Analyzing the usage of digital marketing and relationship marketing within Swedish SME’sin the B2B sector : Examining what is most effective
Abstract: Many small/medium-sized businesses to business companies today struggle withdeciding what marketing strategy to adopt since they do not have the same resources aslarger companies have. Large businesses have certain inherent advantages over smallercompanies. They are usually more established on the market, they have moreestablished customers and they have greater amounts of funds and resources in terms offor example, personnel. Yet, SMEs play a crucial role in the European economy wherethey represent an overwhelming majority of 99.8% of enterprises active within EU ́snon-financial business economy. The research that has been made regarding the socialmedia marketing usage and adoption also points to that there is lack of research withinthe B2B sector comparing to the B2C sector. Yet, the research that has been madeindicates that there are several potential benefits of utilizing social media, it has thepotential to generate higher brand awareness, exposure, increased traffic and higherpurchase intentions than what, for example, traditional marketing has and it is alsoknown to be more cost effective. Still, many businesses have still not fully understoodthe potential benefits of utilizing social media as a marketing communication tool,especially SMEs within the B2B sector. Something that they do seem to adopt isrelationship marketing which is not a new phenomenon, it has been one of the majorparadigms in the marketing literature the last decades and is also known to be costeffective and beneficial in many areas. Therefore, the authors in this study chose tomake a comparison between relationship marketing and digital marketing, to see whatstrategy is the most effective one in terms of awareness, purchase intentions and returnof investment. So, the authors carried out a qualitative and multiple case study withseven SMEs in the B2B sector in Sweden. The result show that for creating awarenessdigital marketing seems to be more effective and for creating purchase intentions.Regarding ROI, it was challenging for the authors to draw any connections or to makean overall conclusion about it. It was also found that the companies utilize social mediamarketing mostly for relationship marketing purposes and not as sales channels and thatmost of the companies lack resources both in terms of personnel, time and funding’swhen it comes to social media marketing.
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