer to the extent that media usage migrates from broadcasting to interactivity. The new marketplace rewards more participatory, more sincere, and less directive marketing styles than the old.

Keywords: Communication Intention and Meaning; Interactive Communication; Marketing Communications; Consumer Behavior; Social and Collaborative Networks; Online Technology;


Deighton, John A., and Leora Kornfeld. "Interactivity's Unanticipated Consequences for Markets and Marketing." Journal of Interactive Marketing 23, no. 1 (winter 2009): 2–12. (First Runner-up and Winner of an Honorable Mention for the Best Paper published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing in 2009.)