CFP: IMR on Int'l Marketing Perspectives on Digital Platforms and Ecosystems

International Marketing Perspectives on Digital Platforms and Ecosystems

Special issue call for papers from International Marketing Review 

Guest editors: Timo Mandler, Jun Luo, Natalia Yannopoulou, Jochen Wirtz

Selected papers from the submissions to a track called ‘International Marketing Perspectives on Digital Platforms and Ecosystems’ of the 2023 Global Marketing Conference at Seoul will be considered for possible submission to a special issue of International Marketing Review (SSCI) called ‘International Marketing Perspectives on Digital Platforms and Ecosystems’. Guest Editors: Prof. Timo Mandler, Toulouse Business School,, Prof. Natalia Yannopoulou, Newcastle University Business School,, Prof. Dr. Jun Luo, University of Nottingham Ningbo China,, Jochen Wirtz, Professor of Marketing National University of Singapore 15 Kent Ridge Drive, 119245, Singapore

About the special issue

Digitalization has led to the emergence of platform business models that have disrupted many industries around the world and continue to transform the global economy (Nambisan, Zahra, and Luo 2019; Rangaswamy et al. 2020; Wirtz et al. 2019). Today, many of the world’s most valuable companies – Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, Tencent, Alibaba – operate one or more digital platforms (McIntyre et al. 2021; Statista 2021). These platforms are internet-based and provide an interface (e.g., website or app) that facilitates interactions between different groups of users. Digital platforms typically generate revenue by charging some of their user groups (e.g., sellers or advertisers) fees for accessing their platforms or conducting transactions on them (Stallkamp and Schotter 2018). Prominent examples include social media platforms, such as Weibo, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which connect billions of users across the world and provide firms opportunities to interact with them (Sheth 2020); online marketplaces, such as Alibaba, Amazon, and Etsy, which bring buyers and sellers of products and services together (Bei and Gielens 2020); and sharing economy platforms, such as Uber, Didi, and Airbnb, which allow users to provide other users (“peers”) access to an underutilized asset, such as a room or a car (Kozlenkova et al. 2021).

Due to their modular architecture and scalability, digital platforms can grow into large ecosystems incorporating diverse sets of actors who contribute different resources and capabilities to the process of value co-creation. In fact, the locus of value creation is not inside but outside the platform, which calls for new insights to understand the complex, multilateral interactions among platform providers and its users (Li et al. 2019). The complexity of digital platforms and associated ecosystems, paired with their enormous economic footprint, has sparked much interest across different disciplines, such as management (e.g., McIntryre and Srinivasan 2016), information systems (e.g., Constantinides, Henfridsson, and Parker 2018), international business (e.g., Brouthers, Geisser, and Rothlauf 2016), and marketing (e.g., Rangaswamy et al. 2020).

Marketing plays a key role in attracting users to a platform, increasing the number and quality of interactions that take place on it, reducing transaction costs for its users, and lowering a platform’s production costs (Rangaswamy et al. 2020). Accordingly, marketing scholars have shed light on various phenomena related to digital platforms, such as consumers’ adoption behavior, user- and firm-generated content, online brand communities, electronic word-of-mouth, product reviews, customer trust, and online conflicts (Chandrasapth et al. 2021; Dwivedi et al. 2021; Lamberton and Stephen 2016). Overall, these efforts provide rich insights into the nature, mechanisms, and outcomes of online relationships, defined as relational exchanges that are mediated by digital platforms (Steinhoff et al. 2019). However, few studies on digital platforms have adopted an international perspective (notable exceptions include recent contributions by Agnihotri et al. 2022, Bei and Gielens 2020, Kozlenkova et al. 2021, Kumar, Nim, and Agarwal 2021, Nam and Kannan 2020, and Steinhoff et al. 2022).

Extant studies’ limitation to specific domestic markets is problematic. The huge economic potential of most digital platforms lies in the very fact that they are scalable beyond the borders of a single market (Nambisan, Zahra, and Luo 2019). Many digital platforms are “born globals” in that they are designed to expand internationally shortly after their inception (Monaghan, Tippmann, and Coviello 2020). For example, founded in 2009, Uber started expanding internationally after just two years and managed to enter almost 70 countries in only six years (Ghemawat 2016). Yet, contrary to common misconceptions, the digital economy is not entirely location-agnostic nor fully independent of national contexts (Shaheer 2020; Steinhoff et al. 2022). Indeed, entering foreign markets can pose substantial challenges to digital platforms. For example, Uber sunk over $2 billion before giving up on its ambitions to conquer the Chinese ride-sharing market (Kozlenkova et al. 2021). The company’s failure in China was attributed to its inability to navigate the market’s cultural, political, and economic complexities (Kozlenkova et al. 2021; Salomon 2016). This assumption is corroborated by recent conceptual work suggesting that the effectiveness of consumer engagement strategies likely depends on cultural, institutional, societal, and economic contingency factors (Steinhoff et al. 2022). Such country-level contingencies may also explain why we observe fundamental cross-national differences in digital platforms’ architecture and user behaviors. For example, Alibaba’s Taobao Live hosts live-stream shopping events that combine e-commerce with social media features, such as a chat function and reaction buttons (Cooper 2021). Today, two-thirds of Chinese consumers have purchased products via live streams (Arora et al. 2020), while no comparable platform has yet emerged in the West. Indeed, China has developed a unique digital ecosystem, with little to no involvement of firms that dominate Western markets, and is deemed the world’s most digital and efficient consumer market (Wirtz, Lin, and Das 2022).

These observations underscore the need for adopting an international perspective in studying digital platforms and ecosystems. “Context matters in marketing,” as Sheth (2020) puts it, “and it matters even more in international marketing” (p. 3) because of the variety of contextual factors that may moderate or mediate effects of interest. Due to the lack of research with an international focus, international marketing scholars face a “blue ocean” of research opportunities related to digital platforms and ecosystems.

This special issue seeks to push the boundaries of international marketing research by publishing original work on digital platforms, such as social media platforms (e.g., social networks, content sharing & curation platforms, micro-blogs, discussion forums, consumer review sites), online marketplaces (e.g., B2B platforms, B2C platforms, C2C platforms), sharing economy platforms (e.g., lodging, ride-sharing, freelancing, crowd-funding), and hybrid platform types (e.g., social/live commerce platforms). We welcome any conceptual or empirical (qualitative or quantitative) work that sheds light on (1) the role of international marketing constructs (e.g., country-of-origin, psychic distance, ethnocentrism, cosmopolitanism) in the context of international interactions and exchanges on digital platforms, (2) cross-national differences (e.g., China vs. the U.S. vs. Europe) concerning relevant phenomena, such as consumer privacy and personal data protection (e.g., corporate digital responsibility), platform architecture and designs (e.g., platform governance and regulation), and market structures (e.g., digital maturity, competitive intensity, entrepreneurial ecosystems), or (3) culture-specific phenomena that have been neglected by the mainstream (Western-centric) marketing literature.

Special issue guest editors

Timo Mandler, Associate Professor of Marketing & International Business Toulouse Business School 20 Boulevard Lascrosses, 31068 Toulouse, France

Jun Luo, Associate Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship University of Nottingham Ningbo China 199 Taikang E Rd, Yinzhou, Ningbo, Zhejiang, 315100, China

Natalia Yannopoulou, Professor of Marketing Newcastle University Business School 5 Barrack Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4SE, United Kingdom

Jochen Wirtz, Professor of Marketing National University of Singapore 15 Kent Ridge Drive, 119245, Singapore

Submission information

All papers will be subjected to double-blind peer review. Please check the section “Author guidelines” on the journal’s official website for further information about the expected format of prospective submissions. (

Please submit the manuscript to:

Submission window opens: June 1, 2023

Submission window closes: September 1, 2023

Feedback opportunities prior to submission

1. Virtual Event “IMxDigital”, April 20/21, 2023. Submission deadline: January 30, 2023. Further details on this event, featuring presentations of selected submissions, will follow on October 1, 2022 at

2. Special session at the 2023 Global Marketing Conference, Seoul (South Korea), July 20-23, 2023. Further details on the conference (including the submission process) are available at .

Please note that participation in the virtual event or special conference session is not required for submitting a paper to the special issue. We offer these events to support prospective authors in developing their work before entering the peer-review process.