case study

Topics: Marketing, Case study, Customer relationship management Pages: 19 (5275 words) Published: November 23, 2013
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0263-4503.htm

MIP
25,2

Customer community and
co-creation: a case study
Jennifer Rowley, Beata Kupiec-Teahan and Edward Leeming
Bangor Business School, University of Wales, Bangor, UK

136
Received December 2005
Revised November 2005,
December 2006
Accepted January 2007

Abstract
Purpose – This paper aims to provide insights into the development and management of a customer community, informing product innovation and engaging customers in co-creation of a consumption experience.

Design/methodology/approach – A review of the state of current knowledge about co-production, co-creation and customer communities is followed by discussion of the case study methodology. The case history of a leading player in the UK and international “sportkiting” market focuses on product innovation and customer-community development. Discussion reflects in more detail on the lessons from the case for application of the principles in practice. Findings – The case company’s innovative product development strategy provides the catalyst for co-creation of a customer experience. Its marketing actions extend beyond product development and innovation to actively co-creating experiences with customers, fostering a sense of community among users, facilitating communication within that community, acting on the feedback, and continuously developing and maintaining the community relationship.

Research limitations/implications – The company’s marketing strategy can be summed up as “customer community leadership”. This paradigm proposes a new role for businesses in sectors where there is a potential to develop and engage communities. It provides a context for the effective facilitation of customer knowledge management, within which marketing intelligence plays a significant role. The findings offer scope for further research into the nature of this phenomenon and its relevance to co-creation in other industry sectors, and into numerous aspects of the processes and impacts associated with customer communities.

Originality/value – The case contributes to the literature of co-creation, demonstrating how it has been achieved through a marketing strategy and marketing mix in a particular customer community. Keywords Customer relations, Innovation, Relationship marketing, Leadership Paper type Case study

Marketing Intelligence & Planning
Vol. 25 No. 2, 2007
pp. 136-146
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0263-4503
DOI 10.1108/02634500710737924

Introduction
The increased complexity, globalization and knowledge-intensity of marketplaces require all businesses to make better use of their technological, organizational and marketing competences in order to survive. Contemporary organizations in highly competitive and highly innovative markets must be able to build market share quickly, by delivering fast, high quality, innovative solutions. The changing organisational environment has driven interest in organisational learning and knowledge management (Drucker, 1993; Prusak, 1997). Many studies have confirmed customer knowledge as one of the most important knowledge bases for an organisation (Bennett and Gabriel, 1999; Chase, 1997), and there is a considerable interest in the potential of “co-production” and “co-creation” either individually or in community contexts, to enhance innovation and business performance (Gibbert et al., 2002). Focus on the engagement of customers in organizational learning, innovation and knowledge processes heralds the dawn of a new paradigm of marketing intelligence in

which data and information are not simply gathered into databases and distilled to inform management decision making, but rather marketing intelligence is embedded in dynamic co-creation processes that involve customers as partners rather than subjects. Through a case study analysis and critique of a leading manufacturer of kiteboarding equipment, this...

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