| 30.11.2022

Doctoral thesis: The ever-increasing availability of online data: a blessing or a curse?

Valeria Penttinen disputerar på online data
Due to the rising availability of online data, firms and consumers can make more informed decisions than ever before. In particular, firms can leverage marketing analytics to learn about consumer behaviours and preferences by analysing data taken from various online sources (e.g., social media and e-commerce websites). Meanwhile, consumers can rely on online information shared by different stakeholders (e.g., fellow consumers and firms).

However, firms and consumers both encounter several major issues with navigating through the large amounts of available online data and with choosing the right insights to support decision-making. In her doctoral dissertation "Marketing in the Rise of Online Data: Dealing with the Shifts in Firm-Consumer Information Asymmetry", Valeria Penttinen  discusses opportunities and challenges associated with the increasing availability of online data for both firms and consumers.

What is evident from Penttinen’s dissertation is that firms more than ever need to take an active role in fostering information symmetry in the market. This means not only developing a comprehensive understanding of consumer needs, wants, and expectations; but also helping consumers access high-quality, relevant, and timely information about products and services that firms offer.

“Poorly informed consumers often struggle to evaluate the available alternatives and are more prone to making bad purchase decisions. As a result, firms may have to deal with costly product returns and dissatisfied consumers. On the opposite, well-informed consumers are more likely to make good purchase decisions and be satisfied with their choices", Penttinen states.

Firms can help consumers gain access to timely and relevant information in many ways. For example, they can encourage current consumers to share product and service reviews in different formats on relevant digital platforms, so that new consumers learn from the experiences of others.

"Firms can also leverage their own social media accounts to share up-to-date updates with those consumers that are interested in building relationships with firms in the online envirnment”, Penttinen says.

You can read the whole thesis here.

Valeria Penttinen will defend her doctoral thesis on Friday, 2 December at 12:00 EEST at Hanken School of Economics.

You can attend the defence in person or online via this Teams-link.

Opponent: Senior Associate Professor Kirk Plangger, King's Business School London
Custos: Professor Kristina Heinonen, Hanken School of Economics