A Strategic Media selection Framework for Destination Marketers within the Digital Landscape

Spence, Rebecca (2012) A Strategic Media selection Framework for Destination Marketers within the Digital Landscape. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This masters aims to combine three strands of research, namely destination marketing, digital marketing and media selection. Making it highly context specific, the purpose of the research is to give further insight into destination marketing media selection and provide practitioners with a potential blueprint on making these media selection decisions. This includes traditional as well as digital media, particularly since digital media have gained an important role due to the web becoming the dominant medium for tourism marketing (Miller and Henthorne, 2006 p.54).

In all three strands of research, in fact in general marketing literature – the idea of hierarchical and rational planning, decision making and taking of action is strongly supported by academics (Ryan and Jones, 2009 p.24; Hanlan et al., 2006 p.21). However, this is widely ignored by practitioners, despite the urge that it will increase efficiency and prevent strategic drift (Bagaric, 2010, p.237).This seems to be true for various areas of the destination marketing field, however, due to research limitations the focus of this masters has been narrowed to media selection, which in the destination marketing context is yet widely unexplored. It is therefore the declared aim of this research, to give further insight into destination marketing and in particular media selection and propose a conceptual framework on how these media selection decisions could be made.

Providing a hierarchical and rational approach, the conceptual framework presented in this thesis proposes to act as a hands-on step-by-step guide to lead practitioners through the media selection process in an appropriate manner. It is classified as a ‘reflective tool’, which in this study refers to its ability to stimulate reflection by providing important aspects of consideration, rather than offering a number of pro-forma solutions. This way, the tool enables practitioners to find their own customized solutions, whilst maintaining a general applicability.

Adopting a case study approach, this study further utilizes Delphi technique elements, which have proven in the past to be suitable for the context of tourism and particularly destination marketing. This way, feedback from experts of the industry is directly used for the construction of the proposed media selection tool.

It is the author’s firm belief that problem solving theory is the answer to the practical complexity of destination marketing. As a result, this thesis is presented as a first step to close the gap between destination marketing theorists and practitioners and an appeal to all destination marketers to continue to this path through increased dialogue for the future success of this discipline.

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