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The usage of digital marketing channels in SMEs

Heini Maarit Taiminen (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.)
Heikki Karjaluoto (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 16 November 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the utilization and goals of digital marketing, and examines factors that influence the adoption and use of digital marketing channels in SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

The data comprises semi-structured theme interviews in SMEs among 16 managers and 421 survey respondents in Central Finland.

Findings

The results of this study reveal that SMEs seem not use the full potential of the new digital tools, and so are not deriving benefit from the opportunities they provide. Furthermore, the results also raise the question of whether SMEs have understood the fundamental change in the nature of communication brought about by digitization.

Research limitations/implications

The data comes from one region and thus the research context limits the generalizability of the results.

Practical implications

SMEs seem not to be keeping pace with digital developments, mostly due to the lack of knowledge of digital marketing. Most of the studied SMEs do not apply the full potential of the new digital tools and hence are not benefitting fully from them.

Social implications

Discussions on the future regional development of SMEs have called for training programmes to help SMEs exploit digitization. This is something that the government should take note of.

Originality/value

Whereas the adoption process of new technologies such as IT in general and the internet in particular have been examined in the SME literature, this is among the first studies examining adoption and usage of digital tools from the marketing perspective.

Keywords

Citation

Taiminen, H.M. and Karjaluoto, H. (2015), "The usage of digital marketing channels in SMEs", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 633-651. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-05-2013-0073

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited