Investigating B-to-B Social Media Implementation: E-Marketing Orientation and Media Richness Perspective

Investigating B-to-B Social Media Implementation: E-Marketing Orientation and Media Richness Perspective

Ying Kai Liao (Nanhua University, Dalin, Taiwan), Candice Chang (National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan) and Giang Nu To Truong (Nanhua University, Dalin, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/JECO.2020010102


Social media usage keeps exploding all over the world which makes it an incrementally important resource to be more competitive in both business-to-customer and business-to-business marketing. However, even though social media has been widely used in B-to-B, previous researches still claim that B-to-B marketers are far behind B-to-C marketers either in the level of use or in the sophistication for social media. Building on the electronic marketing orientation (EMO) proposition and media richness theory, this research conducted a series of in-depth interview to understand inter-relationships between research constructs in a B-to-B context. Using a survey approach, the study shows that organizational cultural and cross-department coordination have significant influence on the implementations, adoption and business performance of B-to-B social media. These results of 103 respondents can prove the important references for academicians to conduct further empirical validations, and helpful for professionals to identify their marketing strategies to facilitate B-to-B business.
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In this information age, most of the social media are mainly well implemented in B-to-C markets and B-to-C companies already have sophisticated knowledge in managing social media (Dessart, Veloutsou & Morgan-Thomas, 2015; Hsiao et al, 2019; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Even though B-to-B marketers use social media in many occasions, previous researches still claimed that B-to-B marketers are far behind B-to-C marketers either in the level of using and or the level of sophistication for social media (Itani, Agnihotri & Dingu, 2017; Salo, 2017). However, many evidences have indicated that incorporating with social media into B-to-B sales are very effective. For instance, Molex Inc., a manufacturer of electronic connectors, utilized Twitter, YouTube, and Blogs to extend its sales opportunities abroad; or IBM successfully explored IT buyers’ accurate language to search for software topics so that they can accordingly customized instructional videos which lead to sales leads (Heller, Baird & Parasnis, 2011).

In general, organizations differ the way in doing business when they have different orientation. Kohli and Jaworsk (1990) argued that market orientation is generating, dissemination organization-wide information and responding appropriately to present and future customer demands and preference. However, market orientation is designed for traditional marketing activities without considering B-to-B issues. This study thus adopts Electronic Marketing Orientation (EMO) to the phenomenon of B-to-B. Electronic Marketing Orientation (EMO) not only contains a philosophical component about Marketing Orientation, but also moves along with electronic and digital marketing which is more proper for the implementation of B-to-B social media marketing (Habibi et al., 2015). Developed in the B-to-B context, EMO brings a further benefit which enables it to appraise e-marketing (Anche, Hozouri & Mehdizadeh, 2014). Other studies, such as Jussila, Kärkkäinen and Aramo-Immonen (2014) and Shaltoni and West (2010) also suggested a strong case for firms to develop EMO in the context of B-to-B. Hence, social media marketing had begun to be associated with organization orientation, and further regarded EMO as a basic framework to discuss B-to-B social media marketing. This study intends to fill the research gap and integrate relevant variable of EMO to explain the practices of B-to-B social media marketing.

First of all, previous research has demonstrated the relationship between EMO on B-to-B social media implementation (Habibi et al., 2015), however, the variables underlying each EMO components are still quite conceptual with no empirical validation. The ambiguity may result in unclearly and ineffectively implement of social media marketing, this study aims to acquire practical variables underlying EMO model through the interview with B-to-B experienced marketers. Secondly, the inter-relationship between components of EMO in different level has not been completely explored (Shaltoni & West, 2010). Moreover, the link between EMO and business performance is also not well developed (Habibi et al., 2015). It is suggested that the integration between the inter-relationship of EMO components and successful business performance deserves more evaluation. Thirdly, some measurement items in B-to-B social media are still quite new which have not been studied from literature review. This study creates the measurement items such as brand exposure, inquiry, call volume, fan number, click rate and brand identity.

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