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Paper by Jan Klein accepted in Journal of Service Management

Published: 13th March 2020 Last updated: 13th March 2020

A paper by Jan Klein (co-authored with Y. Zhang from Santa Clara University, T. Falk from Aalto University, J. Aspara from Hanken School of Economics, and X. Luo from Temple University) has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Service Management.

Title: “Customer Journey Analyses in Digital Media: Exploring the Impact of Cross-Media Exposure on Customers’ Purchase Decisions”


Purpose—In the age of digital media, customers have access to vast digital information sources, within and outside a company’s direct control. Yet managers lack a metric to capture customers’ cross-media exposure and its ramifications for individual customer journeys. To solve this issue, this article introduces media entropy as a new metric for assessing cross-media exposure on the individual customer level and illustrates its effect on consumers’ purchase decisions. 

Design/Methodology/Approach—Building on information and signaling theory, this study proposes the entropy of company-controlled and peer-driven media sources as a measure of cross-media exposure. A probit model analyses individual-level customer journey data across more than 25,000 digital and traditional media touchpoints.

Findings—Cross-media exposure, measured as the entropy of information sources in a customer journey, drives purchase decisions. The positive effect is particularly pronounced for (i) digital (online) vs. traditional (offline) media environments, (ii) customers who currently do not own the brand, and (iii) brands that customers perceive as weak.

Practical Implications—The proposed metric of cross-media exposure can help managers understand customers’ information structures in pre-purchase phases. Assessing the consequences of customers’ cross-media exposure is especially relevant for service companies that seek to support customers’ information search efforts. Marketing agencies, consultancies, and platform providers also need actionable customer journey metrics, particularly in early stages of the journey. 

Originality/Value—Service managers and marketers can integrate the media entropy metric into their marketing dashboards and use it to steer their investments in different media types. Researchers can include the metric in empirical models to explore customers’ omni-channel journeys.