Volume 11 (2023-24)

Each volume of Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing consists of four 100-page issues in both print and online. 

The articles published in Volume 11 are listed below

Volume 11 Number 3

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice papers
    Design for engagement in digital omni-channel: From funnel to loop
    Seann Lautner, Air New Zealand

    In the information-loaded digital age, the modern customer interacts with businesses through a multitude of channels, including websites, social media, physical stores, mobile apps, in-person and more. As a result, customer engagement has become increasingly complex and fragmented, and the traditional linear marketing funnel approach is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of modern customers. Instead, businesses must embrace a continuous loop of engagement and interaction across channels, known as the omni-channel approach, to create seamless and personalised customer engagement. This paper explores this shift in customer engagement strategies from a linear funnel approach to a continuous loop of interaction in an omni-channel environment. It provides a platform to share insights and best practices in designing engaging and seamless customer journeys that span multiple touch points. The scope of the paper includes, but is not limited to, such topics as customer experience, omni-channel marketing, loyalty programmes, emerging technologies, user behaviour and centralised data platforms. The paper takes a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on such fields as digital marketing, design, psychology and technology, in the context of experience design strategy, to provide a comprehensive understanding of engagement design in an omni-channel context. It also addresses the challenges and opportunities presented by the emerging subscription model as a new loyalty strategy and how it fits into the loop of engagement design. The paper contributes to the development of a holistic approach to engagement design that prioritises the customer’s needs, preferences and behaviours, and recognises the importance of continuous and personalised interactions across channels. By sharing knowledge and insights, this paper can help create meaningful and long-lasting relationships with customers and achieve sustainable engagement in a rapidly changing digital ecosystem.
    Keywords: engagement design; omni-channel; funnel; loop; customer experience; multichannel interaction; seamless customer journey; CX; UX

  • The future of marketing: How cultural understanding contributes to the success of brand positioning and campaigns
    Janina Jahns, Scotch (Latin America and The Caribbean), Diageo

    The digital revolution has reshaped marketing, requiring brands to embed themselves in the cultural fabric to build trust and loyalty. This paper equips readers with actionable knowledge and skills to excel in this paradigm shift. The paper explores how cultural understanding can drive the success of brand positioning and campaigns in an ever-changing world. This exploration uncovers the convergence of innovation, creativity and data in crafting a new era of marketing where imagination knows no bounds. Key takeaways include: (1) Understanding cultural relevance: Culture is a driving force influencing consumer behaviour and perceptions. Brands must grasp cultural nuances to connect with diverse audiences authentically. This involves adapting products, messaging and values to resonate with specific cultural contexts. (2) Harnessing Big Data: Employing advanced analytics tools and techniques allows marketers to target effectively, create data-driven strategies, and gain insights into consumer behaviour. The combination of surveys, social media listening and data mining reveals valuable patterns and trends. (3) Omni-channel journeys: To remain relevant, brands must deliver a seamless customer experience across various channels — online and offline. Omni-channel marketing ensures consistent messaging and personalised interactions, enhancing customer engagement and loyalty. (4) The impact of influencer marketing: The rise of influencers has democratised influence, reshaping how brands connect with consumers. Leveraging influencer partnerships and user-generated content helps build cultural relevance and authenticity, resonating with consumers. (5) Redefining partnerships: Collaborations with like-minded partners across sports, music, influencers, and more, amplify brand relevance. Partnerships should align with brand values, resonate with consumers, and deliver against business objectives. The paper underscores the need for culture-centric approaches, emphasising genuine connections, active participation and meaningful brand purpose. By embracing cultural understanding, harnessing data-driven strategies, adopting omni-channel tactics, leveraging influencers and redefining partnerships, marketers can navigate the evolving landscape and thrive in the future of marketing.
    Keywords: cultural marketing; consumer centricity; data-driven; omni-channel marketing

  • Building the case to embed a digital mindset among internal stakeholders
    Gregg M. Arbittier, Jazz Pharmaceuticals

    The use of data and technology is necessary to compete for the attention of customers in the current market. To remain relevant and competitive, businesses must adapt to evolving customer preferences and behaviours, such as the desire for increased convenience, personalisation and seamless experiences across all channels. Furthermore, the line between brand strategy and digital strategy is becoming increasingly blurred, with a strong digital presence and omni-channel approach now an essential component of a successful brand strategy. Unfortunately, appropriate internal stakeholders are not always of the same mindset. This paper helps the reader progress the digital mindset of their stakeholders to validate the argument that ‘digital marketing’ is no longer a separate concept from marketing as a whole, but rather an essential component of it. The growth and entanglement of marketing and digital, as well as ‘proof points’ to further influence the advancement of a digital mindset in their organisation, will be discussed.
    Keywords: omni-channel; change management; leadership; digital strategy; KPI; customer insights

  • Search marketing in the age of AI: Understanding the marketing implications of search, assistive and answer engines
    Jason Barnard, Kalicube, and Matt Artz, Azimuth Labs and Fordham University

    The evolution of search engines necessitates a shift in digital marketing for companies, products, services and personal brands towards optimising for artificial intelligence and knowledge algorithms. This paper investigates the significance of search, assistive and answer engines in the future of digital marketing, and the critical role of multimodality, including text, image, video and, potentially, virtual worlds. By proposing a framework for managing and optimising marketing efforts centred on understanding, credibility and deliverability, this paper uses case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach.
    Keywords: answer engines; search marketing; artificial intelligence; search engine optimisation; SEO; knowledge graphs; semantic search; multimodal search

  • Research Papers
    Tweeting about female empowerment: How corporate brands communicate femvertising on Twitter
    Christian Rudeloff, Hochschule Macromedia, University of Applied Sciences and Jana Kohnen, Concept developer and copywriter

    The increasing visibility of female empowerment marketing messages and the growing awareness of gender equality and diversity among consumers have highlighted the relevance of femvertising communication. However, there is a lack of research on the status of femvertising communication on social media and its success factors. To address this gap in the literature, this paper conducts a quantitative content analysis of 40,528 tweets from 43 corporate brands across 15 industries on Twitter (subsequently rebranded to ‘X’). The results show that femvertising communication is present across almost all brands and industries. While the financial services and consumer goods industries are the most likely to engage in femvertising, the logistics, automotive and beverage industries are less likely to do so. Overall, brands mainly communicate the femvertising dimensions of knowledge and agency. In addition, they primarily implement an information strategy to communicate femvertising, which is also shown to be more successful in generating social media engagement than the involvement communication strategy.
    Keywords: femvertising; information strategy; involvement strategy; social media engagement; corporate brands; content analysis; Twitter

  • Airlines and corporate sustainability initiatives: Unrecognised value
    Dixie Button and Doreen Mcgunagle, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Laura Zizka, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne//HES-SO University of Applied Sciences Western and Arts, and Patti Clark, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

    In this research the authors sought to better understand the formal and informal (social media) communication channels utilised by 28 airlines worldwide. The primary motivations focused on how the airlines communicate sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to stakeholders, and the resulting impact, if any, on corporate reputation. To better align the stakeholder segments of the airlines, the airlines were segmented into two categories: full-service carriers (FSCs) and low-cost (no frills) carriers (LCCs). Data analyses from 28 airlines worldwide were conducted to determine whether FSCs or LCCs gain higher engagement in their formal and informal communication of CSR/ sustainability initiatives. Although the results were mixed, the study finds that, regardless of type of airline category, the communication of CSR/sustainability efforts enhances stakeholder engagement and improves corporate reputation regardless of type of communication channel. These findings, which transcend the aviation sector, highlight the importance of using both formal and informal channels to communicate inter alia customer service initiatives. Highlights include the application of CSR/ sustainability social media communication practices to a selected group of international airlines and how such practices correlate with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, in the airline context. Finally, based on the research results, the paper presents recommendations to improve the communication of CSR/sustainability goals and hence corporate reputation.
    Keywords: airline sustainability; social media; corporate reputation/social responsibility; sustainable development goals

  • Reconnoitring the comparative landscape of print and mobile media in Dubai
    Suzanne L. Conner, College of Business and Computing, Georgia Southwestern State University and Dennis Lee, American University in Dubai

    This study investigates the effect of print and mobile advertising media on consumer behaviour in an advanced emerging economy. A review of current advertising expenditures in the region and pertinent literature is followed by primary research to explore the differences. The results demonstrate that mobile advertising may improve attitude towards the advertisement and be perceived as more novel. However, attitude towards the brand and purchase intention were not significantly affected by the medium. The paper goes on to consider the implications of this work for marketing communication decisions and future research.
    Keywords: Dubai; mobile advertising; print advertising; marketing strategy; consumer behaviour; emerging economy

Volume 11 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice papers
    TikTok as an influencer marketing channel for user acquisition
    Amanda Allegrini, OneFootball

    This paper describes how OneFootball partnered with a number of social media influencers on TikTok to drive the acquisition of OneFootball app users. The paper describes the different organic and paid formats used to drive app installs, and how influencer marketing and paid user acquisition intertwine in this context. By discussing the learnings from recent campaigns, the paper shines fresh light on the best practices for developing win-win partnerships with content creators, in addition to the potential impact of sustained investment in TikTok.
    Keywords:  TikTok; influencer marketing; app marketing; mobile marketing; user acquisition; social media

  • Unlocking sustainable e-commerce growth: The role of owned channels
    Cian Agnew, Wunderkind

    As consumers increasingly shift their purchasing habits online, brands are faced with the challenge of tapping into sustainable growth opportunities, while standing out in an increasingly crowded environment. Third-party platforms have been integral to e-commerce success, but as we head towards a cookie-free future, harnessing owned channels is going to become a retail essential. Brands will need to work smarter to reach customers new and old, keep buyers loyal, and shine a spotlight on everything that makes them unique. The paper discusses how owned channels give retailers control over customer interactions, brand experiences and data collection, empowering companies to build lasting relationships with their customers and establish a strong foundation for sustainable, long-term growth. The paper will also demonstrate how businesses can leverage owned channels to unlock new revenue streams, enhance customer loyalty and attain a competitive edge. The paper delves into the crucial role owned channels can play in driving sustainable e-commerce growth, explores the benefits they offer and the hurdles they can help brands overcome, as well as the strategies brands can employ to maximise their potential. Want to address the issue of abandoned digital shopping baskets? Interested in learning about the value of personalisation? Curious about the underutilised power of SMS? Read on. This paper will help businesses understand the importance of their owned channels in order to make informed decisions to optimise their digital presence, nurture customer relationships and achieve success in the short and long term.
    Keywords: digital marketing; e-commerce; retail; owned channels; e-mail marketing; first-party data

  • How business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers can future-proof their digital marketing strategies
    Manvee Sharma, Royal FrieslandCampina

    Continuous technological advancements and emerging consumer trends have rapidly changed the scope of digital marketing. The scope of digital marketing is increasingly leaning towards providing memorable customer experiences throughout the buying journey. At the same time, stricter data privacy laws are pushing digital marketers to think of innovative and effective ways to give their consumers and customers best-in-class experiences through personalisation. Through several case studies, this paper aims to provide inspiration to marketers in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies about the emerging trends in e-commerce, privacy-conscious marketing and artificial intelligence enabled personalisation. It also discusses the importance of getting back to the basics of marketing to build a strong digital strategy for the future.
    Keywords: digital marketing; digital transformation; digital marketing future; digital trends

  • Trust as a competitive advantage
    Simon Beyer, Ingager

    As technology moves forward, digital marketing provides fresh opportunities for brands and marketers. At the same time, however, it also becomes more complex. This paper discusses how understanding non-digital characteristics, such as trust, is becoming ever more important for brands, particularly at a time of increasing polarisation in society. The paper argues that brands should view trust as a source of competitive advantage and provides evidence to support this. Specifically, the paper will show that brands that manage to build and maintain trust will see increased conversion rates, higher brand awareness and stronger loyalty from consumers.
    Keywords: digital; marketing; trust; branding; competitive

  • Curing pilotitis in digital marketing among life sciences companies
    David Davidovic, pathForward

    Across the various sectors of the life sciences industry, companies have used a variety of digital tools to support the marketing of their products and services. Many, however, find themselves struggling with ‘pilotitis’: a persistent condition that prevents them from scaling up their digital marketing efforts by keeping them stuck in small-scale experiments. Pilotitis stems from a lack of clear purpose and direction, fear of failure, lack of digital literacy, low investments in data and measurement and other factors. As this article will show, companies that want to break free from pilotitis must embrace digital as a strategic priority, invest in data and measurement tools, build skilled digital marketing teams, train and educate their leadership, and have the courage to take calculated but substantial risks. By doing so, they can unlock the full potential of digital marketing to reach and engage their audience more effectively and stay ahead of their competition.
    Keywords: pilotitis; digital marketing; omni-channel; pharmaceutical; biotechnology; diagnostics; healthcare; digital transformation; change management

  • Case study
    The Michigan State Parks Photo Ambassadors programme: A case Study
    Stephanie M. Yancer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Division

    This paper discusses how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Division used Instagram to create a community of volunteers, known as the Michigan State Parks Photo Ambassadors. By means of a case study, the paper shows both why and how the department uses this social media strategy. It describes how the framework for the programme was developed, how the ambassadors were solicited, their responsibilities and the steps taken to make the programme what it is today. Lessons learned and changes that have been made since the beginning of the programme are also discussed, in addition to how the Instagram account has grown since the inception of the programme in 2020.
    Keywords: Instagram; ambassador; influencer; government; community; social media content; social media strategy; media management

  • Research paper
    Influencers and their motivations to create content: A qualitative typology based on an international survey
    Florian Haumer and Castulus Kolo, Macromedia University, Alexander Roth, University of Cologne, and Rafael Schwarz, Territory Influence GmbH

    Social media influencers (SMIs) have become an internet phenomenon with significant impact on public opinion. Although SMIs are becoming more professional and are differentiating themselves in terms of content and communication styles, quantitative indicators such as reach and engagement rates are still at the centre of marketers’ attention. This study identifies and tests five qualitative types of social media influencers (‘storyteller’, ‘rationalist’, ‘expert’, world-changer’ and ‘extravert’) based on four key motivational factors for content creation from a broad international sample. The authors find differences regarding the relative frequencies of the identified SMI types between the surveyed countries. This study provides substantial insights for researchers and brand managers seeking to better understand influencer types and manage influencer relations respectively.
    Keywords: social media influencers; content creation; motivation-based typology; intercultural differences; factor analysis; cluster analysis

Volume 11 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Jumping off the social bandwagon: The importance of doing more with less and the key organisational changes required along the way
    Elizabeth Charlesworth, Head of Communications, The Old Vic, UK

    This paper provides a case study examination of how to realign your social strategy with organisational goals, with a focus on reducing and focusing activity for resource and budget-constrained industries. The paper explores channel demographics, how to navigate ever-changing best practice, TikTok strategy, social tone of voice, consistency of monitoring and measurement, and the stakeholder engagement involved in proposing and implementing a significant change to the way your organisation uses social media.
    Keywords:  social media strategy; tone of voice; social demographics; TikTok strategy; audience development,; monitoring and measurement

  • Marketers should use social media to build trust in their brand, but they must know how to measure it
    Charlotte Lander, Digital Marketing Strategist, UK; Rachel Harris, Director, Data Analytics & Insights, UK and Duarte Garrido, Digital Marketing Leader, UK

    In a world where the cycle of distrust is growing and societal fears increasing, building trust within your business ecosystem should be more important than ever. Trust is the new scale that marketing teams need to measure against, if they want to be around in the future. Knowing how best to measure trust requires understanding not only how your brand earns it but also the value it places on it. This paper outlines five practical ways to leverage social media to gain the trust of your target audience and how to measure your success..
    Keywords: social media; digital marketing; consumer behaviour; insights; measurement; trust

  • How Appian developed and delivered a successful business-to-business social media strategy
    Ehsan Khodarahmi, EMEA Social Media Manager, Appian Europe Ltd, UK

    To develop a social media strategy that delivers results, organisations must consider how they will interact and engage with their target audience. This requires building a solid infrastructure through strategic organic social media management and a systematic advocacy programme for brand awareness and content engagement purposes. It is also important to incorporate paid social media in the mix to expand reach, build brand awareness and improve social selling and lead generation. This article explains how Appian, a cloud computing and enterprise software company, increased social media operational efficiency by more than 40 per cent and reduced costs in less than two months, while improving performance across key measurements
    Keywords: B2B social media strategy; content marketing; B2B influencer marketing; corporate communications; employee advocacy; marketing communications

  • A formula for success: How Formula One racing embraced digital and social media to engage fans
    Natalie T. Wood, Associate Dean, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University, USA and Janée N. Burkhalter, Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Saint Joseph’s University, USA

    In January 2017, Liberty Media finalised its purchase of the world’s premier motor racing series, Formula 1. At the time of acquisition, the sport had developed a reputation as an ‘old boys club’. Global viewership and fan engagement were declining, and the sport had lost sponsors. This decline was largely attributed to a lack of marketing and a failure to adapt to the digital age. Liberty engaged in extensive marketing research to understand fans’ desires and interests to reverse this trend. Its research identified two key target markets: existing committed fans who skewed older and a new younger target market — millennials. To meet the needs of existing fans, Liberty developed a strategy that involved providing more detailed information about the sport through podcasts, enhanced YouTube videos and F1 TV streaming services. For younger fans new to the sport, Liberty created a number of initiatives across different platforms, including the Netflix docuseries ‘Drive to Survive’, an esports game, encouraging fans to vote for their favourite ‘Driver of the Day’, and promoting race-specific hashtags on social media. Liberty also recognised the importance and power of social media and the need for involvement at all levels of the sport — association, team, driver and sports member — to keep fans engaged year-round. This case study highlights the importance of data-informed decision making, understanding how fans are developed, what motivates them and how fan engagement manifests across different platforms.
    Keywords: sports; fandom; Formula 1; engagement; users and gratification; strategy

  • The onset of social entertainment: How prioritising authentic entertainment on social media will help brands succeed
    Jillian Robinson, Director, Global Communications and Events, Dash Hudson, USA

    As the information age evolves beyond its 50th year, significant shifts and disruptions are taking place, ushering in a new era. Within this evolution, the sophistication of the technologies that underpin the information age are evolving faster than ever before, making them almost unrecognisable from their original form. This transformation is causing social media platforms to move away from traditional connection-based feeds known as the social graph, to video-driven entertainment formats, known as the content graph. These rapid technological advancements have transformed consumer behaviour and have provided brands the opportunity to reset their strategies and lead within their industries. By fully embracing the participatory, engaging nature of the new social entertainment era, social media managers will be prepared to lead their industries and win consumers’ hearts and wallets for years to come. This paper examines the current changes happening within the social media landscape and the opportunities these shifts present for brands. The paper will also uncover how marketers can restrategise their efforts to drive business success in this new socially charged digital environment.
    Keywords: social entertainment; social media strategy; social media marketing; TikTok marketing; TikTok strategy; social commerce

  • Does it pay to polarise? The impact of brand activism on brand perceptions and purchase intentions in entrepreneurial marketing
    Christian Rudeloff, Hochschule Macromedia, University of Applied Sciences, Campus Hamburg, Germany and Hamasa Amin, Marketing Campaign Manager, Ad Alliance, Germany

    As consumers are showing an increasing awareness of societal and environmental issues, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has long become standard in marketing communications. Thus, it is no longer suitable for building a distinctive brand image. In this context, the concept of brand activism, in which brands take a bold stand on political issues, has gained prominence. Based on theoretical considerations, it can be assumed that brand activism is a promising approach, particularly for companies with a small market share, such as start-ups. Furthermore, as brand activism polarises, it can be expected that consumers’ perceived self-congruence with a brand is a prerequisite for its successful implementation. Against this background, this paper describes an online experiment to study the effects of CSR and brand activism in an entrepreneurial context. The results show that CSR and brand activism have a positive effect on brand perceptions, although purchase intentions are not found to be significantly influenced by either approach. Furthermore, no significant differences between CSR and brand activism could be found. Finally, the results indicate significant positive effects of self-congruence on brand perceptions and purchase intentions. This study shows the potential value of brand activism for start-ups while illustrating the importance of a careful analysis of stakeholders’ values to prevent negative effects on brand equity.
    Keywords: CSR; brand activism; self-congruence; brand perceptions; purchase intentions; start-ups; entrepreneurial marketing

  • Digital marketing and misinformation: Why we need a new professional ethics to guide our practice
    Jaigris Hodson, College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Royal Roads University, Canada

    In a time of misinformation, it is important for marketers, especially digital marketers, to consider how our practice inadvertently contributes to the problem. In a new, volatile and unpredictable information environment, our existing professional ethics may not be sufficient to address the ways we spread misinformation in our own work. This paper thus proposes a new way of thinking about the ethics of digital marketing so that marketers not only avoid spreading misinformation but also help to mitigate the problem more broadly. The paper proposes the development of a new professional ethics that is influenced by the moral philosophy of contractualism. Contractualism, as developed by T. J. Scanlon, begins with the question of ‘what we owe to each other’. It encourages people to think about ethics in terms of the social contract, thus considering stakeholders far beyond our clients, customers and shareholders. The paper will explain contractualism, how we might practise marketing in a contractualist way, and why doing so will help the fight against misinformation.
    Keywords: misinformation; social media marketing; digital marketing; professional ethics; moral philosophy

  • A decision-making characteristics framework for marketing attribution in practice: Improving empirical procedures
    Shashank Hosahally, Birmingham City University, UK and Arkadiusz Zaremba, University of Warsaw, Poland

    In today’s multi-channel environment, It is becoming increasingly difficult to implement advanced multi-touch attribution (MTA) models to facilitate advertising decision-making. This is due to the rising number of advertising platforms, such as TikTok, Metaverse and Google — each with its own unique attribution principles — and the decline in user-level disaggregated data. Over time, the development of marketing models has matured in parallel with the greater availability of consumer data and understanding of consumer behaviour. To overcome media optimisation challenges at the tactical and channel levels, e-commerce brands have replaced traditional media-mix methods with attribution methods that provide immediate insights into return on advertising spend. However, existing MTA models lack simplicity, robustness, ease of interpretation, and accuracy, all of which are critical attributes of decision-supporting models. To address this, this paper proposes a holistic conceptual framework that captures the various interplaying characteristics of attribution models in practice. The concept is based on the evolution of modelling and insights into the development of decision-making paradigms. The proposed architecture highlights the interactions between various tools, media categorisation and metrics, and how they influence media spend optimisation at the channel and tactical levels. The paper also describes some of the most recent advances in media measurement practices. By adopting the proposed framework, future advertisers can identify the best way to overcome the challenges of analysing marketing performance.
    Keywords: marketing attribution; incrementality; measurement; digital attribution; decision support frameworky