Contemporary Marketing in Action
What is the importance of online
marketing to SMEs’ survival?
Word Count: 2635
1. Executive Summary
This project aims to evaluate the importance of online marketing to SME’s survival. Contemporary marketing is a strategy that ensures that marketers affirm and attest to retaining consumers rather than seeking new ones. Majorly, modern marketing involves communication as the key concept employed to ensure that interactions and connections are heavily dependent on consumer preferences. At the basic level, online relationship marketing integrates all marketing strategy tools to understand consumer needs by enhancing the marketing mix. Several SMEs belonging to the B2B companies struggle to establish the perfect marketing strategy when affected by a human-made or natural disaster. Large corporations, unlike B2B, have inherent advantages when it comes to adapting to change, especially since they have the resources smaller companies lack. Regardless of the disadvantage, SMEs play an essential role in the domestic economy. Therefore, employing a competitive advantage marketing strategy that enables them to survive and thrive regardless of barriers remains critical. Online relationship marketing strategy has established a new dynamic concept where it can assist SMEs to establish awareness and purchase intentions and promote the return of investment.
Previous studies reflect that SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the business-to-business (B2B) sector seem to fully explore the potential of the current digital tools and therefore not experience maximum output from the various chances and opportunities they obtain. This study assesses and evaluates the impact of contemporary marking compared to relationship marketing based on establishing awareness, return of investment, and pursuing the pros and cons of both marketing strategies (Baran and Galka 2016). The study targets SMEs in the B2B industry in the United States of America since the sector plays an essential role in the domestic and global economy. SMEs are critical in the domestic and international business strategy since they evoke and motivate know-how, innovation, and employment. Additionally, studies outline that marketing is currently embraced as a philosophy of life; thus, making it diverse based on the industry (Migliore et al. 2018). For example, SMEs use different modern marketing strategies to large corporations; for instance, their systems correlate to resource restriction, lack of adequate knowledge and staff, and smaller consumer base. Unfortunately, even though the U.S. is fully digitalized, SMEs still find an issue using modern marketing strategies. Besides, literary comprehension outlines that traditional marketing doctrines do not apply to SMEs.
Empirical studies outline that there have been limited studies devoted to digital marketing and specifically social media platforms within the B2B sector compared to the extensive studies within the B2C sector (van Doorn et al., 2010). Though past studies confirmed that online marketing strategy is a cost-effective contemporary marketing tool to market company brand, establish awareness and purchase perceptions, to highlight a few, several B2B establishments still have an issue in adopting online marketing strategy. Some of the problems that disable these establishments include anticipated ease of use and organizational innovativeness. Several B2B establishments pursue and perceive online marketing as a less effective marketing channel and less essential in consumer relationship-driven activities than other business concepts. (Lindgreen et al. 2004) Unfortunately, the U.S SMEs, B2B market continue to grow and become more competitive. It has forced SMEs to alter their contemporary marketing concepts from a performed traditional process to relationship marketing, which is a strategy that focuses on consumer retention, satisfaction, and long-term consumer value. Relationship marketing can be addressed as marketing to present consumers against new consumer acquisition through the norms of advertising and sales. Besides, it involves studying communication, relationships, and networks (van Tonder and de Beer 2018). Presently, for a firm to survive, it needs to develop and embrace change. Innovation norms and the capability to take advantage of chances, such as digital marketing, are critical in promoting SMEs’ growth.
Even though digital marketing has been a necessary means of SMEs’ growth, statistical analysis confirms that customers perceive relation marketing as a sustainable strategy for strengthening SMEs in B2B to attain growth and success (Yoon et al. 2021). Empirical studies outline that an enterprise’s voice is outlined and marked by the business sustainability and relies on the satisfaction and long-term interaction between various constituents that earn and retain the corporates (Li et al. 2020). Unfortunately, concerns have been raised on handling marketing relationships – with most case studies and literary composition suggesting employing the strategy to attain sustainable competitive advantage. Also, most studies outline that relationship marketing is primarily used in large corporations and not SMEs; therefore, the study evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of online relationship marketing within SMEs in the United States of America (Cartwright et al. 2021).
3. Real-world Comparison
With companies facing issues such as the current COVID-19 health pandemic that has and continues to affect the business sector, SMEs, among other corporations, are struggling to establish corporate change to survive in the industry. Digitization is first sweeping the business sector, and business to business firms under SMEs are among the forces towards utilizing online relationship marketing in the United States. A statistical evaluation of 2015 online sales accounted for roughly 7.5% of the United States of America (Cartwright et al. 2021). Besides, since 2015, the share has evolved and grown substantially. Digital technologies are being employed for buyer-supplier transactions. Furthermore, digital technology led to the establishment of companies such as Google, Amazon, and eBay that have changed traditional marketing paradigms in both customer and business sectors (Baran and Galka 2018). Moreover, the B2B context involves a substantial economic activity that occurs within the marketing industry. Corporate relationships between suppliers and buyers posit dynamic and varied attributes ranging from supply chain management to collaborative research and development, current product design and development, and good mergers (Rodriguez et al. 2020). The online relationship marketing process is identified as ration since it is involving, evolving, and interactive. However, present studies outline that most B2B relationships have changed over the years, with each relationship assuming a unique concept. For instance, online relationship marketing promotes the decoupling of B2B relationships based on various constraints, for example, time, environment, and actions; thus, it can affect B2B relationships established through organic, dynamic, and multifaceted processes (Yoon et al. 2021).
Empirical studies posit that online relationship marketing supports modern marketing that has been identified and associated with various processes and concepts such as digital marketing, web marketing, or e-marketing (Li et al. 2020). Fortunately, the process has evolved from digital marketing to a marketing approach involving research and practice norms. It aims to strengthen consumer retention by stabling long-term consumer relationships. The process influences marketing efficiency and effectiveness by limiting marketing expenses, targeting high-profit consumers, limiting price sensitivity, establishing up-purchase and cross-purchase opportunities, and promoting database or data-driven practices (Migliore et al. 2018). Nonetheless, since relationships can be quantified based on attaining competitive advantage – the process creates opportunities for SMEs in the B2B context to change from transactional to relationship marketing. Evidence-based study identifies online relationship marketing with various attributes, for example, interactivity, addressable actions, memory-driven operations, receptivity, consumer orientation, and it emphasizes consumer share rather than market share. The same studies outline that online relationship marketing is trending in today’s B2B and B2C sectors due to its hyper-competitive nature. In other terms, companies that utilize it identified that it could cost a firm up to five times more to scout and recruit a new consumer than it will keep existing, satisfied, and loyal consumers (Rodriguez et al. 2020). Nevertheless, SMEs are investing in online relationship marketing because products and services are increasingly becoming undifferentiable. Also, the number of potential consumers is limited, and some of the SMEs rely on mergers to explore or expand the consumer size.
Furthermore, the profitability and value of a satisfied consumer fluctuate based on a series of issues – for example, the cross-selling, up-selling, decline in serving costs, and consumers referring their friends and public to purchase an identified product or service (Rodriguez et al. 2020). Online relationship marketing has and is influencing the corporate industry, thus enhancing competition, pushing companies to search for unique means of differentiating their brands in the B2B market (Cartwright et al. 2021). In other terms, the marketing concept is fast replacing the traditional sales approach that has been long utilized in the B2B context. The rise of online relationship marketing marked the beginning of a dynamic and multidirectional concept of building the brand. Corporates and their business consumers are interconnected, share information through online chat rooms or dashboards, create and exchange content, and link their friends to potential products and services (Kingshotte et al. 2020). It is a process the engages in retaining a consumer through establishing a relationship that best suits their needs and wants. Some of the essential mediums include the social media platforms that permit authentic or experimental tales by business consumers to advise companies on how best to deliver the products. Based on the norms, online relationship marketing enables conversations on the brand. It reflects that product development results from consumers’ preferences, high competition, and advanced innovative technology (Kingshott et al. 2020). The entire concept involves products in the B2B market, innovations established to strengthen or improve a product. In other terms, online relationship marketing explores the means of successfully establishing a product development concept dependent on internal features, technical advantages, and expertise and experience in gathering and making sense of all the data collected.
Online relationship marketing is a significant influencer to servitization, a corporate business operation, and a system that transforms commercial processes that align with advanced technology. The concept explores various domains in B2B marketing, especially those that engage in in-depth and extensive coordination and collaboration with several stakeholders such as suppliers, partners, and consumers in the goods-service system (Baran and Galka 2016). Empirical studies identify B2B markets as densely populated by the corporation that traditionally established product-driven consumer value with product-managed marketing strategy and theory. Unfortunately, several companies employ servitization to manage market demands directly impacting B2B relationships (Li et al. 2020). In developed nations, such as the United States of America, roughly three-quarters of the production firms utilize the servitization concept. It permits differentiation among firms as means of enhancing consumer participation. Also, it is responsible for strengthening a company’s innovative process. It features brand value at the consumer standards by permitting a company to establish a balance between products and services. Unfortunately, there are threats when an online relationship marketing strategy is being utilized. For example, new entrants who establish a new sense of competition or product life cycle can be adversely affected, thus, exposing the firm’s ability and capability to strengthen product and service value (Cartwright et al. 2021). Nevertheless, online relationship marketing interferes with companies’ approaches; for example, online relationship marketing affects the employment sector by limiting human intervention procedures and processes. Unfortunately, B2B relationships are often impacted by the politically-driven properties. It involves the operation of decision-making and complicates market situations.
Scope of the Study
The study aims to comprehend the vast contribution of online relationship marketing as an integral feature of contemporary marketing and understand its efforts in promoting SMEs in the B2B context. Also, it aims at finding out the challenges of using online relationship marketing as a research and development tool to retain consumers while persuading others to join the customer size. The suggestions of this study can be employed as a framework in an appropriate contemporary market communication strategy that assists SMEs in applying unique considerations to the online relationship market and other digital marketing strategies.
This study aims to understand the importance of contemporary marketing strategies in action by evaluating the various features of online relationship marketing strategy that enable SMEs to survive in B2B markets based on external components such as economic features of the market, political influence, and technology advancement.
The first process engages in establishing a research design formula – it reflects on the planning concept of the study. It will entail a detailed plan on how to attain the study’s objectives. The study will rely on a descriptive picture that will assist researchers in providing answers to various forms of marketing questions concerning B2B markets and SMEs. Additionally, through descriptive research, the study will illustrate or expose online relationship marketing among SMEs and B2B context and the process underlying the outcome and conclusion. Interpretation outlines the obligation to establish inference from gathered data after analysis. Descriptive research will be employed to fact find, for example, describe events, hypotheses, and situations based on relative data collection processes such as observations.
This concept entails gathering data by asking questions from SMEs that have once employed online relationship marketing since the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The survey aligns with the descriptive research study with the assistance of questionnaire techniques. The sampling will rely on the following inclusive criteria, for example, 10 SMEs that existed before the health pandemic and continue to strive due to employing online relationship marketing strategy. The SMEs must operate under the B2B context within domestic markets (New York City) to understand its impact in the market and its respective performance. Majorly, with such sampling, the survey will assist in considering the conditions and relationship among SMEs in a B2B context, opinions that are held, and the process that might impact the developing and growth trends.
The data collection process will entail two methods. The first will engage in gathering primary data collected for the first time for the study and will be used to analyze the impact of online relationship marketing statistically. The study will engage in personal interviews of marketing strategists from the ten SMEs. Additionally, the marketing personnel of each establishment will fill a structured questionnaire. Since consumers’ incline towards online relationships is the primary focus of the study, a structured and open-ended questionnaire will be prepared for the employees. The questionnaire is composed of marketing preference for online relationship marketing and other traditional concepts used in marketing company brands and services.
The secondary data will involve gathering relevant information concerning the same topic that was conducted in the past. The entire process will rely on retrieving peer-review journals and books from various databases and libraries.
The study will employ a Ms-Excel Add-In Data Analysis tool to understand the mean, median, mode, and standard deviation of operating an online relationship marketing strategy in the B2B market.
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Contemporary Marketing in Action