Determinants of Distribution Firms’ E-Marketing Adoption and the Impact on Marketing Performance: An Empirical Study of E-Marketing Adoption and Implementation by Iranian Distribution Firms

Zahiri, Sepideh (2021) Determinants of Distribution Firms’ E-Marketing Adoption and the Impact on Marketing Performance: An Empirical Study of E-Marketing Adoption and Implementation by Iranian Distribution Firms. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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The Information Technology (IT) is a significant network for the market in a wide variety of industries and has become an important impact on the global economy, having penetrated on every aspect of individuals and organisations (Manyika et al., 2015). The employment of Information Technology and Information Systems by organisations, has raised the firms’ consciousness of digitalisation and reformed firms’ view about marketing strategies’ process, restructuring, and collecting information (Erum, Rafique, and Ali, 2017; Lee et al., 2011; and Margherita and Petti, 2010). E-Marketing, E-Commerce and other technological innovations have implemented better than traditional business methods, reduced and eliminated costs, and enhanced opportunities for organisations and businesses to develop their marketing activities into the online environment (Baden-Fuller and Haefliger, 2013; Devitt et al., 2009; Sheffield, 2019; and Choshin and Ghaffari, 2017). The distribution channel is one of the most important sectors in the economy of countries, that shortens the distance between manufactures and customers, resulting to greater productivity and creates a competitive advantage that leads to more profit for both parties in long-term (Mulky, 2013; Saldanha,2015).

In conjunction with this phenomenon, prior studies recommend that there is an increasing number of distribution firms conducting their marketing activities through the adoption of technology innovations in both developed and developing countries (e.g., Munyasi, 2015; Lin and He, 2014; and Okwara and Emmanuel Nlemchukwu, 2019; and Anđelković, Barac, and Radosavljević, 2017). However, emerging countries are weak and slow in developing, adopting, and implementing technological innovations and are lagging in embracing their business and marketing strategies with such tools (Iddris and Ibrahim, 2017; El-Gohary and El-Gohary, 2016; and Mutlu, Sürer, 2015). UNCTAD (2021), and OECD (2021) have recorded a lower share of GDP value by firms in emerging countries vis-à-vis developed countries. This is due to the high number of issues such as degree of IT literacy, low-level of incomes, cultural resistance inside and outside of the organisations, the lack of development of business strategies, etc. (Molla and Licker, 2005; Mutlu, Sürer, 2015; and Zahiri, and El-Gohary, and Hussain, 2018).

This study investigates the different factors influencing distribution firms’ decision to involve in E-Marketing adoption with their marketing activities in Middle Eastern countries (Such as Iran). This study also investigates the relationship between the distribution firms E-Marketing adoption and its marketing performance since the relationship remains ambiguous (Zahiri, El-Gohary, and Hussain, 2018). Moreover, the research deepens the understanding of the compound interrelationship between E-Marketing adoption determinants (that impacts managers/owners and top managers’ decision to involve in technology innovation adoption in their marketing activities) and how these determinant factors (both internal and external) have an impact upon distribution firms’ marketing performance.

This thesis underlines the following research questions: i) what are the different factors influencing the E-Marketing adoption of Iranian distribution firms? ii) How the integration of both internal and external factors affecting E-Marketing adoption by Iranian distribution firms? iii) What are the different tools and levels of implementation of Electronic Marketing by distribution firms in Iran? iv) What are the impacts of E-Marketing adoption on Iranian distribution firms' financial and non-financial performance?

The research methodology in this study has designed according to the post-positivist approach to answer the research questions and to achieve the study aims and objectives. This study deployed a triangulation approach, initiated from an in-depth review of the extant literature by systematically commencing from prior studies with the field. Consequently, to purify the findings from the review of the extant literature, the researcher conducted semi-structured, face-to-face, and focus group interviews with 28 Iranian managers/owners and top managers who were involved in E-Marketing implementation and adoption for conducting the marketing activities of distribution firms. The sample and interview participants of managers were chosen purposefully from the association of the Iranian distribution industry website that publicly is accessible. The organisations included in the research had already adopted and implemented technological innovations and were not in the initial stages of adoption or non-adopters.

This study has developed the conceptual framework and hypotheses by relying on the findings from the exploratory interviews. The next stage involved examining the conceptual framework through an empirical study to confirm its validity in describing distribution firms' E-Marketing adoption in Iran. A combination of the online and traditional mail survey questionnaires was conducted to examine the study hypotheses empirically. Finally, the study analysed 231 data collected from survey questionnaires with several statistical methods containing Cronbach-Alpha test, simple linear and multiple regression one sample T-Test, and structural equation modeling (SEM).

This research found that determinants factors of E-Marketing adoption of Iranian distribution firms vary. All measures related to environmental, individual, organisational, and technological characteristics have a significant relationship to E-Marketing adoption by Iranian distribution firms. The study also found technological attributes, and external IT support mediate the relationship between organisational factors and E-Marketing adoption as well as technological attributes, the intensity of national e-readiness, and external IT support mediates the relationship between Individual factors and E-Marketing adoption by Iranian distribution firms. The findings indicate that Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Marketing are the most commonly used Electronic Marketing tools, and the majority of distribution firms in Iran are in level three of E-Marketing implementation. Finally, E-Marketing adoption is found positively significant in impacting current and future marketing performance (both financial and non-financial measures) of distribution firms in Iran.

This study will contribute to the practitioners, academics and policymakers. For academics and researchers, the contribution of this study is about understanding different factors that impact on E-Marketing adoption, that numerous factors are yet undiscovered, and not examined in Iran such as individual/managerial and organisational attributes (as discussed in chapter 4 and chapter 11). Moreover, this study contributes to achieving the limited number of studies in determining different influencing factors of Iranian distribution firms E-Marketing adoption by utilising more holistic approaches, including both qualitative and quantitative techniques. This study also contributes to academic by differentiating E-Marketing determinants across distribution industry as previous literature was mostly focusing on SMEs (by focusing on both manufactures and services in all sectors) and tourism and hospitability industry in Iran context. Moreover, the study expands the integrative models developed by Rabie (2013), Al-Somali (2011), and Rahayu (2015) by investigating the role of managerial/individual attributes with new variables adopted from MPCU and e-readiness elements adopted from PERM on E-Marketing adoption. Finally, the contribution regarding the theoretical foundation integrates six theories of technology adoption instead of using single or two theories.

For practitioners, this study provides a holistic guideline for CEO, marketers, IT experts, business managers/owners, and all other parties that deploy or are developing to use Electronic Marketing for conducting marketing activities or seek determinants that can increase the E-Marketing adoption process of their organisations. Moreover, distribution firms may use the outcomes as a guideline to strengthen their organisations and to be more competitive in their industry markets. Policymakers, governmental agencies, software vendors, and business support agencies may also benefit from this research regarding accommodating support to firms (in general) and distribution firms (in particular) who inspire to diversify their business through technological innovation adoption and E-Marketing, which in turn, will help the government in enhancing Gross Domestic Product performance and provide more employability prospects for nations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
August 2021Submitted
18 November 2021Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Distribution Firms; Iran; Determinants; E-Marketing Adoption; Marketing Performance; Empirical Study
Subjects: CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-01 - business and management (non-specific)
CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-03 - marketing
CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-09 - others in business and management
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > Birmingham City Business School
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2022 13:52
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2023 11:48

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