To what extent can Tripink Media use onsite marketing and social media networks as a cores strategy on a business to business level

1 Background and Objectives

Tripink Media

TriPink Media is a new Mobile Video Advertising company, using a pink 3-wheel eco-friendly truck equipped with 3 LCD video screens displaying commercials (TriPink, 2009).

As an outdoor advertising company, TriPink essentially targets marketing and event professionals but also:

- Local business owners

- Foundations, charities and NGOs

- Offices and shop managers.

 

Since the company has little experience with online marketing, I have been asked – due to my online marketing background – as an intern to help the company to reach its marketing objectives, which are:

- Evaluating and enhancing onsite marketing strategies for better viewers’ experience, increasing traffic and the number of information requests formulated by viewers.

- Defining and engaging in conversation with the targets through social media networks (SMN) (Facebook, Twitter and Youtube).

- Evaluating the impact of online marketing strategies.

 

Online marketing and social media

Originally built for military purposes in the 60′s, the internet is now affecting people’s everyday life ranging from leisure to business (Bagherjeiran, 2008).

A report provided by eT forecasts (2009) announces that there will be 1.7 billion internet users across the globe in 2010. This potential exposure is the reason why businesses should focus on the internet as a key element to engage conversation and build strong relationships with their consumers. (Gangadharbatla, 2008)

 

Because a company’s website is the central convergent spot of information, Lurie (2009) postulates that companies’ websites should apply certain strategies and techniques in terms of layout, design and optimization in order to be relevant and should provide easy end enjoyable access and experience for their customers and viewers. Ramanathan (2007) completes Lurie’s statement and explains that certain onsite techniques have to be used in order to retain viewers on a website and give them an incentive to come back at a later time.

 

Similarly, according to Grimes (2007) many companies start to be engaged with online marketing and SMN, short for social media networks, in order to increase people’s awareness of their brand and to improve the relationship with their consumers in addition to retaining viewers on their websites. Leskovic (2007) reinforces Grimes’ observation and adds that companies try to implement the latests online communication technologies in order to be at the same “pace” with their customers; hence this will facilitate a two-way form of communication using the same medium.

 

Lurie (2009) argues that a two-way form of communication is a new concept employed by SMNs. During the boom of the internet in 2000 people were talking about Web 1.0, which was a static, one-way form of using the internet. Since 2004, O’Reilly media (2005) has introduced the term Web 2.0 which is considered to be the new generation of the internet.

 

This report will then stress and evaluate the current website marketing strategies used by Tripink Media as well as the ones used in SMN. The project also aims at determining which strategies should be kept, implemented and enhanced.

 

Project choice rationale

I have chosen to write this report on online marketing and SMN for several reasons: First of all I have always been passionate about the online world and its application to businesses and the marketing role that it can play in the 21st century. Secondly it seems that with the internet, consumers are going through a shift of behaviour as far as the relationship they have with brands and businesses is concerned (Li,2009). As my professional objectives are highly related to online marketing, it seems logical for me to write this report.

 

1.1 Research questions

The following questions and objectives are based on the company’s objectives and have been used to design the literature review:

 

1)             Which onsite strategies can be used by Tripink Media in order to retain viewers give them a reason to come back to the website, and increase the number of information requests formulated by them.

 

2)             How can Tripink Media use social media networks as a marketing strategy to engage conversation with its targets?

 

3)             Can Tripink Media fulfil the need of its targets by using online marketing strategies?

 

1.2 Research objectives

1)             To critically evaluate and analyse the current onsite strategies used by the company and decide which ones should be kept, enhanced or implemented.

 

2)             To critically evaluate which social media networks marketing strategies and tools are appropriate to be used by the company.

 

3)             To critically evaluate the impact of online marketing strategies on the company’s different targets.

 

2 Literature Review

2.1 Online Marketing

According to Kawasaki (2009), online marketing “is the delivery of communication messages through websites”. Parsons (1998) explains that thanks to online marketing companies can have the possibility of integrating new forms of interactions and conversation with their clients: in addition to that Zeisser and Waitman (1998) and Yuan and Fresenmainer (2006) agree that online marketing success is based on:

“- Attracting customers with audience creation

- Engaging with interactive interface and content

- Retaining with dynamic content and online communities

- Learning about consumers’ behaviour

- Relating back to customers to provide customized interactions”.

 

In order to reach its online marketing objectives a company can make use of different formats of online advertising: On the one hand there are some that are called “paid advertising”, which include a range of tools such as “banner, pop up and sponsored links” (Roger, 2000) and on the other hand there is a wide range of tools which are free of charge such as “media content sharing”. These usually consist of sharing different types of content (pictures, music, videos) on SMN, “search engine optimization” which is the use of several techniques aiming at ameliorating ranking in search engines, “website marketing design” which is the use of techniques and strategies aiming to improve the effectiveness of a website in terms of marketing, and “social media networks” where companies try to engage “marketing” conversation with their potential clients (Lurie, 2009).

 

Studies carried out by Li (2009), Kawasaki (2009) and Bagherjnan (2008) state that independently of what kinds of tools are being used to advertise, online marketing aims at increasing brand recognition and is a great incentive for purchases. However, Clemons (2009) argue that online consumers “do not trust, watch, want or need” online marketing. Therefore the authors claimed that it was a waste of time for some companies to start online marketing strategies.

 

2.1.1 Online marketing effectiveness

In terms of online marketing effectiveness measurement, the “click through rate” (CTR) method was conventionally used. Rogers (2000) defined it as “the average number of clicks through per hundred ads impressions”. Pavlou and Steward (2000) add that online advertising has a direct effect on consumers and that therefore the best way to measure online marketing effectiveness is to use CTR methods.

 

However, research done by Rettie (2004) goes against the CTR method as the best way to measure online marketing effectiveness and proposed the theory of “post impressions”. This is a “visit to a website, after exposure to an internet advertisement without clicking through the advertisement”.

 

This theory is supported by Dréze and Hussherr (2003). Their research points out that viewers tend to avoid to look at banners, pop ups and sponsored links, however they might still notice them while their eyes are scanning a page. Moreover, research conducted by Dahlen (2001) shows that viewers with little knowledge of the internet will click on an online ad by chance more often than experienced users. The author also explains that advertisers shouldn’t be focusing on the number of clicks but the number of views, since as people are getting more used to the internet, the use of CTR as a way to measure online marketing effectiveness is becoming obsolete.

 

However, there is limited evidence that “post impression” increases brand recall. Kawasaki (2009) explains that it is hard to accurately evaluate brand recall by only using post impression measurement tools.

 

Lurie (2009) also criticises the CTR method because it only evaluates an “instantaneous” response to an ad and does not provide a “general overview of an ad effectiveness”. Studies by Bagherjeinan (2008) reinforce Lurie’s observation and completed it by emphasizing the fact that data such as number of viewers, subscribers and time spent on a web page are important factors that should be taken into consideration when evaluating online marketing effectiveness. Danaher’s findings (2003) are also oriented towards the impact of the time spent on a web page, and the author explained that the longer a user was viewing a page, the more likely the user will remember the advertising material on this page.

 

Regardless what method is being used to measure online marketing effectiveness, research conducted by Roger (2000), Rettie (2004) and Dahlen (2001) all state the fact that targeting is a key factor for online marketing effectiveness. In addition, Roger and Thomson ( 2000) propose a theory aiming at distinguishing two important viewers’ behavioural factors: Functional factors which are based on the viewers’ online activity: depending on what viewers do online, the impact of the advertising message will vary considerably. And structural factors which are focused on the format of the advertising messages, the layout, and the position on the screen.

 

2.1.2 Lack of research conducted

Although several studies have been conducted on paid online advertising, Burns and Lutz, (2006), Dahlem (2002) and on web site design Balidu (2004), Warner (2004), up to now, no previous study that concentrated on the use of free SMNs marketing for B2B and on the use of website design as a marketing strategic tool could be identified.

From my findings, I have noticed that some research dealt with the impact of website design on viewers and on paid online advertising. However, there is a certain lack of studies making the link between the use of website design as a marketing strategic tool and the use of free SMNs marketing.

 

Moreover, the few studies on SMNs advertising do not focus on B2B but only on B2C. This lack of research is due to the contemporary aspect of the topic, and this project proposed aims to fill this gap.

 

2.2 Website Marketing design

A company’s website has an important role in terms of marketing communication. Mc Crea’s (2005) studies points out that a website should provide information that the viewers are looking for, the navigation on the site has to be friendly, the design and layout should be selected with a marketing strategic purpose.

 

2.2.1 Gehrke and Turban’s Framework

Gehrke and Turban (1999) were the first to propose a “website marketing design framework”. They agree that websites can be turned into a marketing strategic tool if certain elements are being applied.

 

- Page loading speed:

When a viewer lands on a website which takes too long to load, it is most likely that the viewer will close the page and will go on another website. Therefore companies should reduce the use of heavy media content.

 

- Business content:

Content needs to provide right away clear relevant and desired information to the users.

The authors explained that within the first seconds the viewers need to know exactly what they will find on the site. If the content does not provide the answers the viewers are looking for, the viewers will switch to a different site.

 

- Text

The authors emphasized the importance of having a certain consistency in terms of font used to retain viewers online and increase the number of returning viewers.

 

- Contact information

The authors asserted that if it is easy for viewers to locate the company’s contact information, the viewers will be more likely to contact the company.

 

- Colour

It is important for a company’s website to use colours which are linked to the product or services offered by the company. Moreover, colours are of major importance in terms of branding (Kawasaki, 2009).

 

- FAQ’s

The authors’ research pointed out that “companies which create frequently asked questions will encourage the users’ interest in knowing what exactly is offered on the site”.

 

- User friendly fill in form

Forms should be short, easy to fill out and should not ask for unnecessary private information in order to retain viewers and give them an incentive to fill in the form.

2.2.2 Cox and Dale’s Framework

Cox and Dale’s framework (2002) ( Appendix 1) agree with Gehrke and Turban’s framework (1999) and complete it by focusing on the layout of the pages:

 

- Layout of the pages

The authors’ findings show that it is important to maintain consistency within pages. Moreover it is “decisive” to provide a visible and easy to find “home button” on each page of the website.

Lurie (2009) complete Cox and Dalle’s findings and explain that a “good layout needs to inspire visitors to take action”. A call to action should be displayed on every page, and in addition to that the author affirmed that the strategic placement of text, colours, images and call to action is crucial to “market a website”.

In terms of evaluation, the author recommends the use of a “heat map application” in order to know “what the visitors look at first, where they enter the website, and where their eyes go next”. This can help to figure out where to place a call to action or important information. Lurie (2009) also argues that viewers decide in four seconds if they want to stay or leave a website. For this reason, companies need to grab viewers’ attention right away.

In addition, the authors argue that pages should be short also with regards to the written text. It is not suitable to “force” the viewer to scroll down the pages to be able to read the content.

 

2.2.3 Lurie’s Framework

Finally, Lurie (2009) agrees with both aforementioned theories and added a few more elements:

 

- Tag lines and slogans

According to the author, these “convey important ideas to customers”. Moreover, they can help to strengthen the company’s branding image, and they are also supposed to give incentives to the viewers to stay longer on the website to learn more about what the company can offer.

 

- Adding high impact photos

It is important to use photos that give more than a simple description of a product or service and show an interactivity between the product or service and the expected outcome.

 

- Search engine optimization (SEO)

“SEO is the process of improving ranking in search engine results” (Lurie, 2009).

 

Several previous theories aiming at improving ranking are supported by Waiman (1998), Simeon (1999) and Jumba (1998). They principally focus on “bolding key phrases”, using “hidden text” and “high number of clicks on search listing”.

 

However, Lurie (2009) argues against those theories and proposed a new one explaining that SEO is essentially based on placing keywords in:

-Headings

-Paragraph copy

-Uniform resource locator (URL).

 

2.3 Social media networks

According to Goldhammer (2007) “Social media networks is the manifestation of the internet and is a social tool that allows media sharing with one another”. In addition to this, CPR (2006) adds that social media aim to build communities and engage “participation” and “sharing”.

 

Lurie (2009) goes further and argued that SMN brought a new communication model which is based on the notion of “conversation marketing”. The author explained that thanks to SMN companies and customers can talk to each other and the messages sent to the customers can easily be shared with the rest of the community. Thackeray (2008) also agrees that with SMNs, marketers have a new way to reach their targets and engage them in communicating with each other.

 

Li (2009) argues that a successful SMN marketing strategy has to start by determining and classifying an audience depending on their”profile” “participation” and “engagement”. The author argued that it is important to build an online community including “watchers”, users who watch, read and download content, “sharers”, users who share content online and “commenters”, users who rate and comment products and services. Hence it is essential to produce content and decide on which segment it is going to be primarily dedicated to. Berger (2009) completes Li’s theory and adds that companies using SMN should on a daily basis make their online communities grow to increase traffic to their websites. Moreover, the author argued that it is crucial for a company to be seen as an expert on its domain. To engage conversation with its target, businesses should avoid to only talk about what they do but they should focus on their target’s interest. This theory is also supported by Lurie (2009) and Kawasaki (2009). In addition, Clarke (2009) defends that in order to obtain substantial results from their marketing effort, companies should focus on the “Social media networks 3 C’s theory”:

 

- Crowd: It is crucial to know who the crowd is composed of (users profile, consumers, non-consumers, active, passive users). Therefore online content should be produced and shared according to the crowd’s interest.

 

- Community which is important to make grow.

- Conversation: Companies need to participate and get involved in “two-way” conversation with their communities’ members. The author affirms that the first step is to listen to what is said by the crowd and then engage in conversation. In order to achieve that companies can use tools such as “Twitter search” where they can type in keywords about their industry or interests and find out what is said online and who is engaging in conversation. Facebook and Youtube also offer a similar keyword search feature.

Facebook

With 200 million users and one million new users each week, Facebook is one of the most powerful SMN to be used by businesses (Chandler 2009).

Volpe (2009) argues that Facebook can be used to: “Get found, connect and engage, create a community and promote content”. In order to reach those objectives the author suggests that businesses should:

- Create powerful profiles using a “human name” and not a business name and give as much information as possible about the company including a “human picture”.

- Building a contact list by starting by connecting with people and businesses that the companies know. This can be done on a daily basis, business can extend their contact list by adding “friends of friends” sharing the same interests.

- Communicate with wall posts: allFacebook users have a “wall” where other users can post messages; businesses should use this opportunity to engage conversation.

- Updating status, when a new status is being posted, the online community can see it on their home page. Businesses should take this opportunity to show their expertise in their domain.

- Participating in groups: businesses should access groups sharing common interests where they can share information to show their authority, build their communities, engage conversation and direct traffic to their website.

 

Twitter

Twitter is a “micro-blogging platform” allowing users to post 140 characters messages called Tweets. It is currently used by 50 million users called “followers” (Brogan, 2009).

In terms of profile building, the same rule used for Facebook has to be applied. Kill (2009) affirms that companies using Twitter should follow leaders in their industry and professionals who can have an influence on their community. This influence can be measured by the number of followers they have. Moreover, the author states that businesses should “track” keywords and relevant topics and so become part of conversations and answer followers’ questions and solve their problems by offering solutions. Twitter can also be used as a PR tool, allowing businesses to announce their new products, services, or to discuss their new projects. Businesses should keep in mind asking their “followers” for feedback. On a more practical level the author suggests to post between two to five new updates per day and to follow 10 new users per day when a company starts to use Twitter.

 

Youtube

Youtube is a “video sharing site” with more than 100 million videos (Brogan 2009).

Evans (2009) argues that a complete company profile on Youtube makes a company more trustful. The author designed a list of nine strategies that companies should use with Youtube:

- Sharing presentation to confirm the company expertise

- Showing products or services in use and explain how they work

- Conducting video interviews with industry experts

- Engaging with the community by leaving comments, subscribing to channels and posting response videos

- Setting up a channel to reinforce branding

- Making use of testimonials to strengthen credibility

- Showing the outcomes obtained by a customer who used the products or services sold by the company

- Introducing staff to add authenticity

- Including information about the company and links to the website.

 

In terms of usage, Reichbach (2009), claims that SMN are especially used by people between 18-29 years old, they represent 82% of the global social networks users. The “subscribers” tend to mainly use them while they are not at work but most likely when they are at home. Furthermore, Wilson’s studies (2009) pointed out that 78,3% of SMN users use them for personal purposes, and only 21,7% use them for “work related” purposes.

 

According to Fodaghi (2007), in addition to sharing content with the community, SMN users can also recommend a brand, a product or a service to the rest of the community. Therefore it is important for brands to target this type of users.

 

Although much research as the one carried out by Li (2009), Kawasaki (2009) and Lurie (2009) agrees on the fact that SMN are an effective marketing tool, Riley (2007) claims that its effectiveness might simply create a “short-term awareness” and the retention level might be low. However, since the topic is really contemporary, there are no other theories backing up Riley’s findings.

 

Brogan (2009) and Lurie (2009) agree that in order to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing strategies used on SMN companies should focus on:

- The number of subscribers they have in their communities

- Whether or not messages or content are being shared with the rest of the community

- The traffic generated and directed to the company’s website

- The conversation they are engaged in with the “community”

- Finally, in order to grab the target’s attention, the content and messages posted online have to be relevant to the target in order to eventually be shared with the online community.

 

In order to complete this project, it was essential to go through the key literature on online marketing, online marketing effectiveness, website marketing design and social media networks as those topics were the fundamental themes of my project. The literature on online marketing was crucial in order to define online marketing and understand the way it works in a business world. The literature also helped to understand the different formats available and the purposes of using them. Regarding online marketing effectiveness, the literature covered the different strategies that companies can use to maximise the impact of online marketing strategies on their target. Concerning the literature on website marketing design, it provided me with clear and complete frameworks to reach marketing objectives in terms of giving incentives to viewers to stay longer and come back to websites and to increase interaction between viewers and businesses.

Finally, the literature covering social media networks has been useful to present the different social media networks marketing strategies that could be used by a company and the way they should be implemented. However, due to the fact that social media network marketing is a considerably new discipline, a certain lack of supported theories has been encountered, and more practical strategies were found.

 

2.4 Conceptual Framework

Users’online community

2-way communication including content

Sharing information and content

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Research Methods

3.1 Perspective

In order to conduct this research, a realistic research philosophy has been used. Indeed, this research is aimed at understanding how internet viewers are impacted by Tipink Media’s online marketing strategies. Moreover, the research mainly focused on a philosophy of interpretivism. This perspective “gives the researcher an in-depth explanation for why people behave a certain way” (Weber, 2004). The study also aims at determining which onsite marketing strategies have to be used in order to retain viewers online.

 

A combination of quantitative and qualitative research was conducted using secondary and primary data collection such as: documentation, content analysis, frameworks, theories and questionnaires. For the aforementioned reasons, a deductive approach was taken, which has been essential in order to analyse the existing theories and frameworks related to the study area. Inductive approach has also been used on a smaller level. The findings from the data collection were worthwhile to determine which onsite strategies the company should be using and how some adjustments could have an impact on the viewers.

 

3.2 Research design

Byrman and Bell (2007:38) define five different types of research design: Experimental, cross-sectional, longitudinal, case study and comparative. In order to complete this research the following types of design were used.

3.2.1 Case study

Daymon and Halloway (2002) explain that case studies tend to be “associated with an intensive investigation of a location, organization, campaign or strategy”. This statement is supported by Sekaran (2000) who adds that “it’s a problem solving technique and it involves in depth analyses of the situation”. The author also argues that case studies “increase knowledge about real contemporary communication events”. Finally, Saunders et al (2003) claims that case studies are the most appropriate methods to be used in order to “test” existing frameworks and theories. Indeed, in order to complete my research, I have integrated the company as an intern with the objectives to analyse the current online marketing strategies used and provide recommendations to ameliorate them. Although the case study helped to gather information, the fact that the results obtained couldn’t be generalized shows the limits of this method.

 

3.2.2 Cross Sectional

This design is suitable as it allows “the collection of data at some point in order to gather quantitative and qualitative data in relation with several variables” (e.g.: different website marketing strategies used, different SMNs used and different types of targets) in order to “detect patterns” which helped to answer the research questions.

 

3.3 Data Collection
3.3.1 Secondary data collection:Content analysis

Diverse secondary data were employed in order to complete this project. Indeed books which have contributed to the development of new online marketing strategies such as Conversation Marketing were used. Because the topic is really contemporary, journals such as  the Journal of Interactive Advertising were used in order to have more up-to-date data, moreover reports on online marketing have also been accessed in order to collect relevant information on the topic .Those data allowed to have a work base in terms of relevant theories and frameworks. The Coventry University elibrary as well as several libraries and the internet allowed me to access those data.

 

Busch et al (2009) explains that “content analysis determines the presence of concepts within texts or set of texts”, moreover, it helps to identify a relation between the concepts used and the impact on the audience. The author claimed that the analysis can be “applied to any piece of writing”, furthermore, the analysis can be conducted by following “existing theories and frameworks”.

 

The first objective aimed at evaluating the current onsite marketing strategies used by the company and suggests ways to improve them. For this reason the company’s website and more particularly it’s content were used for the analysis and theories and frameworks proposed by Gehrje and Turban (1999), Lurie (2009) and Cox and Dale (2009) were applied.

 

In order to reach a high quality level of data collection, the secondary data used were selected based on the validity of the data, their reliability, currency and credibility. Indeed the data used were produced by recognized authors who have contributed to the development of online marketing strategy frameworks, moreover it has been important to use current data as it is a present day topic.

 

3.3.2 Primary data collection: Questionnaires and Interviews

Questionnaires

On the one hand the second objective aims at evaluating the company’s marketing effectiveness in terms of social media use and at understanding the users’ behaviour towards social media marketing, on the other hand the third research objective aims at evaluating the impact of online marketing on internet users. For those reasons questionnaires were the most appropriate way to obtain objective answers without influencing the respondents by my presence. The questionnaire was made on Survey Monkey and a link of the survey was sent by email to respondents and was also shared on Facebook (Appendix 2) to reach a greater number of respondents . Most of the questions revolved around social media in terms of knowledge, usage behaviour and motivation. As the information collected concerned several targets, a certain focus was on the primary company’s target.

 

It is important to state that some limitations linked to the use of questionnaires had to be faced regarding respondents profiles. Since the questionnaires were primarily aimed at the company’s target in order to obtain valuable data, for this matter, at the beginning of the questionnaires, the respondent is being identified by selecting the category he belongs to (local business owner, marketing professional, charities’ representative, or manager).

 

Interview

Semi-structured interviews ( Appendix 3) were a suitable way to collect more in-depth data aiming at explaining the viewer’s behaviour and giving eventual reasons justifying his or her attitude towards online marketing. Cohen (2006) states: “semi-structured interviews allow respondents the freedom to express their views in their own terms”. Five interviews of 30 minutes each were conducted to examine with great attention certain findings from the questionnaire. The interviewees were numbered: interviewee number one was a marketing executive, interviewee number two an event coordinator, interviewee number three a business owner, interviewee number four a coordinator in an NGO, and interviewee number five a shop manager. Those interviewees were selected because they are perfectly in line with the company’s target and it was appropriate to understand their behaviour to address objectives two and three. Although the five interviews were video recorded with the approval of the interviewees, four of them were conducted face to face in the company’s premises and one was conducted by webcam. Notwithstanding the fact that semi- structured interviews give a certain level of freedom to the respondents, the fact remains that they could have been influenced by the way the questions were asked. For this reason I had to remain objective in a certain way. In the interest of securing the relevance of the questionnaires and the interviews, both were piloted with friends, colleagues and other professionals.

 

3.4 Access and sample

In the interest of conducting this research, it was essential to address the questionnaires to the right targets. For this reason, I have used a contact list provided by the company’s owner. In addition to that the marketing manager gave me access to another list of contacts. I also had access to a list of contacts coming from Ideactif, which is the biggest event promotion company in Paris, a non-profit organization called UNOY also allowed me to access to some of their partners’ contact details. And finally my personal professional network has also been used to reach the respondents.

 

In terms of sampling, the non-probability sampling method was employed for both questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The use of this technique was helpful in order to “generalize about the population” Saunders et al 2003). Purposive and snowball sampling were used in view of the fact that several specific targets were to be analysed. Furthermore snowball sampling was applied because I needed the respondents to recommend other people.

 

A sample sized of 100 marketing and event professionals and 150 other professionals based on the company’s target were requested to participate; and a 25% response rate was expected. Concerning the interviews, purposive sampling was used. It allowed to select business owners, managers, marketing professionals and charity representatives who were at the central point of this research.

 

3.5 Analysis of data

Concerning the content analysis, existing theories and frameworks were employed to evaluate the website marketing strategies effectiveness. In order to reach this objective, each variable from the frameworks and theories was studied with the aim to distinguish if it was currently used on the website and eventually to find out how well it was used. The analysis was supported by a website marketing design check list. (Appendix 4)

 

Responses from the questionnaires were analysed with Survey Monkey and with charts, graphs and Excel spreadsheet. A combination of descriptive and inferential analysis was employed. Moreover the findings were also analysed on two different levels:

- Univariate: which enabled me to “study one variable at a time”

- Bivariate: which permitted me to examine “two variables at a time” such as the marketing respondents and their expectation toward online marketing.

 

Regarding the interviews, a deductive inductive approach was used alongside with a template analysis containing several categories. The fact that the interviews were video taped allowed me to complete the template even after the interviews were conducted.

3.6 Research ethics and plagiarism

In order to respect the ethical standards set by Coventry University, this research has been conducted in compliance with the Coventry University’s BES guidelines. All the participants were free to accept or refuse to answer the questionnaire and to be interviewed. In addition, personal data were kept confidential.

 

As regard to plagiarism, I perfectly understand the meaning and consequences, for this reason all the referred work, data and quotes were referenced using the Coventry University Harvard referencing style.

 

4 Data collection, Presentation, findings & analysis

4.1 Content Analysis

The purpose of the website www.tripink.com is to raise awareness of Tripink Media, increase traffic, retaining viewers online and give them incentives to come back at a later time and to increase the number of information requests formulated by viewers.

 

 

Figure 4.1 Home Page (Source: http://www.tripink.com)

 

Page loading speed and Animation

Gehrke and Turban (1999) argued that the use of too much heavy media content (animation, videos, pictures) can slow down a website and increase viewers’ abandon. Tripink media has respected this principle,  in order to make page loading faster, there is little use of heavy media material on the website. Therefore, based on the authors’ theory, viewers are most likely to stay longer on the website.

Colour

The company has met the Gherke and Turban (1999) standards. Indeed, a generous use of the colour pink can be noticed throughout the website. The background, the logo, the links and some titles are in pink; which is a great way to strengthen branding and create a certain enjoyable atmosphere on the site.

 

Adding high impact photos

Tripink’s website hasn’t really explored the potential of using high impact photos to illustrate how their pink truck could deliver advertising messages or what would be the impact on the target. Instead, a steady picture of the truck is displayed on every pages.

 

Layout

In terms of consistency, Tripink’s website has followed Cox and Dale’s (1999) principles. The website has been designed respecting a constant “style”, therefore it really creates a certain atmosphere for the viewer and it helps to provide a better experience and retain viewers online.

Although the authors agreed that it is “decisive” to have a visible and easy to find “home button” to direct viewers to the home page, the company hasn’t taken this factor into consideration. Despite the fact that the home button is displayed on every page, it is not relatively easy to be found. The button is smaller than the other tabs and it is displayed at an unusual location. Indeed Lurie (2009) explains that it is usually preferable to have a home button displayed at the same level as the other button. In the case of Tripink, the “home button” is located right above the horizontal menu and just underneath the “call to action”. There is absolutely no emphasis in terms of grabbing the viewers’ attention toward the home button. Therefore, while navigating through the website, the viewer can be frustrated by not finding the “home button”, which can considerably increase the number of abandons.

Concerning the “call to action”, the company has followed the authors’ concept and a fairly clear “call to action” is displayed at the upper right corner of every page where the viewers can read ” call today 877.305.PINK”. The objective here is to have viewers calling the company. However, the font used for “call today” is a lot smaller than the one used for the phone number.

Finally, Cox and Dale (2002) advise to have short pages on a website and eliminate the need to scroll them down to view the content. Although the company provides short pages on its website, the company fails to respect the authors’ theory with regards to the fact that viewers have to scroll down on every page of the website in order to view the content displayed. This lack of layout optimization can be unpleasant for the viewers and doesn’t give them an incentive to either stay on the website or come back at a later time.

 

Business content

According to the authors, in order to reduce abandon, the content has to instantaneously provide the information that the viewers want to access. On Tripink.com home page which is the central point of access to the website, the viewer has access to the most important information in terms of service offered (mobile video advertising with a pink truck), the features of the truck and a slide show on the right hand side providing information concerning the type of businesses which could take advantage of using “Tripink”. The fact that those information are displayed right away gives an incentive to the right target to stay on the site, to eventually open more pages and to learn more about the company.

 

Figure 4.2 Benefits (Source: http://www.tripink.com)

 

 

Text

According to Gehrke and Turban (1999), consistency in terms of the font used is critical to provide a better experience to the viewers. This principle hasn’t been followed by Tripink Media, which use six different fonts throughout the site. This element gives an amateurish aspect to the website and according to the authors  this can be a reason why a viewer would leave the site.

 

Tag lines and slogans

The company has made a minor attempt to use tag lines and slogans. Lurie (2009) claims that “they can retain viewers on the website and convey important ideas”. But Tripink hasn’t explored the potential of using them. The company mainly uses generic titles with no visible aim to give any incentives to the viewer to learn more about the services offered.

 

Contact information

In order to make it easier for the viewers to contact the company, the company’s contact details are located at the bottom of every page of the website. In addition, the telephone number is also on every page in the upper right hand corner using different a font and colour in order to grab the viewer’s attention.

 

Frequently asked questions FAQ’s

Gehrke and Turban (1999) claim that it is important to have an “FAQ’s” section on the website in order to retain viewers. Tripink media hasn’t provided this feature, therefore the risk of viewers leaving the website is higher. It is important for a viewer to find answers to his questions on a website, otherwise, based on the authors’ findings, there are chances that he or she will go to another site to find answers.

Figure 4.3 Contact us (Source: http://www.tripink.com)

User friendly fill in form

The company has followed Gehrke and Turban’s (1999) concept regarding the fill in form. Indeed the form is short and only asks for relevant information. For this reason viewers will be most likely to fill in the form and contact the company.

 

Search engine optimization SEO

Although Lurie (2009) states that to improve SEO and page ranking in search engines and therefore increase traffic, relevant keywords should be placed in headings, paragraphs copy and URL. Tripink.com hasn’t optimized its website for search engines. By not optimizing its website, Tripink Media is missing out on a possibility of reaching out to certain businesses and professionals belonging to its target market.

4.2 Questionnaires

Before going through the analysis of the questionnaires, it is important to know that the company wasn’t using any defined strategies or techniques when it comes to SMNs. Occasionally, the company was posting new pictures and videos featuring the pink truck, but no serious attempt to engage conversation with a particular online community was made.

 

The sample

As explained in the methodology chapter, 100 questionnaires were sent to marketing professionals. Because they represent the primary target of the company, it was suggested by the owner to focus on this group. Subsequently, 150 questionnaires were then equally sent to business owners, foundations and managers. The total number of respondents who had taken the survey was 101 and 77 of them completed the survey entirely which corresponds to a 30.8% response rate which is in line with the expectation stated.

 

 

 

Figure 4.4 Demographic (Source: Survey Monkey)

As seen in figure 4.4 combining the age and the gender of the respondents 78 out of 100 respondents were of the age group of 18-29 of which 34 were male and 44 were female; this is in line with Reichback’s (2009) theory claiming that 70% of 18-29 years old have used a social media network.

 

 

 

Figure 4.5 Profession (Source: Survey Monkey)

As explained in the methodology chapter, focus was placed on marketing professionals because they are the primary target of the company and it was important to analyse their behaviour. Therefore, 46.5% of the respondents were marketing, advertising or event professionals, 25.7% worked with foundations, charities and NGO’s, 15.8% were office or shop managers and 11.9% were business owners.

 

 

 

Social media awareness

 

Figure 4.6 Social media network (Source: Survey Monkey)

 

 

The survey asked the respondents to choose from a list of SMNs the ones they used, they could select more than one and also suggest some SMN which weren’t included in the list. A total of 89 answers were received, 85 respondents used Facebook, 71 used Youtube, 17 used Twitter and 19 used other SMN. When the respondents were asked to name the other SMN that they used, most of them answered “Myspace and Dailymotion”. One of the reasons why Facebook and Youtube are mainly used is the fact that those two are really popular among the respondents, moreover, they are easy to use so the respondents feel comfortable using them. Regarding Twitter, since it was still relatively new, the respondents weren’t using it because of a lack of knowledge about it and because of the “fear” to have to deal with a new online account.

 

The survey included the ratings from the respondents concerning their knowledge about SMN. They could choose between really poor, poor, fair, advanced and expert. Regarding Facebook and Youtube, the majority of the respondents (62.8%) declared having an advanced level of usage, this is in line with the fact that those two networks were the most used by the respondents. Concerning Twitter, 41.3 % of the respondents confirmed having really poor knowledge of usage. This is due to the fact that the majority of the respondents weren’t familiar with Twitter.

 

The survey asked the respondents to evaluate how often they use Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. 47.1% of the respondents declared using Facebook 1 to 5 times per day, the same question was asked for Twitter and 70.7% of the respondents declared never using it. Finally, regarding Youtube, 28.2% of the respondents answered using it one to five times per week. The reasons why Facebook was more regularly used is linked to the fact that it was the most popular SMN among the respondents: moreover, the respondents found it really easy to use. Twitter on the other hand was predominantly not used because it remains really new and it would need to gain popularity among the respondents before they would consider using it.

 

The survey included a question asking the professionals whether they were using SMN at home or at work. 67.8% of the respondents affirmed using it at home and only 32.2% affirmed using it at work. A reason for this usage behaviour was that at home they had more time to spend on the internet or in some cases it wasn’t acceptable or feasible to use SMN at their working places (shop manager), therefore the only way for them to access it was after work.

 

A total of 89 responses were received on the ranking question that was aimed at determining for which purposes SMN were mostly used. 78.9% answered that the principal reason for them to use SMN was for personal purposes (keeping in touch with friends and family), 58.1% answered that entertainment was the second reason for them to use SMN, 59.3% answered that having access to news was the third reason. And finally, 53.4% answered that business purposes was the last reason for them to use SMN. Those results are in line with Wilson’s findings (2009) showing that the majority of SMN users use them for personal purposes and only a smaller portion of the users employ them for business purposes. One reason explaining that only a small percentage of the professionals used SMN for business is due to the fact that some professionals were not aware that businesses they were interested in were using SMN.

 

Brogan (2009), Lurie (2009) and Clarke (2009) claim that companies using SMN for business purposes should engage in conversation with their target. In order to analyse the respondents’ comments sharing behaviour, the latter have been asked to report who they were sharing comments with. 97.5% of the respondents answered sending comments to people from their online community, 24.9% answered sending comments to people outside their online community and only 19.8% answered sending comments to other professionals and businesses. A reason explaining this behaviour is the fact that respondents’ online communities are mainly composed of friends and family and they felt more comfortable engaging in conversation with members of their own online communities.

 

Brogan (2009) and Lurie (2009) agree that for better results the content posted by companies has to be viewed by the target. The survey asked the respondents whether they were viewing the content posted online. 92.8% answered viewing the content posted by people from their online communities and 38.6% answered viewing content posted by businesses and professionals. One reason explaining the fact that more respondents viewed professionals and businesses content than actually engaged in conversation with them was due to the fact that some respondents rather watched videos or read articles from other businesses. If they had to actually engage in conversation with them, they would feel pressured and scared that they will have to buy something. Moreover, viewing content online is less time-consuming.

 

The survey included a question asking respondents if they intentionally added businesses to their online communities or if they only accepted “friend” requests from businesses. 58.7% of the respondents only accepted friend requests and 43.3% added businesses on their own initiative. A reason explaining those results is the fact that respondents don’t necessarily have the time to engage, research and find out if businesses they are interested in are using SMN

 

Figure 4.7 Engagement with social media network (Source: Survey Monkey)

 

 

Fodaghi (2007) affirmes that in order to use SMN in a marketing effective way, companies need to identify and target the users who share content and who recommend brands or products to their online community. The survey included a question on the respondents engagement with SMN. Marketing professionals were the ones who were most engaged. 52.5% of them shared content with people posted by businesses, 55% shared content with professionals posted by other professionals, 77% recommended products and services to professionals and 50% of them answered going to a company’s website which had posted content on SMN. Reasons explaining these results are that marketing professionals are highly efficient in terms of SMN usage, they have large online communities and they are the ones using the most SMN for business purposes.

 

87.5% of business owners agreed that if they needed the services of an advertising agency, they would look for it on SMN, 78.9% of the marketing professionals, 70% of the foundations professionals and 75% of the managers also agreed on using SMN. Indeed, they were aware of the potential of SMN as a new way to communicate with businesses.

However, 23.1% of the respondents wouldn’t have used SMN if they needed the services of an advertising agency, the main reasons were the lack of reliability and trust of SMN and the fact that it would be easier to search on search engines such as Google.

 

Figure 4.8 Company’s information (advertising agency) (Source: Survey Monkey)

 

 

Moreover, the survey included a list of company information and the respondents were asked to select the ones they would like to have access to on SMN. 75% of the respondents would like to have information concerning the prices, 60% of the respondents have chosen information on the company’s background, 66.7% would like to see pictures of products and services offered and 65 % would like to see videos of products and services offered. Indeed, SMN users want to have information very quickly on the companies’ activities ,  and on the cost involved to use their services. These pieces of information will help the users to select an agency to work with.

 

Finally, the respondents were asked about the kind of interaction they would like to have with an advertising agency. 75% of the business owners would like to receive frequent updates on the agency’s other projects, 57.9% of the marketing professionals would like to have access to the same information. 55% of the foundation respondents would like to chat with their account executive via SMN and 75% of the managers would like to receive advertising advice via SMN. This shows that the different targets have different interests in terms of online interaction, their needs of information vary depending on their professional activities.

 

4.3 Interviews

The interview questions were partially similar to the ones used for the survey including additional questions aiming to understand the impact that SMN marketing strategies can have on the company target (Annex).

The interviewees were identified by number:

1: Marketing executive

2: Event coordinator

3: Business owner

4: Coordinator in a NGO

5: Shop manager

The majority of the respondents explained that the elements which make them stay on a website or make they want to come back on it are:

- A fast loading and easy navigation

- A clear layout including keywords and headlines to facilitate the navigation

- A strong link between the content and the pictures

- Short sentences and having the main information displayed right away

Additionally, elements such as dead links, lack of consistency in terms of fonts used on the website or the absence of a “contact us” link on the homepage will fail to retain the respondents online.

The most common keywords that the respondents would use to find a mobile video advertising company online without using the words “mobile videos” were:

moving advertising, vehicle advertising, outdoor advertising and scrolling billboards.

Concerning SMNs, Youtube and Facebook were mainly used by the respondents.

Those SMN were essentially used to stay connected with friends and family: however, respondent one used SMN to follow new trends on his industry and to find business related information. On a different level, respondents one, two, four and five used SMN to watch videos, and share relevant content with the community.

Moreover, respondents mainly use those SMN, because they are really popular and easy to use, furthermore, it is a fast way to find access to people sharing similar interests.

Respondents had an average of 70 members in their online community, and only respondents one and two had more than 100 members.

Respondents one, two and four affirmed to be members of online groups, they usually search for information in their industry and ask other professionals.

Except from respondents one and two, the respondents tended to use SMN at homebecause it was either not appropriate to use them at work or respondent five for instance didn’t have access to the internet during business hours. Respondents one and two claimed using SMN several times per hour at work.

 

Although the respondents’ online communities were mainly composed of friends and family members, the respondents one, two and four affirmed having businesses in their online community. They usually only accept invitation from businesses to join their networks and do not directly add businesses to their networks because they do not know which businesses use SMN. The respondents also explained that they accept invitation from businesses if they know what type of products or services they offer.

Respondents one, two and four affirmed viewing content posted online by companies if it grabs their attention usually with a powerful headline, or if they know that it will answer their questions or solve a problem. If the company shows its expertise on a certain domain, the respondents will most likely go on their website. Moreover, if the content posted is really original and informative, the respondents would share it with their community. Respondent four claimed that viewing content was easier and less time-consuming than engaging in conversation with companies, moreover it reduces the possible “pressure of the salesman”.

 

Videos were claimed to be the type of content that the respondents share the most. It is due to the fact that a video can clearly show and explain how a product or service can be used.

When companies engage in online conversation with the respondents, the latter expect to have a personalized approach, and have information on the company regarding the product, services, prices, pictures and videos .Moreover, the respondents would be most likely to engage online conversation with companies which propose special offers and discounts for its SMN community.

Respondents one, two and four affirmed that if they need the services of an advertising company they will first look on search engines such as google, however they would consider going on SMN such as Youtube and Facebook afterwards to watch videos of the projects and campaigns conducted by the company and to also follow and have frequent updates on the company’s new projects, new services and special offers.

 

5 Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

Onsite marketing strategies

In terms of onsite marketing strategies used to retain internet users on the website, make them come back at a later time and increase information requests Tripink media has fully applied certain theories and strategies.

 

With regards to page loading speed, the company does not use too much heavy media material so that they achieve a fast page loading speed and increase the time spent on the website. The colour pink is used in an appropriate way to reinforce branding and provide a better online experience for users. Additionally, a clear and straightforward business content as well as a short and simple fill in form were employed to reduce viewers abandon and give them an incentive to come back to the website at a later time. Finally, an easy to find “contact us” tab was used to increase the number of information requests from the users.

 

On a different level, certain strategies have partly been employed by the company. Tripink Media does not use high impact photos and therefore the time spent on a website by the viewers is considerably reduce (Lurie, 2009). Although the company provides a consistent website in terms of general style, the lack of clarity regarding the location of the “home button”, the deficiency of emphasising the call to cation adds to the fact that users have to scroll down pages to read the content and is one reason why there is an increase of early  abandon. Moreover, the aforementioned reasons aren’t favourable to create incentives for the viewers to contact the company. Finally, the use of generic titles instead of appropriate slogans and headlines reduces the viewers’ interest in reading the content and decreases their time spent on the website.

 

Finally, certain strategies and theories weren’t employed by the company. Tripink Media has been using three different types of fonts throughout the website which gives it an amateurish look and leads to an increase in the number of abandons.

The company does not provide any FAQs section on the website and therefore misses the opportunity to inform the viewers which can increase the risk of abandons (Gehrke and Turban, 1999). Finally, the company has not optimized its website in terms of SEOs or relevant used keywords to facilitate the search on search engines, hence, it reduces its chances of having repetitive visits to its website.

SMNs marketing strategies

Regarding the target profile, SMNs were primarily used by marketing, advertising and event professionals as well as foundations, charities and NGO’s professionals aged between 18-29.

 

Concerning SMN, Facebook and Youtube were predominantly used by the respondents, Twitter wasn’t particularly used because it wasn’t popular yet among the target. The professionals also declared having an advanced level of usage for Facebook and Youtube.

 

In terms of usage frequency, the professionals were using Facebook 1 to 5 times per day, in certain cases several times per hour and Youtube was mainly used 1 to 5 times per week. Although the respondents were essentially using SMNs at home, some marketing and NGO professionals declared that they accessed them at work.

 

Despite the fact that the first reason for using SMNs was to stay connected with friends and family,the second reason was to follow news and trends in a particular industry and access business related information.

 

In order to have more business related information, marketing and NGO professionals joined professional online groups where they can ask questions to other professionals.

 

The majority of the professionals (97.5%) only engaged in conversation and shared comments with the members of their online community, however, in order to engage in conversation with businesses, the respondents expect a personalized approach as well as having access to information regarding the company including pictures and videos. On a similar level, they also mainly viewed content posted by the members of their online community, generally the content was viewed if it grabbed their attention with a powerful headline or if it explained how to solve a problem. Ultimately, if the content is original and informative, marketing professionals were predominately the ones who would be willing to share it with the rest of their community. In addition, they were the ones who largely recommend product or services to other professionals. Moreover, videos appeared to be the type of content the most shared by the respondents.

 

Furthermore, the respondents generally accepted business invitations to join their online community if they knew what types of products or services were offered rather than adding businesses on their own initiative.

 

Finally, the majority of the respondents affirmed that if they needed the services of an advertising company, they would consider to add SMNs in their search process in order to watch videos of projects and campaigns conducted by the company and to also have frequent updates on company activities.

 

5.2 Recommendations

This research was conducted in order to decide which onsite marketing strategies used by the company should be kept, enhanced or implemented. Secondly, it aimed at evaluating which SMN


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