Shedding new light
on digital marketing
to expand its possibilities

Graduate School of International Management

Alessandro Comai

Research Areas: Digital Marketing


Research on digital marketing to contribute to the development of Japan

I am currently conducting several research projects on digital marketing. One of these projects aims to find out how digital marketing tools are used by Japanese higher-education institutions, especially business schools. Focusing on the use of digital marketing for the purpose of student recruitment, public relation and alumni engagement, this research has revealed that Japanese business schools are likely to rely on traditional marketing methods rather than modern ones such as digital marketing.
I also studied how social media helped to resolve the chaos in the air transportation industry caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that made it difficult for airline call centers to handle incoming calls. I collected and analyzed about 17,000 complaints posted on the Facebook sites of airlines to see how they responded to these complaints, and found a significant correlation between the responsiveness of airlines to the complaints and their positiveness toward sharing information on social media, and that the speed of response depended on the type of the airline.
While carrying out these projects, I am also working on developing a framework for assessing the maturity of digital marketing operations, especially within companies. If this framework can be used in society, I think we can measure the maturity level of companies and identify organizational shortcomings that require urgent improvement. Various projects to examine digital marketing in its broad sense and expand its possibilities are under way.

My interest in digital marketing fueled my motivation toward research.

Digital marketing is becoming increasingly important for companies. Its effects have been analyzed mainly in the context of social media and communication theories, but I believe that the benefits of digital marketing extend beyond this context. My desire to examine digital marketing from a wider perspective, instead of focusing on specific tools, led to my current research.
The lack of an established framework for digital marketing also motivated me to study this field. At IUJ, I teach digital marketing, among other marketing courses, by using a framework I developed on my own. Introducing my own framework to students has made me want to understand more about digital marketing practices and fueled my motivation toward research.

Creating new value for the future through marketing

I hope to devote more time to my current research on digital marketing and gain deeper insights, which will help me expand the possibilities of my research which has been limited in scope so far.
I need to research the association between market orientation and open innovation, in addition to digital marketing. While Japanese companies start the process of designing open innovation from R&D, most Western companies use market intelligence, by collecting and analyzing a variety of data about the external environment, ranging from customer or competitor data to trends information. A market-oriented organization is when every department (not only marketing) looks carefully the changes in the market and utilize that information in their operations. To clarify how such market-oriented open innovation can benefit the market is one of the important objectives of my work. I hope my research will contribute to decision-making for the creation of new products and projects.

IUJ's research environment allows us to spend time meaningfully, thanks to its ideal size and geographical location.

The main characteristics of IUJ are its unique location and small campus, which together provide an ideal environment for researchers. Especially, the small campus allows IUJ students from diverse countries to share problems and experiences, which is a great advantage. Due to its location in the rural city of Minamiuonuma, many IUJ students live in the dormitories on campus, which helps them build close relationships.
The beautiful natural environment around IUJ also allows us to focus on research in a relaxed setting. Many of the courses are taught in a discussion format, which takes less time to prepare for the classes, thus benefiting those faculty members who want to focus more on research.

Advice to deepen your studies at IUJ

I have three pieces of advice for students to keep in mind when conducting research, whether presenting research results, writing papers or otherwise.
First, find a research theme that really fascinates you. This will let you concentrate on your area of interest and keep you motivated throughout the long journey of studying.
Second, pursue a new research theme. By tackling unique research that no one has ever done before, you can help provide new insights into existing research findings.
And third, decide on a research theme that can have some influence on corporate managers or public policy-makers in your home country. This will allow you to acquire practical knowledge through your research, while adding to its value.
IUJ students are required, among other things, to make the most of their limited time, by taking as many courses as possible and actively seeking opportunities to interact with faculty members and students. Especially, I encourage master's students to actively participate in interactive discussions and workshops to maximize their individual potential in a higher-level research environment.


Alessandro Comai, Associate Professor [Courses] Marketing Management, Marketing Intelligence, Digital Marketing and Customer Journey [Research Areas] Market Orientation, Social media analysis and visualisation, Text data Visualization, Open Innovation [Research Keywords] Digital Marketing, Market Orientation, Marketing Intelligence, Open Innovation

GSIR 国際経営学研究科