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A cost benefit analysis of Social Media Marketing

A cost benefit analysis of Social Media Marketing

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Published by Dave Scanlon
A cost benefit analysis of Social Media Marketing (SMM) from the perspective of the Irish
SME is presented. SMM is the process by which a company can enable and engage in
meaningful bi-directional conversations with its customers within an online environment.
High profile examples of SMM include Zappos.com's use of the Twitter micro-blogging
service, Dell's Ideastorm customer forum, and Blendtec's "Will It Blend?" video series on
YouTube.
A review of the literature establishes SMM's position in the continuing evolution of
marketing practices. Further drawing from the literature, the benefits of SMM to a
company's performance are identified, namely: an improvement in customer acquisition
and retention performance; and an improvement in a company's Research and
Development or New Product/Service Development processes.
An online survey of those companies using SMM is detailed, and its findings presented
and discussed. The primary purpose of the survey was to determine the level and nature of
resources being committed by Irish SMEs to SMM, as well as to establish what business
benefits are being realised.
Results indicate that SMEs consider SMM to be more effective than traditional marketing
methods with regard to customer acquisition and retention, and that a significant majority
of respondents are likely to continue to include SMM in their marketing plans in the future.
SMM is also reported as making a positive contribution towards companies' Research and
Development or New Product/Service Development processes. The study concludes by
noting the suitability of SMM for the particular approach to marketing inherent within
SMEs, while emphasising the importance of developing and maintaining a comprehensive
business strategy to guide its use.
A cost benefit analysis of Social Media Marketing (SMM) from the perspective of the Irish
SME is presented. SMM is the process by which a company can enable and engage in
meaningful bi-directional conversations with its customers within an online environment.
High profile examples of SMM include Zappos.com's use of the Twitter micro-blogging
service, Dell's Ideastorm customer forum, and Blendtec's "Will It Blend?" video series on
YouTube.
A review of the literature establishes SMM's position in the continuing evolution of
marketing practices. Further drawing from the literature, the benefits of SMM to a
company's performance are identified, namely: an improvement in customer acquisition
and retention performance; and an improvement in a company's Research and
Development or New Product/Service Development processes.
An online survey of those companies using SMM is detailed, and its findings presented
and discussed. The primary purpose of the survey was to determine the level and nature of
resources being committed by Irish SMEs to SMM, as well as to establish what business
benefits are being realised.
Results indicate that SMEs consider SMM to be more effective than traditional marketing
methods with regard to customer acquisition and retention, and that a significant majority
of respondents are likely to continue to include SMM in their marketing plans in the future.
SMM is also reported as making a positive contribution towards companies' Research and
Development or New Product/Service Development processes. The study concludes by
noting the suitability of SMM for the particular approach to marketing inherent within
SMEs, while emphasising the importance of developing and maintaining a comprehensive
business strategy to guide its use.

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Published by: Dave Scanlon on Aug 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/13/2013

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A partial thematic analysis was conducted on the qualitative data gathered by the online
survey. Thematic analysis is a process that can be used by researchers to transform
qualitative data into quantitative data, which can then be used for the purpose of hypothesis
testing. According to Boyatzis (1998), it also:

"[...] enables scholars, observers or practitioners to use a wide variety of types of
information in a systematic manner that increases their accuracy or sensitivity in
understanding and interpreting observations about people, events, situations and
organizations [sic]."
(Boyatzis, 1998, p. 5)

For this study, it was felt that a transformation of the qualitative data to allow for
quantitative analysis was unnecessary due to the low volume of data collected. The work

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involved in coding and transforming the data would also have put a further strain on the
researcher's limited resources. As such, the analysis carried out by the researcher was
informed by the principles of theme identification as set out by McLeod (2001, pp.140-
147), and the identified themes were mapped to trends in the quantitative data as
appropriate.

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