Research forms a core precept of higher learning. In an academic setting, this endeavor is formally recognized as scholarship. Boyer et al. (2015) view scholarship to extend beyond simply engaging in original research to also include bridging theory and practice, integrating ideas from across disciplines, and effective communication of research findings to the knowledge community. In essence, scholarship can infuse vigor and vitality to the academic institution and can help create a proclivity towards knowledge creation. The aura behind the scholarly research is aptly captured by William Bowen, the former president of Princeton University. He offers that scholarly research “reflects our pressing, irrepressible need as human beings to confront the unknown and to seek understanding for its own sake. It is tied inextricably to the freedom to think freshly, to see propositions of every kind in ever-changing light. And it celebrates the special exhilaration that comes from a new idea” (Bowen 1987, p. 269). Such exalted viewpoints of scholarly research propelling the academic community to a higher plane of learning lead us to the natural question. How then, should scholarly research be conducted? Even more so, how should rigorous and relevant scholarly research that has actionable implications be conducted?
In this section, we examine the application of the principles of customer engagement (CE) into practice. We discuss in brief the construct of CE, and the new research that examines the link between CE and marketing practice. We then discuss each of the five chapters that comprise this section, focusing on a specific application of CE principles in a specific context. We start with a theoretical organization of the chapters that presents them as vital to understanding the creation of firm–customer relationships. We then present a brief synopsis of all chapters beginning with the chapter on a multi-step framework to help manage partner engagement in the B2B context, followed by discussing the chapter on how gamification can be an effective CE Marketing Initiative. We then delve into an examination of how design thinking can be implemented to enhance overall CE, followed by a chapter on online customer reviews as the virtual manifestations of customer engagement with brands. Finally, we focus on the last chapter contained in this section that discusses how engagement and technology can act as key enablers for a circular, more sustainable economy. We conclude by reiterating the relevance and applicability of CE to marketing practice and discuss possible areas for future research and application.