Although the measurement of offline and online marketing is extensively researched, the area of online performance measurement still presents a number of unaddressed gaps, such as fragmented research and predominance of practitioner-driven measurement approaches. With a focus on affiliate marketing in tourism and hospitality, this thesis addressed these gaps and evaluates the effectiveness of practitioner-led online performance assessment. More precisely, the study explores a potential shift in affiliate marketing measurement practices, and develops a theory of affiliate marketing performances measurement in tourism and hospitality. Relying on a grounded theory research strategy, the work undertakes qualitative analysis of 72 online forum discussions, 37 interviews and 40 questionnaires with the major affiliate marketing stakeholder groups from the tourism and hospitality industry - merchants, affiliates, affiliate networks and affiliate agencies.
The findings of the thesis add value to both theory and practice. The theoretical contribution of the research is twofold. First, the work furthers the broader marketing theory and in particular the distribution and promotion literature by exploring an under-researched online marketing channel - affiliate marketing - that can be employed for both promotion and distribution purposes. The study provides a detailed description of an affiliate marketing ecosystem and defines the key affiliate marketing constructs. Second, the work contributes to the performance measurement research by developing a substantiative theory of affiliate marketing performance measurement in tourism and hospitality. From the practitioner perspective, the work brings value by proposing a change in existing performance measurement practices and offering a process-oriented model of performance measurement in affiliate marketing, which details the phases and steps that managers can undertake in assessing performance.
To further the findings, future research can explore the applicability of the proposed model to other industry sectors and online channels, and can develop the proposed substantive theory to a formal theory by employing other research methods, for example case studies and action research.
Department of MarketingFaculty of Business
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