Social Media Marketing and Traditional Marketing in Airlines Industry

Chapter 3: Research methodology

3.0 Overview

            The research methodology chapter provides an overview of the existing methodologies that can be used while commencing with a research work. Appropriate selection of research methodologies is necessary, as it helps in developing a constructive, conclusive and authentic study that relates the selection of the tools with the research topic successfully. The chapter throws light on the different layers of the research onion such as philosophy, approach, design, strategy, data collection and data analysis techniques. The data collected for research are done through a proper framework in order to maintain the quality of the work. The section also sheds light on the crucial research ethics and the issues that potentially arise while completion of research successfully.

3.1 Research outline

            In accordance with the topic, it can be said that positivism philosophy, deductive approach, descriptive design and case study research strategy has been used. As a result the difference between Social media marketing and traditional marketing in the airlines industry can be analyzed by investigating the current marketing techniques. This is followed by secondary data collection process and qualitative data analysis technique that helped in comparing and contrasting the changes that marketing has encountered and accepted over the years. The secondary data analysis technique facilitated gathering data about how marketing in the airline industry has changed over the years and accepted social media marketing for better business.

3.2 Research philosophy

            Research philosophy is defined as the procedure that allows collecting and analyzing data concerning the study. Appropriate selected of research philosophy helps in collecting relevant and authentic data, this mainly deals with the nature, source and development of the knowledge. The most commonly implemented research philosophies are positivism, pragmatism and interpretivism. According to Kumar (2019), positivism philosophy is the one that facilitates observing and describing the variables or phenomenon from the perspectives of the developed objectives. In this case, the phenomenon needs to be isolated in order to prevent repetition of patterns and information. Positivism philosophy manipulates reality in the presence of n independent variable so that the association can be formed between the elements in the social world. Apart from the aforementioned characteristics, positivism helps in using logic and factual knowledge that helps in making quantifiable observations relevant to the study.

As mentioned by Mackey and Gass (2015), pragmatism philosophy is said to have the dual characteristics of positivism and interpretivism philosophy. This method is rarely used because dual characteristics make this philosophy complex in nature. Interpretivism philosophy highlights interpreting the mind set and perspectives of the humans about a particular research topic. The implementation of this philosophy considers the viewpoints and opinions that lack adequate scientific information and data validity and reliability. As a result, it lacks evidence that supports the findings (Silverman 2016).

3.2.1 A justification for using positivism philosophy

            Analyzing the characteristics of all the three philosophies, positivism philosophy is said to be the best suited. According to the characteristics mentioned about positivism philosophy, it can be said that the implementation is rationalized because the collected data and information about marketing in airline industry is backed with suitable scientific and statistical findings. As a result, the data collected can relied and said to be valid to determining the developed research objectives (Taylor, Bogdan and DeVault 2015). The use of positivism philosophy helps in using logic and factual knowledge about marketing and how traditional marketing differed from that of social media marketing. As a result, quantifiable observations was also facilitated that helped in understanding the necessity and need of the transition of traditional marketing into social media marketing. The use positivism philosophy also allows observing the variables, marketing as a whole, traditional marketing, social media marketing and airline industry in correspondence with the developed research objectives.  As a result, each of the variables are differentiated that prevented repetition while gathering information. Additionally, the use of positivism philosophy helped in backing up the findings with scientifically valid evidence (Flick 2015).

3.3 Research approach

            The concept of research approach provides an opportunity to collect huge knowledge about the topic of the research. The most commonly used research approaches are inductive and deductive. As mentioned by Vaioleti (2016), inductive approach is defined as the approach that aim towards creating and developing new theories and models based on the observations made about the research topic. As a result of developing new theories and concepts, this approach is said to be time consuming and vulnerable to errors. This is because observations vary based on individuals mind set, opinion and perspectives. This becomes a problem in narrowing down the observations and developing theories and concepts. Additionally, difference in observations results in developing different ideas of theories and models that are not tested with suitable scientific evidence thereby, making it difficult to refer to while conducting the research.  

            On the other hand, deductive approach is defined as the approach that provides an opportunity of deducing observations by referring the existing concepts, theories and models. Deductive approach is scientifically tested, as the concepts, theories and models are already proven in the past literatures. Referring to previous pieces of literature and information allows in developing knowledge and understanding about the different variables in the research topic. As a result, in-depth analysis can be conducted thereby, enriching the quality of the work. As the concepts, theories and models are previously tested, deductive approach is time efficient and not prone to error unlike inductive approach (Neuman and Robson 2014).

3.3.1 A justification for using deductive approach

            Analyzing the characteristics of all the two approaches, deductive approach is said to be the best suited. Deductive approach is best suited because the positivism philosophy has been implemented. Taking into account the research topic, the identified variables are marketing, traditional marketing, social media marketing and airline industry. The implementation of deductive approach helped in identifying all the variables of the research topic by referring to concepts, theories and models related to marketing in the past pieces of literatures or developing a clear concept and understanding (Alvesson and Skoldberg 2017). As a result, the time taken for developing new theories and models are saved in deductive approach unlike inductive approach. Deductive approach facilitates the generation of tested conclusion at the end thereby, improving the overall quality of the research outcome. In addition to, the use of deductive approach allowed transforming general information about marketing into specific information about marketing in the airline industry and how effective is social media marketing compared to traditional marketing in the selected business sector (Bresler and Stake 2017).

3.4 Research design

            The research designs are defined s the set of methods and procedures that are used for gathering and collecting measures of research variables in the research topic. This is because proper understanding of the research topic facilitates the completion of the study successfully by identifying the accurate variables. Thus, effective research designs results in proper understanding of the research topic (Ledford and Gast 2018). The most commonly used research designs are exploratory, explanatory and descriptive research designs.

            As commented by Bauer (2014), exploratory research design facilitates exploring or identifying the issues existing within a research topic. A research is conducted with the aim of identifying the problem and finding a solution to it for the benefit of the selected industry, organization or society. Exploratory design helps in exploring the issue based on the background information. This research design also helps in clarifying the research problem in context with the background information. On the other hand, explanatory research design aim towards explaining the reasons of the identified issues thereby, finding reasons what lead to the existence of the issues. As a result, the relationship between the different variables in the research is identified that helps in making possible links among the variables in the study (Choy 2014).

            Descriptive design combines both the characteristics of exploratory and explanatory research designs. As a result, the use of descriptive research design allows exploring the issues as well as explaining the reasons of the occurrence of the issues. Additionally, the relationship between the existing variables in the study can be linked and determine the impact on one another by providing detailed information about the topic (Quinlan et al. 2019).

3.4.1 A justification for using descriptive design

            Analyzing the characteristics of all the three designs, descriptive design is said to be the best suited. Descriptive design is the best suited because this helped in identifying the issues related to marketing in the airline industry. In addition to, the use of descriptive design provides an opportunity to collect information about the issues identified in the traditional form of marketing that influenced the airline industry to undertake social media marketing thereby, determining the effectiveness (Jamshed 2014). As mentioned in the above section, descriptive design helps on exploring the relationship between the variables, the use of this research design helps in exploring the relationship between traditional marketing and social media marketing efforts managed by the airline industry. Moreover, the use of descriptive design helped in identifying the existing differences between the social media marketing and traditional marketing that allowed social media marketing gaining more preference than traditional marketing in the airline industry. As a result, the effectiveness of social media marketing over traditional marketing can be determined in gaining market exposure and improved brand image (Smith 2015).

3.5 Research strategy

            The most commonly used research strategies are case study, action research, interview and survey. Each of the research strategies are unique and are selected by analyzing their suitability with the research topic closely. Both interview and survey research strategies are used when primary data collection process is used. Both survey and interview research strategies gathers data from a selected population about the research topic that helps in achieving the research aim and objectives. The only difference between survey and interview research strategy is that for interview data is collected from a very small sample size whereas data is collected from a large population size for survey. However, both the strategies help in collecting relevant and recent data about the research topic that facilitates achieving research aim and objectives successfully (McCusker and Gunaydin 2015).

            A case study research strategy is defined as the strategy that facilitates empirical inquiry that helps in investigating a specific phenomenon within the real-life context. It is a descriptive analysis of a person, event or group of people. It helps in simplifying complex concepts thereby, adding value to the variables through discussion on concrete subjects (Walliman 2017). Action research is said to be a research strategy that is initiated with the aim of solving a problem immediately or is defined as a reflective process that highlights progress in solving problem led by individual working with teams and communities (Humphries 2017).

3.5.1 A justification for using case study research strategy

            Analyzing the characteristics of all the four strategies, case study is said to be the best suited. The use of case study research strategy helps in answering the marketing techniques used by the airline industry previously. In addition, the case study research strategy provides an opportunity to analyze the marketing technique by referring to various case studies conducted in the past (Reynolds et al. 2014). Case study research strategy helps in identifying the differences between the social media marketing and traditional marketing by researching the past researches. This helps in comparing and contrasting the ideas put forward by different authors and researchers while talking about social media marketing and traditional marketing. Case study research strategy also provides an opportunity to consider the viewpoints and opinions about traditional marketing and social media marketing in the airline sector thereby, gaining inner depth and understanding (Wiek and Lang 2016).

3.6 Data collection process

            Data collection process is the most crucial aspect of data analysis, as this helps in collecting relevant and original information about the research topic and help in structuring the overall work. The two commonly used data collection processes are primary data collection process and Secondary data collection process. The data collection process is selected based on the research topic, aim and objectives (Isaacs 2014).

            As mentioned by Mukhopadhyay and Gupta (2014), primary data collection process is defined as the process of collecting data from a particular population by the researcher directly for the first time. Primary data is original in nature and is specific to a research problem under a study. The data collected by the primary data collection process is highly accurate thereby, ensuring high data reliability. On the other hand, secondary data collection process is said to be the data collection process by using secondary resources. In this case, information is collected anyone but the user or the researcher (Anney 2014). The various secondary sources include books, journals, articles, online newspapers, online websites and other internet facilities. Secondary data collection process is both cost and time efficient, as the relevant data is collected from beforehand by someone else (Dumay and Cai 2015).

3.6.1 A justification for using secondary data collection process

            Analyzing the characteristics of all the two data collection process, secondary data collection is said to be the best suited. The secondary data collection process is best suited because this helps in collecting data from past pieces of literatures about marketing, airline industry, traditional marketing and social media marketing (Khan 2014). The use of secondary data collection process is also justified because it is both time and cost efficient, as the researcher does not have to collect information for the first time about marketing, airline industry, traditional marketing and social media marketing. Using information from the past researches helps in understanding how marketing has changed over the years and how social media marketing is more effective than traditional marketing for the airline industry in gaining market exposure and improved brand image considering the present market scenario (Munn et al. 2014).

3.7 Data analysis technique

            Collecting suitable and relevant data is not the end but needs to be analyzed for making appropriate interpretations. Interpreting the collected data is necessary for explaining and justifying the findings in achieving the research aim and objectives successfully. The most commonly used data analysis techniques are qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques (Tuck and McKenzie 2014). The quantitative data analysis technique highlights the use numbers or codes in order to interpret the collected data. On the other hand, qualitative data analysis technique is defined as the technique of analyzing data by referring to non-numeric information such as text documents. In the case of qualitative data analysis technique, relevant and previously conducted researches in similar research topic is considered and compared and contrasted for achieving the research aim and objectives (Beckman 2014).

3.7.1 A justification for using qualitative data analysis technique

            Analyzing the characteristics of all the two data analyzing techniques, qualitative data analysis technique is said to be the best suited. The use of qualitative data analysis technique helped in referring to researches conducted by other researchers in marketing, airline industry, traditional marketing and social media marketing. As a result, in the current study the investigations and findings of different authors has been presented in terms of marketing, airline industry, traditional marketing and social media marketing by developing themes relevant to it (Patten and Newhart 2017).

3.8 Ethical considerations

            Compliance by the research ethics is of utmost significance when it comes to completion of research successfully. The different ethical considerations that ensure successful research are listed below:

  • As the research is based on secondary data, collecting data from original sources is one of the significant research ethics. Collecting data from original sources assures data validity and reliability that can be used as an authentic piece of work in the future. As a result, this information used in the study can be trusted and used as a valid secondary source for future researchers (Ostman and Turtiainen 2016).
  • Apart from collecting data from authentic sources, data manipulation is against the research ethics. It is necessary to present the original form of the collected data without manipulating for the sake of achieving the research aim and objectives. Data manipulation questions the quality and authenticity of work and cannot be used as a valid source of information in the future (Haahr, Norlyk and Hall 2014).
  • Harming anything in the surrounding environment, be it humans, animals and infrastructure is against the ethical considerations of the research. A research has to be conducted in a way that is beneficial to the society and contributes successfully for the welfare of the surrounding (King, Horrocks and Brooks 2018).
  • Using the collected information for any other purpose other than academic purpose is against the research ethics. The data collected for the research cannot be used for commercial purpose and has to be used strictly for academic purposes.
  • Data confidentiality is another significant research ethics in which the researcher is bound to maintain confidentiality of the collected data and cannot disclose without consent (Morain and Kass 2016).

3.9 Accessibility issues

            Two primary accessibility issues time and budget have been encountered while proceeding with the research work. As the research is based on secondary data collection, accessing lot of secondary sources were necessary. However, some of the important information could not be accessed because it required paying subscription fees. The researcher has been unable to access those information due to inadequate budget and the data highly relevant and significant to the research could not be accessed. Apart from budget, time has also been a major obstacle in the path of completing the research. The researcher had limited time for completing the research due to which limited scopes and chances were there to follow up with the supervisor. As a result, the researcher did not know whether the research is proceeding in the right direction or not. Hurrying up with the research work also restricted in conducting extensive study that was needed for developing a high quality and conclusive study.

3.10 Summary

            Thus, from this chapter, it can be summarized that the aforementioned methodological tools selected has been the most appropriate and justified for understanding the marketing difference in the airline industry over the years and whether social media marketing is more efficient than traditional marketing. The use of appropriate methodological tools has also helped towards understanding the relationship between traditional marketing and social media marketing in the airline industry. The evolvement of marketing from traditional to social media was also considered due to the implementation of the selected methodological tools.

Chapter 4: Data analysis

4.0 Overview

            This chapter highlights secondary qualitative data analysis that supports the formulation of themes relevant with the research topic and the aim and objectives of the research. This provided an opportunity of collecting in-depth information and data about the transition of marketing over the years followed by relating it to the airline industry. The chapter analyzes the current airline industry and the reason airline industry had to undertake and incorporate social media marketing by leaving traditional marketing. The themes also helped in understanding the effectiveness of social media marketing and how it is used by different business sectors including airline industry for gaining market exposure and improving brand image.

4.1 Thematic analysis

            Below are the few themes developed in accordance with the research aim and objectives for gathering in-depth knowledge about airline industry, traditional marketing, social media marketing and the reason that influenced the shift in the marketing strategy for the industry.

Theme 1: Current airlines industry

            The airline industry is growing rapidly and strongly because of the increased demand of travelling through air. It is reported that around the world the number of people flying is increased by 6.6% in the last two years. As mentioned by Zhang et al. (2014), the increased demand of the airline industry is due to the increased demand of traveling for both personal and professional purpose. However, as argued by Dai, Liu and Serfes (2014), people prefer to use airline industry because the fares of the tickets have been reduced by the industry so that more people can use the facility even for travelling short distances. Different business organizations in the airline industry are providing offers on their ticket fare along with facilities such as free meals and hotel booking that is influencing the people to use the service. This statement is further criticized by (Ciliberto and Williams 2014) that mentions that fast paced life have increased the use of airline industry, as travelling by the sky requires short duration compared to other mediums of travelling.

            The airline industry is operating in a highly competitive space that is good for both the customers and the industry. The customers are the ones to be benefitted the most from this highly competitive airline industry because this will lead to the emergence of more airlines (Chow 2014). It is said that the collaboration between the airports has resulted in capital improvement worth more than $130 billion, as air travels begins and ends in the airport itself. Competition in the airline industry has increased drastically because travelers using the service are highly price sensitive and tends to rank affordability as the most important factor while availing the service consistently (Misopoulos et al. 2014). Apart from the customers, the airline industry is growing and becoming highly competitive, as the industry is including latest technological advancements for offering services. As more than one organization in the airline industry offers similar or almost similar offers and prices, it gives rise to tough competition.

Figure 1: Different airline companies

(Source: Brueckner, Lee and Singer 2014)

            The figures presented above indicate that the airline industry is highly crowded with different companies that offer more or less similar purposes. As a result, with time, the airline industry is becoming a saturated one with fierce and intense competition. Thus, surviving the tough competition is necessary for all the companies in the airline industry and they are developing strategies for attracting customers, gaining exposure and improving the brad image. In doing so, the airline industry is said to undertake social media marketing, as the platform is highly used around the world by all sections of people both for personal and professional use. Traditional marketing is seen to be not working for the airline industry due to increased competition, globalization and digitalization.

Theme 2: Existing difference between social media marketing and social media marketing

            As known, marketing is said to be the key process involving researching, promoting and selling of services and products to the target marketing. Without appropriate marketing, selling is next to impossible. As the world embraced digitalization, traditional marketing is replaced by social media marketing. Both the marketing techniques have their own benefits and challenges that business organizations consider while developing and implementing it. Traditional marketing is hardly practiced by business organizations, as it affects the sales, revenue and customer base of the business organizations (Xu, Frankwick and Ramirez 2016).

            According to Todor (2016), traditional marketing helps in reaching local audiences effectively by means of marketing tools such as newspapers, radios and pamphlets. Traditional marketing is confined within a location due to which the marketing techniques are restricted to particular location. In this case, the marketing procedures cannot be carried on outside location as it becomes costly and time consuming. Here lies the difference between traditional and social media marketing. However, as argued by Kotler, Kartajaya and Setiawan (2016), social media marketing provides an opportunity of reaching out customers and conducting marketing effectively without any restriction in terms of location. Social media marketing provides an opportunity to target and communicate with vast audience regardless the location of the target audiences. This is due to the virtual nature of the platform and using social media needs no boundary. People can communicate from one place in the world to another through social media and similar is the case of social media marketing. Using social media marketing provides an opportunity for the airline industry to engage vast audience as target thereby, improving brand image and gaining market recognition.

Figure 2: social media marketing

(Source: Opreana and Vinerean 2015)

            According to Srinivasan, Rutz and Pauwels (2016), traditional marketing is easy to understand and convince the target audiences. Though the approach is slowly fading out, traditional marketing provided an opportunity to establish a string, healthy and positive relationship between the business organization and the target audiences due to the opportunity to communicate personally. As a result, in the traditional marketing, the business organizations had better chances of convincing the target audiences about using their product or service as it is better than the competitor’s are offering. The employers are able to make the customers confident and develop trust on them that is not possible for social media marketing. However, the process of customer engagement is not a continuous process for traditional marketing, as the business organization lack effective medium to ensure communication constantly. However, as argued by Opreana and Vinerean (2015), social media marketing is more engaging compared to traditional marketing. Though social media marketing lacks personal touch, it is more engaging. The use of social media platforms provides an opportunity to engage effectively by live chat, email, commenting and sharing thereby, making the customers aware of the latest information and updates without any delay. Considering the business competition in the airline industry, social media marketing provides an opportunity of the airline industry to keep the target audiences posted and information continuously regardless of time and location.

Theme 3: Issues in traditional marketing

            The world has embraced digitalization rapidly that changed the concept of marketing for the various industries. The existence of the issues in traditional marketing resulted in the shift of traditional marketing to social media marketing. As commented by Shankar et al. (2016), time is a major issue in traditional marketing. This is because the use of static texts is seen in traditional marketing for promoting services and products. As a result, once an advertisement is placed, it cannot be changed until a new request for changing it is placed. For example, if the airline industry want to sale tickets at cheap price and put it on newspaper and run out of the tickets due to minimal price, the customers coming after that are left unsatisfied. This is because due to traditional marketing, a request needs to be placed stating they are out of tickets that is printed in the newspaper the next day thereby, justifying the process to be time consuming. However, for social media marketing, such information is updated instantly on the social media platform page thereby, showing that it is time efficient.

            Apart from time, another disadvantage for traditional marketing is cost. According to Karjaluoto, Mustonen and Ulkuniemi (2015), traditional marketing technique is costly because it deals with printing advertisements each time the business organization or industry engages in new campaigns. Additionally, the business organizations using traditional marketing might also impose charge for the delivery they make to the target audiences that might hamper the customer base. However, as argued by Resnick et al. (2016), apart from cost, customization is also an issue in the case of traditional marketing. With traditional advertisements, it is difficult to target individual or specific customers. In this case, a specific market segment is targeted but individuals cannot be targeted. Customizing advertisement for a single customer is costly and time consuming and loss for the company.

Figure 3: Drawbacks of traditional marketing

(Source: Parveen, Jaafar and Ainin 2015)

            According to Gronroos and Gummerus (2014), traditional marketing is generally forced on the target audiences due to which it results in low response rate. Though the target audiences come across the advertisements in their daily life, they fail to relate with it that results in lower response rate. The mediums used for traditional marketing such as newspapers and magazines are itself going online due to which the target audiences are not preferring to read the printed versions. This is an issue for the traditional marketing, as money is wasted on things that are not valued by the target audiences. Thus, it can be said that as traditional marketing slowly lost preference among the target audiences, the business industries such as the airline industry has opted for social media marketing. This is because the use of social media marketing is able to mitigate and overcome the issues that traditional marketing is imposing for the airline industry.

Theme 4: Effectiveness of social media marketing compared to traditional marketing

            From the discussion made in the previous section, it can be said due to the existing loopholes in traditional marketing and change in the business market, social media marketing is said to be more effective. As mentioned in the previous section, traditional marketing is time consuming because once printed changing it requires time due to which the information reaches the target audiences late. Here comes the effectiveness of social media marketing in which any change of information and latest updates can be informed to the target audiences without delay (Parveen, Jaafar and Ainin 2015). For example, if the airline industry wants to sale tickets at cheap price, put it on newspaper, and run out of the tickets due to minimal price, the customers coming after that are left unsatisfied. Using social media marketing provides instant opportunity for the airline industry to update the information on the social media page and cascade the information to wide range to customers irrespective of time and location.

            As mentioned, traditional marketing is said to be highly priced and costly. This is because the business organizations have to print the information and make it attractive as well for communicating and engaging the customers. Additionally, any minor changes related to the existing campaign or a new campaign requires re-printing the entire thing. The effectiveness of social media marketing is highlighted in this aspect, as changing any information, updating and including new information is just a click away and not at all costly and priced. The business organizations just have to make required changes in the social media page and the target customer base around the world gets to know instantly (Taneja and Toombs 2014).  

Figure 4: Social media effectiveness

(Source: Parveen, Jaafar and Ainin 2015)

            Ensuring continuous communication and engagement with the target customers is not possible in traditional marketing. Social media marketing is effective in this case, as this offers the ability to be in constant communication with the target audiences. Due to constant communication and engagement in social media, the target audiences hardly get the chance to get over the specific organization and look at the alternatives. This helps in creating a constant and loyal customer base that provides an opportunity for the business organizations to survive the competitive market (Felix, Rauschnabel and Hinsch 2017). Similar is the case of the airline industry, as social media marketing provides an opportunity to keep the existing customers intact by keeping them engaged continuously. As mentioned before, airline industry is saturated and highly competitive that ensures the use of social media marketing due to the effectiveness.

Theme 5: Digital marketing used in airlines industry

            Surviving in the competitive market is of utmost importance for any business organization and industry and airline industry is no exceptional. According to Knoblich et al. (2017), in order to satisfy the needs of the customers along with enhancing the interactions with the customers, digital marketing becomes highly significant for the airline industry. The application f digital marketing begins from the moment the customer starts looking for places for leisure activities and work through mobile phones and laptops. The airline industry uses various digital marketing strategies out of which social media marketing marketing is the most used. The article by Camilleri (2018) highlights the significance of customer relationship management when using social media marketing. This is because the airline industry can fine tune the requirement of the target industry and make offering in the social media platform accordingly.

Figure 5: Digital marketing in airline industry

(Source: Hudson and Hudson 2017)

            There is no denying to the fact that airline industry is a rapidly growing sector and digital marketing has contributed largely for its rapid growth. The use of digital marketing helped in totally shaping the business in the way that facilitates maximum profit and better results. As mentioned by Egol, Peterson and Stroh (2014), the use digital marketing provides an opportunity for the airline industry to get a sales hike and thrives to grow. Thus, it can be said that being active in the social media platform allows the airline industry to be in demand along with providing an opportunity to improve the brand image, market exposure and brand reputation.

            Top airline companies in the industry that uses digital marketing has millions of fans in their social media platform. This is because majority of the population uses the social media for communicating and looking for updates for different business organizations. As a result, it is suggested that the use of digital marketing is beneficial for the airline industry, as this will provide huge scopes for the sector in the future (Hudson and Hudson 2017). Apart from reaching out the target audiences, social media marketing of the airline industry also offers help to the target audiences. The business organizations in the airline industry do best for offering the best service to the customers. The social media marketing allows engaging the target audiences always by communicating with the constantly and informing them about something or the other. As a result, the customers always keep looking on the social media page of the airline industry in the expectation of better offer for them while availing air services.

Theme 6: contribution of social media marketing in gaining market exposure and improving brand image

            The contribution of social media marketing in gaining market exposure and improving brand image is extremely significant. According to Parveen, Jaafar and Ainin (2015), the social media platform provides an opportunity for the customers to share their voice and opinions. The existence of different types of social media platforms provides increased opportunities for the airlines industries to connect with their audiences. Appropriate market exposure and improving brand image is possible when the airline industry selects the appropriate social media platform for marketing. It is advisable to the firms in the airline industry to change the social media platform if the current one used by them is not giving appropriate results. However, as argued by Oztamur and Karakadilar (2014), improved brand image can be achieved by keeping the content of the company similar throughout all the social media platforms. As a result, the strong social media presence helps in building brand loyalty that facilitates market exposure and the image of the brand. This is because the social media presence helps in establishing a connection and rapport, as the industry takes adequate time to provide the users with useful and important information along with help and support without asking anything in return.

Figure 6: Effectiveness of social media marketing

(Source: Lacka and Chong 2016)

            As mentioned by Karimi and Naghibi (2015), wide market exposure and improved brand image can be obtained by social media marketing by creating value and relationship with the customers. As the airline industry is communicating with the customers constantly, it tends to create a positive relationship with the industry and the company. As a result, both the parties are able to share relevant and valuable information about each other and ensure that the information are taken care of and considered while planning offers and campaigns. Being constantly in the eye of the customers and fulfilling their needs and demands helps in improving the brand image. Social media marketing also helps in communicating with people regardless of the location and provides those offers according to their needs thereby, ensuring market exposure (Lacka and Chong 2016). Having adequate and sufficient market exposure is important for the airline industry in order to survive the tough and intense market.

4.2 Summary

            Thus, it can be summarized that technology advancement over the years lead to the transition of traditional marketing from social media marketing. Globalization facilitated increased competition in the airline industry that enforced the industry to undertake social media marketing for gaining more exposure and improving brand image. Social media marketing is said to be more effective because it is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing the visibility of the business. Though traditional marketing offer advantages to the airline industry such as reaching out local target audiences but tough competition in the airline industry requires global expansion and recognition that is possible due to the use social media marketing only, as vast audience can be targeted, effective brand building, getting results instantly, being cost effective and more engaging.

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