Can Marketing Strategies Enhance the Adoption of Electronic Government Initiatives?

Can Marketing Strategies Enhance the Adoption of Electronic Government Initiatives?

Antonis C. Simintiras (School of Management, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, UK), Yogesh K. Dwivedi (School of Management, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, UK) and Nripendra P. Rana (School of Management, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/ijegr.2014040101
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Abstract

This article assesses the role and likely impact of marketing on the adoption of e-government initiatives. Although the role of tactical marketing in increasing awareness and enhancing adoption has been recognised, strategies required for realising the benefits of marketing e-government services have not been forthcoming. Given that citizens' usage behaviour of e-government services remains sub-optimal and the potential contribution of marketing, we propose a set of marketing-based strategic approaches and argue that they can play an essential role in enhancing adoption of e-government initiatives and propelling citizen's engagement with e-governance. Based on citizens' differential levels of usage behaviour of e-government services and benefits sought from engaging in e-governance, this article classifies citizens into six distinct segments and suggests generic strategic approaches.
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Marketing, E-Government And E-Governance

The fundamental premise of marketing is to satisfy customers profitably. The success of a marketing strategy is based on understanding the needs of consumers prior to designing products and/or services in order to satisfy those needs. Heterogeneity in consumer needs often requires market segmentation for the purpose of targeting those with similar needs, hence those that are most likely to benefit from the offering. Then, the incremental value of the offering (i.e., its competitive advantage) is communicated to the target consumers. The incremental value could be functional (e.g., better service quality in comparison to existing services), psychological (e.g., better fit with the image and lifestyle of consumers) and/or temporal (e.g., time saving advantages stemming from service use). The axiom that the higher the perceived value of the offering the higher will be the likelihood of its acceptance and success, is both universal and transferable to non-commercial setting.

E-government and e-governance initiatives belong to the sphere of non-commercial activities and despite some similarities with their commercial counterparts (i.e., the adoption process over time), main differences exist. For example, the main motivation of commercial organizations is to meet, and often exceed, customer expectations by providing high in value offerings that maximize customer satisfaction. Government departments, according to Evans and Yen (2006, p. 208), however, have little motivation to meet citizens’ expectations. This, by and large, is true and poses a fundamental impediment on the usefulness of marketing to e-government initiatives. Although assertions that nowadays government employees contemplate more with the view that citizens should be treated as customers is encouraging, citizens’ satisfaction still remains a by-product of an efficient service provision (i.e., transaction satisfaction) rather than satisfaction with the service itself. The critical question, therefore, is ‘can adoption of e-government initiatives benefit from marketing and if so how?’

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