Social Media Marketing vs. Prevalent Marketing Practices Master Thesis : A Study of Marketing Approaches for Micro firms in Sweden

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Centre for Innovation Systems, Entrepreneurship and Growth; Högskolan i Jönköping/JIBS Entrepreneurship Centre

Abstract:

Background

In Sweden almost 90% of businesses are micro in nature which plays a pivotal role in the economy by generating employment opportunities as well as serving a source of instilling entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. Due to their invaluable contributions to the economy, their survival through revenue generating marketing practices has become an area of much more interest than ever realized before. A common misconception prevalent is that marketing in micro businesses is just a miniature of larger enterprises. This is why earlier researchers have paid scarce treatment to marketing practices in micro businesses as evident from the scant published material on the topic, making it an intriguing area to study. Currently much hype has been created about social media applications like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc and their marketing value for small businesses. It is therefore, in this thesis we study social media and prevalent marketing practices in the context of micro business.

Purpose

Micro firms are often cash-strapped which limits their revenue generating ability through prevalent marketing practices which are resource intensive. In the back drop of all the hype about social media as a marketing tool we got the clue to find the right marketing approaches for these businesses regarding the choice of prevalent practices and social media as a new marketing tool. To achieve this purpose, we have formulated the following research questions.RQ1.Which of the two types of marketing is more effective in terms of targeted segment coverage and expenditures? RQ2.Which marketing approach enables micro firms to maintain better relationships with customers? RQ3.Whether or not it is the right time for micro firms in Sweden to adopt social media marketing practices?

Method

A qualitative approach has been used to achieve the exploratory purpose of the thesis. Overall; eight micro firms were chosen from a convenience sample, representing different regions and industries of Sweden. In the first phase, two pilot semi-structured interviews were conducted to attain a better understanding of the phenomenon under study. Later, six more semi-structured interviews were carried out from micro businesses representing different sectors in Skövde, Mariestad and Jönköping Counties.

Conclusion

This thesis suggests that micro businesses are mostly marketing weak organizations (MWO) as they are sales oriented and see marketing as more of a luxury. Micro businesses in the sample reveal a tendency to carry out marketing activities in a haphazard manner which limits their likelihood of achieving their targets. It has also been indicated that conventional approach to reach target segments, still has a strong effect on micro firms in Sweden and is therefore more

appropriate for them as majority of their customers are geographically concentrated as well as a major strata of these are yet to start active participation on the social media landscape. In terms of costs social media

Given, the small population of Sweden, it has also been showed that micro businesses are keeping good customer relationship with customers via word-of-mouth marketing which is considered as instrumental for success of majority of micro business. At the same time, this finding does not indicate any clear picture as to which form of marketing is doing better for these businesses.

In terms of social media adoption the findings indicate that micro businesses see social media as a great marketing opportunity in which micro businesses can compete on a level playing field with their larger counterparts. This study also concludes that social media is in infancy stages of its development in Sweden as people though they are present on the social media landscape, but have not yet, thought of it as a mainstream marketing channel. Therefore, it is suggested that micro firms in Sweden need to adpot a

(high volume, low expense) is more effective only when used in tandem with conventional marketing (low volume, high expense) approaches. It is therefore suggested that micro businesses can use a blend of social and conventional marketing practices till the time that the social media network externalizes to a greater extent. wait and see approach for the time being and start preparing to capitalize on social media soon when it becomes ripe and ready for marketing.

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