Project Background:

In the past, the growth of SMEs in the European markets was generally slow, as the businesses could not access information with ease and were facing

competition from large business organizations. However, with the advent of the internet technology, the sector has grown enormously in the last two decades

after the internet technology became available to most sectors of the economy. For instance, Muhern (1995) found that about 66% of the employment

opportunities in the Europe between 1985 and 1995 were a contribution of the SMEs, constituting about 99% of all the European companies. Recently, the

growth of the SBEs has increased tremendously in European markets with the use of IT.

E-marketing (Electronic marketing) can be defined as a modern marketing tool used for marketing products or services by using electronic medias

like internet, e-mail, world wide web, search engines, The use of information technology and internet to facilitate commercial transactions has revolutionized

the market place. This is because information technology and internet has enabled an increased interaction between consumers and the organizations.

E-marketing is characterized direct and indirect responses from the business and the consumers (B2C) and alsobusiness to business (B2B). It is also

characterized by the use of a wide range of technologies such as Rosetta Net and EDI (electronic data interchange)(Khosrowpour,2006).

The internet technology has turned the world into a small village, where people and organizations live in a “virtual village”, interacting and communication free of geographical barriers. E-marketing is one of the technologies that has grown as a part of the internet technology. It has emerged as one of the key drivers of SMEs’ sustainable competitive advantage. According to Kodakanchi et al., (2006), the intent technology has improved the performance and development of SMEs by providing them with a solution to cutting on the marketing costs.

The internet is an important factor in enhancing the organizations’ ability to research and reach the market without the need for them to move to the market, which has increased the operational efficiency (Al-Qirim 2007). Moreover, E-marketing fulfils most of the objectives of the SMEs even in cases where they have less developed strategies (Poon & Swatman 1999).

One of the main activities that have become simple with e-marketing is market research. This is because SMEs, due to their limited capital and resources, were previously unable to reach out to global markets with the traditional methods. In fact, they were confined to small and isolated geographical locations from which they operated. However, the internet has made it simple for these organizations to interact with their clients, potential clients, suppliers, their competitors as well as with each other. This has made it simple for them to research global markets and to reach out for clients from any part of the world without having to be physically presented in these markets (Eida & Hatem 2011). In addition, it helps to reduce the time needed to do comprehensive market research and establish their products on the new markets.

According to Hale and Herbig (1997:p98), some SMEs are successful in marketing, advertising, promotion and distribution of products and services using the internet, while others have been hesitant in suing the technology for their particular needs. In fact, Hale and Herbig (1997:p98) indicated that most SMEs have been reluctant to apply the technology, especially because they are afraid of jumping into a bandwagon whose future is not well defined and where competition is stiff. This has been one of the main problems affecting SMEs’ use of E-marketing to enhance their growth and development, and which has provided large business organizations with an added advantage of using complicated E-marketing tools to beat off the SMEs at the global market place (Burke & Jarrat 2004:p123).

From a research perspective, it is evident that there is lack of adequate knowledge both in research and among the SMEs on how they can apply the internet technology to enhance their growth, compete with large organizations on the online market and at the same time, secure a profitable future. Research is needed to examine the impacts of the fast growing E-marketing on the SMEs and the strategies that these organizations need to establish and use in order to ensure that they use the technology to advance and to compete with large organizations. In addition, research is needed to examine if the use of E-marketing for SMEs will predict a good and profitable future, given that the technology is fast changing with the changing with rampant technological innovations.

Literature Review:

E-marketing has rapidly grown in significance because it has a direct impact on the traditional marketing strategies and operations. The effectiveness of e-marketing is pegged on the ability of the organization to plan and innovate the e-marketing ideas and strategies. This implies that management’s commitment and effectiveness coupled with well-supported technology, processes and structure are important components to ensure the success of e-marketing (Burke & Jarrat 2004:131). To determine the effectiveness and efficiency of a marketing strategy that makes use of the internet, the researcher will employ and in-depth and comprehensive review of the existing literature on E-marketing in SMEs growth and development. Various aspects of e-marketing will be discussed in order to understand the e-marketing environment. These relate to the e- business environment, research and strategies, e-marketing strategies customer relationship marketing and the behaviour of e-consumer.

From the review of literature, the researcher will come up with a description of the research methodologies applied by researchers to determine the impact of E-Marketing on the growth and development of SMEs and the strategies these organizations could use in order to ensure that the technology is a competitive advantage. In addition, the review will examine the best of the methodologies and explain how these could be used to study the phenomenon in future, and provide some information that will ensure than SMEs use the best possible strategies to enhance their growth with E-Marketing.


A proper and universal definition of SME has been a topic of debate because of the difficulties in stating the differences between small business and medium business enterprises. As a result, there have been differences between the definitions given by researchers with those given by practitioners, government agents and financial institutions. According to Theng and Boon (1996), definitions of the term ‘SME’ depends on the national and local needs in different parts of the world. For instance, the number of employees, the amount or volume of total sales, the size of the capital and the degree of independence of an organization are some of the main criterion used to classify SMEs.


Electronic marketing is a relatively new process through which people and organizations engage in virtual trade using the internet and other electronic means. According to some scholars, the process is actually a new philosophy as well as a new business practice. From a review of relevant literature, it is noteworthy that definitions of the term E-Marketing differ according to each author’s point of view, specialization as well as research background. For instance, Chafeey (2005) defines E-Marketing as ‘application of digital technologies to achieve marketing objectives of a business organization’. On the contrary, Strauss and Frost define E-Marketing as the application of electronic applications and data to aid the planning and execution of the conception, pricing and distribution of goods, services and ideas to create exchanges that will successfully satisfy the goals of organizations and individuals.

Impact of E-Marketing on practice, growth and development of SMEs

Gilmmore et al., (2007:234) have provided a discussion of the function that e-marketing promotes in both the small and mediun business enterprises in most parts of Europe, with reference to the case of the united kingdom. According to this author, the SMEs ability to apply E-marketing is seen as having the impact of promoting the exchange of goods, services, information, internet customer services and communication. The rate at which E-marketing is promoting the business functionality and market convenience has been discussed in details, where the author argues that this function promotes the exchange of information, internet customer services and communication. Gilmmore,(2007:233) gives an overview of how SMEs can use E-marketing as marketing strategies rather than having to use excessive amounts of resources to reach out to customers in the traditional manner, especially with reference to advertisement. According to the discussions by El-Gohary (2007), modern business organizations, especially small and medium enterprises, have found it easier to flex their muscles beyond their locations because the barriers to globalization of market and marketplace has been reduced thanks to the advent of the internet technology. According to this perspective, El-Gohary (2007:p43) argues that E-marketing and E-commerce have reduced the previous regulations and barriers to globalization of business organizations, which previously barred the SMEs, owing to their small capital size, to go global. Cheser and Skok (2000) have explained the performance metrics for SMEs. According to Poon and Swatman (1999:p3), one of the major expectations of SME’s is to utilize the technology to advance their presence in the market, moving from their physical locations by creating ‘virtual presence’ that will aid them reach out for customers, partners and even employees from their remote locations by just having to join the world of Electronic Commerce. Although Ponn and Swatman (1999:p4) developed this research at a time when the internet-based business was still young, they have shown that the future of the technology could favour small and medium enterprises. According to these authors, the reason for a bright future is primarily because as innovation and technology grows, the cost of application reduces, thus allowing both small medium business organizations to actively involved in globalized commerce and at the same time reduce the costs they would have otherwise incurred in promoting their presence in foreign markets.

The availability of governmental and nongovernmental funding is an important metric in the measurement of the firm’s performance. Gilmmore et al., (2007:236) emphasizes that, in addition to the firm’s fundraising prowess, the ability of these firms to efficiently deliver services and goods should be an additional metric in the evaluation of marketing effectiveness (Cheser, & Skok 2000). The management and marketing journal that has ,made use of DEA(Data Envelopment Analysis) would be used to provide information about the efficiency metrics of an ordinary SME organization (Cheser & Skok, 2000:p6)

The United Kingdom’s national statistics is used to derive information on the number of SME in the country as well as the population characteristics that influence the operations of these organizations (National statistics 2009 p 2)


Main Objective

To assess the impact of E-marketing on the performance of small and medium enterprises

Specific Objectives

To investigate and understand the activities and practices of SMEs with regard to internet marketing

To find out the level of awareness among SMEs in the use of the internet as a marketing medium

To identify the level of implementation of the use of E-marketing by the various SMEs

To assess the success rate of the adoption of e-marketing by the various SMEs

To identify the challenges that SMEs are facing in the adoption of internet use as a marketing medium and recommendations to overcome these challenges.



This chapter of the research explains the methods that the researcher will use to select the geographical areas, from which research will be carried out and methods of selection of respondents. It also explains the methods that will be used to collect, process and analyze data

Research design

The study is descriptive and explorative in nature. The study will employ both qualitative and quantitative designs. Numbers and percentages of the responses from the respondents will be calculated and presented in tables for easy comparison. Data from the respondents will be collected through the use of questionnaires.

Target Population

The study will be carried out at various selected small and medium enterprise outlets in UK

Sample size and techniqueA total of 300 respondents will be used for the study. The sample will include owners of the SME outlets in the selected study area, UK. The owners will be required to fill a questionnaire through which required data will be collected. The selection of the sample and distribution of the questionnaires will be done through random sampling. This will allow for an equal chance of every SME owner to be included in the sample (Bryman & Bell 2007).

Data CollectionData for this research will be collected through the use of questionnaires. This will be efficient mainly because respondents will be allowed openly air their views by answering the outlined questions. The data collection method will also be cheaper especially because a large sample is involved. One main disadvantage of this method is the likelihood of some questionnaires to be unfilled or unreturned (Bryman 2008).Sources of Data This study used both primary and secondary data.

1) Primary data will be collected from the SMEs’ owners.

2) Secondary data will be collected through document analysis in the form of Reports, books, training manuals, news papers, journals and internet sources,

which will be read and the required data collected from them.

Data Analysis

Analysis for data in this study will be descriptive in nature. Graphs, charts and tables will be used to present the questionnaire collected data. Collected and coded data will be analysed through the use of SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) (Ghauri & Gronhaug 2005).


MBA Dissertation

Key Activities

(Milestones) Time-scale

(Plan of action) Resources required

(Equipment, software, personnel etc)

First Line Supervisors confirmation that the project has been discussed at a supervisory meeting and inclusion of any comment:

Name …………………………………………………… of meeting……………………………………………



Feedback on Project Proposal:

Quality of the Strategic Project overview and objectives (50%)

Literature review synopsis and methodological synopsis (50%)

FINAL MARK: / 100 marks

Any actions to be discussed with Local Tutor:


Al-Qirim, N, (2007), A research trilogy into E-commerce adoption in small businesses, Electronic market, vol. 17, no. 4, pp-263-285.

Bryman, A & Bell, E (2007),Business Research Methods, OUP Oxford, Oxford.

Bryman, A. (2008), Social Research Methods. Oxford University Press Oxford.

Burke, GI & Jarrat, DG, (2004), The influence of information and advice on competitive strategy definition in small and medium enterprises, Qualitative market research: An international journal, vol. 7 no. 2, pp 122-138.

Chaffey, D et al., (2006), Internet marketing: Strategy, implementation and practice, Prentice Hall, Essex England.

6) Cheser, M & Skok, W, (2000), Roadmap for successful information technology transfer for small businesses, conference on computer personnel research, Chicago, Il.

7) Eida, R & Hatem E, (2011), The impact of E-marketing use on small business enterprises marketing success: the case of UK companies’, The Service Industries Journal

8) El-Gohary, H, (2007), The effect of E-marketing on the marketing performance of small business enterprise: A comparative study between the UK and Egypt’, London, Bradford University press. 9) Ghauri, P & Gronhaug, K (2005), Research Methods in Business Studies, Prentice Hall, New York.10) Gilmmore, A et al.( 2007), E-marketing and SMEs: Operational lessons for the future, European business review, vol. 19, no. 3, pp 234-247

11) Herbig, P & Hale, B, (1997), Internet: The marketing Challenge of the twentieth century, internet research electronic networking application and policy, vol.7, no. 2, pp95-100.

12) . Khosrowpour, M. (2006), Cases on electronic commerce technologies and applications, Cengage Learning, London.

13) Mulhern, A, (1995), The SME sector in Europe: A broad perspective, Journal of Small Business Management, vol. 33, pp. 83 -87.

14) Ngai, EWT, (2003), Commentary on internet marketing research (1987-2000): A literature review and classification, European Journal of marketing, vol.37no. 1/2, pp 24-49.

15) Poon, S & Swatman, P, (1999), A longitudinal study of expectation in Small business internet commerce, Paper presented at the Bled 98, the eleventh Bled international conference on electronic commerce.

Rebecca J.
Rebecca J.
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