The marketing business functions are mostly misunderstood for different things to different people. Some thinks its promotional activity to create revenue for the company and convince the consumer to buy the product and services. Others emphasise on product marketing and development by defining pricing in competitive markets. Others associate marketing above-in-line as advertising of everyday life, predominantly with media that’s including modern trend of digital marketing.
Marketing is a process where companies want to meet customer wants and needs by identify, create, communicate, and convey offerings and solutions either now or in the near future. This process helps the companies to build brand reputations and deliver results for the target markets. The famous quote which I like from the grandfather of modern marketing Peter Drucker is “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity”. As an entrepreneur I feel the same with the above quote. From the above it clears that marketing is all about building relationships with consumer, brand image, media including digital and with colleagues.
Why is marketing that so important for corporate/business?
Marketing, possibly transform the business dramatically more than the other department function by effective tactical and integrated activity. In this competitive world it is the defining success factor for any corporate/business. The days are gone where companies depend solely on product and prices. In today competitive, companies should have clear market leaders, different customer experiences, strong digital marketing/tools, margins and customer engaging experience.
The above has defined the complexity and importance of marketing and created the recent trends in digital marketing, consumer behaviour and companies propositions/ restructuring.
The digital marketing plays a vital role in customer buying power because of increasing vast sources of information’s with easier access. Initially internet allowed the customers to compare the products, features and prices in a resourceful manner and it’s a beginning.
The cyber space has created out of control as customer have access positive and negative reviews, feedback of products and service and about the offering across the globe especially through social networking, viral marketing and peer-to-peer networks (WhatsApp, Viber). The companies’ point of view has been changing in the recent years initial it was word of mouth and could reach 3 to 10 satisfied customer but these figures multiplied by millions by digital marketing. The customer expectations are rising not only products and service it is also about how quality engagement with them.
In the globalistation the digital and consumer experience combines into one. The most common goal for companies is to expand the business in global level. Most of the companies acquire business, since they don’t want to invest huge capital. Many large companies try to consolidating market on global basis, either buying smaller or international companies by adding to their market value/presence to influence the customer behavior.
The internet and high-tech communications advances have created a massive awareness among the customer in buying a product and brand image among younger generations. The emerging economy countries like India, China, Brazil and Bangladesh have access to the local markets with highly effective distribution networks, means business can access any chosen market. By doing this companies try to create an image in the minds of the consumer as a global leader brand.
The above trends chain with advancement in technology, product development and consumer expectations have continually reduced the product life cycles. The marketing department window has become ever smaller in opportunity to create a market position and turn profit before the product become out of market.
For example, in 2008 the Blue-Ray disk format renovated HD-DVD, in result before either technology had even made an impression on the mass market.
Another great example of technology advancement is Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014. Even though it has created a massive impact in the work and friends group about their social networking service. The main interest of the acquisition is Facebook interested in money transfer; since WhatsApp is globally know messaging service with more than 600 million users and charge $1 a year for subscription with clear billing system and create $20 million annual revenue. Keeping this in mind Facebook realized money transfer service is more vital in globalized workforce and later hired messaging products head as PayPal CEO David Marcus.
Innovation and marketing have become inseparably is linked. The companies need to be unique among others and their propositions/restructuring. The innovation is the only way to do so though digital marketing, customer experience and their company core product.
I have decided to research on the digital marketing including social media, integrated digital communications, customer behavior, cyber space/security, firm innovation and propositions/restructuring in digital network. I’m extra involved in this topic, since as an entrepreneur (Optima Marketing (UK) LTD) I myself wonder how this digital network world has controlling us instead of we control them. I have experienced myself in this last 2 years of running my own business. Especially it keeps on running in my brain what is going to be next in digital network boom.
3. Preliminary literature review:
In the 21st century technology plays a vital role in our day to day life and impact result in rapid changes. Think of the last time you logged into E-mail, Facebook, Twitter or have attended a call in your mobile or received a text in your WhatsApp, Viper. The development of communication technology and ease of access of information in the recent years have especially benefited the area of Marketing. It won’t be good if the companies not explore these options in terms of cost efficiency, agility, time to market and other efficiencies.
The way we do business will revolutionize with new media marketing (Digital Marketing). Because of change happens quickly in the market all industries are eagle-eyed in market conditions, consolidation, financial, legislations and global competition. The vital role of the technologies is to connecting people any part of the world. “The more you think about business as being a community service, the more successful you become”, said Craig Network, founder of CraigsList.
For example think about eWomen Network, Inc. founder Sandra Yancey started in garage in Dallas home a simple formula to use technology connecting the incredible entrepreneurs together to help own community and today it is widely recognized in North America as Premier Women’s Business Network.
In today’s competitive market the companies/marketer most important single aim is to communicate with the customer. Building customer relationship through digital network is unquestionably the future of business communication. It is about thriving and not about surviving for businesses. The consumer wants comprehensive information about the business product and services on their schedule.
This technology revolution has created a digital age. The companies that use the technology digital network platform such as social network, Web, E-mail, Telephony, Blogs and Analytics are controlled with essential information in order to provide for existing and future customers. This is crucial goal for the business information from solving a problem or connects customer they need to know about or entertaining or enlightening information it could be and major impact companies bring value to the customers.
In recent years the marketing moves has been changed to technology driven (2010) digital network marketing.
This digital age has created marketers tailored made products and services according the customer or individual needs. It helps the marketers communicate in large groups and also helps the firm to communication in live throughout the world. It has created marketer to build specific needs of products and services by click away.
The digital technology world means that customer can access the information or marketing content anywhere in world or share with friends on they go. The digital marketing must be integrated into customer relationship marketers. The base of digital era is internet as now it stands 3.175 billion users worldwide.
The average spends online 26 hours per month of which 270 million use Microsoft sites and 333 million use google sites. As of August 2015 Facebook has 1.18 billion monthly active users. From the above statistics it shows that these digital networks made the customer stay connected with together and share information on live makes them to experience enjoyable, useful, and relevant.
Why/What is digital marketing and what benefits for the firm in using it?
Digital marketing is a way where companies use to communicate the promotion of products, services or brands via one or more digital platform. It completely differs from traditional marketing as it enables the companies to analyze the data in real time which one works and which isn’t. These digital marketers monitor the activity of the individual or groups what is been viewed, sales conversions, how often and long whether it works or not. Perhaps as mentioned above internet is vital for digital marketing, others include wireless messaging WhatsApp, electronic billboards, radio channels, mobile or games app.
The digital media makes the consumer pervasive and easy access of firm information throughout the globe 24/7. The marketing days are gone in recent where customer got the message about products and service and comprised of what information wanted them to know. The digital media marketing is booming than any other sources of marketing, the consumer are now visible about what the company says about their brand but more than that consumer also listen what friends, peers, relatives tec., says as well. The consumers are likely to believe them instead of information provide by companies these days. Consumer attentive to brands they can believe, companies know them, and personalized communication and promotions tailored to individual or group’s needs.
The key question companies’ marketer trying to struggle in recent times what platform they decide is best or what proportion they use or communicate about the product and services in digital marketing.
In recent years I have been questioning myself as an entrepreneur, does digital technology (DT) dominate more in the promotion mix? Does (DT) marketing mix need separate space to be adding in the 4P’s? Although the promotion is already in 4P’s marketing mix it does not elaborate what ratio of technology mix is need in digital marketing platform. There is no thumb rule that the companies which create a digital video/marketing brand going to be a hit among younger generation or social media.
At the movement the companies create digital add try to concentrate that it should be humor, brand value (celebrity), clear and viable message mainly among youngster and short in time.
But how it benefits the firm and is it really contribute for the growth of the company? One of the major benefits of digital marketing is real time results it shows how many consumers visited, peak time, feedback on touch of a button. Companies not necessary need to wait for weeks to boost their business. It is also simple in cost and it target/reaches large volume of customer in seconds. Companies can be specific design needs of the individual or groups through analytics how consumer approaches their website or blogs. The business has great exposure then before through digital media marketing as it reaches global. Though the benefits and growth seem large in number there are complexity arise in recent time within digital technology like age gap, consumer and companies data being compromised in this digital era like cyber hack, digital assets, legacy and your digital afterlife .
Key digital marketing skills
The brainstorming session which took place in Salford business identified 10 digital marketing skills needed in dynamic and competitive of digital marketing.
1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
2. Social Media Optimisation (SMO)
3. Analytics and Return on Investment (ROI)
5. Soft Skills
6. Client Management Service
7. Awareness of international market differences
8. Hands on practical experience
9. “T” shape educated
From the above it clearly shows that managing the customer relationship is key to across all channels in digital marketing. I’m going to dig deeper of these each topic in later stage of my research.
Digital consumer relationship/behaviour, cyber security and digital legacy
From the above it shows that company wants to know you, keep in touch, make sure it delivers according to your preference, and ensure what is has promised to deliver to you. Now we have an idea how this digital platform help companies to provide deep insight into consumers feel about the products, services and brand. Most wonder why companies what to build a relationship with customers? The customer experience is a combination of product and services in digital era, it should give them a “feel-good factor” when they visit the store, website or even message circulated in social media.
The reason of this before database marketing the marketer/companies what to know how much sold, where, what price. Still many companies struggle to identify on their customer on immediate consumption (retailers). The above digital platform build a relationship with customer and companies to create need of that product, services or brand whether it is individual or group.
These digital platforms have created consumer expectations and behaviour very high in globalization. This powerful digital age brought in increase consumer power and marketer is directed towards “on-demand “marketing. Leading marketers’ analyses know to think optimizing search positioning through customer-search needs. Companies hoping to create positive digital experience that customer will share and can monitor on social channels. Companies try to create easy access to review the product, services and feedback of the brand. The inexpensive communications pushing marketing experience even further in consumer needs and wants include in advances in handling “big data” thru mobile connectivity. Consumer soon able to search by gesture, image, and voice; by taking picture or transactions it automatically connects with each other and find new prospects with technology in consumer field of vision (example google glasses).
These digital platforms multiply, consumer expectation and demand raises in key areas like now, can I, for me and simply. It is clear that companies what to give apparent experience for the customers in every aspect. Companies want to re-design thinking techniques to shape consumer experience as interactions multiply and very few companies can execute this level. Gathering consumer information needs to update with emerging tools and data need to protect with legal measure in cyber security.
For example the recent issue of data is being hacked by criminals TalkTalk. It said 21,000 bank account has been taken, up to 1.2m email address including personal data for scamming attempts, up to 28,000 credit and debit card details, and 15,000 date of birth risk of being used by criminals, M&S consumer personal data avail to different consumer when they login and Vodafone consumer data tried to hack by criminals.
This leads to a big question to me; what happens to your personal data that has been given in website/social media is it protected?
Furthermore it leads to virtual dimension the way we live today and no bounds of our digital lives. So what happens to our digital legacy? Whereas financial intuitions marketing their products such as online shares, online account, and online currency. What happens to your sentimental/financial data stored in digital platform after you die?
Integrated marketing and digital communications
Integrated marketing communications is simple it’s all about integrating the promotional tools (4P’s) to work together. Previously mentioned promotion is key in marketing mix and itself has own mix of communications tools. The integrated communication levels into Horizontal, Vertical, Internal, External and Data integration. But how these integrated communications helps to strengthen the marketer in digital aspect? The relationship marketing provides loyalty to the consumer and protects them inevitable competition this is being processed with the help of integrated marketing communications.
Wisely messages send to consumer to remind special offers, vouchers, planned comfort choice, and updated information to help reduce consumer “misery of choice” in fast pashed environment. These communications benefits from save money in duplication, agency fees, planning and reduce workload.
But marketers are learning that digital communications are integrated strategically in the marketing mix, the digital platform standalone tactic does not perform effectively. The followers in digital communications learning about the brands, products and services and follow the conversion pages (review, feedback) and leads to ultimate customer. The marketers become more proficient at it with increasing amount of digital communications in different platform. But how customer process information and how we communication? There are many models in communication models and theory. The basic one is single step model – sender and receiver. I’m going to explore in details in my research.
Innovation in Digital marketing network
“We don’t believe in digital marketing we believe in marketing in a digital world” by Clive Sirkin, CMO of Kimberly Clark.
What makes innovation in the digital marketing network? The marketing it target wow factor, relevancy and emotional connection become fantastic digital marketing. The marketing campaign should be memorable because they are the one which stand in the heart of the customer, messaging, products and services. In today’s complex of digital world there are so many ways to reach customers. But some of the innovative campaign make attention both in online and offline and influence the taste, smell, sight and sound. The below picture provide information that the most significant commercial digital marketing trends.
Digital Marketing network
Facebook changed the way marketers communicate, it has revolutionised the marketers’ successful strategies to have effective social landscape and demand the right consumer insights.
The content marketing is king as growing numbers of devices such as e-readers, smartphone; tablets consumers are using digital content in vast (YouTube, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon). The marketers know that if they want to maximise the digital ROI they have to engage with the customers effectively, understanding and tracking their attention where they spend more time.
Mobile Marketing is massive part in digital mix, the smartphone and tablets have revolutionised by touchpoints where they can connect to consumers anytime to the customer in any part of the globe. The right mobile strategy means the companies should have CRM, SEO, website content and advanced tools like location based services.
The Facebook biggest acquisition WhatsApp transformed the way we communicate and dramatically shifting consumers from SMS messages and mobile network.
The FMCG needs right channel selection to communicate with the consumer. The changing marketers communicate needs right strategies of consumer insights and it continues to shifting.
The effective digital marketing of many marketers’ brands is using online video. The marketers needs to be innovating in video content and should spread effectively.
The massive part of marketing is social media. The marketers needs to be up to date with these networks as nothing powerful recommended by their friends, peer or colleagues about the brand. It is very critical in digital marketing mix as it increases the ROI in quick span on time from existing consumer and new consumer.
Twitter has modernised social media, it need a careful understanding for the marketers to create a successful strategies to grab the attention of the Twitter consumers in traffic social media landscape.
The ecommerce trends are clear across every country and sector the change is rapid. It is vital in marketing and sale process as customers can discover information and remain loyal, without the right data or feeds it can’t be reached.
The existing investments multiply the ROI if the elements of digital marketing mix used in search engine marketing. It is critical for business to drive traffic and it is cost effective and paid search whatever phrases that consumer need.
The business model, digital publishers and organizations high trust online advertising as it fundamental part of digital marketing strategy.
The viral marketing cut-through the communication clutter as the message received from a friend. It is more powerful as new consumer relationships build and let the brand build as nothing is more powerful than friends.
The marketers engage with consumers through brand gaming and marketing through gaming have created a new set of tools. The broadened online and offline games has fallen the cost of games, driving brand loyalty and teaching new awareness behaviours, where larger games like Farmville allow existing platforms into successful integration marketing.
For every business the marketing regulations is essential element and understanding internet and digital marketing is important, especially marketers. As discussed above consumer data protection, advertising standards, cross-cultural complex laws, and copyright.
Research questions and objectives:
The starting point in writing the research to begin with one general focus is research questions that continuous your research idea. This will focus in detail research or questions objectives.
There are two types of research question: interrogative and declarative as stated by Cormack and Benton (1996). The interrogative is expect a question to be written as you would written whereas in declarative it is more like a purpose of statement.
Does digital marketing have gender and age?
What marketer research on these groups?
Does digital marketing creating a gender gap?
Will the EU new strategy to built a single market for digital services boost the consumer purchasing behaviour/power?
Did cross-border digital marketing improve/advance the firm performance?
Does digital marketing change the firm restructuring?
What role does consumer law play in digital marketing?
How safe is digital marketing?
Does digital marketing have life-cycle?
What proportion/ratio used by marketer in digital marketing?
What effective and efficient tools used in digital marketing?
How the performance of using digital marketing is measured?
Which consumer needs to be focused?
What digital platform they prefer to products and service?
What happens to digital legacy?
Will this models/communication help companies to make better decision-making?
Will cyber security become major problem in the future and what measure does corporate trying to control it?
• To ascertain the key elements that influences corporate to focus in digital media and its performance.
• To evaluate the new strategy built by marketer to boost the consumer buying power in cross-cultural economy.
• To analyse the short span product life cycle and it effects in environment.
• To study the consumer behaviour change and adoptive in digital era.
• To determine the various issues corporate and individual face in cyber security – case study.
• Research Plan:
“As management draws on a number of disciplines, the researcher uses a combination of interviews, questionnaires, observation and documentation to ensure the research question validly answered” (Jewell 2008). The research is focused on digital marketing including social media, integrated digital communications, customer behavior, cyber space/security, firm innovation and propositions/restructuring in digital network so the positivist and interpretivist research is used for data collection.
Furthermore the research needed a deductive research approach where quantitative and qualitative questionnaires used for interviews. The statistic position of these digital platforms is determined by using an inductive research approach techniques.
The research design by the Bryman and Bell (2007:71) helps in structure of research methods. They are comparative designs, cross-sectional, longitudinal, case study, Experimental.
The comparative designs help in finding how the marketer try to be innovate in digital marketing process and the cross-sectional design identify the consumer behviour by using these digital technologies. This can be obtained through online, questionnaire, structured and semi-structured interview. The case study analysis helps in more details of each digital platform the success and failure in marketing. I will also use image based research as visual image potential source of this research like still, movie, object (example: Syria boy died).
The above goal can be achieved in order to get a valid and reliable sources through the below data collection.
The famous quote “Books worth reading are worth re-reading” by Holbrook Jackson. The secondary data can be collected using various books in order to clearly understand the impact of digital marketing, companies’ strategy, digital evolution, consumer behaviour and security the various books sources help in collection of achieving the research.
In addition, the data can be gathered from University of Sunderland e-library database such as Emerald, EBSCO and Emerald etc. However, financial details can be found in FT.com, FAME and GMID for company reports, share value, consumer usage. I will also use the reports found in articles, journals and Mintel etc. The internet source can play a vital role in data collection on this research.
Furthermore, with the approval of my supervisor I will use their research books. This helps in achieving the objectives, corporate marketer strategy, promotion in digital media, company propositions, cyber security.
My primary research will be carried out through online, questionnaire, structure, semi-structured interviews.
The reason for the questionnaire is to know the digital change and its impact in the minds of the consumer. Since, most of the consumer psychology change quickly in digital marketing. The common reasons such as vouchers, promotions, peer pressure, social status and brand etc.
The digital impact among the recent generations can be analyses through survey questionnaire by creating a web link/app with the approval of supervisor/university and circulate among the public. This data collection will help in impact and trends that motivate the marketer to concentrate on digital marketing. The questionnaire will also signifying the various factors like its competitors, strategy, cyber protection, promotions, cultural shock, level of involvement of the consumer in digital change, work-life balance, success stories of the business.
Since, I have a vast experience I can access information through my personal contacts employee’s/managers working in Barclays Bank since it is one of leading bank in technology (Pingit App). The bank also have digital eagle department which I feel will help in my research project. The information collected for these individual employees is analysed in order to show the reliability of the consumer behaviour.
Another advantage is I have the opportunity to create an app to identify survey and monitor these digital changes thru my company contact details back in home country (India) were technology is created in large volume. These data will help in achieving my second to fifth objectives.
Since, I have worked with the various department/companies I still have contact with them to contact and conduct a semi-structured interview to get a view how they feel about these changes in digital era. I also aim to do a semi-structured interview with the middle level management members in the company in order to achieve my first objective. Since the communication is the key for the marketer to promote the product in digital platform it is key element in the organization. The questioners are prepared with the help of supervisor and the questionnaire data collection can be done either through official email of the organisation or phone interviews.
For structured interview I’m planning to use international (UK) and emerging countries (India). Since I have the access for these countries without any difficult as an international student.
Many of the text books classify data into two types Quantitative and Qualitative. The product of all research strategies refers to quantitative data. The simple counts and frequency of the data can be shorted with Microsoft Excel/spreadsheets. This helps in presenting survey design either in pie charts, Bar, Scatter, Line charts etc. For example:
For qualitative analysis the data collected is analysed either deductive or an inductive. The information can be presented in SmartArt, Winword, Powerpoint and CAQDAS.
Although, digital marketing is a vast subject in today context the frequent changes in industry happen overnight. Some of the objectives of this topic depend on the sensitive information and company information. Companies might not discuss sensible information beforehand in this competitive digital world. But, I believe with the experience of my supervisor and assistance it will be a great plus in handling this point. Once it is done, I test myself with the questionnaires before the actual survey is made.
Another area is reliability and trend of the data in order to achieve the objectives. I will manage to complete of the questionnaires early, so that it give enough time in deciding about consumer behaviour, approach by marketer in digital field. Even though it acquired with huge bid some of the content like cyber security, digital law, cannot be collected from the questionnaire and some consumers and companies don’t what to discuss these factors and have different view in order to go with the company policies.
• Ethical considerations:
I did my MBA International Business in Coventry University, UK so I’m aware of the University ethical guidelines maintained in University of Sunderland, Faculty of Business & Law. I will also fill the Ethics checklist and abide by its rules. With the assist of my supervisor, I will be guided and informed about the questionnaire and interviews. The data collected from the semi-structured interview and personal experience will be maintained with precautions and confidential. I will explain the interview participants the purpose of the research and the official reply kept undisclosed. The data gathered from other sources will be treated confidentially.
I’m also aware of the rules and regulations of the plagiarism; I will make sure that I paraphrase without changing the original message/meaning of the others. I will also ensure that proper cite is made in other people’s work and quoted. Finally, I make sure that proper use of Harvard Referencing System is made in order to complete my project.
7. Planning and any special resources required
“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”, a proper planning make my proposal to organise the work in simple way and also to optimize the other part of work carried in life. In order to maintain, a Gantt chart (Appendix 1) is prepared for my PhD in Digital Marketing at various levels of activities and stages.
Note: The Gantt chart and calendar date can be amended further discussion with the supervisor availability.