The subjective side of DiDIY: the profile of makers in network marketers communities

Date05 February 2018
Published date05 February 2018
AuthorCarolina Guerini,Eliana Alessandra Minelli
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library technology,Information behaviour & retrieval,Metadata,Information & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet
The subjective side of DiDIY: the
profile of makers in network
marketers communities
Carolina Guerini and Eliana Alessandra Minelli
Dipartimento di gestione integrata dimpresa,
Università Carlo Cattaneo, Varese, Italy
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to focus on the profile of DiDIYers and the antecedents of digital do it
yourself (DiDIY) in Network Marketing Direct Selling Organizations (NMDSO).
Design/methodology/approach A two-step research design allowed the detection of DiDIYers strictu
sensu (i.e. digital makers). After collecting data about the attitudes and the actual use of digital technology
(DT) by network marketers through an online survey, an open-ended interview technique made it possible to
analyze the personal characteristics of DiDIYers, the motivations that drive them and the activities that
mainly foster the creation of artifacts in the DT domain. Besides, it allowed to recognizethe perceived benefits
and the impact of DiDIY output on networkersdownline and firmsperformance.
Findings The results provide a preliminary profile of the DiDIYer in network marketing communities that
is suitable for further comparative studies. More specifically, this exploratory study acknowledges the most
important antecedents of DiDIY in digital literacy including the awareness of being a digital literate and/or
a potential appropriateur and in organizational culture.
Research limitations/implications This is an exploratory study based on a limited sample of DiDIYers,
nevertheless it offers a preliminary view of the subjective side of the DiDIY phenomenon in network
marketing and represents as well a context-bound study.
Practical implications Considering the ascribed benefits of DiDIY output on the traditional network
marketing objectives (effectiveness, efficiency, cohesion, mutual assistance and reinforcement) network
marketing communities could benefit from an increase of attention to the topic.
Originality/value The study throws light on the process of DiDIY within direct sales and network
marketing activities by defining a preliminary profile of digital makers and thus, underlining a phenomenon
neglected so far.
Keywords DiDIY, DiDIY subjective side, DiDIYer, DiDIYers profile, Digital maker,
Network marketing direct selling organization (NMDSO)
Paper type Research paper
There are a number of contributions dealing with the role of technology in sales activities
(Brown and Jones, 2005; Gohmann et al., 2005; Ahearne et al., 2007; Barker et al., 2009; Cascio
et al., 2010) also at the individual salesperson level. Some of them describe different impacts
of technology on specific sales process phases; others point out that the concept of selling
itself has changed over time. The digital and social selling concepts explain recent evolution.
The use of social media to interact directly with the target audience has influenced the
possibility of social selling. Successful social sellers can be regarded as thought leaders by
prospects as they provide value through industry insights, sharing expertise and offering
solutions to common consumer questions.
The most important benefit generally ascribed to the internet in managerial sciences and
in marketing literature is the possibility of developing tight customer relationships. Besides
that, social selling offers the opportunity of trust building with existing and potential
customers and ultimately drives sales. The success of the tactic has also been reported by
Data Technologies and
Vol. 52 No. 1, 2018
pp. 84-104
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/DTA-03-2017-0017
Received 12 March 2017
Revised 29 August 2017
Accepted 30 August 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This paper has been developed under the DiDIY project funded by the European Unions Horizon 2020
research and innovation program under Grant Agreement No. 644344.
Forbes (2013), with 78 percent of salespeople who use social platforms outperforming their
non-social media using peers and 23 percent exceeding their quotas.
On the other hand, digital selling (Kim and Park, 2013) is often indicated as a huge
opportunity for organizations. Whereas, social selling focuses on social assets, digital selling
involves leveraging digital assets. These include activities such as sales automation, CRM,
online presentations, digital documentation etc. By creating an organizational structure
around content and an environment to measure its consumption, a buyers interest and
purchasing intention can be influenced to convert sales. As such, digital selling is an
important component of the sales process, while using social networks (SNSs) provides
scope to increase revenue.
Although the digital and social selling concepts are both gaining momentum, there are
limited publications that explicitly refer to the issue of knowledge-oriented technologies, and
their ability to support the different core and peripheral activities of the direct selling
process. A partial exception may be considered the recent study by Guerini and Minelli
(2016). The research explicitly addresses network marketersactivities in Network
Marketing Direct Selling Organizations (NMDSO) by analyzing the nature and the goals of
knowledge sharing and creation via digital technology (DT) within networkersdownlines.
The main results of the research acknowledge its huge relevance, investigating and
specifying its differentiated nature and identifying the main goals.
Limited attention has so far been devoted also to the do it yourself (DIY) phenomenon
(Kuznetsov and Paulos, 2010; Tanenbaum et al., 2013; Mari, 2014; Digital DIY, 2017), even if
it has been recently fostered by the development of digital technologies (Locoro et al., 2017).
Digital do it yourself (DiDIY) is an objective phenomenon that can be investigated from
the point of view of its output, such as tools, products or collaboration structures. It is a
subjective phenomenon as well: a mindset, or a kind of culture of production and
consumption, as it shapes individual behaviors and can be analyzed from the perspective of
competences, motivations, social relationships, etc. (Mari, 2014; Digital DIY, 2017). At the
same time, the objective and the subjective dimensions of DiDIY are intertwined and
mutually influencing.
DiDIY has been defined as a socio-technicalsystem that may have a high impact on
organization in the future (Locoro et al., 2017). Thus, the central role of the DiDIYer and
maker in shaping next generation organizations and enterprise performance should be
listed in research priorities.
On the basis of the operational definition of the DiDIY project (Locoro et al., 2017) which
pinpoints the DiDIYer as a role or an aggregate of roles, who carry out on their own
certain activities by means of digital technologies and exploiting the knowledge sharing
within a certain community a two-step path of research was designed to identify DiDIYers
in NMDSO and to investigate their profile.
Through a survey aimed at acquiring knowledge about the digital support used and
developed by networker marketers, the research investigated the existence of DiDIYers in
NMDSO. Then we tried to outline the main objectives and the implications of their activity
for the creation, modification or maintenance of objects or services in the digital domain.
The ultimate goal of the research is to contribute to the analysis of the subjective side of the
phenomenon by defining the DiDIYers profile from the perspective of NMDSO.
The research results confirm the existence of digital makers,defined as the individual
that exploit unique competences and are the artifex of the environment (physical, social,
relational) where they operate.
Qualitative research was suitable to understand how and why (Whetten, 1989) network
marketers develop into DiDIYers. Based on a sample of 20 interviewees, the results furnish a
preliminary profile of DiDIYers in network marketing activities, defining their personal
characteristics, the motivations driving DiDIY, the type of activity that mainly fosters their
Subjective side
of DiDIYs

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT