Information technology and marketing: An important partnership for decades

Jan Philipp Graesch, Susanne Hensel-Börner, Jörg Henseler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
156 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The enabling technologies that emerged from information technology (IT) have had a considerable influence upon the development of marketing tools, and marketing has become digitalized by adopting these technologies over time. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the impacts of these enabling technologies on marketing tools in the past and present and to demonstrate their potential future. Furthermore, it provides guidance about the digital transformation occurring in marketing and the need to align of marketing and IT. Design/methodology/approach: This study demonstrates the impact of enabling technologies on the subsequent marketing tools developed through a content analysis of information systems and marketing conference proceedings. It offers a fresh look at marketing's digital transformation over the last 40 years. Moreover, it initially applies the findings to a general digital transformation model from another field to verify its presence in marketing. Findings: This paper identifies four eras within the digital marketing evolution and reveals insights into a potential fifth era. This chronological structure verifies the impact of IT on marketing tools and accordingly the digital transformation within marketing. IT has made digital marketing tools possible in all four digital transformation levers: automation, customer interaction, connectivity and data. Practical implications: The sequencing of enabling technologies and subsequent marketing tools demonstrates the need to align marketing and IT to design new marketing tools that can be applied to customer interactions and be used to foster marketing control. Originality/value: This study is the first to apply the digital transformation levers, namely, automation, customer interaction, connectivity and data, to the marketing discipline and contribute new insights by demonstrating the chronological development of digital transformation in marketing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial management & data systems
Early online date13 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2021


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