|Title:||The online connection: transforming marketing strategy for small businesses|
|Author(s):||Lisa Harris, (Senior Lecturer in Marketing based at Management, Southampton, UK), Alan Rae, (Managing Partner of AI Consultants based at Southampton University School of Newick, UK)|
|Citation:||Lisa Harris, Alan Rae, (2010) "The online connection: transforming marketing strategy for small businesses", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 31 Iss: 2, pp.4 - 12|
|Keywords:||Communication, Online operation, Small to medium-sized enterprises|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Abstract:||Purpose – The
purpose of this paper is to review recent developments in online marketing strategy which demonstrate the growing power of online
communities in building brand reputations and customer relationships. |
Design/methodology/approach – The work draws upon the results of an ongoing research project which is investigating the use of new technologies by entrepreneurial businesses in the London area. A range of examples from our 30 case study businesses are drawn upon to illustrate some of the opportunities and threats associated with these new marketing priorities.
Findings – We conclude that social networks will play a key role in the future of marketing; externally they can replace customer annoyance with engagement, and internally they help to transform the traditional focus on control with an open and collaborative approach that is more conducive to success in the modern business environment.
Research limitations/implications – Further research should aim to track this activity as it integrates with more mainstream marketing over time.
Practical implications – Developments in the technologies themselves, as well as a reduction in costs, will mean that more and more information will be available to consumers. This results in unprecedented levels of transparency of dealings between businesses and their customers. A key challenge when engaging customers through these social networks is how to give away power and control while at the same time avoiding embarrassment to the company.
Originality/value – The paper provides practical guidance on the opportunities and threats associated with marketing through social networks, based on lessons learned from “early adopters”.