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Since 2001 the information technology industry has undergone several downturns and upturns. The structure and strategies in the information technology industry has changed during this decade such as new information companies are established in the Asian and South American region, western organizations invested in the developing economies around the world, new products have been developed and revenue of the organization has increased. Some of the established organization such as Qwest, 360networks, Boo.com went bankruptcy and closed. One of the reasons behind this downturn is because these organizations gave more importance to the technology than the customer or market requirements. The dotcom bubble in the US lead to the creation of many new players and also led to the annihilation of so many technology companies (Chesbrough, 2003).
Zoho Corporation is established in 1996. It is considered as a highly profitable and successful software solutions and development organization with more than 3000 customers. Zoho corporation invested in the research and development department for producing innovative software products. The New York Times reported, “The best online word processor, however, may be the one from a tiny company, Zoho, a nimble innovator” (http://www.zohocorp.com). Zoho Corporation develops cloud based office productivity and business tools for the customers.
Rationale for Choosing Topic
One of the reasons for selecting this topic is due to the increased number of SMEs in the IT industry all over the world. Some of them are competing with established organization such as Google, Microsoft, Oracle etc. The marketing strategies used by these SMEs are unique in nature in most of the cases but also implements traditional marketing strategies for gaining competitive advantage. With the engineering background in computer science the researcher had some direct and indirect experience about the software industry. The interest of doing a research on this particular topic has increased due to the phenomenal success of the IT organization in the recent years. Researcher is an aspirant in the IT industry and wants to pursue his career in IT industry. This research will help to understand how the medium and small scale organizations are marketing their products which are not unique in nature and competing with other organizations. Even though the established organizations have a competitive advantage in the market, new organizations and medium scale organizations are replacing the other organizations in the recent years. According to Eric Viardot (2004), some of the highly successful technology companies share some commonalities. So this research will help to understand and analyse the innovative marketing strategies are used by the SME (small to medium
enterprise) to compete efficiently with the established organizations.
Literature review According to the Douglas and Craig’s (1992) opinion, any research conducted on the marketing strategies without understanding the current or traditional theories of the marketing strategies will be flawed and incomplete. This will help the researcher in the exploration of the marketing concepts, discussion of competitive advantage, marketing strategies marketing mix and the exploration of the techniques and tools for efficient marketing. In the studies of Jakki J. Mohr et al (2010) on IT companies and marketing strategies explores that to develop an effective marketing strategy for IT organizations, they should construct their marketing strategies on their core competencies and core resource. Barry Silverstein (2001) explains how IT companies can use internet as a tool for marketing. Brian Sheehan (2010) also explains the benefits of using cloud computing for the marketing From the Liljedahl (2001) point of view the researcher can see the importance of the marketing strategies in an organization, he says that companies employ marketing strategies to gain competitive advantage over their competitors in the market have more likely to grow and influence the market. These marketing tools helps the organization to improve the strengths of the company and define goals depend upon the customer needs.”Marketing strategy is a planned process that helps a company to enhance and use its strengths to satisfy the requirements of the market and the customers.” Farrel and Hartline (2002)
Aim To explore and analyse the marketing strategies used by the medium scale IT companies to attain competitive advantage in the international market through a case study.
Objectives of the Research 1.To find out the marketing strategies used for the international market by the medium scale companies such as Zoho corporation. 2.To find out the link between competitive advantage and the international marketing strategies. 3.To explore the marketing strategies used by the medium scale companies to gain competitive advantage over an established organization. 4.To compare the traditional and online marketing strategies. 5.To recommend new marketing techniques for the medium IT organizations such as Zoho Corporation
Research questions What are the marketing campaigns used by the Zoho corporation to increase the brand awareness among new customers? What are the unique marketing methods used in the Zoho Corporation? How competitive advantage related to the marketing techniques or methods used by the organization?
What are the steps taken by Zoho Corporation to make the enterprise users comfortable in using cloud computing?
(Details of techniques, data collection, data recording, etc.)
Research Philosophy Considering all the factors, it leads to a research approach called realism. In this research approach the researcher should be value aware and able to triangulate any perception which is being collected about the Zoho Corporation and marketing strategies and methods. By taking Zoho Corporation as a case study will help to give a realistic edge to the research. Research Technique The technique is used for this research is given below: 1.Mixed research The mixed research approach includes both qualitative research and quantitative research. Data collection There are two types of data collection.. 1.Primary data collection For the primary data collection methods the researcher uses comprehensive interviews with managers, surveys with the customers and questionnaire with the employees of Zoho Corporation. This kind of data is collected by interviewing the higher level officials in the organization, conducting surveys and distributing the questionnaires to the lower level employees. CEO of Zoho Corporation is willing to provide relevant data for this research but the researcher will not be able to access some confidential data of the organization. Partial customer list has been received and the customer list includes Sony, Fujitsu, Ford etc.
2.Secondary data collection: Secondary data collection method also followed for the data collection. This method is done by reviewing the existing literature and empirical data collection. This kind of data collection also includes collecting the existing data related to the topic such as Zoho Corporation Fact sheet, Video interview with CEO of Zoho in internet, newspapers articles and internet articles about the Zoho Corporation etc.
Guaranteed access to primary data The CEO of the Zoho Corporation, Sridhar Vembu is willing to provide some of the organization’s information which will help the research.
Problem One of the problems which may affect the research is that the detailed data of some clients and marketing strategies used by the organization may not be available for the research. Ethical issues One of the main ethical issues of this research is the level of voluntary involvement of the employees in the research.
The efficiency of information collected in the primary data collection phase depends on the availability of data to the each level of employees. Some relevant data can’t be collected due to the confidential nature of the data.
References 1. Chesbrough, (2003), Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology, 1 Edition, Boston MA, Harvard Business School Press. 2. Ethridge, D. E. (2004). Research methodology in applied economics (2nd ed.). Lowa: Blackwell publishing. 3. Ferrell, O.C & Hartline, M.D. (2002). Marketing Strategy 4th Edition. Thomson SouthWestern. 4. Goddard, W., & Melville, S. (2007). Research Methodology: An Introduction (2nd ed.). Lansdowne: Juta& Co. Ltd. 5. Kotler, P. & Armstrong. G. (1996) Principles of marketing, 7th Edition. Prentice Hall Inc. 6. Sheehan, B (2010). Basics Marketing: Online Marketing. AVA Publishing. 7. Silverstein, B (2001). Internet marketing for information technology companies: proven online techniques to increase sales and profits for hardware, software and networking companies. Maximum Press. 8. Viardot, E (2004), Successful marketing strategy for high-tech firms, 3 MA, Artech House Inc.
Local Tutor Comments (This section must be completed before proposal is submitted) This is nearly there. Clarify and simplify the research framework – approach around case study. Suggest you refer to research methods sources. But be aware the extent of the risk re access to data and be sure of the level of access by the CEO. Get these things reworked – not a lot to be done – and send back.
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