Managing webmavens: Relationships with sophisticated customers via the internet can transform marketing and speed innovation

Alistair Davidson*, Jonathan Copulsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose - A new player has emerged to influence the buying behavior of customers - the webmaven. Marketers and product developers must take in account that webmavens now have a huge potential audience for their reviews of products and services. An active program of tracking, measuring and marketing to these influential infomediaries is likely to reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises. For many firms, marketing to mavens, hobbyist and rating sites may also prove to be a strategic and cost effective means to stimulate innovation and revenue growth. Design/methodology/approach - Shows how marketing to mavens, hobbyist and rating sites can be implemented. Findings - The good news for decision makers is that access to comments from webmaven websites can provide product managers with fresh intelligence on the failures and successes that customers are experiencing with their offerings. The bad news is that the negative feedback from just one or two influential webmavens can influence a brand's reputation, sometimes with the same dire effect as poor reviews in traditional media such as Consumer Reports or PC Magazine. Research limitations/implications - Journalistic research. Practical implications - R&D - take advantage of Internet customer and user experience to research new innovations and develop new features based upon rapid and early user feedback. Product defect tracking - track user complaints, ratings and reviewer critiques about your, competitive and leading edge or deviant product 9 usage to frame future product development. Market research - measure share of mind on the Internet, in traditional media, at rating sites, at review sites. Maven management-pay special attention to the heavily involved user and hobbyist sites. Originality/value - Alerts managers to the power of these new market influencers and provides a how-to guide for marketing to webmavens and other infomediaries on the Internet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalStrategy and Leadership
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Feedback
  • Internet marketing
  • Product innovation
  • Search engines
  • Unique selling proposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management

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