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The success of SMEs across the globe has been one of the major concerns of corporate stakeholders. The strategic approaches to the challenges and opportunities have been centered on the need for growth and development. The effect of the external environment such as access to capital, advancements in technology, and changing market orientation has affected the level of sustainable revenue associated with the small firms. The use of E-Marketing is one of the critical approaches to modern organizational management. In Cote DIvoire, the knowledge regarding the incorporation of E-Marketing focusing on the implications on SMEs is limited. Therefore, there need for more evaluations regarding this subject. This paper presents a research proposal of a study seeking to evaluate the implication of E-Marketing on SMEs in Cote DIvoire. The anticipated study will be a qualitative research where open-ended interviews will be used to collect the data based on the research objectives and questions.
Table of Contents
Authenticity Declaration 2
1.0 Research Rationale 6
1.1 Introduction and Background of the Study 6
1.2 Literature Foundation 6
1.3 Research Justification 7
2.0 Literature Review 8
2.1 Major Concepts and Definitions 8
2.1.1 SMEs 8
2.1.2 E-Marketing 8
2.1.3 Traditional Marketing Versus E-Marketing 9
2.1.4 SMEs and E-Marketing in Cote DIvoire 9
2.1.5 Marketing Opportunities and Challenges in SMEs 10
2.1.6 Developing an E-Marketing Strategy 10
2.1.7 Benefits of E-Marketing 10
2.1.8 Challenges Associated with the Lack of E-Marketing 11
2.2 Scholarly Review 11
2.3 Theoretical Foundation 14
2.4 Literature Review Conclusion 15
3.0 Research Problem and Gap 15
3.1 Research Problem 15
3.2 Research Objectives 16
3.3 Research Questions and Hypothesis 16
4.0 Proposed Research Methodology 17
5.0 Ethical Implications 18
Appendix 1: Literature Map of Key Studies 21
Appendix 2: The Research Questionnaire 22
1.0 Research Rationale
1.1 Introduction and Background of the Study
Business enterprises are established according to the plan, which includes the assessment of the essential variables such as the viability of the corporate niche, sustainability of the anticipated revenue, position, and segmentation. The comprehensive analysis of such dimensions before setting up a business firm ensures that the possible risks are eliminated. However, the assessment and implementation of all the required elements before starting the expected transactions with customers does not necessarily guarantee the success of the organization. Additional measures must be included to ensure that the sale of services and good is inclined to the intended market needs. In this case, marketing becomes a critical tool in ascertaining the retention and acquisition of the customers as well as setting the required platform for competitive advantage within the targeted market of operation. However, the onset of regular technological advancements has affected the marketing processes and techniques calling for the setting of new platforms for customer-based engagements. The introduction of E-Marketing has changed the corporate sector by shifting the strategic methods of product promotion to the behaviors of the targeted customers in line with their technology adaptations.
Nevertheless, the size of the firm regarding the capital of operation as well as the market coverage defines the extent to which the business can adopt and accrue the advantages of E-Marketing. One such example includes the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). However, since the needs of a business organization are similar across the divide, approaches that have worked for large-scale firms can be adopted and necessary transformations made in line with the specific needs of the SMEs. The understanding of the extent to which SMEs can include E-Marketing services in the promotion of their brands and services is a piece of knowledge that can assist to transform the corporate sector. In fact, a clear picture of the associated benefit for businesses implementing E-Marketing approaches in their operations is required as a forerunner during the decision processes. Although the theoretical framework associated with marketing methodologies ascertain the correlation between marketing and success of the firm, a critical and scholarly assessment of literature and field data is needed to prove the nature of real implication of the use of E-Marketing among SMEs. Therefore, there is the need for further investigation on the subject to assist in advancing the knowledge in this subfield of strategic business management. This paper outlines a proposed study that will help in unraveling the actual impacts of E-Marketing on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the West Africa from the case study perspective of Cote dIvoire.
1.2 Literature Foundation
The role of marketing in the success of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises is a concept that has been widely examined. The desire to achieve high revenue target among these business units has created a fundamental concern on how to balance the available resources and adopt the relevant marketing approach. The nature of the competition in the industry of operation has exerted pressure on the management of the SMEs. In fact, Simpson and Taylor (2002) points out that two dimensions associated with marketing define the accrued impacts from the adopted strategy. The approach used by a firm could reflect the objectives of the business and the nature of segment control within the market of operation. On the other hand, the need to attain the relevance of the techniques employed in marketing the brands provides a different perspective where the aim of the business becomes secondary. Therefore, the process of marketing among SMEs has been a difficult decision in line with the required sustainability that will incorporate both the needs of the firm and relevance of the methodologies (Simpson and Taylor, 2002).
Moreover, researchers have been concerned with the changing approaches to marketing and their impact on business success. The enterprises operating on limited capital and market have been forced to transform their marketing strategies especially by incorporating technology. The results is a managerial complexity among the SMEs, which require scholarly review and corporate expertise to determine the precise phenomenon and the best models that will satisfy the targets of the business, the relevance of the techniques, and the advancing technology. ODwyer (2009) carried out a critical analysis of the external and internal SMEs environment to ascertain the concept of innovation and creativity in these businesses from the marketing perspective. The published book revealed that the complexity associated with marketing decision for SMEs emanates from stiff competition, limited capital, small customer acquisition rates, and other diseconomies of scale (ODwyer, 2009). Therefore, what remains clear is the possible limitations that could characterize inappropriate marketing implementations as well as the sustainability and growth that is guaranteed when adequate research and planning is carried out to inform the marketing choices. An expounded scholarly and corporate review that acquaints this research proposal is discussed in the literature review section in this paper.
1.3 Research Justification
Cote DIvoire is an independent country in the South Coast of the western part of Africa where 80% of the corporate sector firms are considered as SMEs (Ofori-Atta, 2017, Naseer, 2013). The steady Gross Domestic Product and a growing per capita income are economic indicators that define the behavior of the customers. The SMEs in the country have been facing financial challenges over an extended period limiting the desire to grow and compete in local and international scale. The government has committed resources to stabilize the enterprises, but the need for sustainable intervention measures still forms part of the core need for the organizations in the country. According to the World Bank (2009), the decision to implement the revitalization governance project in Cote DIvoire was based on the weak investment environment limiting the success of the SMEs. The key areas that were targeted included the training of entrepreneurs, expertise development, financial support, and market revitalization through innovation. The external support from the World Bank and the central government has been essential in transforming the SMEs performance and market control. Nevertheless, the internal obligations of the business entities remain a key factor to be incorporated in strategic development.
One of the fundamental approaches undertaken by most SMEs in Cote DIvoire is the adoption of E-Marketing to sustain their customer acquisition and retention trends for maximum returns. Creating brand awareness guarantee increased sales when characterized by appropriateness and relevance. A transformational change associated with most SMEs in the country is not limited to access to funds but also the adoption of modern marketing techniques. However, the development and growth are skewed which calls for the evaluation of the impacts as well as the causative agents relating to the disparity. An appeal to a succinct assessment of the positive and negative implications of the E-Marketing approaches adopted in the sector emanates from the performance shifts and the skewed development that characterize the SMEs in Cote DIvoire. Therefore, this proposal outlines a study that will assist to unravel the related implications by examining the benefits and cost of incorporating E-Marketing in SMEs management. The justification of this study, as outlined in this proposal, is focused on the advantages that will accrue when more knowledge regarding E-Marketing and SMEs success is presented from the perspective of sustainability and relevance.
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Major Concepts and Definitions
2.1.1 SMEsSmall and Medi...
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