Small enterprises’ marketing strategy in the digital era : A study of hotels in Sweden
Abstract: Aim: The aim of this study is to explore small enterprises’ marketing strategy and the digital tools that can improve their odds in the market against competitors and gain competitive advantage. Method: Qualitative study was conducted using primary and secondary data for this study, where primary data was collected through ten semi-structured interviews. An inductive approach was used to complete this study. The sample taken was seven small hotels and ten respondents who own and manage the hotels. Result & Conclusion: Findings of this study show that digital marketing tools demand fewer resources such as marketing expenses, number of employees, and make marketing activities simpler for the managers of small enterprises. As a result of digitalization, small enterprises are able to implement the marketing mix (4Ps), although their primary focus is price followed by providing customized product/service that fits the customers’ needs to gain competitive advantage. Suggestion for future studies: We found in our study that one hotel did not use social media at all, and it would be interesting to know if there are more enterprises that do not use it as well. Therefore, in future studies, a larger sample would produce more data about the use of social media by small enterprises. Additionally, this study was conducted in a developed country context and further research would be beneficial to emerging-market countries if it is conducted in their context. Finally, a deeper investigation of marketing strategy between different sizes of micro and small enterprises can provide greater knowledge about how they operate. Contribution of the thesis: This study has contributed to small enterprises’ marketing strategy, which shows that they focus on customer preferences rather than what their competitors offer. It also contributes to SMEs’ digital marketing where digitalizing an enterprise’s marketing activities decreases costs and increases dynamic capabilities to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. Moreover, this study provides new thoughts about the marketing mix for SMEs, which includes that cost leadership strategy is mostly used, hence, making them the price followers. In other words, they set their prices based on their competitors.
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