1.1 Background to the Study
The emergence of globalisation has brought about a development in Information Communication and Technology which brought about the use of the internet which has consequently led to the emergence of social media. The use of social media by business owners has become an important platform for marketing their products and services to consumers in recent times (Paquette, 2013). The media have become part of the marketing strategy now used by some organisations to connect with their potential customers and this trend has continued to bring dramatic changes to how business is done now compared to what obtained about three to four decades ago. It must be stated that though social media are primarily created as an avenue to socialise, some marketers have realised the business opportunities that they offer and have decided to utilise them to grow their businesses. According to (Neti, 2011), social media represent a marketing opportunity that transcends the traditional middleman; it connects companies directly to consumers. The social media have, therefore, changed how consumers and marketers communicate and engage in business transactions (Balasubramanian, 1997).
In Nigeria the assumption is that government has the responsibility to provide employment for the people, create an enabling economic environment for business to thrive as well as to drive economic growth. But the economic reality as shown that government alone cannot generate full employment for the entire population of those who are willing to work. However, government has the economic machinery to stern the rate of unemployment by formulating policies which stimulate individuals to embark on small scale business. Nigerian government’s response to stemming unemployment has therefore being the promotion of entrepreneurial activities and support for the establishment and promotion of small and medium scale enterprises. Nevertheless, it is necessary for the entrepreneur to have a passionate marketing view of the entire entrepreneurial functions. He needs to look at marketing not as a business function but as a comprehensive view of the entire business process. Entrepreneurs should be more marketing- oriented, more concerned with the booming and buzzing conditions of the external world, to which the enterprise ultimately addresses itself. This is because marketing is on the firing line where the impact of change is greatest for the organisation.
The Internet has also enabled customers to survey, select, and purchase products and services from businesses around the world. Peer communication through social media has become a new form of consumer socialisation which is having a profound influence on consumer decision making and, thus, marketing strategies. The consumer socialisation theory predicts that communication among consumers affects their cognitive, affective, and behavioural attitudes (Al Kailani and Kumar, 2011; Ward, 1974). The internet, therefore, might be considered as an important agent of consumer socialisation. In Ghana, both large and small business owners have also joined millions of internet users, to reach out to customers and new shoppers by promoting and offering their products and services to them. This study attempts to examine what motivate these business owners to shift from the traditional marketing to online shopping.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The wide acceptance and popular usage of Digital Media has made it possible for anyone who is interested in to set up business of different types at anytime. However, different forms and big corporate are reaping benefits of so many diverse types while the SMEs are still lagging far behind in adaptation of this innovative technology of the present century. It is an alarming issue that SMEs are held below the bottom in the competing world regarding earning of profits compared with multinational companies mainly because of not employing modern techniques like Digital Marketing in the business activities, marketing and the advertising campaigns. Consequently, it is important that a study be undertaken to identify and highlight the probable benefits, attached deficiencies and managing options for the potential disadvantages of Digital Marketing so that SMEs could join the economic and business competition with the rapidly growing companies. This study will take a look at the effect of digital marketing on performance of small and medium scale enterprises in Lagos.
1.3 Research Objectives
The general objective or main objective of this study is to investigate the effect of digital marketing on performance of small and medium scale enterprises in Lagos. The specific objectives are:
- To identify the impact that online marketing application has on on business process in small and medium enterprises
- To establish the nature of the relationship between digital marketing and small and medium- sized businesses’ productivity
- To determine the effect digital marketing has on business process in small and medium enterprises
- To find out the marketing strategies used by SMEs in Lagos to make their products and services appeal to customers
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will guide the study:
- Does online marketing application have a significant and positive impact on business process in small and medium enterprises?
- What is the nature of the relationship between digital marketing and small and medium- sized businesses’ productivity?
- Does digital marketing have a significant and positive impact on business process in small and medium enterprises?
- What are the marketing strategies used by SMEs in Lagos to make their products and services appeal to customers?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses will guide the study.
- There is a significant impact between online marketing application and business process in small and medium enterprises
- There is significant influence of digital marketing on business process on small and medium enterprises
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be beneficial to organizations as well as firms especially on the need to focus generally on digital marketing, individual, group/team and organizational creativity. Also, the findings of this study will serve as a medium of awareness and enlightenment on the many environmental trends affecting organizations in recent years and proffer possible panacea to such problems as they rear heads. Not only this, but also, its findings will serve as platform mostly for professional manager, chief executives and all personnel involved in the staff training, administration and management on how to drive their staff for maximum human creativity and innovation. By so doing, several organizations would be better equipped to develop a repertoire of techniques (management control systems) to improving performances of average employees and at the same time improving the efficiency in management by enforcing cooperation of workers and standardization of work methods especially in creative organizations. In conclusion, the outcome of this study will provide a contribution to the management of national culture as regards cultural individualism, collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, multiple cultural dimensions as may affect an individual employee’s preferences for, and reaction to management control systems in interactive ways; and it will be a systematic knowledge base for researchers.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study will be all the Small and Medium Enterprises in Lagos metropolis which are using online marketing applications and own internet websites.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Medium-sized Enterprises: These are defined as enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons, and whose annual turnover does not exceed N50 million or whose annual balance-sheet total does not exceed N43 million.
Small Enterprises: These are defined as enterprises which employ fewer than 50 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed N10 million.
Micro Enterprises: These are defined as enterprises which employ fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed N2 million.
Digital Marketing: This refers to all forms of internet advertising, internet payment system, internet marketing, internet customer support service and internet order and delivery.