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Digital Marketing in Start-Ups

The role of digital marketing in acquiring and maintaining business relationships

Written by S. Ina D. Polina

Paper category

Bachelor Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Bachelor Thesis: Start-ups The definition of “start-ups” is not yet clear, and academic circles have different interpretations of the concept (Mazzarol, 2015). Start-up companies are an important part of the dynamic network. According to Laari-Salmela, the Mainela and Puhakka (2017) startup is a company that has been in the market for less than ten years. It is believed that start-ups face obstacles in having all the resources they may need, which is why they obtain resources from their business network including other companies and organizations (ibid.). Therefore, one of the most important start-up activities is to ensure that those who take action in the business network believe that the investment is worthwhile. In addition, it also discussed how startups can improve their legitimacy and network capabilities by acquiring resources from the Internet (Laari-Salmela et al., 2017). In addition, according to McGrath, Medlin and O'Toolec (2017), start-ups are lack of resources and limited development. The key concept of a start-up is to activate and improve the business network of relationships with other companies. The study discussed how managers have the ability to improve the network, because managers can accept whether the business relationship is important, and whether they should adapt or adjust in the business network. 2.2.1 Business network in start-ups Business network can be defined as a variety of companies forming relationships through business transactions and interactions (Landqvist & Lind, 2017). The study demonstrates the importance of networks and business relationships to new companies (ibid.). McGrath, Medlin, and O’Toole (2017) believe that startups are vital to the network, and being part of the network can ensure value creation. Developing the network includes adjusting relationships and selecting business partners (ibid.). According to Pagani and Pardo (2017), digitalization affects business networks by strengthening alliances, innovation, and growth. However, Landqvist and Lind (2017) concluded that the network of start-ups can be challenging due to limited resources. Lack of time and resources is a difficulty facing companies, which in turn prevents full use of the network (Halinen, Törnroos and Elo, 2013). Understanding the complexity and events of the business network can increase the success rate of strategic management within the network (ibid., p. 1223). The business relationship in the network must go from weak to strong (Landqvist & Lind, 2017). The author explains this in terms of strong relationships that take longer to develop, but also requires resources. In turn, weak relationships allow short-term relationships, which can basically develop into long-term relationships (ibid.). 2.3 Digital marketing Digital marketing has been defined as marketing through platforms such as websites, emails, applications, and social networks. These platforms can be accessed through electronic devices such as computers, tablets, and mobile phones (Singh & Singh, 2017, p. Page 19). 45). This definition is also consistent with Smith (2012, p.86)'s definition of digital marketing, which is described as a way to promote products and services through digital channels through computers, mobile and digital devices. These platforms are used for e-commerce transactions, branding or building relationships to acquire and retain customers (ibid.). For e-commerce companies, the ultimate goal of B2B digital marketing is to complete online transactions. For those B2B organizations that do not use e-commerce, their digital marketing is mostly called content marketing or inbound marketing. The goal is to support customer acquisition, conversion, and retention through lead generation (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). According to Leeflang et al. (2014, p. 3), the use of digital media tools is increasing. Marketing, which in turn allows better interaction with customers, gains data and insights from the market, and expands the target market. In addition, the most common digital channels and tools used by companies are the company homepage, email, and social media (ibid.). Digital marketing in a B2B environment is a relatively new field of research, as Holliman & Rowley (2014) claim to be the first to study the use of digital marketing in a B2B environment. The study believes that digital content marketing in a B2B environment is used as an inbound marketing technology, in which the company creates content that potential customers may participate in, thereby generating a "pull" effect. This effect is aimed at customers who are interested in or are searching for information, products or services (ibid.) 2.3.1 Benefits and challenges of digital marketing for start-ups Digital marketing brings different benefits to B2B start-ups, such as through social networking Propagating their knowledge in the media to reach a large number of commercial customers or allow start-ups to grow faster (Singh & Singh, 2017). Michaelidou, Siamagka, and Christodoulides (2011) discussed the importance of increasing brand awareness and communicating brands online. The same study believes that by increasing customer awareness, the interaction between the two parties is likely to increase, thereby increasing the business relationship. In addition, it is believed that spreading awareness through social media does not require a large investment (ibid.). According to Singh and Singh (2017), digital marketing enables customers to actively acquire information and maintain the same efficiency throughout the period. Read Less