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In search of digital marketing communications success: the case of oil and gas industry B2B SMEs.

Setkute, Justina


Justina Setkute


Simone Kurtzke


The focus of this study is the use and role of digital marketing communications (DMC) among B2B SMEs in the oil and gas industry. In order to understand the role of DMC, which is described as the use of DMC channels, such as website, social media, e-mail and mobile marketing, a comprehensive review is undertaken into SMEs and B2B marketing theory to identify the nature of their marketing practices. The conceptual framework of critical success factors (CSFs) for DMC is developed to assess the use and role among B2B SMEs. The digital marketing theory is still emerging and at the same time there are calls for more research into B2B and SMEs marketing, and thus this study combines these calls and investigates B2B SMEs and their DMC practices. The study consists of qualitative case study research, which uses three phases of data collection that were undertaken in light of realism research paradigm. The first phase includes a longitudinal systematic observation of oil and gas SMEs and their DMC practices. The second phase includes interviews with marketing agencies to provide a macro view on the oil and gas industry and its marketing practices. The final phase includes interviews with managers from oil and gas B2B SMEs, aiming to gain the internal views and insights on the use and role of DMC. This study contributes to digital marketing theory by investigating five groups of factors affecting DMC strategy for B2B SMEs: internal, external, marketing strategy, website and DMC channels. Empirical data suggests that the two main groups of factors influencing DMC strategy are internal and external factors, putting B2B SMEs in a complex situation, as they are internally dealing with limited resources and operating in the industrial context externally. The study also shows that among B2B SMEs, DMC plays only a supportive role, while the focus remains on traditional communication techniques such as personal face-to-face sales communications.


SETKUTE, J. 2018. In search of digital marketing communications success: the case of oil and gas industry B2B SMEs. Robert Gordon University [online], PhD thesis. Available from:

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 12, 2019
Keywords Digital marketing; Digital marketing communications; B2B marketing; Business-to-business marketing; SMEs; Small and medium enterprises; Oil and gas industry
Public URL
Award Date Oct 31, 2018


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