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Although research continues to debate the future of the marketing concept, practitioners have taken the lead, appraising customer experience management (CEM) as one of the most promising marketing approaches in consumer industries. In research, however, the notion of CEM is not well understood, is fragmented across a variety of contexts, and is insufficiently demarcated from other marketing management concepts. By integrating field-based insights of 52 managers engaging in CEM with supplementary literature, this study provides an empirically and theoretically solid conceptualization. Specifically, it introduces CEM as a higher-order resource of cultural mindsets toward customer experiences (CEs), strategic directions for designing CEs, and firm capabilities for continually renewing CEs, with the goals of achieving and sustaining long-term customer loyalty. We disclose a typology of four distinct CEM patterns, with firm size and exchange continuity delineating the pertinent contingency factors of this generalized understanding. Finally, we discuss the findings in relation to recent theoretical research, proposing that CEM can comprehensively systemize and serve the implementation of an evolving marketing concept.
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