Importance of Digital Marketing for SMEs in Australia
Write a research proposal on Ethical Digital Marketing in SMEs in Australia.
The chosen topic for the research study is ‘the effect of ethics in digital marketing in the small and medium sized enterprises in Australia’. The research will study the importance of digital marketing in SMEs in Australia and observe the ethical means in which these SMEs can apply the innovative technology in promoting their businesses. It has been seen that many small and medium sized enterprises has faced several ethical issues in regards to use of digital marketing in promoting their businesses (Au and Tse, 2011). Hence, it is important to understand those problems and draw proper solution to those issues by using ethical digital marketing to get the best outcome for the organizations.
It can be seen that along with that giant market leaders, almost every small and medium sized companies uses the digital marketing tools such as newsletters, social media platforms, emails by using networking and internet technology (Alemany Oliver and Vayre, 2015). During the use of these digital media tools, the companies face problems regards to unethical use of data and information belonging to the customers. Furthermore, there are certain issues of false messages and spam transmitted through the use of digital marketing tools (Doiron, 2009). It is important for the small and medium organisations to understand the importance of ethics and moral safety of the customer’s information and the drawbacks of unethical marketing messages to survive and seek success in the world of overwhelming competition.
The primary aim of the research is to evaluate and identify the importance of digital marketing and ethics on the growth of SMEs in Australia. Along with that, the paper will present the ethical problems related to digital marketing that are faced by the small and medium sized enterprises in Australia to discuss proper solution to the problems.
The objectives of the research study are discussed herein below:
- Identify the importance of ethical digital marketing for the growth and success of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Australia.
- Evaluate the impact of ethical issues on digital marketing on the growth of SMEs in Australia
- Identify the use of innovative technologies in digital marketing in an ethical manner for the success of SMEs in Australia
Modern business enterprises have significantly utilised digital media marketing tools such as social networking sites, blogs, online newsletters, promotional advertisements and online direct marketing strategies to promote products and services. By identifying accurate market segmentation, business organisations have applied several marketing strategies supportive of business development (Kotler and Armstrong, 2006). Currently, digital marketing tools and social media marketing have become part and parcel of promoting innovative brand items, services and products. In order to avoid any ethical conflict and promote long-term sustainability, understanding the ethical considerations and issues are mandatory for the marketers (McStay, 2010). In the case of systematic online marketing, marketers and SEOs must follow the business ethics to maintain loyalty and honesty to the target demographics. The review of literature will present some of the crucial ethical issues attached to the digital marketing area.
In digital marketing, marketers have to deal with the clients in a digital way. Some of the online websites seek some personal information of the clients such as contact number, e-mail id and name. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the digital media marketers not to post any content without any approval from the potential customers (Ashworth and Free, 2016). In some cases, it has been seen that marketers have posted content about the potential customers on their website without the consent of business clients. As a result of the same, the marketing company may have to face massive loss for breaching the business ethics (Moiseieva, 2013). Also, such incidents can tarnish the brand image of the marketing group for violating privacy policies and trust.
Ethical Considerations for Digital Marketing in SMEs
As online product reviews specify the experience of a product or services from the customer’s point of view, it is very unethical to misuse or change the actual reviews and endorsements of the customers (Wright, ul-Haq and Oktemgil, 2006). Therefore, forwarding wrong endorsements and reviews can be termed as unethical, and the marketers are bound to use the correct reviews in the online space (De George, 2013). Meanwhile, from an ethical point of view, honest reviews and endorsements must be promoted so that the virtual customers can identify the suitability or sustainability of a product or services.
It is important to develop research questions that are needed to conduct the analysis. Research questions are derived from the literature review that has been conducted to analyse the prior studies presented by different authors (Boone and Kurtz, 2016). The research questions that will be used in the study are presented herein below:
- What is the meaning of ethical digital marketing?
- What is the importance of ethical digital marketing for the success of SMEs in Australia?
- Why is ethics considered to be an important aspect for the success of digital marketing approach for the SMEs in Australia?
- What activities lead to unethical practices in digital marketing for the small and medium sized organisations in Australia?
- What are the impacts of unethical practices of digital marketing on the businesses of SMEs in Australia?
- What strategy or policy changes are required to make the digital marketing approach ethical for the success of business?
Research design is the blueprint of the paper that presents the methodology that will be used to conduct the study. In this paper, data will be collected using primary as well as secondary data collection method to enhance the database for the analysis. The primary data will be analysed using quantitative as well as qualitative analysis method that will help to present the reliability and viability of the data (Saucier, 2008). Furthermore, the findings of the survey will be presented in a thematic manner using graphs and tables to make the paper easier for the readers to understand. The entire paper will be evaluated using inductive research approach to solve the problems of unethical digital marketing for the SMEs in Australia.
The primary limitation of a research study is the time constraint. It is plan the activities appropriately to complete the study in a given time period. A Gantt chart has been presented below explaining the research plan for further consideration.
Main Activities / Milestones
Selection of the topic
Evaluation of secondary information sources
Research proposal preparation
Submission of Research Proposal
Groundwork of literature review
Submission of Literature review
Explanation of research methodology
Preparing interview process
Submission of Data Collection and Analysis Report
Collection of primary data
Recommendations and Conclusions
Final Business Research Thesis submission
The research process starts with choosing the topic for the study. It is an important aspect of the study that provides the key words for the research. The choice of topic is followed by the brief literature review and preparation of the research proposal that helps to form the research questions and prepare the research plan. After this a thorough literature review is conducted, to understand the major problems in the chosen field of study. It helps to develop a deeper understanding of the topic and prepare the hypotheses that will be used to conduct the analysis (O'Dwyer, Gilmore and Carson, 2009). Next is the research methodology that is prepared to present the research design and techniques that will be used to collect the data and conduct the analysis. After this, the primary data will be collected and converted into variables with the help of a survey and questionnaires. The collected data will be interpreted and evaluated to analyse the feedbacks of the participants. The results and findings of the research will be drawn in forms of table, graphs and statistical calculation that will be explained in a descriptive manner. Furthermore, the study will present a discussion and recommendation for the betterment of the SMEs in Australia. The paper will be concluded with conclusion and suggestions for future work.
The collection of data is one of the most important tasks of a research study. Two different data collection methods will be used to conduct the research. First is the primary data collection method, in which the data is collected from the primary sources in the form of direct interviews and surveys using questionnaires. The second is the data collect using the secondary data collection method, in which the data and information will be collected from the secondary sources such as journal articles, newspaper articles, government reports, conference papers, books and internet sources. The primary data will be collected to conduct a quantitative analysis using statistical tools such as SPSS to observe mean, medium, mode and ANOVA test to check the reliability of the data (Quraishi, 2012). It helps to understand the relationship between the problems and the factors responsible for the issues. Furthermore, the primary data will help to analyse the current situation in the real business world. The secondary data will be used to conduct a critical analysis of the prior literatures presented by different authors on the chosen field of study. The literature review is necessary to compare the findings of the study with other research studies to have an appropriate outcome for the research.
It can be seen through a brief study of the literature that digital marketing has emerged to be an important prospect for promoting the businesses in the Australian market. There are a huge number of SMEs that has been using the digital marketing tools such as SEOs, newsletters and social media platforms to promote their businesses. But, in many cases, it has been seen that the means used to promote the business using the digital platforms are unethical and impacts the business adversely (Ndubisi and Matanda, 2011). There are several incidents of loss of data and unethical messages that are transmitted through digital marketing activities. It leads to loss of reputation of the SMEs and impacts their business adversely (Morsing and Perrini, 2009). Hence, there is a need of proper understand of ethics and moral values while using digital marketing for promoting the products and services. Any false statement and unethical means can lead to financial losses of the organisation. It can also lead to legal action against the organisation. Hence, the paper will present the importance of ethical digital marketing and suggest necessary strategies and policy changes that are required to seek success using technology and innovative ideas of promotion.
Along with the time constraints there are several other limitations that must be considered while conducting a research study. It is important to see that none of the activities in the research impacts a living being mentally or physically. Along with that, it is important to consider the rules and regulations of the institution while conducting the paper. The ethics checklist has been presented in Appendix 1 for further consideration.
Alemany Oliver, M. and Vayre, J. (2015). Big data and the future of knowledge production in marketing research: Ethics, digital traces, and abductive reasoning. J Market Anal, 3(1), pp.5-13.
Ashworth, L. and Free, C. (2016). Marketing Dataveillance and Digital Privacy: Using Theories of Justice to Understand Consumers’ Online Privacy Concerns. J Bus Ethics, 67(2), pp.107-123.
Au, A. and Tse, A. (2011). Marketing Ethics and Behavioral Predisposition of Chinese Managers of SMEs in Hong Kong. J Small Bus Man, 39(3), pp.272-278.
Boone, L. and Kurtz, D. (2016). Contemporary marketing. [Mason, Ohio]: Thomson South-Western.
De George, R. (2013). The ethics of information technology and business. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
Doiron, D. (2009). Internet Marketing & SMEs. International Journal of E-Adoption, 1(4), pp.19-39.
Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. (2006). Principles of marketing. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
McStay, A. (2010). Digital advertising. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Moiseieva, M. (2013). Mini Cooper: Marketing Strategy, Digital Marketing, Brand & Ethics. CRIS - Bulletin of the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinary Study, 2013(1).Morsing, M. and Perrini, F. (2009). CSR in SMEs: do SMEs matter for the CSR.
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