The LIT OIC Introduces Itself: The Digital Marketing & Social Media Research Group

We spoke with members of the Digital Marketing & Social Media research group to learn more about their research and why teaching is so important.

von links: Zauner, Sycik, Defau
von links: Zauner, Sycik, Defau

What makes your research in the area of marketing and social media special?
Alexander Zauner: First and foremost, our focus is the difference: We aim to better understand both the challenges and opportunities that digitization, digital networking, and globalization bring about, and make the information available to everyone. We intend to provide the international, scientific community with sound insight and, at the same time, be of value to support business practices. The combination is very important to us.

Our team mirrors our focus: we are a blend of real-world practices and research that is seldom seen. Anna has worked for leading companies in the field marketing for many years and has an extensive professional background ranging from brand experience to digital communications. Laurens is an outstanding scientist with an impressive list of publications and applies highly innovative methodologies, bringing his interdisciplinary expertise to our team. I, myself, have many years of academic, scientific and business experience when it comes to positioning, digital communications, and behavioral economics. This combination makes us a strong team.

Why are you located at the LIT Open Innovation Center?
Laurens Defau: We have chosen to work at the LIT Open Innovation Center (LIT OIC) because we feel the work environment is very interesting; there are many new ideas here that not only sound good in theory, there are also practical applications and this is exactly our approach. The dynamics and open workspaces at LIT OIC provide inspiration. There's always a bit of a ‘trailblazing mentality’ in the air and that makes for a positive atmosphere for a comparatively young research area such as digital marketing & social media.

What kinds of research are you currently working on?
Anna Sycik: One of our goals is to improve our understanding of communication between companies and their target groups, thereby making communication efforts even more effective. From a scientific and a practical perspective, we believe there is great potential here – particularly upwards.

We currently focus on e-mail marketing and how to boost performance in this key area of communication (i.e. e-mail open rates, etc.), thereby incorporating insight from the field of behavioral economics. We conduct our research in close cooperation with companies – meaning “right on an open heart" – with real e-mails, real customer databases, and direct feedback, thereby consistently bridging the gap between research and real-world business practices. While it can be very challenging, it is also a lot of fun!

What is your research showing at the moment?
Laurens Defau: We apply findings in behavioral economics to the digital context. The existing references and materials contain many interesting approaches that we would like to review, confirm, and systematically extend. Without giving too much away yet, our findings on these types of "work mechanisms" and the correlating human behavior are very exciting. For example, there is a significant difference as to whether or not a message is sent by a company or by a person from that company.

You also teach at the JKU. Where classes are you involved in?
Alexander Zauner: Laurens and I are currently teaching three classes here at the JKU. Laurens focuses on quantitative research methods and my course, “Introduction to Marketing”, tries to get first-year students excited about the field of marketing. In addition, I take part in a doctoral colloquium and share some of my business experiences. We believe strongly in education and teaching and are very passionate about this aspect of our work at the JKU Linz. We are very proud of the fact that we can play a role in the lives of students here.