Communication and Marketing of Services by Religious Organizations in India
Marketing communication is a vital strategic tool for religious organizations to achieve competitive differentiation. The determinants of religious organizations’ use of direct and indirect communication channels offers valuable insights into their modus operandi. This paper uses novel primary survey data on 568 Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Jain organizations spread over 7 major states in India that we collected over the period 2006-2008, to investigate the determinants of communication channel selection by religious organizations. The findings suggest that state-specific effects for Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal; and religion-specific fixed effects for Muslims play a predominant and persistent role in communication channel selection decisions. Religious organizations adopt direct channels more extensively to communicate changes to non-religious service provision. In a competitive framework, religious organizations also use indirect channels more extensively in response to information received about competitors. Additionally, intensive market competition leads religious organizations to increase their use of direct channels in response to information received about competitors through direct channels. Collectively, the findings suggest that across all religions in India, marketing communication plays a very important role for religious organizations in order for them to differentiate themselves from other competitors.
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