Digital marketing and young consumers: A framework for effective digital marketing communications
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AbstractChildren in contemporary society are an important and lucrative consumer segment (Haryanto, Moutinho, & Coelho, 2016). They have both individual spending power, and significant influence over the purchase decisions of their parents and carers (Calvert, 2008). Brands have recognised the business benefits of engaging with consumers at an early age in order to develop profitable lifelong consumer relationships (Hamelin, Gbadamosi, & Peters, 2018) Developments in online communications, especially since the emergence of Web 2.0, has enabled businesses to build a presence in an interactive and co-creative online environment (Ryan, 2014). In the UK, consumer use of interactive technologies is pervasive. Smartphone penetration in the UK in 2016 was 81 per cent (Deloitte, 2016). The Consumerisation of ICT is particularly visible in children, born since 2000 who have grown up in the interactive era of Web 2.0 (Carter, Bennett Thatcher, Applefield, & McAlpine, 2011). 99 per cent of UK families have internet access in their home (ONS, 2016) and 83 per cent of 5 to 15 year olds have access to a mobile ICT device in their household. It is estimated that one third of all online users are below the age of 18 (Livingstone, Carr, & Byrne, 2016). Young consumers therefore have access multiple channels for communication and engagement with peers, family, and businesses. At a time when children have become proficient navigators of the online marketplace there is a real importance for marketers to understand how to communicate effectively with this segment (Thiachon, 2017). Children have been recognised as a distinguishable consumer segment since the mid-twentieth century. The study of children’s consumer socialisation emerged during the 1970s (Roedder John, 1999). In the years following, academic understanding of consumer socialisation has influenced government policy in areas of public health and child welfare, as well as influencing the self-regulation of marketing and advertising practice (Jordan, 2008). The body of existing research is predominantly focused on these areas rather than how marketers can effectively communicate with young consumers. Studies that do focus on marketing communications have done so by examining practices in relation to brand loyalty and trust (Haryanto, Manuela, & Moutinho, 2015 ; Haryanto, Moutinho, & Arnaldo, 2016). Although they provide recommendations that highlight the importance of these concepts in developing communications with young consumers, they do not identify the types of approaches to employ in order to achieve these relationships with consumers. As public policy concerns provided the impetus for research in this area, it is unsurprising that there is a concentration of research investigating the influence of marketing communications on young consumers within the context of public health. Children in this context are positioned passive and vulnerable members of society (Haefner, 1975; Roedder John, 1999; Calvert, 2008; Sramová & Pavelka, 2017). Although this approach is valid and provides valuable insights, academic understanding of young consumers would be limited if research was generated only from this perspective. This study will aim to address this gap in understanding, acknowledging that children have expanded their roles within the family as purchase influencers and independent purchase decision makers. The research will examine current Digital Marketing Communication (DMC) practices employed by brands whose products are aimed at young consumers. For the purposes of providing research focus, children are defined as individuals aged 17 and under.
CitationMorris, B. (2019). Digital marketing and young consumers: A framework for effective digital marketing communications. (Masters thesis). University of Chester, United Kingdom.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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