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Virtual communities’ antecedents and marketing dynamism: An empirical study of tourists visiting Varanasi

Punita Duhan and Anurag Singh, Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice Vol. 16, No. 2 ()
The dawn of the age of Web 2.0 technologies has completely transformed interpersonal interactions and communications worldwide. Connectivity, convergence, collaboration and transparency provided by these socio-digital platforms has led to the burgeoning of virtual communities (VCs), the dynamic and vibrant online social universe according unprecedented opportunities for social interactions. Absence of any political, geographical and temporal boundaries has endeared these platforms to ‘netizens’ worldwide. Tremendous potential offered by Web 2.0 also lured marketers to these platforms where they are experimenting with great success. The increased usage of VCs by customers as well as marketers makes them a fit case to explore the dynamics underlying their adoption and to unearth the marketing implications of the same in Indian perspective. Applying convenience sampling techniques, primary data were collected from tourists visiting various well-known tourist attractions in Varanasi City, Uttar Pradesh, India. Using a survey, 104 responses were collected and subjected to exploratory factor analysis and five factors influencing the espousal of VCs in the Indian context were isolated. It is hoped that the research will be helpful to marketers as it provides insights into the adaptation of VCs as per the customers’ requirements and the effective integration of VCs into the marketing strategy. This in turn may help with enhanced customer attention, customer engagement and customer retention. (13 pages)

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