University of Oulu

Role of digital content marketing in solo entrepreneurs’ pre-purchase process

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Author: Corjan, Anastasia1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Pages: 115
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Corjan, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-05
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Saraniemi, Saila
Reviewer: Ulkuniemi, Pauliina
Saraniemi, Saila


This Master’s thesis studies the role of digital content in the pre-purchase stage of the online purchasing process experienced by solo entrepreneurs in the business context of creative industries. The main research question is defined as follows: “What is the role of digital content during the pre-purchase phase of online purchasing behavior of the solo entrepreneurs?”. The aim of the study is to understand the solo entrepreneurs’ perspective on how different types of digital content influences their purchasing behavior during need identification, information search, and evaluation of alternatives stages.

The main theoretical framework comprises several models for purchasing process with justification in favor of the customer journey framework for studying solo entrepreneurs as well as literature. Additionally, key concepts from digital content marketing are utilized. These aspects are adapted and combined in a novel framework in order to expand the understanding of the phenomenon of purchasing process experienced by solo entrepreneurs and the role of digital content during that.

The research method used in the study is based on a qualitative case study as an empirical method to study the phenomenon of interest focusing on 12 solo entrepreneurs. The data collection is conducted by organizing semi-structured interviews with real estate photographers that comply with the solo entrepreneurs’ criteria. The interviewees are selected through a purposeful sampling approach in order to obtain empirical data from customers (solo entrepreneurs) activating in the United States. The thesis followed an abductive approach and thematic analysis throughout the research process.

The findings from data analysis reveal that solo entrepreneurs’ purchasing process is seemingly adopting a non-linear buying structure instead of the traditional B2B buying process. However, some variables that are usually characteristic of the B2B buying processes such as long-term commitment, quality, and profitability were identified by solo entrepreneurs as relevant during the buying process. The study contributes to the literature by providing empirical evidence concerning types of digital content influencing the pre-purchase stage but also highlights types of customer journeys experienced by solo entrepreneurs: considered and balanced journey linking it to their response to customer demand.

Conclusions as well as managerial implications are provided suggesting to company to find ways to encourage the creation of UGC as it is perceived as more trustworthy than CGC by solo entrepreneurs but also to provide informational content during the pre-purchase stage. Lastly, the quality of the research is evaluated, limitations are presented and suggestions for future research are provided as well.

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Copyright information: © Anastasia Corjan, 2021. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.