Digital marketing is leading the way in offering new features to reach, inform, engage, offer, and sell products and services to customers, and is expected to continue to be at the forefront of the technological revolution. The purpose of this study is to identify influential cited works in digital marketing communication (DMC) research, to determine the current status of the research on DMC, and to indicate the extent to which influential works have shaped it. This bibliometric study assesses articles published over a 12-year period in core DMC-related journals. The analysis examines 5865 citations of 141 digital-related articles in the targeted journals in the given publications using both citation and co-citation analyses. After a broad disciplinary review of key cited DMC works, this study suggests thematic insights and implications for academics and practitioners that are promising avenues for creating effective DMC.
Digital marketing offers new ways to reach, inform, and engage customers and to offer and sell them products and services. It does this very successfully and thus, digital marketing is expected to remain at the forefront of the technological revolution (Ko, 2019; Lamberton & Stephen, 2016; Martín-Consuegra, Faraoni, Díaz, & Ranfagni, 2018). Digital marketing via social and mobile media has rapidly become part of the daily life of millions of people, expanding into common social media activities, and often leading to the creation of customer relationships (Fujita, Harrigan, & Soutar, 2017; Han, Nguyen, & Nguyen, 2016; Kim, 2018; Woodside & Mir, 2019). Social engagement, diffusion, and interaction are keys to the digital marketing evolution, and have enhanced firms’ ability to engage customers by reaching out, informing them about products and services, and ultimately selling these products and services to customers (Ko, 2019; Lamberton & Stephen, 2016; Martín-Consuegra et al., 2018). Increasing numbers of marketing academics and practitioners have studied the rapid evolution of digital technology, social media, and mobile marketing, and the technological innovations this evolution has inspired. Digital marketing has evolved from marketing specific products and services to using digital channels for activities, institutions, and processes facilitated by digital technologies. Digital marketing refers to an adaptive, technology-enabled process by which firms collaborate with customers and partners to create, communicate, deliver, and sustain value for all stakeholders jointly (Guercini, Bernal, & Prentice, 2018; Lamberton & Stephen, 2016). Digital technologies allow for new adaptive processes and institutions in marketing communication. Institutions build foundational capabilities to create such value jointly for their customers and themselves, while processes create value through new customer experiences and interactions among customers in new digital environments.