An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing in Improving Sales and Market Share
Customer relationship is the prime essence of an organization operating in this challenging and viable environment. Since, customer acts as the catalyst for an organization to improve its sales and market share. Due to this regard, most of the organization tries to spend a huge amount of the revenue towards promotional activities (Tengand, 2009). Since, promotion helps to improve customer relationship as well as awareness level of the consumers. In against to the latter statement, it may be mentioned by Hart et al. (2005) that if an organization fails to retain proper relationship with the customers then it may not sustain effectively. Along with this, due to improper relationship, the purchasing rate, demand and total sales of the organization might also get declined. Keeping these facts in mind, most of the global brands try to implement the concept of social media marketing. It acts as a two-way interactive process for the marketers and therefore helps to enhance the relationship and buying behaviour of the customers. Apart from this, as argued by Durlach and Mavor (2009) that social media is more influential than traditional methods in order to increase the product reach and curve a distinct unique selling proposition (USP) in the market. Due to this regard, Coca-Cola is also trying to offer dedicated focus over social media promotion rather than traditional methods. By doing so, the organization may enhance its brand value and market share in numerous developing and developed economies (Anselmi, 2010).
In order to improve the customer reach and popularity of the product lines and demand, numerous global beverage brands are implementing social media marketing. As mentioned by Ayanwale et al. (2005) that social media enhances the inner trust and reliability of the customers towards the brand. Due to this regard, the researcher tried to evaluate the effectiveness of social media marketing over the sales and market share for the organization. Along with this, the researcher also discussed the importance of social media marketing over traditional means in this age of extreme competition and bargaining rivalry (Bennett, 2007).
The aim of this research proposal is to examine the importance and effectiveness of social media marketing over total sales and market share of Coca-cola of UK.
1.3 Research Objectives
- To evaluate the ways by which social media marketing may improve the sales and market share
- To examine the impact of current social media marketing techniques of Coca-cola over its sales
- To analyze the gaps present within the current social media marketing strategies of Coca-cola
- To suggest strategic social media marketing policies for Coca-cola to amend its gap.
1.4 Research Question
- How social media marketing may enhance the sales and market share?
- How effective is the current social media marketing strategies of Coca-Cola in improving its sales?
- How do the gaps present in current social media marketing strategies of Coca-Cola may be analyzed?
- How may Coca-cola enhance its social media marketing strategies to reduce the gaps?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H1: Social media marketing positively influences the sales and market share of Coca-Cola
H0: Social media marketing negatively influences the sales and market share of Coca-Cola
2.0 Literature Review
Social media marketing policies is considered to have a positive influence on the decision making of the customers as the latter believes more on the recommendations of the experience holders. The current marketing strategy also assists in building two-way communication between the buyers and the marketers thus motivating them to experience the product or service. Bloemer (2009) noted that although, good reviews act in favour of the brand to pool customers, yet negative Word Of Mouth is often posted and travels faster than positive comments. Nevertheless, virtual communication helps in expanding product reach thereby building customer base. The study will deal further on the issue.
2.2 Social media marketing on consumer behaviour:
Dowling (2002) elaborated that social networks are considered as websites that link millions of users from all over the worlds with identical tastes, views and hobbies. Blogs, YouTube and Facebook are some of the social media communication policies use by the customers. Dowling and Mark (2007) determined that the WOM publicity is quite common on social media. Free of cost, the brands will be able to promote and carve a separate identity of itself in the market. Customers generally prefer products having a reputed image in the market (Singh and Dalal, 2009). By acknowledging the current offerings as well as frequently conversing with the customers, the brand will be able to pool increased number of customer traffic.
A study revealed that 43.5% of UK’s access the internet in order acquire product details and monitor new products and services for future release (Kaeveney, 2009). Such information will mould the decision making of the customers to purchase the current offerings. Also, often in lieu of gaining recognition, the satisfied customers offer suggestions that form the base for decision making for the rest. However, Kandampully (2008) noted that while good reviews act as purchase motivators, negative feedback might sway away customers.
2.3 Consumers’ purchase decision making process:
The consumers purchase decision making follows a sequential process. After identifying the problem, the individual opts for product search. The visual mode plays a crucial role in the inference drawn from the product search. WOM, product reviews and suggestions create an influence on the perception level of the traffic. Perreault and Russ (2006) pointed out that the purchase decision is based on the perception gained from the product and service reviews. While in one hand, positive reviews will favour the brand to pool customer and increase sales, negative publicity will de-motivate the customers from accessing the product. Nonetheless, in the present market setting, the influence of social media (especially during the product evaluation process) is immense and often proves beneficial for the brand.
2.4 Influence of virtual marketing on sales and market share:
Virtual communication channels impacts the decision making of the current and potential customers, with regards to whether to remain loyal or switchover. In this respect, Philip and Hazlett (2007) noted that visual marketing helps in promoting the product to a wider audience, thereby, making them ware to purchase the same. Traditional marketing process are not liked by several customers rather base their decision on the virtual communication process. The online recommendation and reviews via blogs and other forums are considered more authentic and dependable. Also, the varied promotional process is considered to be a motivator for purchase decision making. While, the current customers will prefer to remain loyal (after getting the desired products), they often promotes its availability to wider mass. The visiting traffic will also be influenced to purchase the product based on the positive brand perception developed by the online suggestions.
While the brand is able to build its reputation without much cost, positive reviews are considered to help it in pooling customers. Strategic web communication policies will be helpful for the brand to impact the loyalty factor, thereby increasing sales and market share. Greater number of satisfied customers will automatically enhance sales and market share of the brand.
The chapter have highlighted the possible influence of virtual communication policies on consumer behaviour and their perception level. Besides, the chances of spread of fake reviews and negative comments, social media is considered as an effective channel to acknowledge product awareness and thereby influence the customers purchase decision making. As more an more customers are becoming technology friendly, the use of social media to be aware of any unfamiliar goods is rampant. Increasing number of customers are basing their decision making on the recommendation and suggestions to the experience holders thus helping brands like Coca Cola to expand its reach, free of cost. Eventually, it will be able to increase sales and market share.
3.1 Type of investigation:
The researcher used descriptive type of investigation in order to analyze the effective of social media marketing. This is because; as mentioned by Morgan (2007) that descriptive research helps to analyze the topic in a vivid way by evaluating the ideas and views of various respondents. Since, it comprises of responses of mixed nature therefore, it proves extremely effective for the researcher. Along with this, due to mixed approach, the researcher may analyze both the pors as well as the cons of the topic in an effective way. Along with this, research hypothesis also helps the researcher to analyze the overall background of the research study in an effective way. As a result, a detailed and structured result might also be derived (Morse, 2007).
In order to attain the information, the researcher used both primary as well as secondary data and facts. The researcher used questionnaire method to accomplish the responses of the selected respondents. On the other hand, in order to attain the qualitative data, survey method and telephonic interview is used by the researcher. Moreover, secondary sources are also used in order to accomplish the data and facts regarding the topic. Along with this, varied types of annual reports and journals related to the organization are also used to accomplish the facts (Johnson et al. 2007). Thus, due to the use of both primary and secondary data and information, the researcher successfully completed the research topic.
In order to accomplish the research study, the researcher might use varied types of sampling methods. To accomplish this research study, 70 customers and 6 sales managers are reviewed and interviewed. However, in order to accomplish the final data and facts, the researcher used simple random sampling for quantitative analysis. As mentioned by Ketchen and Bergh (2004) that simple random sampling helps to attain the data and facts on a random basis without any sort of biasness. On the other hand, non-probability sampling process is used to interview 6 sales managers of Coca-Cola. In non-probability sampling, purposive sampling method is used to analyze the facts and views presented by the sales managers of Coca-Cola. As mentioned by Kothari (2004) that purposive sampling is used mainly to accomplish a specific purpose of the research study. Due to this regard, it is highly used by the researchers to analyze the research studies.
Accessibility issues often arise within a research study. Such a problem arises only if the researcher fails to accomplish the data and facts in an appropriate way. As mentioned by Brannen (2009) that due to inability to access useful data and facts, vague information might be attained. However, in order to resolve such type of issues, internet is stated as the most effective source. It is used for attaining effective facts and data relevant to analyze the effectiveness of social media marketing. Thus, prior analyzing and evaluating the facts of both qualitative and quantitative data, internet might act as the primary source (Morse, 2007).
Morse (2007) mentioned that ethical issues reduce biasness. In order to make any research topic effective in all regards, the researcher need to maintain the guidelines of ethics in an effective way. With the help of ethics, the researcher may attain the data and facts entirely relevant for the research study. So accumulation of appropriate data proves extremely effective for the researcher in future era.
Moreover, due to the presence of ethical considerations, the respondents are not at all forced by the researcher at the time of presentation of the views and ideas. Due to which, all the accumulated facts are entirely free from all sorts of manipulations.
In order to analyze the accumulated data and facts, the researcher used both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. In case of qualitative data collection methods, the responses are mainly descriptive by nature and thus are presented in the similar format. On the other hand, in case fo quantitative data collection methods, the responses are evaluated through percentage schemes. Then these facts are analyzed with the help of various graphs and charts. Due to this regard, the analyzing becomes extremely easy in nature (Morse, 2007). Thus, as mentioned by Freshwater (2007) that proper attainment of data and facts helps in proper analysis of the final results.
Due to the presence of varied types of limitations, the researcher failed to analyze the research topic in an effective way. Among much other limitation, one of the major one is time (Ramos, 2009). Due to which, the researcher failed to interview a wide range of respondents. Along with this, small number of respondents is also considered another important limitation for this research study. Due to which, the attained data and facts are quite limited for the researcher (Corner, 2002).
4.0 Anticipated Findings:
Social media policies impact the decision making of the consumers to purchase product from the specified brand. The suggestions that are provided on the social media are considered to be dependable for the customers in order to make them familiar with any unfamiliar goods or services. As most customers acknowledge brand based on the online reviews, the significance of positive Word Of Mouth in order to impact the purchase decision making of the customers can be ensured. Unlike the traditional communication channels, the virtual media assist brands to identify and widespread its current offerings and carving a distinct product identity. The distinct market identity will help in building a positive image in the viewpoint of the customers. Eventually, the present customers will tend to remain loyal and will also influence the decision making of the potential traffic. Considering that all customers’ desires to experience valued offerings, the potential consumers will thus base their purchase decision making on the suggestions and recommendations of the opinions leaders. Coca Cola will eventually experience inflow of traffic that includes the current and potential customers. Greater the product sale more will be the market share of the brand at UK. However, care should be taken considering the widespread of poor reviews and negative feedback against the brand.
5.0 Appropriateness of dissertation structure:
The appropriateness of the dissertation structure have been detailed underneath:
|Chapter 1: Introduction||The chapter will highlight the aim, objectives and research questions, thus providing a direction to the study. However, primarily a introductory portion on the research subject will be briefed along with a justification behind conduction the study|
|Chapter 2: Literature Review||Past studies based on the significance and impact of social media on sales and market share will be assessed. The relevance of the study to Coca Cola will be evaluated that will help in fulfilling the objectives.|
|Chapter 3: Research Methodology||The chosen research designs will be mentioned here. Justifications behind each of the paradigms will be helpful for the process of knowing how the same will help in advancing the study.|
|Chapter 4: Findings and Analysis:||The primary data will be detailed in the current chapter. However, its representations will be separate. While the quantitative data will be illustrated via graphs and tables, qualitative analysis will be described. As narrative data cannot be quantified, qualitative details will be mentioned and reacted with secondary subject.|
|Chapter 5: Conclusion and Recommendations||After conducting the study, the researcher has arrived at a conclusion on the subject. The conclusion thus will be arrived after conducting a data triangulation process. Strategic recommendations will help Coca Cola to benefit from its present social media policies. It will assist in enhancing sales and market share.|
Table 1: Dissertation structure
(Source: self developed)
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Brannen, J. (2009) ‘Prologue, mixed methods for novice researchers: reflections and themes, International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(1), 8–12.
Corner, J. (2002). In search of more complete answers to research questions: Quantitative versus qualitative research methods is there a way forward? Journal of Research, 16, 3, 718-727.
Dowling, G. R. (2002) “Customer Relationship Management: In B2CMarkets, Often Less Is More”, California Management Review, 44 (3), pp. 87-104.
Dowling, G. R. and Mark, D. U. (2007) “Do Customer Loyalty Programs Really Work”, Sloan Management Review, 38 (4), pp. 71-82.
Durlach, N. and Mavor, A. (2009). Virtual reality. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Freshwater, D. (2007) “Reading mixed methods research: contexts for criticism”, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2), pp. 134-46.
Hart, T., Greenfield, J. and Johnston, M. (2005). Nonprofit internet strategies. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
Johnson, R. B., Onwuegbuzie, A. J. and Turner, L. A. (2007) “Toward a definition of mixed methods research”, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2), pp. 112-33
Kaeveney, S. M. (2009), “Consumer Switching Behaviour in service Industries: An Exploratory study,” Journal of Marketing, 59, pp. 71-82.
Kandampully, J. (2008). “Service Quality to service loyalty: a relationship which goes beyond customer services”. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 9(6), pp. 431-443.
Ketchen, D. and Bergh, D. (2004). Research methodology in strategy and management. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Kothari, C. (2004). Research methodology. New Delhi: New Age International (P) Ltd.
Morgan, D. L. (2007) “Paradigms lost and pragmatism regained: methodological implications of combining qualitative and quantitative methods”, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(1), pp. 48-76.
Morse, J.M. (2007). Approaches to qualitative and quantitative methodological: Triangulation. Qualitative Research, 40, 1,120-123
Perreault, W. D. Jr. and Russ, F. A. (2006). “Physical Distribution Service in Industrial Purchase Decisions”. Journal of Marketing, 40(4), pp. 3-10
Philip, G. and Hazlett, S. (2007). “The Measurement of service quality: a new p-c-p attributes model”. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 14(3), pp. 260-286.
Ramos, M.C. (2009). Some ethical implications of qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 12, 1, 57-63.
Singh, S. N. and Dalal, N. P. (2009) “Web home pages as advertisements”, Communications of the ACM, 42(8), pp. 91-98.
Tengand, L. (2009), “A comparison of two types of price discounts in shifting consumers’ attitudes and purchase intentions”, Journal of Business Research, 62, pp. 14-21.
|Topics||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6|
|Determine aim and objectives.|
|Assemble secondary data|
|Consider the secondary data|
|Accrue primary responses.|
|Infer the primary responses.|
|Link with the objectives and recommend strategies.|
Table 2: Gantt chart