At first, I would like to thank God to give ability with knowledge and wisdom to undertake work like this research study. Secondly, my cordial love and honor to my module tutors and dissertation supervisors who have supported me with their suggestions, lecture sheets, notes, and guidelines. Thirdly, I would appreciate to writers and publishers of the related books, journals and websites on these research subject areas. Fourthly, I bless my parents who have supported me mentally with motivation, advice and suggestions, and financially to complete my study here in the UK. Finally, Fifthly, I would like to thank only my friend who has supported me a lot by giving advice and guidelines on this research work. Finally, my friends and relatives who live or work with me would be appreciated for their support through giving me opportunities to work on my research work attentively.
The current business world is changing very rapidly because of the frequent development in technologies and volatile economy. On the other hand, the rapid changes in technological development are changing customer buying behaviors and decisions. As a result, all of the modern and dynamic organizations like PC World are providing extra care on customer acquisition and retention with improved customer loyalty. Therefore, they are looking for more attractive and strategic digital tools in this digital era to attract their consumers. Thus, nowadays viral marketing tools and techniques are becoming under consideration of business organizations seriously. Although viral marketing tools and campaigns can contribute a lot to attract consumers and making them loyal, it may bring some disadvantages for businesses with its negative impacts. In consequence, organizations including the PC world need to find the impacts of viral marketing tools to use properly in their business operation to improve customer loyalty.
The aim of this research study is to critically evaluate the effectiveness of viral marketing strategies and campaigns in retaining customers and making them loyal to them. The objectives of the study are: a) to review the concept of viral marketing tools and techniques, customer loyalty, and the impact of viral marketing on customer loyalty; b) to explore the viral marketing tools and techniques used by PC World in their business operation; c) to find out the weaknesses of viral marketing campaigns of PC World in compare with widely used ones, and d) to suggest PC World for improving its viral marketing campaigns so that it can attract more consumers and make them loyal.
The undertaking research has benefited in different ways. First, it has developed and extended the researcher’s knowledge and understanding of how to conduct effective research work. Secondly, it has taught the research how to conduct research in the real field on participants and how to collect data through secondary sources and primary sources like interviews and surveys. Thirdly, it has taught me to critically review the literature on the research subject areas. Fourthly, it has developed the researcher’s understanding of research methodologies including research philosophy, research designs, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, research reliability and validity, and research ethics. Finally, the researcher has been able to find a solution to the proposed research’s problems which will support the PC World to improve their viral marketing strategies to improve customer retention and loyalty.
The researcher has applied a number of methodologies as well as methods to conduct the research work. As research philosophy the researcher has used pragmatism strategies in this research work, where the research ontological view was subjective and objective, the axiological position was value bound, the epistemological position was analytical and positivism and the data collection method was both quantitative and qualitative. Both deductive and inductive research approaches have been applied in this study. Both primary and secondary data sources have been used to collect the required data.
As the primary data sources, surveys and interviews have been applied in this study. For the interview, the sample size was five people who come from PC World management of different branches. For the survey, the sample sizes were 50 randomly chosen consumers of different ages from 15 to 60 years where 25 were male and 25 were female. The interview and survey were conducted directly by meeting the participants. On the other hand, the secondary data sources were mainly journals, textbooks, websites, statistical data published by third parties, etc.
Different kinds of analytical tools has been used to analyze the collected data from both primary and secondary data sources. To analyze the qualitative data come from the literature review the content analysis technique has been applied. To analyze the quantitative data different software applications including MS Excel Sheets, and MS Word have been used. For statistical analysis, the ANOVA and T-test techniques have been applied in the undertaking research work. For collecting valid and reliable data the code of conduct of research ethics has been followed appropriately.
The key findings of the undertaking research work are: a) there have closed- the relationship between viral marketing campaigns and customer loyalty; b) viral marketing can play an important role in PC World organizational success improving its customer retention and acquisitions; c) viral marketing will support PC World to improve its communication and interaction with consumers; d) PC World will be able to identify the consumer needs and expectation follow this study guideline and to meet customer requirements. On the other hand, the undertaking research has found some weaknesses of PC World’s viral marketing campaigns: a) it should improve its digital communication channels to improve interaction with consumers; b) it should take initiatives to make sure of data privacy of customer personal information; c) it should concentrate on customer comments on social media keeping mind that negative comments may spread out instantly among millions of people.
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Research background
Viral marketing campaigns, especially through social media, have been playing important role in the organizational success of the current digital business world. The rapid technological development, mainly in social networks, smartphones, and the internet is providing more opportunities to organizations for offering products and services to consumers (Larsen, 2009). On the other hand, millions of people in the present world are using technologies like social media, smartphones, internet in their buying processes of products and services from any organization (Wilson, 2005). Consequently, marketers are trying to attract this vast customer segment and make them retain them by digital (viral) marketing campaigns. Therefore, the technologies like smartphone, social media, the internet, etc are widely being used as viral marketing tools in a modern business organization like PC World, UK to improve their customer loyalty level (KIK, 2010), where improved customer loyalty is significant for businesses to gain its organizational goals and objectives because an increased market share with consumer loyalty improve sales revenue and profit margin, and reduce overall business operational costs (Mullins, 2007). However, still, now most organizations including the PC world have vague ideas about the exact effectiveness of viral marketing campaigns through these technologies on customer retention and loyalty. Therefore, the undertaking study has evaluated the effectiveness of these viral marketing campaigns on customer loyalty level based on a particular organization named PC World, UK. Then, the study has suggested that PC World how it can use viral marketing campaigns more effectively to improve its customer loyalty level.
PC World is a multi-channel technology equipment retailer in the United Kingdom. It offers a variety of technological products, solutions and services to both individual and commercial organizations (PC World, 2014). PC World has been growing fast in its operations because of its convenience store locations, civilized technologies, and devoted and dedicated workforces. (Dixons Retails, 2014). However, the dynamic and highly challenging market with competitive rivalry, new entrants, and slow growth in the economy are impacting PC World’s market shares and customer retention level (Gartner, 2014).
Improving market shares and customer loyalty level with increased sales revenue and profits has been an issue for technology equipment retailers including PC World. The key reasons behind this are competitive marketplaces and slower economic growth (Gartner, 2014). In addition, technological development, mainly in the internet, social media and smartphones, are offering different approaches to marketers and competitors to attract consumers and differentiate markets. However, PC World is gaining some market shares through viral marketing campaigns, but it is facing challenges in its customer retention, acquisition and loyalty.
Larsen (2009) revealed that viral marketing campaigns using several modern technologies and types of equipment influence on improving market shares and customer retention level significantly. However, many technology companies are still now not able to develop effect strategies of using viral marketing campaigns using technologies like social media, the internet, smartphone, to attract customers and retention them (Kozinets et al., 2010). Therefore, it has come under deep consideration of PC World to evaluate the effectiveness of viral marketing campaigns in the way of its customer loyalty improvement.
1.2 Problem statement
Although marketers including PC World are applying viral marketing strategies, they are still now not sure the exact impact level of its on the customer retention and loyalty level. In addition, the different marketing strategies applied by competitors in the marketplace are impacting PC World’ customer retention and loyalty levels with decreased sales revenue and profit margins. Furthermore, organizations including the PC world do not have sufficient knowledge and understanding of customer reactions toward viral marketing campaigns………………