Univ. Professor Dr. Alexander Zauner (37) has been the head of Digital Marketing & Social Media at the JKU since March 2020.
Prof. Zauner’s teaching and research interests are anchored in core marketing topics, including digital marketing & social media, brand management and value from the customer perspective. He also focuses on the challenges and opportunities companies can have when it comes to digitalization, digital networking and globalization. As part of a team of international experts and in close cooperation with businesses, he works on these and other topics. Zauner is also on the management board of Business Gladiators Ltd. and a Senior Advisor at the Campaigning Bureau in Vienna.
Three Questions for Professor Alexander Zauner:
1. As chair for Digital Marketing & Social Media, what are some of the core challenges?
Digitalization and digital networking have not only changed the way people interact, but also ultimately the way they act. In order to understand and influence this development, I would like to focus on three areas: First, we need to understand how, through digital channels, brands can create real value for people. "Beautiful" advertising is no longer enough. We need to develop content that inspires and moves people. Second, we need to understand (digital) marketing as a way to carefully build relationships with people. I believe that the transaction between two parties, i.e. the conclusion of a sale, is still a central goal, but should not awkwardly be in the foreground. Third, I believe communication must be guided by strong scientific and academic theories. Behavioral economics and psychology, in particular, offer an incredibly exciting basis.
2. What is the real-world relevance for teaching and research?
Real-world practices are extremely important for me. I know from my many years of practical experience what kind of extremely exciting and innovative developments - especially in digital marketing - are currently taking place. I want to build a bridge between real-world practices, research and teaching that conveys expertise, empirical findings, and the latest ideas. This is one of the reasons I am a scientific advisor in one of the most exclusive associations of leading communicators in Austria - the Austrian Society for Communication & Reputation.
3. How do you think this area will progress and advance in the coming years?
The importance of social networks and digital marketing will continue rise rapidly, also due to the current crisis. People who - before this pandemic - had little or no connection to various technologies are now shopping online and communicating with colleagues via video conferencing software. Consequently, user numbers and interaction will continue to rise. Social media is pervading all social areas, finally becoming the norm for us and we are seeing different platforms, what they offer, and different target groups. Whereas Facebook appeals more to relatively older people, TikTok - one of the fastest growing networks of all - attracts young people in particular. Millions of users follow live video game broadcasts via Twitch. This means that companies and agencies must be more decisive about integrating conventional and digital channels in their marketing activities (keyword: 360-degree marketing) in order to achieve the desired effect.