CFP: Macromarketing Conference 2018 (Leipzig, Germany, July 10-13, 2018): Technological Advances and Marketing Futures Track

November 7, 2017

Dr Tracy Harwood, Reader in Digital Marketing & Consumer Culture, Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, E, T +44 116 255 1551 (primary contact)
Dr Tony Garry, Principal Lecturer in Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, E, +64 3 479 8170
Prof Russ Belk, York University Distinguished Research Professor & Kraft Foods Canada Chair in Marketing, Schulich School of Business, York University, Ontario, Canada, E
Prof Alladi Venkatesh, Professor of Management and Informatics, and Associate Director, Center for Digital Transformation, University of California, Irvine, USA, and Honorary Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics, E, +1 949 824 6625

The role of technologies within the macromarketing field has been largely overlooked yet their impacts have been profound on society and marketing. Technologies have disrupted market structures in both what and how value is devised and delivered to a range of stakeholders, such as firms, customers and others (see e.g., Wolf, 2009 and 2019; Rettberg, 2014; McAfee & Brynjolfsson 2017). In recent years, technological advancements include search tools, social media, content marketing, big data (and the open data movement), crypto-currencies, self-monitoring or Quantified Self (QS) movement (egs., Pantzar & Rickensten, 2015; Lupton, 2016), in-home/in-car voice activated assistants (eg., Siri, Alexa, Echo, Cortana), Internet of Things (IoT) and automata, among many others (Hoffman & Novak, forthcoming). Increasingly, these have underpinning artificial intelligence-based algorithms and novel designed interfaces (smart devices) that have influenced major shifts in the ways that markets operate and consumers experience traditional and emergent new products and services. Some may be ubiquitously and inconspicuously consumed within their environment and others are made visible through novel interfaces and touchpoints (Bode & Kristensen, 2016; van Doorn et al 2017). Examples include sensor-based technologies that automate supply chains in firms and across service systems; automata including robots and AI devices provide novel services and engagement platforms such as policing, health and customer service desk information. Categories of robot are being considered as ‘caregivers’ (Kohlbacher & Rabe 2015), providing both cognitive and affective support that encompasses teaching and learning (di Lieto et al 2017) and emotional agency for human consumers and automated social presence actors (‘technology infusions’) are increasingly being considered within service contexts by firms to deliver consistent consumer experiences.

Taking one such example, robots have become familiar as humanoid devices for information processing and naturalistic interaction. What makes the applications pertinent to marketers is not only the human-like ways in which devices process data (see eg., de Burgt et al 2017) but the ways in which outputs are viewed by users as demonstrating emotion, empathy and human-level understanding, potentially evoking user feelings of attachment to them (Goudey & Bonnin 2016; Belk 2016, 2017, forthcoming). Drawing on the robotics and AI (artificial intelligence) literatures, researchers within marketing are predicting the rapid convergence of [AI] artificial intelligence-based systems (robots) and [IA] intelligent augmentation systems (insideables, wearables, neuroprosthetics) with humans (biological systems) within the next 10-30 years. Robots will evolve from programmed tools to semi-autonomous and autonomous entities and extend their anthropomorphic projection to become a ‘legal non-person’ displaying a personhood and consciousness which raises important questions about the nature of human relationships with the ‘other’ (see e.g., van Doorn et al 2017; Belk forthcoming). Conversely, cyborg is defined as a modified (augmented) human (Haraway 1985 & 1991; Buchanan-Oliver, Cruz & Schroeder 2010) and is the integration of technologies within the body by way of mechanical and/or technological implants or ‘insideables’ (Mouthuy & Carr 2017). Technology researchers (e.g., Kurzweil in Galeon & Reedy, 2017) predict humanoid robots and cyborgs will become the dominant form of service provider in future. Preliminary research suggests there is consumer fear of such hybridity: Bhattacharyya and Kedzior’s (2012) found that consumers believed they may lose their ‘humanness’ in becoming cyborg. We may already be in a posthuman era, that is, consciousness has been changed by our integration with technologies (Cole-Turner 2011) while others suggest change is biological through technology adaptations, such as ‘neuroprosthetics’ (see, and therefore we are transhuman (for a detailed discussion of the theoretical distinctions see Belk 2017 and forthcoming). Increased computer processing capacities support the possibility for industrial applications of technologies to replace a human workforce in an increasingly diverse range of contexts (eg., Ford 2017; van Doorn et al 2017).

The disruption seen is a megatrend that will continue to impact markets as technologies become increasingly embedded into our everyday lives: relevant research is found in science, technology, arts and social sciences. Developments raise important questions for the market actors, such as firms and brands, that will be the first to employ them to support service delivery systems. This highlights the need for greater understanding of the breadth of issues that will impact stakeholders involved in marketing-related activities. To what extent do technologies emancipate customers and transform markets for the benefit of stakeholders?

In this track, we call for papers that address any aspect of the roles of emergent technologies and their application in disrupting and transforming markets. Topics may be conceptual, applied or practice-based, relating to –
• market structures and roles of emergent technologies in their development
• technology-led market adaptations and their influence on customers and firms
• decision-support systems and algorithmic design (eg., AI and IA) for markets and marketing structures
• interface design (device led or ubiquitous) and their influence on behaviour
• data and open data initiatives and the roles of facilitating structures such as legislation, market forces, etc.
• impacts of supply chain technologies eg., IoT, crypto-currencies, etc.
• impacts of automated service actors (AI and IA-based)
• ethical considerations related to emergent technologies in market and service design
• case studies of specific roles of identified technologies eg., QS, autonomous vehicles, drones, IBM’s WatsonTM, etc.
• any other relevant aspects

Submission deadline: January 31, 2018

Submission details:


Belk, R. (2016), Understanding the robot: Comments on Goudey & Bonnin, Recherche et Applications en Marketing, 31(2).

Belk, R. (2017). Consumers in an age of autonomous and semi-autonomous machines, in John Sherry, Jr. and Eileen Fischer, eds., Contemporary Consumer Culture Theory, London: Routledge, 5-32.

Belk, R. (forthcoming). Robots, cyborgs, and consumption, in Alan Lewis, ed., Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behaviour, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bode, M., Kristensen, D. (2016). The digital doppelgänger within: A study on self-tracking and the quantified self movement, in Robin Canniford & Domen Bajde, eds., Assembling Consumption: Researching Actors, Networks and Markets, London: Routledge, 119-134.

Bhattacharyya, A., Kedzior, R. (2012). Consuming the cyborg, Advances in Consumer Research, 40, 960-61.

Buchanan-Oliver, M., Cruz, A., Schroeder, J. (2010). Shaping the body and technology: discursive implications for the strategic communication of technological brands, European Journal of Marketing, 44(5), 635-52.

Cole-Turner, R., ed. (2011). Transhumanism and transcendence: Christian hope in an age of technological enhancement, Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC.

de Burgt, Y. van, Lubberman, E., Fuller E.J., Keene, S.T., Faria, G.C., Agarwal, S., Marinella, M.J., Talin, A.A., Salleo, A. (2017). A non-volatile organic electrochemical device as a low-voltage artificial synapse for neuromorphic computing, Nature Materials, doi:10.1038/nmat4856

di Lieto, M.C., Inguaggiato, E., Castro, E., Cecchi, F., Cioni, G., Dell-Omo, M., Laschi, C., Pecini, C., Sgandurra, G., Dario, P. (2017). Educational robotics intervention on executive functions in preschool children: a pilot study, Computers in Human Behavior, 71(June), 16-23.

Ford, M. (2017). Driverless trucks: economic tsunami may swallow one of the most common US jobs, The Guardian, 16 Feb, available online at (accessed 12 Mar 2017).

Galeon, D., Reedy, C. (2017). Kurzweil claims that the singularity will happen by 2029, The Futurist, Available at accessed 16 Mar.

Goudey, A., Bonnin, G. (2016). Must smart objects look human? Study of the impact of anthropomorphism on the acceptance of companion robots, Recherche et Applications en Marketing, 31(2).

Haraway, D. (1985). A manifesto for cyborgs: Science, technology, and socialist feminism in the 1980s, Socialist Review, 80, 65-107.

Haraway, D. (1991). Simians, cyborgs and women: the reinvention of nature, 2nd Ed., Free Association Books.

Hoffman, D. and Novak, T. (forthcoming), “Consumer and object experience in the Internet of Things: An assemblage theory approach,” Journal of Consumer Research.

Kohlbacher, F., Rabe, B. (2015). Leading the way into the future: The development of a (lead) market for care robotics in Japan, International Journal of Technology Policy and Management, 15(1), 21-44.

Lupton, D. (2016). The Quantified Self, Cambridge: Polity.
Pantzar, M., Ruckenstein, M. (2015). The heart of everyday analytics: Emotional, material, and practical extensions in self-tracking market, Consumption, Markets and Culture, 18 (1), 92-109.

McAfee, A., Brynjolfsson, E. (2017). System reboot: The technological disruption tearing through industries today can be navigated if we learn to forget what we know, RSA Journal, Uncertain Futures, 2: 40-44.

Mehlman, M. (2009). The price of perfection: individualism and society in the era of biomedical enhancement, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Mouthuy, P.-A., Carr, A. (2017). Growing tissue grafts on humanoid robots: a future strategy in regenerative medicine? Science Robotics, 2(4): DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aam5666.

Rettberg, J. (2014). Seeing ourselves through technology: How we use selfies, blogs and wearable devices to see and shape ourselves, Houndsmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, eBook version.

Rothblatt, M. (2014). Virtually human: The promise and peril of digital immortality, New York: St. Martins Press.

van Doorn, J. Mende, M., Noble, S.M., Hulland, J., Ostrom, A.L., Grewal, D., Petersen, J.A. (2017). Domo arigato Mr Roboto: emergence of automated social presence in organizational frontlines and customers’ services experiences, Journal of Service Research, 20(1): 43-58.

Wolf, G. (2009). Know thyself: tracking everything from sleep to mood to pain, 24/7/365, Wired, June 22,

Wolf, G. (2010). The data-driven life, New York Times, April 28,, (accessed 20 Sept 2017).

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