The Emergence of Social Media as a Contemporary Marketing Practice

The Emergence of Social Media as a Contemporary Marketing Practice

T. Solomon (Massey University, New Zealand) and R. Peter (Massey University, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0559-4.ch017
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Abstract

In this era of rapid technological change, Social Media has emerged as a key marketing practice in the ICT sector in India. In this chapter, the authors examine the emergence of Social Media as a marketing practice, its application in Relationship Marketing and Market Research and the influence of these on Customer Satisfaction in a B2B market. This research integrates Social Media with the widely prevalent Marketing Management and Relationship Marketing paradigms. A web based survey was used to collect data from a sampling frame of ICT firms in India. Factor analysis evidenced the emergence of Social Media as a unique and distinct factor. It also clearly shows the use of Social Media for Relationship Marketing and Market Research purposes by these ICT firms. Multiple regression analysis showed a significant positive relationship between the independent variables - Social Media, Relationship Marketing and Market Research and the dependent variable Customer Satisfaction.
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Introduction

There has been a revolutionary growth in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in India since 2001. According to a report prepared by the trade council of India (2014), the revenue of the country’s ICT sector was valued at USD 108 billion and is expected to reach USD 220 billion by 2020. As of 2014 this sector had the highest relative share of 9.5% in the national gross domestic product (National Association of Software and Services Companies, 2015). ICT also contributes to economic growth, globalization, foreign exchange earnings, market diversification, employment generation and socio-cultural developments of the country (Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, 2010).

The marketing of high technology products, such as the ICT products, differs significantly from the marketing of other low technology products (Mohr, Sengupta & Slater, 2010; Yadav, Swami & Pal, 2006; Traynor & Traynor, 2004). This difference is attributed to the volatile marketing environment of the high technology firms which is characterised by market uncertainty, technological uncertainty and competitive volatility (Mohr et al, 2010).

In spite of the widely acknowledged differences in marketing practices of the technology intensive firms, very little research has been undertaken to identify the strategic marketing practices that are adopted by these firms (Hills & Sarin, 2003). The gap in literature for the general theory development related to the marketing for HT firms has also been identified by Uslay, Malhotra and Citrin (2004). Their study noted the need for both conceptual and empirical research regarding the marketing practices of HT firms. This paper explores some of the marketing practices of ICT firms.

The use of social media in the B2B market clients is a relatively a new phenomenon and remains largely unexplored in literature (Järvinen, Tollinen, Karjaluoto & Jayawardhena, 2012; Schultz, Schwepker & Good, 2012). ICT firms have the technological competency to use online networks and their customers are proficient in internet use. These firms rely on the internet more than any other firms in the business sector. Hence engagement in social media platforms has become a strategic choice for the success of these firms. Because of the importance of the ICT firms to the Indian economy, Sarin (2012) also addressed the need for more research into the strategic marketing practices of these technology intensive firms.

The objective of this paper is to enhance the understanding of Social Media as a contemporary marketing practice. Further it also explores the link between Social Media, Relationship Marketing and Market Research and their influence on Customer Satisfaction in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) firms in India. This is a part of a larger study in which the authors investigated the marketing practices of the ICT firms in India and their influence on Customer Satisfaction and Firm Performance. The specific research questions of this paper are:

  • 1.

    Is there evidence to support that Social Media is a contemporary marketing practice?

  • 2.

    Is there a nexus between Social Media, Relationship Marketing and Market Research practices of these ICT firms?

  • 3.

    What is the influence of Social Media, Relationship Marketing and Market Research practices on Customer Satisfaction in these ICT firms?

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