Overview of Customer Managed Interaction Marketing System Concept and Mobile Marketing’s Fit

Over the last quarter century, there has been an undercurrent of activity affecting the direction, role, and practice of marketing. The practice of marketing is going through a metamorphosis.  Not a simple paradigm shift, i.e. a shift in marketing standards and norms, as many proclaim (Peppers & Rogers 1995; Bejou 1997; Brodie et al. 1997; Gronroos 1997; Zineldin 200l; Watson et al. 2005), but an isoquantic shift, “…a significant technological advancement that dramatically changes the way people do things and completely re-orients people’s concepts of how things are done” (Myers 1998, p11).  Marketing is certainly faced with an Isoquantic shift.  Customers are beginning to wield significant control over the commercial interaction with marketers (Locke et al. 2000; Grossman, 2006; Haven et al. 2007) and new marketing systems, like customer, Managed Interactions (CMI), are emerging to contend with this shift (Mitchell, 2001; Watson, 2004; Watson et al. 2005; Mitchell et. al., 2006). 

CMI is an emerging concept; in fact, there appears to be no commercial CMI Marketing Systems available as of early 2008. Watson (2005) defines CMI as “a customer directed interaction with a firm in which the customer manages the content, mode, and timing of data exchange in order to meet the customer’s goals.”  In the above definition,

  • Content refers to the information shared between customer and marketer, including a customer’s personal identifiable information (PII), non-personally identifiable information (Non-PII), behavioral data and interests, etc. (hereafter referred to as “customer information”) and marketer commercial information
  • Mode refers to the method of interaction, such as email, telephone, text messaging, multimedia messaging, Internet, mobile Internet, etc.
  • Timing refers to both the time and location the interaction takes place
  • •   Data Exchange refers to the process by which the customer information and marketer commercial information are shared between marketer and customer. 
  • Goals refer to the value the customer expects to obtain in return for engaging in the interaction and for sharing customer information to trigger this action.

Key players in the CMI Marketing System include the customer, the marketer and the trusted intermediary.  The customer is the consumer of information, services or goods in relationship with the marketer, either anonymously, and indirectly, through a trusted intermediary, or directly via traditional direct marketing systems (like telemarketing, direct marketing and related marketing systems).  The trusted intermediary is a new market player that has yet to emerge. The trusted intermediary securely pulls customer information from a customer’s Personal Knowledge Bank (PKB) and brokers this information, either anonymously or not, between the customer and the marketer.  The PKB is a database which contains all the customer information.  It is owned by the customer and hosted by the customer, the trusted intermediary or a third party.  Customer information is entered into this PKB either directly by the customer or automatically as the customer interacts within the CMI Marketing System.

Mobile marketing & Possible factors influencing acceptance of CMI

    Mobile marketing will play a key role in the future of CMI Marketing Systems, in that the mobile channel will be one of, if not the, primary interactive communication mode used by consumers to interact through the trusted intermediary and in certain instance directly with the marketer.  What makes the mobile channel unique is that it has so many sub-modes to leverage, including text messaging, multi-media messaging, Bluetooth, email, voice, mobile Internet and related internet protocol enabled services.  Furthermore, each of these sub-modes can be modified and enhanced with a number of periphery services including location, commerce, near field communications and more.  The growth of the practice of mobile marketing and the industry’s success in eliminating the friction currently within and between many elements of the mobile marketing process are key factors to the future success of mobile enhanced CMI Marketing System(s). In addition, a number of other factors may influence the emergence of CMI Marketing System(s), including privacy (O’Malley et al. 1997; Deighton 1998; Deighton 2002; Salls et. al. 2003; Bloom et al. 1994; Fletcher 2003; Zavagno 2004; Hann et. al. 2005; Mitchell 2006), trust (O’Malley et al. 1997; Milne and Boza, 1999; Siau and Shen 2003; Chellappa and Sin 2005; Hurley 2006; Mitchell 2006), customer influence over the marketing process (Hagel & Rayport 1997; Deighton 1998) and the customer desire to own customer information and reap direct value from it (Locke et al. 2000; Grossman, 2006; Haven et al. 2007).  Finally, the efficiency, or lack there of, of current marketing systems will impact the growth of CMI Marketing System(s) (Fournier et al. 1998; Peppers & Rogers 1995: Hagel & Jeffry Rayport 1997; Mitchell 2001; Brohman et al. 2003; Watson et. al. 2004; Mitchell 2006). 


We’ve learned much about the mobile channel in recent years and there is so much more to learn about the future of marketing and the impact systems like CMI will have on the practice of marketing.  There are many questions to answer, including What factors may significantly influence customer, marketer and trusted intermediary willingness and intentions to participate in a CMI Marketing System? What role, will privacy and trust play in influencing these players to participate in a CMI Marketing System?  Will customer demographics; such as gender, education, ethnicity, age, and economic status, play a role in customer intentions to participate in a CMI Marketing System?  What goals might a customer desire to achieve when engaging in a CMI Marketing System? What incentives may influence customer intentions to participate in a CMI Marketing System, and how might these incentives vary across different market segments?  Which of the mobile modes will be most effective for CMI engagement? These are just a few of the numerous questions that must be tackled for CMI to mature and emerge.  It is important for marketers to understand and appreciate the emerging trends like CMI, strive identity more questions and to find the answers, and prepare for the day when the customer is in total control of all interactions.


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Managing Partner at Identity Praxis, Inc. | Website | + posts

Michael Becker is an intentionally recognized identity & personal information management solutions strategic advisor, speaker, entrepreneur, and academic. He advises companies on personal information economy business strategy, product development, business development, and sales & marketing strategies. He also represents them at leading trade groups, including the Mobile Ecosystem Forum. Michael is an advisor to Assurant, Predii, Privowny, and Phoji. He is the co-author of Mobile Marketing for Dummies and a number of other books and articles related to mobile marketing, identity, and personal information management. He is on the faculty of marketing of the Association of National Advertisers and National University. A serial entrepreneur, Michael founded Identity Praxis, co-founded mCordis and The Connected Marketer Institute, was a founding member of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), and was on the MMA board of directors for ten years and was MMA’s North American Managing Director for three years. In 2004, Michael co-founded iLoop Mobile, a leading messaging solutions provider. In 2014, Michael was awarded the 2014 Marketing EDGE Edward Mayer Education Leadership Award for his commitment to marketing education.