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An Exploration of the Effect of Social Media in Developing Integrated Marketing Communications by Some Selected Firms in Bangladesh - a Study on Facebook

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An Exploration of the Effect of Social Media in Developing Integrated Marketing Communications by Some Selected Firms in Bangladesh - A Study on Facebook

Barota Chakraborty*

Navid Hasan**

Abstract: 

In this digital era, the term – social media has seen significant growth and interest over the past few years. Almost, all the companies in Bangladesh are now in attempt to practice marketing through the social media, along with the traditional marketing tools. The digital marketing agencies are specialized agencies in developing and operating marketing practices, through the digital media channels. As, this study intended to focus on the effect of social media in developing integrated marketing communications, three digital marketing agency - CookieJar, Magnito and WebAble have been selected. Applying the non-probability judgmental sampling technique, Dhaka Metropolitan City has been taken for analysis. Through the use of in-depth interviews, the authors have identified the activities and effect of using Facebook in developing an integrated marketing communication by some selected firms in Bangladesh. Finally, the implications of these findings are discussed and some recommendations have been made for the chosen entities.

Key Words: Social Media, Facebook, Integrate Marketing Communications. 

Introduction

In this era of technological explosion, social media has become a cultural and technological phenomenon currently pervading many aspects of business to consumer marketing. Nowadays, it is a powerful marketing communications channel, eliminating as well as altering the role of many traditional forms of interactive marketing communication mediums. Integrated Marketing Communications is an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign, through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce each other.

 

Social Media’s role in the promotional mix of an IMC strategy is twofold: firstly, to enable companies to talk to their customers; and secondly, to allow customers to talk to one another (Mangold & Faulds 2009). Social networking sites are the most popular way of social media marketing. These sites not only allow individuals to meet strangers, but also, they enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks, ideas, thoughts, feelings etc. There are different types of social networking sites that are involved in connecting people. Among all of them Facebook is the largest social networking site. As of 30th October 2013 Facebook has 1.15 billion MAUs (Monthly Active Users) (Marcelo Ballve, 2013). Recently, besides of providing networking services, Facebook marketing has also created a buzz in the corporate world. Customers and companies have found a new and easy way to get connected. Now almost all the companies and organizations have incorporated Facebook into their integrated marketing communications program.

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*         Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing, Faculty of Business Studies, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka-1342, Bangladesh.  E-mail: barota10mkt@gmail.com

**        Graduate Student, Department of Marketing, Faculty of Business Studies, ahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka-1342, Bangladesh.  E-mail: navidhasan00@gmail.com

Objectives

The overall objective of the research is to explore the effect of Facebook as a social media in developing integrated marketing communications b some selected firms in Bangladesh.

The specific objectives are as follows:

  • To identify the activities of Facebook marketing followed by the selected agencies in Bangladesh.
  • To determine how the selected firms assimilate use of Facebook with other IMC tools in Bangladesh and
  • To recommend some policies regarding the activities and effect of Facebook as a social media in developing integrated marketing communications in Bangladesh.

Literature Review

 

There have been many successful studies on both the integrated marketing communications and social media functions for marketing. The conclusive studies of IMC developments for making suggestions on how to implement, measure and adjust IMC programs to maximize organizational strategic outcomes. Yet the dearth of literature on social media as a new phenomenon within the IMC context shows the lack of a discussion on the connection or interplay between the two. Current literature in the area of IMC consistently focuses on the lack of a universal definition of IMC itself and lack of a conceptual framework that can be tested to facilitate further study of the dynamic forces at play in the execution of IMC programs.

Integrated Marketing Communications is an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign, through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce each other. A further definition that helps to provide background to this study was undertaken by Boon and Kurtz (2007), “Integrated marketing communications attempt to coordinate and control the various elements of the promotional mix - advertising, personal selling, public relations, publicity, direct marketing, and sales promotion - to produce a unified customer-focused message and, therefore, achieve various organizational objectives (Boone & Kurtz, 2007).

A main topic being studied involving social media as a marketing tool is Virtual Brand Communities (VBC). “VBC can be described as aggregations of consumers that occur on the internet because of their interest in some brand or product” (Muniz and O’Guinn as cited in Georgi and Mink 2012, 3). Specifically, a brand community is a group of people who share the same interest in a particular brand or product (Casaló, Favián and Guinalíu 2008). Overall, VBC’s are “the site[s] of complex brand meaning creation and consumption efforts” (Muñiz and Jensen Schau, 2007). Casaló, Favián and Guinalíu (2008) found when a member is trusting of the VBC that they are part of, it increases their amount of participation, and consumers who have a positive participation experience are more loyal to the brand. Trust is a central aspect to guarantee the VBC’s survival. Cha (2009) concludes that security is a major factor affecting a consumer’s opinions toward social networking sites and can ultimately impact trust.

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