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20152018

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Personal profile

Biography

I am a lecturer in marketing and advertising in the School of Marketing and Management of the Faculty of Business & Law. I am also the associate course leader for post-graduate marketing course.

My research and teaching focus on the applications and impacts of the digital technology in marketing communications and advertising practices. Modules I have been teaching include digital marketing analytics and digital marketing campaign design for post-graduate courses and creative advertisement developments for undergraduate courses. I also supervise post-graduate research students with wide range of interests in digital marketing. 

Before my academic career I had 20 years of professional experience in media business management, digital marketing, and journalism. I led the launch of Walt Disney Company's Chinese website in 2002; and was the director of digital distributions with Warner Brothers Company in China from 2005 to 2007. I was an award-winning journalist writing for the Xinhua News Agency in China, two British B2B publishers, and QQ.com which owns WeChat, one of the world's biggest social and digital utility media.

I own a PhD degree from the University of Westminster, where I conducted research in B2B media business. I obtained my master's degree in media business management from the Newhouse School of Communications of Syracuse University in New York, USA. I studied journalism and English for my dual BA degrees at China School of Journalism and Shandong University. 

Vision Statement

An interest in the latest developments of disruptive technology underpins my research in marketing and advertising practices. My research intends to find out how the ever-changing new technologies make impacts on marketing communications and advertising practices; and how marketing and advertising practitioners respond to the impacts. I study these issues in an international setting and in B2B as well as B2C areas.  

Research Interests

As of 2018 I have invested my research interest in two areas. 

1) Applications and impacts of disruptive technology in marketing. 

Web 2.0 technology is nearly two decades old and social media have been the mainstream topic of digital marketing for a decade. My research interests are on the new and emerging technologies ranging from virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, to blockchain. My curiosity focuses on the relevance and applications of these new and potentially disruptive technology in the practice of marketing. One of the on-going research project explores how the blockchain technology would affect marketing practices. It enquires into the readiness of marketing professionals in a few leading markets around the world to use the blockchain technology in marketing.

2) Study of business-to-business (B2B) publishing media in management perspectives.

B2B media serve the information and connectivity needs of industrial and business professionals. Unlike popular consumer and entertainment media business forms, B2B media have been under-estimated and studied as a branch of magazine publishing business. My research in B2B media takes on a management perspective to examine this sector to understand its unique business structure, product strategies, business transformation, and adaption to new technologies in the ever-growing global B2B communications market.  

PhD Project

Business-to-Business (B2B) media in UK: a mixed methods study using product variables to assess the impacts of social media on product strategies

Abstract

Business-to-business (B2B) media, which used to be known as the trade press, has occupied one of the blind spots of media research. Digitisation has helped transforming B2B media from their old profile of trade magazines into a dynamic media sector producing multiple publishing and off-line products with different business models. Previous work on the digitisation of media focused on the mass media and neglected the B2B sector. This study addresses this gap by examining the impacts of social media as part of the forces of digitisation on the B2B media industry in the UK and how the industry has adjusted business strategies in response to the impacts. Literature study describes the uniqueness of B2B media in comparison with the mass media and develops an analytical framework which defines the B2B media via their core value proposition of helping audiences make money. To analyse the different ways B2B media attempt to provide this value proposition, the thesis develops a typology of B2B products using two variables: utility and timeliness. It also identifies and explained the third variable: confidentiality. Social media are found to provide audiences and users with the same utilities as B2B media do: information and connectivity. The analytical framework therefore speculates that social media may impact on different B2B products and companies either as a competition or supplement. The study then collects empirical data to understand how the real impacts of social media and digitisation are on the variables and product strategies of B2B media. Quantitative survey and qualitative interview data from B2B media practitioners reveal the strengths and weaknesses of social media to suggest that social media partially and weakly influence the different types of B2B media products on the timeliness and confidentiality variables but have no effect on the basic utility variable. The research participants consider social media not to be in competition and respond to the impacts of social media positively by using them as connectivity tools. The B2B media practitioners also control and adjust the timeliness and confidentiality variables of their product as part of their product strategy changes, which do not seem to be a direct response to social media, but to the peer competition and the disruptions from greater digitisation forces in the market. The conclusions of the study contradict the expectations of social media as a disruptive force to the B2B media. Instead, the data suggest a realistic allocation of internal resources by the industry to respond to the impacts of social media. As a pioneering study of its kind in the literature of media and media business research, this thesis defines the specific aspects of B2B media products and of the sector in the media landscape. The study contributes a comprehensive analytical framework with which it calls for future research of B2B media using audience, corporate structure, global markets, technology, and other perspectives.

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Education/Academic qualification

Media & Communications, Doctorate, University of Westminster

26 Sep 201230 Sep 2016

Media Business, MSc, Syracuse University

5 Jul 199922 Dec 2000

Journalism, Degree

1 Sep 19898 Jul 1991

English language, Degree

1 Sep 198518 Jul 1989

External positions

Journalist & Consultant, Beijing SportsCom Consulting Group

1 Aug 20071 Sep 2012

Director of Digital Distributions, Warner Bros

1 Jul 200530 Jul 2007

Manager of Internet Group, Walt Disney Company

1 May 200130 Apr 2005

Writer & Journalist, Xinhua News Agency

1 Jul 19911 Jul 1999

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Research Output

  • 1 Chapter
  • 1 Conference proceeding
  • 1 Article

B2B Magazines and Media: Persistently providing information and connectivity utilities for professionals

Zhang, D., 10 Apr 2018, (Submitted) The Handbook of Magazine Studies. Sternadori, M. & Holmes, T. (eds.). Wiley, Vol. (in press). p. (in press)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Open Access
    File
  • 9 Downloads (Pure)

    Who is afraid of social media: How B2B publishers in Britain respond to social media impacts

    Zhang, D., Sep 2015, International media management academic association (IMMAA) – Annual conference abstracts. Vartanova, E., Makeenko, M. & Gladkova, A. (eds.). Moscow, Russia: Moscow University Press, p. 234-242 9 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding