DBA Dissertation: Retails Digital Marketing Works Best in Combination with Traditional Forms of Marketing

Photo: Mikko Törmänen


In retail digital marketing, you must make clear decisions in order to stand out. Marko Hoikkaniemi's DBA dissertation indicated that the impact of digital marketing was less significant than expected. Digital marketing works best as part of a hybrid strategy, i.e., combined with traditional marketing actions.

Retail's digital marketing works best for consumers under the age of 30, according to Marko Hoikkaniemi's recent doctoral dissertation, Building customer value through digital marketing at different stages of the customer path in the grocery trade (Asiakasarvon rakentuminen digitaalisen markkinoinnin avulla asiakaspolun eri vaiheissa päivittäistavarakaupassa).

Hoikkaniemi's doctoral dissertation is part of Aalto EE's Executive Doctor of Business Administration program, in which experienced business leaders produce a doctoral dissertation related to their work. Hoikkaniemi worked as a retailer when he started his doctoral dissertation, and now, he teaches marketing and business administration at Centria University of Applied Sciences.

Hoikkaniemi's doctoral dissertation's supervisor Dr. Lasse Mitronen, Senior Fellow, Marketing at Aalto University School of Business, has long experience in retails' marketing research and in directing doctoral dissertations in the field.

"The DBA has the same premise as other dissertations: to produce scientifically reliably sourced and valid information. DBA is based on work life and preferably is usable in practice," Mitronen describes.

The dissertation is based on a survey of 1052 people from the Uusimaa region, which examined consumers' views on creating customer value.

"My own assumption was that digital marketing can achieve a lot, but in the study, the assumption was crushed," says Hoikkaniemi.

Digital marketing works best as part of a hybrid strategy, i.e., together with traditional forms of marketing.

"In digital marketing, it is important to make choices that make you stand out. We need recognizability, personality, a value-based approach, and a clear brand. But the basics of the retail must also be in order; product- and price-driven marketing is an important part of the package."

The dissertation found more than just age-related differences in consumer perceptions and behaviors. Women and men emphasize different channels: men are more drawn to content on Youtube, Twitter, and Tiktok, while women give more importance to value-driven marketing. K Group's and S Group's customers emphasize different things.

"S Group's customers focus on low prices, while the K Group's customers value good selection and new products."

You can read the dissertation here.

The DBA defense

The DBA dissertation of Marko Hoikkaniemi ”Asiakasarvon rakentuminen digitaalisen markkinoinnin avulla asiakaspolun eri vaiheissa päivittäistavarakaupassa” is examined by Aalto University School of Business at 12.00 on Friday November 25, 2022, in Osipow hall at Aalto University Töölö.

Professor Saara Julkunen, University of Eastern Finland, is the opponent, and Senior Fellow Lasse Mitronen, Aalto University School of Business, is the custos. The DBA defense will be held in Finnish.

The defense can be followed also over Zoom
Meeting ID: 856 7047 7976

DBA dissertation orders and further information on research

Marko Hoikkaniemi 
DBA Candidate
Tel. +358 40 745 8397

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Like the Aalto Executive MBA and Aalto MBA degree programs, the DBA is not part of the Finnish degree system. However, it is conferred by the accredited Aalto University School of Business. The Aalto Executive DBA program can be completed, alongside work, in three to six years. This fee-based program was launched at the beginning of 2013.

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Further information on the Aalto Executive DBA program

Patrick Furu
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Tel. +358 10 837 3719

Henrikki Tikkanen
Professor, Aalto University
Tel. +358 50 573 4174