Integrated marketing communication strategies for SME firms in the tourism sector in Laos
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Citation:Vongkhamheng, L. (2017). Integrated marketing communication strategies for SME firms in the tourism sector in Laos. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3851
In today’s business environment, marketing communication plays an important role in business competitiveness enhancement. It refers to all methods that companies use to communicate with their consumers with the purpose of promoting their products, services and brands in the marketplace. Nowadays, the development of the new technology and the change of consumers’ behaviour have altered marketing communication practices. This results in the new concept of marketing communication called “Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)”. IMC is suggested as an applicable and a practical marketing approach for all business. It is developed with the aim of assisting firms to present their offers and gain access to consumers more effectively than traditional advertising. Even though IMC is recommended as an important approach, this concept is quite new to some SME entrepreneurs in some countries and there are not many marketing communication studies within the context of SMEs. This research study aims to investigate marketing communication in the context of SMEs, particularly in the Lao tourism sector. The research intents to examine the understanding and perspectives of SMEs towards the concept and the importance of IMC in their businesses. Also, how SMEs in the Lao tourism sector practice their marketing communication and what marketing communication obstacles that they confront are investigated. To achieve the purpose of the research, the mixed method is employed as a data collection approach. The semi-structure interview is used to collect data from ten SMEs in the Lao tourism sector while the survey instrument is employed to collect data from 100 international tourists who are travelling in Laos. According to the findings, the research found that there is little awareness of IMC among the SMEs in terms of concept and definition. However, in their marketing practices, they already employ IMC in their business promotions. The research also found that a lack of financial resources, human resources and marketing knowledge/skills are the major constraints that SMEs in the Lao tourism confront when practicing market communication. Finally, this research study provides recommendations and proposes some potential marketing communication strategies that SMEs in the Lao tourism sector could use as guidelines to increase the effectiveness of their marketing communication practices.