The role of digital channels in industrial marketing communications
Purpose - The purpose of this research is to investigate industrial marketing communications tools and the role of digital channels. The research draws from the literature on industrial marketing communications to examine its goals and intended utilization in industrial firms. Design/methodology/approach - An empirical multiple case study conducted among six industrial firms examines the current state of digital marketing communications (DMC). Findings - The study gleans three research insights. First, although DMC is one of the most important industrial marketing communication tools, firms have not yet used it to its full potential. Second, firms use DMC to enhance customer relationship communications, support sales and create awareness. Third, firms have not used social media tools as a part of DMC as widely as traditional digital tools. Research limitations/implications - Although the findings mirror those in DMC literature in general and industrial marketing communications in particular, they put more emphasis on the role of DMC in customer relationship communications and sales support. Practical implications - DMC provides an opportunity to deliver various marketing objectives, such as creating brand awareness, increasing and supporting sales and improving communication with existing customers. Different DMC tools are required for each of these objectives. Originality/value - This study is among the first ones examining the rapidly changing communications landscape and the spread of digital channels in industrial marketing communication.