The Growth of New Digital Media Case Assignment
Order ID 53563633773 Type Essay Writer Level Masters Style APA Sources/References 4 Perfect Number of Pages to Order 5-10 Pages
The Growth of New Digital Media Case Assignment
The growth of new digital media in the first decade of the twenty‐first century has seen a transformation of marketing communication, with 94 per cent of marketing executives responding to a 2010 survey indicating that they expect to spend more on social media over the following three years ( Busby et al. , 2010 ). One of the newest forms of social media is micro‐blogging, most commonly associated with Twitter. Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has accumulated more than 175 million users ( Twitter.com, 2011 ), with recent growth described as ‘explosive’ ( Lefkow, 2010 ). Twitter and other social media platforms create additional marketing communications channels, but can also add to an organisation’s costs: for example PepsiCo’s Gatorade brand has five full‐time employees working in what the organisation calls “Mission Control”, monitoring Twitter conversations, blogs, and online and social media performance ( Busbyet al., 2010 ; Ostrow, 2010 ). However the effectiveness or efficiency of the strategy is unclear, with Gatorade’s major competitor, Coca‐Cola’s Powerade, experiencing much larger growth in sales, despite a much lower social media presence ( Bauerlein, 2010 ).
One of the challenges for organisations attempting to develop an effective and efficient Twitter strategy is the lack of theoretical or empirical evidence on use of Twitter. While there has been substantial research into why individuals use Twitter (e.g. Honeycutt and Herring, 2009 ; Java et al. , 2007 ), there are only a few studies on the use of Twitter by organisations, and, at the time of writing, most of these were published in conference proceedings, and no studies of organisational Twitter use were found in a search of marketing journals. Thus, despite its potential, importance for external communications, there is very little research evidence to guide managers in developing a cost‐effective strategy for organisational use of Twitter.
Previous research into the use of Twitter by organisations has included studies of Twitter use for internal communication ( Ehrlich and Shami, 2010 ; Riemer and Richter, 2010 ; Zhao and Rosson, 2009 ), and for research, with Twitter described as an online listening tool ( Crawford, 2009 ) and as a means of crowd sourcing ( Ehrlich and Shami, 2010 ). Twitter’s greatest potential for organisations is, arguably, for external communication with customers, but very few peer‐reviewed studies have analysed this usage: in this context, Twitter has been described as a tool to create electronic word of mouth ( Jansen et al. , 2009b ), as a viral marketing mechanism ( Asur and Huberman, 2010 ) and as a form of online word of mouth branding ( Jansen et al. , 2009a ). Twitter is, however, different from other marketing communications media, which can be classified inter alia, as one‐to‐one (e.g. e‐mail), one‐to‐many (e.g. mass media) and many‐to‐many (e.g. the web and online groups) ( Hoffman and Novak, 1996 ).
In contrast, tweets by an organisation will typically be one‐to‐many (since the default is for all tweets to be public) but will often function as a one‐to‐one mechanism (when a tweet is a reply to an individual) with a potentially large audience for that tweet, since the reply will usually be visible to others. Tweets can be only one‐to‐one, since a private message can be sent to a follower (that is, to someone who has elected to receive tweets from the account).
However this option is not available to reply to someone who is not following the organisation, so an organisation cannot reply privately to a tweet by someone who is not a follower. Thus, Twitter is perhaps unique among interactive marketing communications in that a reply to an individual (a one‐to‐one communication) is visible to a much larger audience, which, as will be discussed later, can result in problems with the use of Twitter as a response medium. In the next section, we review earlier research on interactive communications, and develop a theoretical framework for the analysis of organisational use of Twitter.
1.1 Twitter as an interactive communications medium
In a review of the changing role of corporate communication, Duncan and Moriarty (1998 , p. 8) concluded that interactivity between the organisation and customer is a “hallmark of the paradigm shift in both marketing and communication”, and argued that an increase in interactivity makes communication “an even more valuable element of marketing”. With its potential for personalised communication with individuals who have chosen to follow an organisation’s Twitter feed, Twitter clearly increases the scope for interactive communication by organisations with their customers. It is unsurprising, therefore, that more organisations are developing Twitter accounts as an additional way of communicating with customers: for example 60 per cent of Fortune 500 organisations had a Twitter account by late 2010 (up from 35 per cent the previous year), compared to only 56 per cent with a Facebook account at the same time ( Barnes, 2010 ).
Despite growing interest in interactive communications, there is no clear agreement on the definition of interactivity ( Koolstra and Bos, 2009 ), with a recent book stating that “an exact definition of interactivity is still being debated” ( Pavlik and McIntosh, 2011 , p. 69). Two contrasting interpretations of interactivity have been identified in the literature ( Hoffman and Novak, 1996 ; Sicilia et al. , 2005 ; Song and Zinkhan, 2008 ); the first, reflecting communications research, has been termed the “interpersonal view” ( Macias, 2003 ), and sees interactivity as involving communication between individuals and/or organisations, with a continuum of interactivity ranging from non‐interactive, one way communications (such as radio and television), reactive communications, when messages respond to or refer to earlier ones, and fully interactive communications, when communications incorporate preceding messages, in a process which has been described as a “related or threaded manner” (e.g. Rafaeli, 1988 ; Rafaeli and Sudweeks, 1997 ; Sundar et al. , 2003 ).
The second view of interactivity suggests that it is based on the structure of the medium, and is typically ascribed to Steuer (1992) , who defined interactivity as “the extent to which users can participate in modifying the messages they receive” (p. 84). This view has been summarised by Hoffman and Novak (1996) as “machine interactivity”. Under this view of interactivity, web sites have been classified as providing different levels of interactivity, depending on the presence of features such as links, chat facilities and access to extra features such as video and audio ( Coyle and Thorson, 2001 ; Ha and James, 1998 ; Macias, 2003 ; Sicilia et al. , 2005 ). Research into web sites has suggested that increased interactivity is associated with higher comprehension ( Macias, 2003 ), more information processing, higher favourability and greater flow state ( Sicilia et al. , 2005 ) and a more positive user response to the subject of the web site ( Sundar et al. , 2003 ). Increased interactivity in an online advertisement has also been associated with increased involvement with the advertisement ( Fortin and Dholakia, 2005 ).
Twitter can provide both types of interactivity: it allows both “interpersonal interactivity” (through exchange of messages between an organisation and individual, and by referencing others’ messages) and also “machine interactivity”, for example through the use of embedded hyperlinks, which allow a tweet receiver to access extra information by clicking on links embedded within tweets.
Organisational tweets can therefore be classified, as we describe in the following section, as reflecting different types of interactivity. The research into interactivity in web sites discussed previously would suggest that tweets demonstrating higher levels of interactivity might lead to more positive recipient response. However organisations may have different strategic aims in their use of Twitter; variations in the use of Twitter might also arise from variations in organisational type (for example a service organisation might use Twitter differently from an organisation selling physical goods). There may also be differences in the use of Twitter in geographic markets with varying levels of Twitter usage. Duncan and Moriarty (1998) have argued that strategic consistency is critical for marketing communications, and that executional consistency is a basic premise of relationship marketing; that is, messages should be consistent and appropriate for their target audiences. While different organisations may therefore use different forms of communications, and may use varying forms at different times, the principle of strategic consistency would suggest that in the absence of market specific differences in strategy, organisations will use similar content mixes in their communications in different geographic markets. However, there has been very limited academic work examining organisational use of Twitter, and no comparative studies across different geographic markets. Use of Twitter is greatest in the USA, with 62.1 per cent of all Twitter users, with Australia the fifth largest user, with 2.2 per cent of users ( Cheng et al. , 2009 ). As a result, in addition to classifying tweets according to their level of interactivity, we classify and contrast the message content of tweets from comparable organisations in different geographic markets, and consider the implications for strategic use of Twitter as a marketing communications channel.
The Growth of New Digital Media Case Assignment
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