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The Effects of E-Marketing on Small Businesses Introduction Small Business Enterprises (SBEs) play very important role in the world economy. Traditionally, small businesses are the main contributors to employment, development, and economic growth. Mulhern (1995) asserts that approximately 99 % of all European businesses are small and medium sized businesses, providing more than 66 per cent of employment in Europe. The U. S. economy is also no exception to the rule, because it is by no means dominated by huge enterprises and corporations.
According to statistic data provided by the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses employ approximately 52 per cent of all U. S. employees. In such a way, it becomes obvious that small businesses are the most important source of dynamism for the world economy.
It should be taken into consideration that the competitive strength of the small businesses is defined by their ability to effectively and promptly respond to consistently changing business environment. Those small businesses that are able to quickly adopt and use various technical innovations and new technologies obviously gain competitive advantages. At the same time, the revolution in communications and information technology drastically changes the way small businesses operate today. Within the recent years, more and more increasing number of small businesses have been using internet in their marketing strategies, thus giving a chance for e-marketing (electronic marketing) to develop in a dynamic and dramatic way. The present paper examines the ways how the use of internet marketing by small business enterprises can change the nature and shape of small businesses, undertaking an effort to find out what are the effects of internet marketing on small businesses.
E-marketing and Small Businesses E-marketing is a new business practice. Different authors have different opinions concerning the exact definition of e-marketing. For example, Strauss and Frost (2001) consider that e-marketing is "the use of electronic data and applications for planning and executing the conception, distribution and pricing of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objective, while Smith and Chaffey (2005) assert that e-marketing is defined as "achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies. However, despite such small discrepancies in opinions, electronic marketing can be basically related with buying and selling merchandise, services, or information using the Internet or other electronic means.
So, what is the influence of e-marketing on small businesses? Nowadays small businesses readily adopt this technology because it allows them to achieve their marketing objectives in a cheaper and sometimes even more efficient way (Malone, Yates, & Benjamin, 1989). In contrast to medium and large-size businesses, small businesses are more focused on minimizing their expenses. It doesnt mean that large businesses focus less attention to their expenditures, but rather that small businesses are more vulnerable to failures due to lack of finances. Therefore, small businesses undertake all efforts to adopt less finance-consuming practices and to maximize their profits by operating in the most efficient way. E-marketing seems to provide small businesses almost perfect environment for their operations.
E-marketing is, probably, one of the most efficient methods to keep in touch with the customers. As it was already mentioned, it is generally cost-effective, and if done properly, can help build brand awareness and loyalty. (Market and Price, 2008). There are many electronic marketing areas that can be used by small business enterprise, such as intranet marketing, internet marketing, email marketing, and sms marketing, to mention a few. Email marketing, as one of the forms of electronic marketing, is relatively cheap (few cents per one email compared to about $ 1 per traditional direct mail piece). The response rates on email marketing are also higher, reaching 5 - 35 % depending on email format and the industry, compared to traditional mail response ranging from 1 to 3 per cent in average (Market and Price, 2008). In addition to the possibility to use email marketing as one of the most efficient marketing technologies, even in case small business enterprise decides not to sell its services or goods online, creating its own web site can provide small business with a competitive advantage.
Small businesses can use their web sites as a virtual marketing brochure that can be updated on demand with low or no cost (Market and Price, 2008). In addition, the fact of having own business web site on the internet can serve as a good marketing tool that will enable the company to provide better pre-sale information or better post-sale support and/ or service to its customers. Creating its own web site on the internet also provides small business enterprises with the completely new ways enabling them to reach new customers and create new leads. In addition, in case developed and used properly, successful internet marketing strategies allow small businesses to deliver and offer relevant specials, discount coupons, events or various important announcements.
Electronic marketing strategies allow small businesses to trigger buy-events and to build customer awareness and loyalty. Electronic marketing campaigns can also drive highly targeted and qualified internet traffic to small business enterprise's website, possibly increasing their sales volumes. Electronic marketing strategies enable small business enterprises to target specific market segments within their industry and to launch viral marketing campaigns. To put it differently, the use of e-marketing lessens the disadvantage that small business enterprises have faced for years when they had to compete with mid- or large-size businesses. Electronic marketing now is no longer the domain of the corporate giants or technology-based companies. The use of e-marketing technologies allows the companies to provide potential consumers with the information about products and services, which is very useful, even if the internet users decide not to make purchase online, but to come to the small business companys store or office and complete the transaction offline.
Also, small business enterprises should understand that if the potential consumers cannot find the information about their products or services on the internet, and in case they can find competitors's ervices, more and more customers (both new and existing ones) will be turning to the companys competitors. It should be also mentioned that the use of e-commerce and e-marketing technologies has altered business strategies, redefined the marketplace and allowed honest competition between business enterprises (Porter, 2001). Electronic commerce embraces almost all aspects of business and market processes enabled by the internet and digital technologies. E-marketing also allows small businesses to take advantage of the most decent technologies ever available on the internet and equips small business enterprises with knowledge and skills enabling them to better serve their customers, to change customers behavior, and to exceed their expectations. Conclusion In conclusion it may be said that electronic marketing, which is generally related with buying and selling merchandise, services, or information using the Internet or other electronic means is a new business practice. E-marketing has great influence on small business enterprises, as it lessens the disadvantage that small business enterprises have faced for years when they had to compete with mid- or large-size businesses.
Even if some small business enterprises claim that e-marketing technologies are of little use to them, as far as their products or services can hardly be sold online, they still can use the chance to serve information concerning their business to provide faster and better customer service and communication. References Malone, T. , Yates, J. , & Benjamin, R. (1989). The logic of electronic markets. Harvard Business Review, 3, 166 - 72. Market and Price. (2008). Retrieved June 15, 2008, from SBA Program Office: web Porter, M. (2001).
Strategy and the Internet. Harvard Business Review, 79 (3), 63 - 78. Smith, P. , & Chaffey, D. (2005). e-Marketing Excellence: At the Heart of e-Business.
Oxford, UK: Butterworth Heinemann. Strauss, J. , & Frost, R. (2001). E-marketing. NJ: Prentice Hall.
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Research essay sample on The Effects Of E Marketing On Small Businesses