.1 Context and rationale of the study
The idea of developing a dissertation that concerns events and social media was born from a combination of three personal interests: the organization and management of events, the new media and the passion for music, that brings me to explore the management and strategies of music events advertisement.
The events today are a \"growing market\" and are becoming increasingly marketing and communication tools for business, government, institutions and territories.
In the meantime we are experiencing a phase of technological and social epochal changes: the omnipresence of the Internet, smartphones and new technologies, along with the social networks are revolutionizing the processes of communication between people. The marketing and communication strategies of companies and organizations will increasingly have to consider these new tools to stay competitive.
An initial analysis of the existing literature has highlighted a shortage of texts and authoritative research and up to date on the subject. The development of social media is taking place at extreme pace; the practices of use of these tools in the context of the events are strong and constantly evolving.
1.2 Research aims
The following aims have been defined in order to identify the direction of the project:
1. To explore the role of social media in the decision making process towards attending music events
2. To investigate on the strategies adopted by the music events industry to promote and advertise music events.
1.3 Research objectives
Objectives have been set with the scope of reaching the aims established earlier.
1. To identify, analyse and understand the tools (social media) used nowadays used to
2. To understand the importance of social media in the process of decision-making, with the help of primary research and the creation of a questionnaire
3. To analyse and critically examine the effectiveness of social media, and if they influence the behaviour of music events attendants
2.1 Background: What are Events?
Having a clear idea about what are events and how the events industry is structured is really important in order to outline the topic of this research. Events have always been important and have always characterized the history of man and his evolution but the way to manage and market them have changed across the years.
Definitions of events are various and many authors define them in a different way, for example Bladen et al. (2012) stated that events are unique occurrences that gather people together and which are temporary (Getz, 2012). Bowdin et al., (2010) identified different types of events such as local, major, mega and hallmark events, different for the size, content and form.
Created since ancient times to spend moments of aggregation, involvement, trade in goods, interests and information; events have characterized the history of man and his evolution. We have examples of major events since the ancient history like the Olympics of ancient Greece, the fairs of the Middle Ages, up to the most current events such as sports trophies or launch of new technologies. Over the years this activity has been refined and enhanced, giving her a purpose more and more specific, arriving to turn the events into marketing and communication tools for business, government, and territories. Today events are an integral part of the communication strategy and are managed by specialized professionals. In fact, wherever they are carried out may have the world's eyes focused on them, through media such as television and Internet.
Aim of the event is to generate a profit. Could be direct, so resulting from “sale event”, or indirect, contributing to the image of the institution or enterprise, advertising and promoting a territory, a product, a brand (Collesei et al., 2014), a sport activity, an idea or a political party.
The events in this thesis are intended as events or ceremonies used as marketing and communication tools.
2.2 Marketing and organisation of music events
To increase awareness of the public of an event and therefore participation should have a strategy and a well-designed communication plan: must start from the marketing objectives of the company or entity organizer, from the analysis of the target audience to the choice of the media to be used.
In this thesis we will see, separately for each social media, how the different online platforms and help strengthen the events, giving a great help to the organizers and allowing them to reach the public with a vast expenditure of money content.
Watson et al. (2013) clearly identified consumer's approaches towards the new technologies involved in the marketing strategies, more specific the mobile phones that are now essential to consumer's lives.
Marketing deals with customers; “Marketing is engaging customers and managing profitable customer relationships. The two- fold goal of marketing is to attract new customers by promising superior value and to keep and grow current customers by delivering satisfaction” (Kotler and Armstrong, 2016).
Marketing is constantly changing as a reaction for social, technological, environmental, legal and economic factors that change reactively (Sheldrake, 2011). From these sources it can be understood what Marketing is and why there is a constant need to proactively adapt to consumers need modifying the strategies and methods.
The figure below from Schultz and Schultz (1998) shows the market place in transition, from 1960 until 2000 but more research is needed, as this is article is not recent and not updated.
A multi-channel marketing strategy must be applied and managed as a result of the evolution of new event technologies and new customers needs; a relevant development, for example, is the features that improve attendee engagement as with automation systems is possible to collect data during registration personalizing event experiences. Attendee engagement is even increased trough event mobile apps as attendees can be involved with event content directly from their mobile devices (Threadgould et al., 2014).
The discipline of organization of events today can be defined as \"event marketing 2.0\" as in recent years has undergone several transformations, following primarily the affirmation and the evolution of the web.
What are the most appropriate media for event marketing 2.0? According to research carried out, rather than the single medium in itself it is important to use a strategy involving the simultaneous use of multiple media, acting in choral fashion and allowing users to feel already share the stage of promotion.
2.3 What are Social Media?
There are a lot of writings regarding the meaning of social media, but no one have never gave a semantic definition of this social phenomenon that involves the network and the people who attend it.
Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) structured their own definition of social media:
“Social Media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.”
Social Media comes from Latin:” Medium”, means, taken from the Anglo-Saxon sense of means of communication.
What is a means of social communication?
It is a tool that allows us to communicate in a digital society, virtual, but populated by real people. The contact is made through telephone connections, but not for this is without value. (Imperi, 2013)
Social media are, therefore, computer software, through which you can share text, images, video and audio files, which can instantly reach a global audience.
The development of social media is taking place at extreme pace; the practices of use of these tools in the context of the events are strong and constantly evolving.
The advent of the digital age has brought benefits also in the world of events. The new technologies have a positive impact on the process of interaction between the organizers and participants and this has made in a short time one of the most important tools for the realization of a successful event.
People are now immersed in a constant flow of information and stimuli in which it is hard to fit in order to capture the attention.
Then, how can event planners make a difference? Enhancing the experience of its participants thanks to Integrate Platforms.
The Integrated Platforms are designed to provide the Event Manager a set of management and measurement tools and at the same time of involvement of the participants in an event, be able to increase customer loyalty, participation and opportunities for organizers, sponsors and partners.
Within this context are the proximity technologies, and consequently the Proximity Marketing, which can be an additional tool engagement and revenue in the events with the ability to expand the capabilities of integrated platforms.
It is no coincidence that many of the largest global events like CES, SXSW or Mobile World Congress are putting these technologies to boost the involvement of its audience and the event experience. (eventxp,2016)
According to Hope (2014) new hardware and software are being developed with the aim to enhance the mobile experience for the user and giving an increasing number of channels to marketers, that thanks to that could reach their customers.
Customer engagement is facilitated by mobile technology for example creating a pre-event buzz or keeping in touch afterwards (Hope,2014)
2.3.1 Types of Social Media: Old Media and New Media
The term “new media” generally refers to those digital media that are interactive, incorporating a two-way communication and involves forms of computing, as opposed to the “old media” such as telephone, radio and TV. (top,2012)
The social media universe includes a myriad of online platforms on which to exchange any type of content, now becomes an integral part of people\'s everyday experience.
Mobile marketing is not just advertising and promotion, but a real communication channel through which even vehicular after-sales service, allows you to make the most interactive messages and this leads to a simplification of the interaction between brand and customer. IN this case, the thesis deals with mobile applications
Mobile applications are software that will perform different functions and that, in most cases, they are installed directly by the user who can then click directly the functionality he needs. With the increasingly widespread use of smartphones, the use of the app is greatly increased, therefore, those who use mobile marketing has always taken advantage of applications such as marketing resource.
Applications for smartphones, as we know them today, are approximately from 2008 are spread; Since then, the gradual spread of this type of software is closely connected with the spread of smartphones; This success has led to increased dependence on Smartphone and creating a real App Economy called economy.
In Mobile Marketing, a usage of apps for the purpose of marketing, is the possibility to develop branded applications, in particular, the main objective for which the application is developed, is the possibility to extend and greatly enhance customer engagement, meet objectives of image or reputation and to use an innovative channel for the management and enhance the relationship with the customer. A further primary objective may be represented by the possibility to dispose of the product directly, or to integrate with reservation mechanisms and direct purchase of the same.
For events organizers creating an App it means getting real-time feedback of the participants and monitor their on-site activities to detect preferences and behaviors, perform analysis and evaluation of the event itself, expand contacts thanks to the mailing list functions event organizers, and forms to filled in by the participants, to measure the effectiveness of the event through reports and surveys. (Aziendale et al., 2011)
2.3.2 Challenges facing the social media
Three different phases of analysis were foll
3.1 Purpose of the research
The research has been conducted with the aim of critically examine the effectiveness of social media when it comes to attend events, specifically music events, to understand if effectively social media have their role when it comes to make a choice.
Another aim of the thesis is to make a search for the emergence of current practices, understand how social media are used today as part of the events and identify guidelines for developing their potential. This has been done with the comparison of literature findings and results that have been collected trough primary research.
Despite the lack of information, the researcher will try to reveal and understand the importance, the needs of using social media and their impact when it comes to attend music events; the reasons behind decisional process, influenced by social media.
3.2 Research approach
Creswell (2013) defined research approaches as “plans and the procedures for research tat span the steps from the broad assumptions to detailed method of data collection, analysis, and interpretation”. According to Creswell (2013) there are three different approaches that a researcher can adopt: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. Qualitative research requires the direct involvement of the researcher as well as a high level of detail with regards to data collection. Furthermore, qualitative research explores attitudes, behaviour and experiences through interviews or focus group, attempting to get a depth opinion by the participants. In contrast quantitative research generates statistics through the use of large-scale survey research, using methods such as questionnaires or structured interviews. Mixed research methods offer the integrated use of quantitative and qualitative methods
Within the perspective of mixed methods becomes possible to bring together the opportunities offered by more established several research methods, thus preserving methods and data collection techniques through a trusted and reliable instrumentation, obtaining the most complete information (both quantitative both quality) than issues relating a given sector or a specific target on which you plan to intervene.
Given that this study aims to understand participants behavior with regards to the decision-making process on music events attendance; the researcher employed quantitative method to gather primary and secondary data
3.3 Research design
As stated by Creswell (2013) the researcher, in addition to the method, will also need to select a research design, which will direct the procedures of the project.
According to Sekeran and Bougie (2016) the nature of the study, which can be exploratory, descriptive or hypothesis testing, depends on the phase of knowledge about the research topic, whether is advanced or not. The authors affirmed that exploratory research is usually undertaken when there is not enough knowledge on the chosen topic, and clearer investigation is needed, while descriptive research is used to describe characteristics of the variables of interest in a situation and explore and explain an individual, group or a situation.
Given the aim to analyze the role of social media on music events attendees, the research is descriptive as the researcher aims to describe and understand how social media are used today as part of events and identify guidelines for developing their potential. At the same time the research is also evaluative, as the research is directed toward the evaluation of the effectiveness of the policies applied (Veal, 2011). According to Veal (2011) the evaluative research makes judgments on the success or effectiveness of policies or programmes.
Davies and Hughes (2007) suggested that a quantitative research project involves two methods: survey research and experimental research; the researcher will carry out the project using the survey research. The authors (Davies and Hughes, 2007) also stated that from survey research would emerge findings that describe and interpret aspects of current psychosocial reality.
3.4 Data collection method
Having defined the research approach and research design, the researcher will need to decide the most suited methods of data collection (Bell, 2014). Data sources used in this project will be discussed in this section and it will also be explained in detail the data collection method employed.
The researcher will also outline advantages and disadvantages of the chosen method as a justification of the choice.
3.4.1 Secondary Data
The collection of secondary data was the basis of the project, as was really important to compare valuable information and various authors' point of views on the key points of the study with the findings collected trough primary research. Analysis and data collection were the first steps of this research and texts, online papers, journals and empirical research were consulted to investigate on the use of social media in the events.
3.4.2 Primary Data
The data collection was based on a questionnaire consisting of questions related to social media usage with regards to music events, whether the participation were influenced by social media or not. Respondents were invited to complete an online questionnaire created on a programme (Survey Monkey). The research was structured on criteria, which ensured that the samples gathered would be able to provide an accurate and deep understanding on the topic.
3.5 Data analysis
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