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Title: Social media in business-to-business marketing : a mixed methods approach
Author: Iankova, Severina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 7945
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2019
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Social media is progressing and advancing at a quick pace that requires dynamic research methods. This PhD therefore takes an alternative structure to a traditional thesis, consisting of four papers and applies mixed methods research in order to investigate social media within B2B domain. Specifically, the thesis applies relationship marketing theories and investigates how business relationships are developed and sustained through the uses of social media as an additional channel marketing tool. The 1st paper of the PhD is a systematic literature review consisting of 65 academic articles, which specifically focus on the topics of social media use within B2B organisations. Following the systematic review, the 2nd paper provides a comparative empirical investigation of the different practices employed by B2B, B2C and mixed business models, to explore the implied assumption in the literature that B2B businesses differ in their usage of social media from other types of business model, which is confirmed by the study. Following on from the findings of paper 2, the 3rd paper provides an in-depth investigation of the approaches taken by B2B firms in implementing social media, particularly focusing on the theoretical lens of developing dynamic capabilities around social media marketing practice. Finally, the 4th paper draws our focuses specifically onto the utilisation of social media as a relationship marketing channel in B2B firms, and investigates the activity, resources and actor layers which businesses utilize when using social media as a relationship management channel. The first paper is a systematic literature review. The second paper applies quantitative research methods, specifically utilising 449 responses to an exploratory panel- based survey and identifies differences in social media usage and its perceived importance as a communications tool. The 3rd and 4th paper apply a case study research method, consisting of the same 12 case studies with 47 in-depth interviews. The results of the 3rd paper show the journey organisations go through when implementing social media as a strategic tool and how organisations can put dynamic capabilities into practice and harnessing resources to build a capacity of sensing, shaping and seizing (3S Model) opportunities. The results of the 4th paper show how organisations use social media to develop relationships and networks. The thesis then draws all the papers together to discuss the practical and theoretical implications of the thesis for B2B relationship marketing theory, particularly around customer engagement and interaction, network management, multi-channel management, dynamic capabilities and strategic alignment.
Supervisor: Davies, Iain ; Archer-Brown, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Media ; business-to-business ; relationship marketing