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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Research
Sep 1, 2019

Branding in the Era of Digital (Dis)intermediation

Abstract

Marketing academics are keenly aware of the seismic shifts in today’s marketing environment caused by digital (dis)intermediation. In this article, we discuss four types of digital (dis)intermediation, and how they affect branding activities of incumbents and new firms. First, we discuss digital transaction intermediation, a development that is closely tied to the rise of ecommerce retailers. A second type is digital transaction disintermediation associated with the rise of ecommerce D2C models. These first two types of digital (dis) intermediation are primarily top-down processes, where firms are developing new ways to sell their brands to consumers. The next two types of digital (dis) intermediation are of the bottom-up kind — the consumer is in the driver’s seat. Digital marketing intermediation and the rise of D2C brand-building models is powered by crowdsourcing. A final development is digital marketing disintermediation, which is closely tied to the rise of C2C models. We present issues in need of future research for each type of digital (dis)intermediation. We conclude with an appeal that marketing takes the lead in developing overarching, indigenous theories of digital (dis)intermediation to make sense of the rapid changes in the marketplace.


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