Designing solutions around customer network identity goals

Amber M. Epp, Linda L. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


When companies fail to account for collective and relational goals in customer solutions, a mismatch can occur between firms' solutions and those that customers envision. Understanding the integration processes of customer networks is essential to improving solution design. This investigation draws on depth interviews with 21 families, the focal customer network, to generate collective and relational vacation narratives that contextualize their accounts. The authors identify four customer network integration processes: offerings assembled around prioritized goals, alternate participation, concurrent participation, and offerings assembled around separate coalitions. The findings reveal that the resulting mix of integrated products and services, or the solution, is shaped by customer network identity goals, goal management approaches, and constraints. The authors conclude with recommendations for how firms can use this information to improve solution design, identify new network partners, and revise value propositions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-54
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Customer networks
  • Family decision making
  • Identity goals
  • Solutions
  • Value cocreation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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