Research topic: Critically analyze the impacts of viral marketing on customer loyalty. A case study of PC World, UK.
Table of Contents
1.1 Research background.
1.2 Research Rationales.
1.4 Research aims and objectives.
1.5 Research Questions.
1.6 Research hypothesis.
2.1 Viral Marketing.
2.2 Customer Loyalty.
Chapter 3: Research Methodologies and methods.
3.1 Research Philosophies.
3.3 Research paradigm.
3.4 Research Approaches.
3.5 Research Strategies.
3.5.1 Data sources.
3.5.3 Questionnaire design.
3.5.4 Sampling method.
3.5 Data collection methods.
3.6 Data analysis plans.
3.6 Accessibility Issues.
3.8 Ethical issues.
3.9 Research Limitations.
3.10 Research Timetables.
1.1 Research background
Viral marketing campaigns are playing a vital role in the success of marketers in the present business world. The advancement of technologies, particularly the internet, social media and smartphones have opened new doors for organizations to offer their products and services to their target customers (Berman, 2013). On the other hand, millions of customers in the current business world are using technologies including smartphones, Social media (like Facebook), Internet in the process of buying any products and services. Therefore, many marketers are taking initiative to attract this vast consumer segment by viral (digital) marketing campaigns. Thus, marketers like PC World are focusing on the use of technologies including social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc), smartphones, and the internet as their digital marketing tools to retain the target customers and improve their sales and profits (KIK, 2014). However, many organizations including PC World are still now not sure about the exact impacts or effectiveness of viral marketing campaigns on customer acquisitions and retention.
In addition, PC World, the multi-channel technology retailer in the UK (Dixons Retails, 2014), is facing challenges in gaining improved market share and customer retention because of technology advancement, highly competitive rivalry and volatile economic situations (Gartner, 2014). Therefore, it has been a key issue for technology equipment retailers including PC World to improve their market share, sales revenue and profit margins. As Kotler et al. (2014) note, there is evidence that effective use of modern technologies like social media, the internet and the Smartphone can provide huge success to marketers in gaining improved customer retention and sales revenue. As a result, the proposed research study will critically analyze and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of viral marketing campaigns on customer acquisitions and retention from the perspective of PC World’s business and marketing. Then, the study will recommend PC World how it can apply viral marketing tools more effectively to improve its customer acquisition and retention levels.
1.2 Research Rationales
1.2.1 What is the research issue?
PC Word, the leading technology equipment company in the UK, is facing great challenges in surviving in competitive marketplaces and in gaining improved sales revenue and customer retention(Dixons Retail, 2014). In addition, technological development mainly in social media, the internet and Smartphone are impacting customer buying behaviors significantly (Kotler et al., 2014). As a result, the key issue in this proposed study is to evaluate the impact of digital marketing tools on customer acquisition and retention, which will provide recommendations to marketers including PC World.
1.2.2 Why is it an issue?
According to a study by Qualman (2013), 76% of customers are influenced by others’ recommendations when they decide to buy any products and services, where only 15% of consumers buy products or services following conventional advertisings. Kotler et al. (2014) disclose that viral marketing campaigns are comparably cheaper but effective in attracting target customers and improve sales revenues. Palmer (2012) suggests that combine of viral marketing campaigns and traditional marketing techniques, called “Big Seed Marketing” can provide the perfect solutions to the marketers to improve their customer acquisitions and retentions. Therefore, studies of these techniques have been a key issue for marketers.
1.2.3 Why is it an issue now?
Marketers including PC World are facing challenges to survive in a competitive market and to gain sustainable competitive advantages (PC World Annual Report, 2014. According to a study by Dixons Retail,(2014) PC World has lost 2.6% market share and 4.9% sales revenue only in 2014. Gerzema et al. (2014) disclose that modern technology such as social media, smartphones and the internet is providing more opportunities in making buying decisions, which are impacting customer retention and acquisitions of marketers including PC World. As a result, it has been a key issue for the PC World to study digital marketing tools to improve its customer acquisitions and retention.
1.2.4 What could this research shed light on?
The proposed research study will critically analyze and evaluate the impact of several digital marketing tools including Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Linked, YouTube, etc), smartphones, and the internet on customer acquisition and retention in the business perspective of PC World, UK. Then, the study will recommend the PC World how it can use the digital marketing tools more effectively to improve its customer acquisition and retention levels.
1.4 Research aims and objectives
The key aims of the proposed research study are to critically analyze and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of viral (digital) marketing tools on customer acquisitions and retention, and to recommend PC World in using these marketing tools more effectively.
1) To explore the viral (digital) marketing tools widely used in the current business world.
2) To explore the viral (digital)marketing tools used in PC World’s current business.
3) To evaluate the effectiveness of PC World’s viral (digital) marketing campaigns in the perspectives of customer views.
4) To find out the weaknesses of PC World’s viral (digital)marketing campaigns.
5) To recommend the PC World how it can use the viral (digital) marketing tools more effectively to improve its customer loyalty.
1.5 Research Questions
1.5.1 Key question
How can PC World use viral (digital) marketing tools more effectively to improve its customer retention and loyally level?
- What is the impact of viral (digital) marketing campaigns on customer retention and loyalty?
- What sorts of viral (digital) marketing tools are effective to improve customer retention and loyalty level?
- Which customer segment (s) can be targeted to influence them through viral marketing campaigns?
- How effective the PC World’s existing viral (digital) marketing campaigns are?
- Are there any weaknesses of PC World’s current viral marketing campaigns? If have, how can PC World recover that weakness?
1.6 Research hypothesis
H0 = Viral (digital)marketing campaigns have a significant impact on customer retention and loyalty.
H1 = Viral (digital) marketing campaigns do not have any impact on customer retention and loyalty.
Conducting a critical literature review on the research topic and subject matters is an important issue. According to Saunders et al. (2013), a literature review in a research work refers to a text of the scholarly paper, which focuses on the current knowledge and understanding of undergoing research work. In other words, the literature review is the theoretical and methodological contributions and substantive findings towards a particular research topic. Researchers use several secondary sources for conducting literature reviews. Literature reviews do not report original experimental or new work……………………..