Integrated Marketing Communication

Global Branding and Integrated Marketing Communication

Integrated Marketing Communication is a process which involves co-ordination of communication elements in marketing and communication aimed at assisting an organisation to have a consistent and clear communication of its brand. This process improves an image of a co-corporate to its customers and stakeholders.

Integrated Marketing Communication is used in a firm after proper analysis of customer needs and after a review of the market situation Schultz and Kitchen (2000). Customer views and other markets which are a target are relevant to the customers Kotler (2006).

In every organisation, theirs need for marketing and corporate communication which helps an organisation to interact with appropriate markets with an aim of communicating ideas and knowing various perceptions of brands, services and products.

Marketing concept has developed from logic focused transactions and products to development of long term relationships and improvement of resources in order to maintain customer satisfaction on value. This development is aimed at listening, informing and response to customers. Value added services need to positively evolve to provide consistency and clarity Kotler (2006).

 In marketing roles, service sectors have systems where communication represents the central element of marketing activities which is a key element in all company functions Ouwersloot and Duncan (2008).

There are models outlined which help increase customer value based on customer, cost, convenience and communication. This models focus on what the customer needs rather than what an organisation can make. This involves understanding customer cost and the most convenient place to buy.

Global Branding and Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction can be defined as an inconsistency between a customer’s awareness and perceptions. Customers in the market, research items before they purchase them. This product assessment enables the customer to make a purchase choice. Most customers end up choosing well-known brands which reduce any purchase risks Smith (1999).Using such models of communication is most preferred rather than using persuasion Kotler (2006).

The goal of Integrated Marketing Communication is to build brands which are preferred by customers and well known to increase chances of purchase which increase brand equity. Integrated Marketing Communication has benefits which provides brand differentiation and improves accountability in a firm which makes customers gain trust with the organisation.

Business environment has changed over the years due to improvement of technology and knowledge transfer Caywood (2012). Due to globalization of trade many firms have responded by using Integrated Marketing Communication to be able to access the market. Globalization has led to a variety of problems such as competition for resources where more customers have immense power in decision making.

Firms have improved their operations in expanding market share which lead to sustainable marketing performance for their customers through shared value. Due to globalization, firms apply marketing strategy which creates profitability with corporate social responsibility. Integrated Marketing Communication involves brand equity and market sensing orientation which brings forth a competitive edge to a product Belch (2009).

For a business to be successful marketing performance is key Belch (2009). Having access to search, experience and credence is a sign of customer loyalty which leads to higher levels of information behavior. This leads to greater integrated strategies which influence marketing outcomes.

Customer value has the ability to respond to need and solve customer problems rather than transfer benefits to customers. Values created by consumers can pay high prices for products based on social issues. This value is usually inferred from customer satisfaction. Consumers may buy a brand from a firm due to additional value on utility which is established by a brand equity strategy Chitty (2012). Due to globalization customers are demanding and willing to pay higher prices for brands which are of quality Caywood (2012).

Integrated Marketing Communication
Integrated Marketing Communication

Importance of Global Branding

For perfect market outcomes there is need for brand identity, which involves brand vision, culture, positioning, personality, relationship and presentation. Brand vision is an idea made to check how a brand will work in a certain environment and how it will make changes in the future of firms and for the consumers.

Brand culture involves assessing visible artifacts, employees and managers values who are involved in the brand making activities. Brand positioning creates positions for a corporate name and takes into account the competitors position. This argument was based on the idea that consumers need brands with a consistent message Ferrell (2011, p.53).

Brand personality is positioned to help stakeholders groups who can appreciate what the brand can do for their firms. Brand relationship means how customers and business associate themselves with the brand. This promotes customer loyalty and helps management know how and why the brand is been used. Brand presentation is a way of coming up with different ways to present the brand which takes into consideration opinions of all involved stakeholders.

Brand equity is the added value on products and services. This is reflected in the way customers feel, think and respond to the brand. It also looks at the pricing, market share and the profitability for the firm. Brand equity is used to look at the financial and strategic aspect of it Kotler (2007, p.240).

For products to survive, the market must have proper advertising and marketing activities. Brand awareness is built on product quality. Proper quality of a brand leads to higher returns. Building brand awareness builds a strong brand image Kotler (2006).

Price is an important element in marketing strategy because it provides outgoing costs and creates profit. Customers look at price as the value attached to the product been sold by a firm. Customers expect price to reflect the quality level of the product. Price premiums reflect the brand ability to command a higher price than its competitors. A product with strong brand loyalty is able to push its upper limits which enable a price premium to be achieved Erickson and Johnson (1985).

When final products are made the place for marketing is a major factor, this helps in knowing how effectively it can be distributed to the consumer. Distribution channels need to be in line with the brand expression which involves analyzing customer needs, establishing channel objectives, identifying major channel alternatives and evaluating major channel alternatives Percy (1997).

Promotion of brands is a channel of information and persuasion used in order to sell goods and services in promoting ideas. Promotion also involves advertising through sales promotions and tailored messages that encourage a target audience to respond to the product. It also may involve public relations which maintain good quality relationships with other firms.

The concept of Integrated Marketing Communication which involves promotional activities of communication in the marketing sector seeks to have all of a company’s marketing strategies which promote a consistent and clear image in the market place.

There is need for Integrated Marketing Communication since there are conflicting messages from different places or promotional approaches which may confuse a firm or even the image of a brand. Also the Web cannot be able to be used only to build brands and brand awareness is limited Percy (1997).

Integrated Marketing Communication has enhanced business outcomes from a number of inter-related factors. Customer attitudes towards loyalty have improved patterns arising from clear and consistent experience of brand value. Improvements on customer attitudes and behaviors have had a positive effect on profitability Caywood (2012).

There has been a more effective use of communication media choices where business processes have had an effective flow adding to higher added value. There has been an increase in learning of brand organisation Schultz and Kitchen (2000). Work rate and cohesion and creativity has improved while eliminating stress levels among workers in a firm which has resulted in more cost effective use of agencies and business associates which later produce better results.

Integrated Marketing Communication has led to saving of money as it avoids duplication of graphic which are used in advertisement of sales Percy (1997). Agencies use one channel for all communication and this reduces costs in the firm

It has consequences on firms which are found in marketing communication, performance and stakeholders. Most results achieved show how well Integrated Marketing Communication has worked effectively with regards to public relations, sales promotion, and advertisement and direct marketing Schultz and Kitchen (2000).

Integrated Marketing Communication has a relationship with marketing communication because different functions within the organisation are implemented during marketing campaigns. It has led to saving of costs relating to many facilities within a firm. This enables increased knowledge of brand preference and purchase intention among customers.

With the use of Integrated Marketing Communication it has positively improved operation efficiency and reduced battles within an organisation. Brand performance has also improved due to proper brand reputation, brand knowledge, improved attitudes and customer loyalty Tuckwell (2011).

There are however barriers to Integrated Marketing Communication due to communication with a wide range of organisations. They include rigid organisational structures, time scale conflicts and poor management skills. Some managers protect both their budgets and power base. Lack of experience in the firm about all the marketing communication disciplines is a major barrier to improvement in a firm.

An organisation can be able to implement Integrated Marketing Communication if it takes certain considerations. The size of an organisation maybe one of them .Larger organisation may find it difficult to implement Integrated Marketing Communication unlike smaller organisations who may have less complex brands.

Type of organisation maybe another factor to consider. Service oriented companies are better placed for integration than product based firms. Service firms have a direct link to the customer .Large service manufacturing firms can be able to integrate Integrated Marketing Communication than smaller firms.

The levels of competition and institutional environment have a major role to play in Integrated Marketing Communication implementation. A hostile environment with aggressive competition and technological innovations may lead to positive outcomes in the organisation Schultz (1994)

Competition pushes a firm to increase awareness and brand quality which results in better brand messages. Technology has made firms to push forward in brand awareness which creates a need for integration Waller (2012).

The relationship between Integrated Marketing Communication and the financial outcomes is very elaborate since it has improved on how price ranges are managed. It promotes the markets in terms of finance by making a variety of products in the market firms. Such products include products, ETFs equities and derivatives.

Integrated Marketing Communication helps in market firms where it provides regulatory and technological improvements since it deals with equity and derivative market products. It has an order entry control which prevents entry of erroneous orders which affect the financial market negatively. This requirement prevents anomalous traders in the market and builds customer faith in such products which turns into better profits Ferell (2011).

Market Integrity Rules have guidelines which are very clear and consistent based on cancellation of erroneous policies and systems. Integrated Marketing Communication supports such rules so as to make sure that products in the market are efficient.

Where there are complex financial products markets are supposed to cancel them after a mutual consent has been made Belch (2009). Integrated Marketing Communication focuses on technical resources which are in the markets. This process ensures executions of financial products are at their best.

Price is the value attached to a financial product which is a major factor when it comes to Integrated Marketing Communication. When a participant trades, there are not aware that some traders are at fault. It helps the market operator in controlling anomalous orders and prices which disrupt the market Percy (1997).

Market operator control improves the market integrity which helps participants to have a view of what constitutes best practice controls. Integrated Marketing Communication helps in controlling cancellations which is very beneficial in derivatives markets in reducing risk where market operator’s controls may fail for one reason or another Caywood (2012). With such public action of thresholds it allows participants to develop trading strategies.

Derivatives markets are controlled from Integrated Marketing Communication to ensure efficiency and transparency. This gives participants an opportunity to help in market transaction which results in price movement. Price movements expose markets to loss due to lack of consistency. Integrated Marketing Communication favors predictability on how erroneous trades can be handled. The market policy recognizes different needs of different products markets which are appropriate for cash equity. Greater commercial certainties are usually in line with the degree of flexibility to provide price formation and protects the interests of retail investors.

There are errors which happen on option and strike price. Such errors are cancelled with consent from both participants involved Ferrell (2011). High frequency trading firms have a high turnover and high capacity.

Market making strategies display relevant market platforms which seek to increase profits on quotes accepted by investors. Prices are adjusted by investors after massive public enquiries. With risk premiums, factors like trade fees and clearing fees are factors which are determined Smith (1999).There are arbitrage strategies which seek to profit from price from products such as futures, equities and ETFs.

Integrated Marketing Communication has an effect on market integrity where market participant’s benefit from competition among trading firms which may include retail investors Caywood (2012).Competition in the market place promotes efficiency. This leads to pricing modes and market data which promote efficiency and controls pricing imbalances in the market.

Integrated Marketing Communication has a major impact on quality of markets which has continued to contribute significantly to liquidity in financial products. There is a properly targeted relief from short selling restriction which mitigates uncertainty which secures the product.

When it comes to price investor protection infrastructure costs can upgrade placements on orders connecting to each exchange as well as best execution obligation. With reduced enforcement and compliance costs, a participant performance can enforce it to avoid uncertainty. Attention to cost is high which is monitored from a range of points by the market operator.

Price transparency increases higher trading volumes which are borne by investors as providers of liquidity including market makers. Placing orders in such market contributes to the important public good of price discovery and formation.

Market capitalization is defined as valuation of a firm based on its share price and the total number of available stocks. Firms calculate this by multiplying the current market price of the firms share with the outstanding shares. This helps customer and investors know the risks of brands which they have a share in.

Integrated Marketing Communication uses financial strategic Integration where data is used to drive such planning for example product offerings. Collection of customer preference towards a product is collected to establish preference. Integration is achieved among all stakeholders to establish value chain. This helps to achieve customer satisfaction together with attaining a firm’s objective Belch (2009).

With Integrated Marketing Communication developments such as return on customer profitability, value, customer migration rates and market share it establishes a platform for marketing investments which impacts on consumer minds, market performance and increases value for their shareholders.

Integrated Marketing Communication has had a positive impact on many organisations relationships with other organisations. It has improved customer attitudes, customer loyalty and retention. Brand performance also impacts on financial outcomes when it comes to returns in a firm.

Integrated Marketing Communication has positive relationship with market outcomes and financial outcomes which is enabled with customer loyalty, brand awareness and brand quality.

The Integrated Marketing Communication concept has many driving factors and effects. It is customer based to maintain customer loyalty. It has benefits in brand communication and marketing and on stakeholders and agency relationships.

Due to development in business more research is been done on Integrated Marketing Communication to be used as a tool for brand awareness. The boom of social media is a major boost especially with support from smart phones is driving more business to use the internet which has become a powerful tool for marketing. This creates a perfect platform for implementation of Integrated Marketing Communication since it enhances interaction in social networks. It therefore has a positive effect on market outcomes and financial outcomes because brands are of quality and this increases customer loyalty which promotes sales. Integrated Marketing Communication therefore should be a priority in many firms as it boosts sales in a firm and ensures customer loyalty.

Market outcomes are based on customer loyalty to a brand which depends on advertisement of a product, promotion and brand awareness in the market. Customer satisfaction is key and is established after information has been collected to determine which brands are more preferable.

Integrated Marketing Communication is a very important aspect in any firm as it helps to coordinate other agencies that interact with the firm in promoting certain brands. This helps to access price fluctuations and what the customers want. Firms can customize on products so as to satisfy customer needs. Integrated Marketing Communication reduces major costs and therefore promotes positive financial outcomes in terms of increased revenue. With effective use of Integrated Marketing Communication firms have a better chance of increasing returns and creating an efficient platform for their business.

It has revolutionized the market industry where customers have more information and easier accessibility to firms. This creates an easier way of doing business and more is achieved. Customers have been able to set their own prices on products they require. Integrated Marketing Communication is a better tool which should be used in the market place.

References
Belch, G. E. (2009). Advertising and promotion: an Integrated Marketing Communications perspective. Sydney, McGraw-Hill Australia.

Belch, G. E., & Belch, M. A. (2012). Advertising and promotion: an Integrated Marketing Communications perspective. New York, McGraw-Hill.

Caywood, C. L. (2012). The handbook of strategic public relations and integrated communications. Maidenhead, McGraw-Hill Professional.

Chitty, W. (2011). Integrated Marketing Communication. South Melbourne, Vic, Cengage Learning.

Ferrell, O. C., & Hartline, M. D. (2011). Marketing strategy. Australia, South-Western Cengage Learning.

Kotler, P., Pfoertsch, W., & MICHI, I. (2006). B2B brand management. Berlin, Springer.

Ouwersloot, H., & Duncan, T. (2008). Integrated Marketing Communications. London, McGraw-Hill Education (UK) Ltd.

Percy, L. (1997). Strategies for implementing Integrated Marketing Communications. Chicago, Ill, American Marketing Association.

Saxena, R. (2009). Marketing management. New Delhi, Tata McGraw-Hill.

Schultz, D. E., & Kitchen, P. J. (2000). Communicating globally an integrated marketing approach. Lincolnwood, Chicago, Ill, NTC Business Books.

Schultz, D. E., Tannenbaum, S. I., & Lauterborn, R. F. (1994). The new marketing paradigm. Lincolnwood, Ill., USA, NTC Business Books.

Shin, K.-Y. (2013). The executor of Integrated Marketing Communications strategy: Marcom manager’s working model. Berlin, Springer.

Smith, P. R., Pulford, A., & Berry, C. (1999). Strategic marketing communications: new ways to build and integrate communications. London, Kogan Page.

Tuckwell, K. J. (2011). Integrated Marketing Communications. Toronto, Pearson Prentice Hall.

Waller, D. (2012). Developing your Integrated Marketing Communication plan. North Ryde, N.S.W., McGraw-Hill.

View Marketing Dissertation Topics Here

Advertising Dissertations

Advertising Dissertations

I have been asked by marketing students who have purchased Advertising Dissertations from our website to write a blog post relating to advertising within the marketing arena. With this in mind, I have taken a couple of hours to construct this post on advertising.

Definitions of Advertising

Advertisements are messages paid for by those who send them and are intended to inform or influence people who receive them. Advertising is a means of communication with the users of a product or service. Advertising is bringing a product (or service) to the attention of potential and current customers. It is focused on one particular product or service. Thus, an advertising plan for one product might be very different than that for another product. Advertising is typically done with signs, brochures, commercials, direct mailings or e-mail messages, personal contact, etc. These are benefits fields of marketing for students writing advertising dissertations.

Advertising is a form of communication intended to persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideals, or services. It includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand. These brands are usually paid for or identified through sponsors and viewed via various media, This is a particular interest field of marketing for students writing advertising dissertations.

Importance of Advertising Dissertations

Advertising can also serve to communicate an idea to a mass amount of people in an attempt to convince them to take a certain action, such as encouraging ‘environmentally friendly’ behaviors, and even unhealthy behaviors through food consumption, video game and television viewing promotion, and a “lazy man” routine through a loss of exercise.

Modern advertising developed with the rise of mass production in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mass media can be defined as any media meant to reach a mass amount of people. This topics are essential for These are benefits fields of marketing for students writing marketing and advertising dissertations. Several types of mass media are television, internet, radio, news programs, and published pictures and articles.

Commercial advertisers often seek to generate increased consumption of their products or services through branding, which involves the repetition of an image or product name in an effort to associate related qualities with the brand in the minds of consumers. Different types of media can be used to deliver these messages, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor or direct mail; or new media such as websites and text messages. Non-commercial advertisers that spend money to advertise items other than a consumer product or service include political parties, interest groups, religious organizations and governmental agencies. Nonprofit organizations may rely on free modes of persuasion, such as a public service announcement.

Advertising serves three main purposes:

  1. To get or win new customers.
  2. To increase use of products or services among existing customers.
  3. To help potential customers make a choice among competing brands.

Advertising is the best way to communicate to the customers. Advertising helps informs the customers about the brands available in the market and the variety of products useful to them. Advertising is for everybody including kids, young and old. It is done using various media types, with different techniques and methods most suited. For every organization and every product or service, advertising tends to fulfill a specific goal or objective. Nevertheless on the general front, advertising is a mechanism that fulfills all, some or one of the three major functions:

Firstly advertising has an informing nature – about organizations, about products and services, about the environment, the society, the trends in society and many more aspects of life. This deals with the cognitive context of the target audience in which they grasp the information and channelize it according to their own comprehension and predilection.

Secondly advertising provides the incentives to viewers for them to engage in action. This deals with the emotional dimension of the target audience, which concentrates on touching and persuading the consumers rather than informing and apprising them.

The third function of advertising is to provide constant reminders and reinforcements to generate the desired behavior the advertiser wants from them. This is a particularly effective function in the long run as reminders and reinforcements register in the consumers’ minds, becoming the base on which they shape their future decisions. There are many existing marketing dissertation based in these areas.

There are a few reasons for advertising some of which are like this:

  • Increasing the sales of the product / service
  • Creating and maintaining a brand identity or brand image
  • Communicating a change in the current product
  • Introduction of a new service
  • Increasing the buzz-value of the brand or the company

You can base your advertising dissertation on the above topics.

Types of Advertising

There are types of advertising objectives which are:

  • Informative advertising where the objective is to build primary demand in the introduction or pioneering stage of a product
  • Persuasive advertising where the objective is to build selective or comparative demand in the competitive or growth stage of a product.
  • Reminder advertising with mature products and reinforcement advertising which seeks to assure current purchasers that they have made the right choice.

And there are the following major advertising media types:

  • Print advertising – newspapers, magazines, brochures, fliers, yellow pages, newsletters etc.
  • Outdoor advertising – billboards, kiosks, trade-shows, events etc.
  • Broadcast advertising – TV, Radio, mobile (back-lit) vans or autos etc.
  • Online advertising – Telephone, SMS/MMS, emails, pop ups, banner ads, video ads etc.

Objectives of Advertising

Four main Objectives of advertising are:

  1. Trial
  2. Continuity
  3. Brand switch
  4. Switching back

Let’s take a look on these various types of objectives.

Trial: the companies which are in their introduction stage generally work for this objective. The trial objective is the one which involves convincing the customers to buy the new product introduced in the market. Here, the advertisers use flashy and attractive ads to make customers take a look on the products and purchase for trials.

Continuity: this objective is concerned about keeping the existing customers to stick on to the product. The advertisers here generally keep on bringing something new in the product and the advertisement so that the existing customers keep buying their products.

Brand switch: this objective is basically for those companies who want to attract the customers of the competitors. Here, the advertisers try to convince the customers to switch from the existing brand they are using to their product.

Switching back: this objective is for the companies who want their previous customers back, who have switched to their competitors. The advertisers use different ways to attract the customers back like discount sale, new advertise, some reworking done on packaging, etc.

Advertising Dissertations
Advertising Dissertations

Advertising Management

Advertising simply put is telling and selling the product. Advertising Management though is a complex process of employing various media to sell a product or service. This process begins quite early from the marketing research and encompasses the media campaigns that help sell the product.

Without an effective advertising management process in place, the media campaigns are not that fruitful and the whole marketing process goes for a toss. Hence, companies that believe in an effective advertising management process are always a step ahead in terms of selling their goods and services.

As mentioned above, advertising management begins from the market research phase. At this point, the data produced by marketing research is used to identify what types of advertising would be adequate for the specific product.

Gone are the days when there was only print and television advertising was available to the manufacturers. These days apart from print and television, radio, mobile, and Internet are also available as advertising media. Advertising management process in fact helps in defining the outline of the media campaign and in deciding which type of advertising would be used before the launch of the product.

The Strengths of Advertising as a Marketing Technique?

Advertising, being an utterly vital segment of the promotional dimension of marketing, has its share of strengths in its role as a marketing technique. There are other elements in the promotional mix as well such as sales promotion, publicity and direct marketing, nevertheless advertising has an exclusive strength to reach a mass audience.

The reach factor is very important that accentuates the significance of advertising in the process of marketing as well as branding. Furthermore advertising is an essential tool to introduce products for the first time in the market. Not only that but it also illustrates any modifications and alterations in the product or service that it is advertising. Moreover it proves to be a very effective source of reminding and reinforcing the impact of its communication of the product, not letting the consumers forget about it. Last but not the least it persuades the target audience and shapes their buying decisions.

Advertising gives companies and businesses the opportunity to build up a brand and an identity. The distinct adverts in both TV and print form are instantly recognizable as the company’s own and give it an identity as a clean, modern and reputable brand. Advertisements need to relate to current trends and sell both a product individually as well as the company as a whole. If an advertisement succeeds at both it can help draw an audience to the product or service and build a relationship between the consumer and company. Establishing this connection should lead to a boost in sales for the business. Many advertising dissertations we have in our collection encompass marketing techniques.

AIDA Model: Measurement of Effectiveness of Advertisement

This theory is based on the premise that during a sales presentation, the prospect consciously goes through four different stages: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. The components of this theory believe that the salesperson should design his presentation in such a manner which takes care of all these stages of the process of selling. The details of these components are as follows:

A: Attention

The salesperson should attract the prospect to his presentation before he actually goes into the details of the same. This is to ensure that the prospect becomes receptive to the presentation.
Here the need for securing attention is must. It’s a fact that usually the prospect may be busy in his routine jobs or daily assignments. Thus, before meeting the salesperson, the prospect’s mind may be engaged in something other than the concerned product, about which the salesperson in going to talk.
Unless the salesperson involves the prospect’s mind in the presentation, his total effort may go unnoticed or unregistered. Drawing the prospect’s attention, therefore, is as good as to detach him from other assignments and involving him in the presentation, both physically and mentally, so as to gain maximum from the sales meeting.

I: Interest

Once the salesperson has successfully gained the prospect’s attention, he should maintain the interest of the prospect throughout the presentation. In other words, the salesperson should ensure that the prospect remains glued to his presentation throughout its length and that he does not wander away from the same. The salesperson should be aware of the interest, likes, dislikes, attitude and motivation of the prospect and should proceed with the presentation, keeping in view all the factors.

D: Desire

To create a strong desire in the prospect’s mind to purchase his product is the next important step. The salesperson should consciously try to bring the prospect into this stage of readiness on the point of buying his product. He should concentrate on projecting the benefits of his product to the prospect. He should go even to the extent of presenting benefits according to the motivation of the prospect.

The salesperson should also be prepared to anticipate the resistance to his sales presentation in terms of objections or questions from the prospect. Not only that, he should be prepared with several answers and explanations to the anticipated objections.

A: Action

Once the salesperson has been successful in taking his prospect through the three stages, he should induce them into actually buying the product. Sometimes even after going through the three stages of Attention, Interest and Desire; the prospect may still have some doubt or some disinterest which will stop him from taking the final decision of actually buying the product. Hence, it becomes an important task for the salesperson to help his prospect in taking the final decision. At this stage; the salesperson tries to push the prospect into a situation to take a decision; and the deal is closed skillfully and successfully. This is what is expected of a salesperson in this stage – this is ideal research for advertising dissertations.

Importance of Advertising

Advertising plays a very important role in today’s age of competition. Advertising is one thing which has become a necessity for everybody in today’s day to day life, be it the producer, the traders, or the customer. Many companies rely on advertising these days to boost sales of their products or services, to build a connection with their audience and to create competition with their rival firms.

Advertising is important for the customers

Advertising plays a very important role in customers’ life. Customers are the people who buy the product only after they are made aware of the products available in the market. If the product is not advertised, no customer will come to know what products are available and will not buy the product even if the product was for their benefit.

One more thing is that advertising helps people find the best products for themselves, their kids, and their family. When they come to know about the range of products, they are able to compare the products and buy so that they get what they desire after spending their valuable money. Thus, advertising is important for the customers. Current consumers can also be kept up to date with the latest products and services available to them.

Advertising is important for the seller and companies producing the products

Advertising plays very important role for the producers and the sellers of the products, because:

  • Advertising helps increasing sales
  • Advertising helps producers or the companies to know their competitors and plan accordingly to meet up the level of competition.
  • If any company wants to introduce or launch a new product in the market, advertising will make a ground for the product. Advertising helps making people aware of the new product so that the consumers come and try the product.
  • Advertising helps creating goodwill for the company and gains customer loyalty after reaching a mature age.
  • The demand for the product keeps on coming with the help of advertising and demand and supply become a never ending process.

The above components of advertising can be found in many of the advertising dissertations we have on offer.

Advertising is important for the society

Advertising helps educating people. There are some social issues also which advertising deals with like immoral labor, liquor consumption, smoking, family planning education, etc. thus, advertising plays a very important role in society. You will find many dissertations relating to advertising in the marketing dissertation section of the website. Below is a list of some advertising dissertations we have available:

Advertising Dissertation – The Influence of Advertising on Consumer Behaviour

Advertising Dissertation – Advertising and Semiotics as Meaningful Signs

Advertising Dissertation – Effects of Advertising and Its Impact on the Consumption of Alcohol by Young People

Advertising Dissertation – Creative Advertising versus Direct Marketing

Why bother writing an Advertising Dissertation?

There is no doubt that advertising is critical in any business. It is, however, a misunderstood element of business success. A lot of people in the business world think that advertising is all about brand names, logos and signs while others think it is only a synonym for marketing. However, that is not the case. What you need to understand about brand strategy is the fact that you, as a business, will need to base your brand strategy on a unique and authentic idea that will connect with your customers and potential and help create a positive emotional bond.  In other words, an excellent brand strategy should set apart your business or products and services from the competition.

A well-crafted brand strategy will provide a foundation for businesses to create their own niche and consistent demand in the market. When a clear brand strategy is implemented in a business, it will, beyond any reasonable doubt, help create a group of loyal customers who will always want to buy your products or services regardless of how the economy is doing or the trends in the markets.

Collection of Advertising Dissertations

Brand strategy is, therefore, essential to any business irrespective of its size, since it is a tool to convey the right message of your products and services, and your business at large, to your potential customers. On the other hand, an effective sales strategy will certainly have an impact on the cost of your product, for instance, it’s packaging, advertising strategies, marketing and distribution channels to mention but a few. That is one of the many reasons why sales strategy must be handled with the magnitude it deserves if you really are determined to grow your business to greater heights. It is safe to say many advertising dissertations have been written on this subject.

Another area that businesses should focus on is developing revenue driven strategy in order to boost not only their sales but profits as well. That is something which any business, especially the small and medium sized businesses, cannot afford to forgo. Create one for your business and you will live to love the outcome. No doubt you can incorporate this into your advertising dissertation and read up on the advertising dissertations we have on offer.

If you enjoyed this post on advertising dissertations and where to find them, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you.

Marketing Ethics

Ethical Consideration within the Retail Sector – Marketing Ethics

Many companies and businessmen often face obstacles as to what practices can ethically be done in order to make money or achieve objectives (Marketing Ethics). Fraud and deception taken up by some companies is not only wrong in the moral sense but restricts the prosperity of the economy as a whole. These practices although may not be illegal in a given geographical boundary yet it cannot be undertaken with a clear conscience.

From a customer’s view point the retailing is the first tie in the distribution chain. Hence it is essential for retailers to be ethical in business practices as they affect the lives of many people. Ethical decisions have a strong significance when it comes to ensuring order and justice in a society. However, difficulty persists as to what falls under the folds of order and justice. In the retail industry, the one department often criticized for unethical actions in business is the marketing department. This negativity can be attributed to the fact that marketing tends to represent the most noticeable department to the public at large. For instance, fabricated pricing, misleading advertisements and deceiving sales pitches from sales personnel often result in hurt or angry customers as well as the media.

Moral constraints persist in the dynamics of marketing functions. For instance, contemporary marketing experts often debate that deceitful marketing is bound to be unsuccessful as the market will shove those who disrupt the common morality. Ethics depicts a form of social control, which is especially critical to the individual customers, the salespeople and the organisation itself. Marketing ethics gives birth to a more socially responsible and culturally penetrating business community. The adherence to marketing ethics has the prospective of being favorable to the society as a whole in the short as well as the long run term; therefore it should be a substantial part of any business model.

There is a pressing concern towards ethical issues, such as poor working conditions, child labor, associations with third world countries, green issues, grey imports and environmental concerns which have led to a change in attitude of the western world to consider a more socially responsible approach. The societal marketing concept stresses the need for organizations to achieve a balance between satisfying customers, achieving profits and maintain the well-being of the society; when making marketing decisions. An organization can play a role in creating a positive impact on the society if it produces useful products in an environmental friendly manner.

Marketing Ethics
Marketing Ethics

Over the years, organizations have evolved and realized their social responsibilities. Organizational social commitment consists of four kinds of responsibilities: legal, economic, philanthropic and ethical. These four classifications have been in existence for decades; however, in recent years social and ethical dimensions have attained increasing importance. Firms come into being to provide goods and services with an aim to maximize profits. In their efforts to attain maximum profits they often forget their responsibilities towards the society. Consumers these days place pressing importance on the need to protect the environment and hence this has put pressure on companies to realize their responsibilities and act in the favor of the society as well satisfying the customers and looking after the well-being of the society in which they operate.

Ethical Considerations

Green issues

Every business has a two-way relationship with the society. While the business contributes to the society in the form of products and services, the society provides an environment for the businesses to flourish and grown in. Since, the survival of a business depends upon the society, businesses need to perform in a manner that does not harm the environment but is useful to it. For example, companies need to be conscious of the environment they operate in and thoughtful about issues such as ozone layer depletion and global warming. Until recently, cfc (chlorofloro-carbon) which leads to the damaging of the ozone layer was used in the manufacturing of refrigerator compressors in most countries. However, today many companies have adopted various alternatives to cfc and banned its use from production processes. Companies should also take notice of fair practices when it comes to employment such as providing equal employment opportunities to everyone and a safe and fit work environment along with fair compensation packages.

Sourcing of products

Companies operating with global supply chains came under immense pressure by the consumer groups, trade union and the government in the 1990’s to ensure healthy working conditions for those producing their goods in the less developed countries. Various media campaigns have been carried out which shed light on the poor working environment in factories in the less developing countries emphasizing the need for marketing ethics and trading.

This has resulted in the growing importance of marketing ethics in the corporate responsibility agenda of major corporations. Many companies today have established social and environmental criteria for the selection of their business ventures; which includes securing appropriate standards for the labor conditions and work environment in their supply chain. Also, corporate codes of practice are being implemented so as to their ventures according to a range of social and environmental criteria, including an organisation’s efforts to secure adequate labor conditions in their supply chain, and retailers are increasingly implementing corporate codes of practice so as to certify that the working conditions of the labor involved in the production of their goods meet or exceed international labor standards.

For example, Primark’s rating fell in the consumer polls drastically in 2008 after it was discovered that a few of Primark’ suppliers were using child labor. On the other hand, Marks & Spencer had a high rating in consumer polls due to their –‘plan A’ initiative, which comprised of performing life-cycle assessment on their clothing and  included carrying out life-cycle assessments on their clothing and developing a clothes recycling arrangement with Oxfam. Primark changing its suppliers and creating a website for the promotion of marketing ethics and its ethical trading records as a comeback for the child labor allegations highlights the significance of showing customers that you are sourcing responsibly.

Product Safety

Every day, a variety of new goods are produced and sold in different geographical boundaries and on virtual markets i.e. online. Increased trading and more refined designs can make it challenging to determine the products consumer purchases are safe for them or not. Product safety is an ethical obligation for every company in the retail business as they have a responsibility to provide consumers with products of value that they pay for and that are safe for use.

An example can be taken of the Yamaha group; it ensures that products and services are not harmful in any way to the consumer’s well-being. If an issue of the sort arises it is immediately dealt with and steps are taken to compensate and prevent the recurrence. In the contemporary retail industry online trading has reached its apex. However, new online products could often be unsafe and cause serious injuries or death if they fail to meet safety standards. Consumers cannot assess the products safety, toughness and inspect labels as the goods are not physically available when purchasing online. Second-hand products available online could also be unsafe as they may fail to meet the desired standards, have damaged or missing parts vital for safe operation, may not be sold with a manual for safe use and assembly instructions or may have been modified by the prior owner causing it to be unsafe.

Grey Imports

Products that are sold through non-authorized channels are known as “grey or parallel imports’. These grey imports may appear to be cheap on surface, yet they may be far from cheap when it comes to compliance issues being addressed. They raise financial as well as safety concerns for the purchasers. As these products are not imported with the consent of the manufacturer they do not fall under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Also since these non-authorized products may not pass through regular safety checks that authorized products do they could have potential harmful impact on oneself and one’s family. Moreover, no after sales support is provided as dealer and brokers are not allowed to provide service and spare parts to grey imports which mean maintenance cannot be done by specialized professionals. Grey or parallel imports often have little or no value when reselling as compared to authorized products.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The concept of corporate social responsibility is very often linked with the concept of business ethics. Therefore, the main aim of many retailers’ ethics is focused upon the role ethical responsibility plays in order to contribute to the sustainable economic development; healthy work environment for employees, safe society for individuals, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life. Marketing and marketers play an imperative part in the growth of corporate strategy and respond to the corporate social responsibility agenda.

Business organizations make use of scarce resources in order to produce goods and services to satisfy the customers. To carry out these activities companies need to be cost effective, innovative productive in operations. In order to become successful companies should portray sensitivity to the expectations of the customers when it comes to social issues and environmental well-being (Kotler, 2003). In order to be operating in a socially responsible manner organizations should be concerned for the people and the environment in which the business activity takes place. It is expected that firms that are socially responsible will outperform those less responsible financially in the long run. This can be as a result of customer loyalty and trust, better employee morale or public policies in favor of ethical conduct and overall marketing ethics.

According to an article by Lichtenstein and et al., theory and recent evidence indicated by researchers suggests that a corporation that is socially responsible can have a relatively positive effect on customer attitudes towards the particular corporation (Lichtenstein and et al, 2004). International companies take initiative by donating millions of dollars to non-profit organizations in the form of philanthropy, cause related marketing, employee voluntarism and various novel marketing programs. An example can be of Avon, cosmetic company which raised $200 million for education regarding breast cancer and early diagnosis services through breast cancer awareness crusade.

Consumer’s Perception

Consumers are in need of ways to attain information about the products and services they purchase without having the expertise to judge. The fact that consumers are not well-informed anymore and neither are they self-sufficient; both have a significant impact on the the importance of business ethics when dealing with consumers. Firstly, there was a time when customers could analyze and judge on their own whether the quality of a product or service was up to mark. However, now products and services are created by experts with specialized skills. This results in difficulty to judge the quality by a layman, hence companies need to be honest with the consumers and tell them if the product is of acceptable quality standards and performs the functions they need it for. Secondly, people were self-sufficient previously and could produce what they needed to in order to survive on their own. This situation has changed as people have become progressively dependent on goods that have been created by experts, machinery and high quality resources. As a result the customer has little choice but to accept the product as an honest one and trust the organization’s intentions. Hence, this makes it essential for the companies to look out for what falls under the best interest of their customers.

Other Socially Responsible Clothing Retailers

Marks and Spencer is a British retailer which specializes in clothing items and luxury food products. In 2007, this retailing giant announced a five-year plan which made serious vows and commitments to becoming “a carbon neutral, zero-waste-to-landfill, ethical-trading, sustainable-sourcing, health-promoting business.” ASOS is the second largest online retailer in the world, and its brand under the name of green room acts as a podium devoted to collections with an ethical or eco-conscious story to tell. Offering a range of organic recycled and fair trade clothing, accessories, footwear and beauty, ASOS green room makes it easy to shop more responsibly without the sharp price tag. As of 2012, H&M has raised over $4.5 million USD, through a 5 year partner program with UN charity organization UNICEF. Starting in February 2013, H&M will offer patrons a voucher in exchange for used garments. Donated garments will be processed by I:CO, a retailer that recycles used clothing with the goal of creating a zero-waste economy. The initiative is similar to a clothes-collection voucher program launched in April 2012 by Marks & Spencer in partnership with Oxfam.

Marketing Ethics Conclusion

Companies have a moral obligation towards their consumers or potential customers. They must not be deceitful and sell products that are safe for the users. However, it is not entirely clear as to what is morally preferable and where does the advertising cross the overly deceptive boundary and the extent of harm that manipulative advertising can do to people. Hence, it is better to be on the safe side and take extra precautions where the well-being of human life is concerned. The responsibilities of a business are further illustrated in the steps that should be taken by manufacturers in order to ensure that goods of acceptable safety standards are provided to customers. Firstly business should give priority to safety. If costs are being raised in order to meet safety requirements that does not mean they should dismiss it. Products that may lead to serious injuries are often are often the ones that need the highest safety standards. Secondly, businesses should take responsibility of any accidents caused by the product rather than blame it on product misuse. Consumers should be made aware about the proper usage of products that have a tendency to be harmful. Some consumers can still be harmed if they use products appropriately. Also, if products are continuously being misused there should be ways to make the misusing of it less harmful to the user. Thirdly, business must monitor and check the manufacturing process on its own. Often products produced are defected as a result of mismanagement in the manufacturing process. Companies must keep a check on its activities and have a quality control team to ensure that safe and non-defected products pass through to the consumers. Sometimes external quality assessment teams or companies can be hired for an unbiased testing process.

Fourthly, when a product is prepared to be marketed, companies should have a product safety staff in-line to assess the market strategy and advertising for potential safety problem. How a product is being used in an advertisement can have a significant impact in encouraging people to use the product that way. Hence, advertisers should refrain from portraying the usage of product in a harmful manner such as showing people driving cars while texting at the same time.

Fifthly, when a product lands in the marketplace, firms should make sure that written information about the products performance is readily available to the consumers. In order to ensure the product is used in the proper manner and not misused information should be explained in detail about its proper use and made public. Warning labels are found on many products as a result of this. Lastly, companies should investigate and respond to consumer complaints. Consumers being the users can provide a good source of product safety testing and complaints can help the company determine where it lacks and what safety standards the product may lack.

In conclusion, it can be determined that the contemporary retail industry has evolved over the past decade. Previously little importance was given to matters of environmental well-being; the main objective being to maximize profits no matter what the impact it had on one’s surroundings. However, the situation is more subtle now with the consumer becoming more conscious of the environment and sensitive towards its sustainability. Retail businesses have realized the need to be socially responsible in order to gain the consumers trust, loyalty and to satisfy the market. It may incur a cost yet the outcome is far reaching for the overall growth and sustainability of not only the business but the society as a whole.

References

Gundlach, G.T. and Murphy, P.E. (1993), “Ethical and legal foundations of relational marketing ethics exchanges”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57 No. 4, pp. 35-46.

Kotler, P. 2003. A Framework for Marketing Ethics Management. (11th Ed). Pearson Custom Publishing.

Lichtenstein, Donald R., Minette E. Drumwright, and Bridgette M. Braig. 2004. “The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Customer Donations to Corporate-Supported Nonprofits.”Journal of Marketing 68 (October): 16-33.

Murphy, P.E., Laczniak, G.R., Bowie, N.E. and Klein, T.A. (2005), Marketing Ethics, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Nantel, J. and Weeks, W.A. (1996), “Marketing Ethics is there more to it than the utilitarian approach?” European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 9-19.

Urban, G.L. (2005a), “Customer advocacy: a new era in marketing?”, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Vol. 24, Spring, pp. 155-9.

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Loyalty Cards

An Exploration into The Relationship Between Brand Trust and Use of Loyalty Cards – A Case Study of Tesco

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This dissertation seeks to evaluate the relationship between brand trust and loyalty cards and show the impact of loyalty cards on brand trust of customers. In context to carry out the investigation, it has explained the facets of brand trust, customer satisfaction, perceived value and customer loyalty. The research is a quantitative, deductive study where primary data have been collected from three stores of Tesco Plc., in the UK (Birmingham Region) through the survey questionnaire method.  The research has assumed Uncles’ Research Model (2002) in the background and has modified it according to the objectives of the research. The questions in the questionnaire are mostly close-ended questions based on Likert Scale Rating which has been analysed through factor percentage analysis method. The research has successfully identified 4 factors with various sub factors and established the suggested research framework through justified literature review and data evidences, based on the conceptual model of Uncles’ et al. (2002). It has also accomplished all the  four research objectives showing that loyalty programs are considerably effective in earning trust from old and new customers by perceptible and imperceptible constituents, which can be explained both in behavioural and attitudinal aspects.  This research has also considered several literature gaps which were present earlier and tried to answer several of them.

Loyalty Cards Dissertation
Loyalty Cards Dissertation

The main purpose of this research dissertation is to evaluate the relationship between brand trust earned through loyalty cards used in many conventional retail stores. Many companies have now adopted the practice of loyalty cards because they consider this an excellent way of earning trust from customers and creating a special bond with them.This in turn helps in the retainment of old customers and also creates a good reputation in the market. The loyalty card system gives some privilege facilities to the member customers because they get bonus points and discount offers on products. This study will delve deeply into the concept of brand trust, the effects of loyalty cards in relationship marketing and the impact of loyalty cards on brand trust in reality, by considering the case study of Tesco and their Loyalty Club Card facilities for the UK customers. The main aim of the research is to evaluate and find out the relationship between brand trust and loyalty cards. It will identify and evaluate whether loyalty cards can confer brand trust in the customers. To fulfil the main aim, the following objectives will be further accomplished;

  • To investigate the impact of loyalty cards on brand trust of customers by a questionnaire analysis of Tesco club card members from three different stores in the UK
  • To critically evaluate the effectiveness of loyalty programs in increasing the perceived values and customer satisfaction which contributes to brand trust
  • To test the hypothetical assumptions regarding the relationship between loyalty programs, perceived values and brand trust
  • To prove that loyalty programs offer a good index of customer brand trust
  • The survey results will be interpreted through percentage analysis and deductive reasoning, thus proving the suggested theoretical assumptions

Social Media and Consumer Decision Making

Social Media Influence In Consumer Decision Making

Abstract

The impact reference groups or social connections have in an online marketing environment, on the product purchase decisions of consumers is analyzed in this article. The influence of social media in the decision making process of consumers is investigated, and the influence of the strength of social ties on the final decision are discussed. The article discusses theories and concepts related to social relations, social media, and consumer purchase decision making process. To understand the impact social media has on consumer purchase decision, interview is conducted with micro and macro business owners using Facebook business pages, and having over 50 fans for their fan page. To analyze the data statistical analysis, and descriptive analysis methods are used. The research concludes that a strong tie in social relations serves to influence the purchase decision making process of consumers positively. To create a successful business by adopting an online marketing strategy, building strong social relations is important.

Research Overview

Social scientists have for a long duration highlighted the importance of group membership when it comes to determining individual or group behavior. The fact that individuals act according to a reference frame produced by groups to which they have widely been accepted has been perceived as a sound premise for some time. Marketers have widely accepted the construct of a reference group as critical in at least some forms of consumer decision-making. With the growth of the internet, and online marketing, social media is becoming an indispensable part in everyday lives of people. People are social beings, and at present, consumers are participating in activities like sharing experiences, knowledge, and opinions online. They also take part in online discussions to share their experiences with a product or a service.

The speed with which information transfers has increased with the electronic word of mouth growing more rapidly. Positive recommendations and discussions online have the potential to bring in increased business volume for firms in a short time. There is also the probability of a negative complaint online that can cause mistrust in a service or a product. A new form of social communication has been made possible by online media. Groups or individuals who might never meet in person are able to influence consumer behavior and their purchase decisions. The increasing use of social media is evident from the growth in online population using social network sites. Facebook the leading social media website has observed 23% growth in its user population during 2013, with 1.1 billion users making use of the site each month.

Social Media Decision Making
Social Media Decision Making

This study investigates the influence of reference groups online brand and product purchase decisions by looking at the interrelations between forms of product use conspicuousness and forms of influence from reference groups in social media. Consumers have a wide access to different types of social media, tools, and platforms. Social media significantly impacts the process of information sharing amongst individuals in the online shopping environment. Through this research, the role played by social media reference groups in forming strong or weak relationships with consumers that can influence the consumer decision making process are investigated.

Problem Statement

The study proposes to investigate the relationship between the social media influence of online users, the behavior intentions of consumers, and the role of social media influence in consumer decision making process. The strategy of information search online is adopted by consumers to reduce the risks involved in a purchase decision. Increasing technological advancements lead to ease of information access. Consumers can easily obtain information about services or products through social media before making a purchase. This research is focused on making both practical and academic contributions. Academically, it serves to bridge the gap between consumer decision making and the influence of social media reference groups in forming weak or strong relationship with consumers. Practically, social media marketers benefit from the research results. They can gain a deeper understanding of an online shopping consumer’s decision making process.

Research Questions

Research questions to be explored to investigate the social media phenomenon in online shopping are;

  1. What are the characteristics of social and online influence groups and references?
  2. Personal and demographic factors like gender, age, education, and profession have an influence on information shared through social media. Their experience and prior knowledge influences their level of social influence.
  3. What are the ways through which information and ideas travel through such a reference group or an online community?
  4. The credibility of the source depends on the reference group and the way in which information is conveyed. An understanding of how information or ideas travel through the reference community helps in identifying factors that have a high level of influence on consumer decision making.
  5. What are some forms of ties or connections do consumers have to other consumers in the communities?
  6. Consumers form ties in the online community, resulting in the establishment of a reference group or community. By investigating in what ways and how such communities are formed, social media marketers can leverage their online advertising campaigns.
  7. How is consumer decision making influenced by social media reference groups and communities.
  8. Social media reference groups, and communities alike, are proposed hypothesized to play a major role in the purchase decision of consumers.

Research Aims and Objectives

The research aims to investigate the ways in which social media influences consumer decision making during an online purchase. The various ways in which a social media group or community is used as a reference, the ways through which such groups or communities are accessed, and ways in which information is accessed from these groups by consumers are investigated. Main objectives of research are;

  • To identify the ways in which social media has established a source of power and leveled the playing field for consumers?
  • To investigate in what ways leaders of these reference groups or opinion leaders develop in online communities or any other reference group.
  • To analyze what some of the roles of social capital play when it comes to value of the social communities created on social media?
  • To offer recommendations to social media marketers on how reference groups and communities can be leveraged to their firm’s advantage.

Rationale for Research

The results obtained from this research could offer considerable evidence on the influence social media has on online marketing. The overall process of consumer decision making while making an online purchase decision, combined with the influence of social media helps managers reduce risks involved in social media marketing, at the same time offering recommendations on the ways in which they can increase their online credibility. Research on social media marketing is relatively new in marketing research. Negligible research exists on interrelating social media marketing and its influence in the consumer decision making process. This research focuses mainly on online shopping, social media, and reference group influence on consumer decision making. So, the theoretical contribution of this research helps fill in the gap in previous literature.

Research Methodology

Business pages created on Facebook are the central tool and the key research methodology is action research. Action research involves making systematic observations, and collection of data, that can be used to solve problems, and improve professional business practices. Micro and small businesses are focused. Data is gathered through interview and by using questionnaire. Facebook pages created by small entrepreneurs are used to create a fan base for their small enterprises. As the page continuous to grow and increase in size when it comes to the fan base of about 50 to 60 users data is to be conducted, mainly by carrying out semi- structured interviews.

The research design is action, qualitative research oriented with the conviction that reality is virtual created by factors of socio- economy. Primary data is gathered through semi- structured and open interviews. Data regarding the experiences of the entrepreneur while using and adopting social media like Facebook is focused upon. Secondary data is generated by the recording transcripts from the weekly training and interaction with the participants to understand their requirements and experiences. Tertiary collection of data is carried out through virtual ethnography by carrying out internet-based interviews through Google talk, chat, Skype and blogs.

Structure of Article

To ensure research meets its aims and objectives, clear research questions and research focus are developed first. Analysis of theories and concepts is done in the literature review part. Here theories and concepts relevant to social media as a marketing tool, and consumer decision making process are explored. Research methodology is developed based on literature review, and research aims. This gives a detailed outline of the research methodology to be employed for data collection. The research approach, philosophy, choices, ethical issues and methodologies are explained. Analyzed data gathered from semi – structured interview, and research findings are presented in based on which, conclusion discusses the research concisely, using which suitable recommendations are offered.

Conclusion

The way in which consumers make purchase decision has changed with the advent of social media. Rather than waiting for messages or advertisements giving information about a service or a product from companies, consumers are now seeking information on social media directly. Online community has the greatest amount of influence, especially on online shoppers. Research proposes to investigate the characteristics of online communities and reference groups involved in social media. The ways in which such groups influence the consumer decision making process is explored. For data collection, semi – structured interviews are conducted with online micro and small business entrepreneurs making use of social media tools like Facebook and blogs.

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