Social media- a new marketing tool: A case study on Bangladeshi Market

Social media- a new marketing tool: A case study on Bangladeshi Market

Prepared by:

Shakila Islam Evana

Lecturer (Marketing)

Tejgoan Mohila College, Dhaka

Abstract


Social Media, today, is among the ‘best opportunities available’ to a brand for connecting with prospective customers. Social media is the medium to socialize. These new media win the trust of customers by connecting with them at a deeper level. Social media marketing is the new mantra for several brands since early last year. Marketers are taking note of many different social media opportunities and beginning to implement new social initiatives at a higher rate than ever before. Social media marketing and the businesses that utilize it have become more sophisticated. One cannot afford to have no presence on the social channels if the competitor is making waves with its products and services. The explosion of social media phenomenon is as mind boggling as that and the pace at which it is growing is maddening. Global companies have recognized social media marketing as a potential marketing platform, utilized them with innovations to power their advertising campaign with social media marketing. This paper encompasses the area of social media’s potentiality as a marketing tool in the context of Bangladeshi Market. This paper generalized the view of customer and marketers on basis of data collection from the market in order to judge significance, impact, usefulness and acceptance of social media. It is explored that Bangladeshi marketers are falling behind in using social media as marketing tool compared to neighboring countries and to sustain in the competitive market it is imperative to use social media with traditional marketing tools.

Introduction

Online social network facilitate connection between people to communicate with individuals who are in the network using web as their interface (Barnes & Ganim, 2011). As internet continues to evolve, new uses of digital communication tools have been explores. This new tool also contributes a lot in the business field. From business point of view, social networking enables the connection with new clients and expanding business size as most allows customization of web page and provide links to personal website related with specific business (Carter, 2006). As social media usage has increased in recent times as a medium of communication, the use of social media seems to be an effective marketing tool (Baker, 2009). 


Social media is hot. Social media is now the trend and for business it represents a marketing opportunity that transcends the traditional middleman and concepts companies directly with customers. Social media is marketing using online communities, social networks, blog marketing and more. It’s the latest ‘buzz’ in marketing. Bangladesh is probably one of proponents of social media marketing. These days, the organizational cause has replaced the social cause as companies seek to engage with their audience via the online platforms. 


The emergence of the internet has tremendously changed the customers’ lifestyle especially the young consumers in their shopping patterns. A number of studies had been conducted on the use of social media as a marketing tool (Engel, Kollat & Blackwell, 1978; Fisher 2009; Harridge & Quinton, 2012; O’Connor, Shewchuk & Carney, 1994). However, most of the studies are western perspectives. Research in this field in Bangladesh is still limited. Moreover, how Bangladeshi consumers and marketers view social media as marketing tool has not been adequately identified. Thus, thus study is aimed to investigate whether Bangladeshi marketers judge social media as a significant marketing tool, whether consumers can rely on information they find in social media and whether marketers take feedback from the market using social media. 


Objectives

Having a huge influence on our daily life social media is currently used by the today’s marketers as a front line tool. It gives us the opportunity to not only marketize the products but also take the feedback from the market and Bangladesh is not an exception. Our young generation is spending their lot of times in social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on. If it can be used prudent way social media can be a very prudent marketing tool for Bangladeshi Market. In this context, the objectives of the study stand as

  1. Whether marketers’ judge social media as it has significant impact on consumer’s mind?

  2. Whether customers find social media useful?

  3. Whether marketers’ justify the acceptance of their products and services using social media?

Rationales

Every study or research is prepared to help specific groups. The research made on Social media- a new marketing tool: A case study on Bangladeshi Market will try to help the following groups-

  • Firstly, it gives the information of social media, its current status, and marketing potential to the stakeholders.

  • Secondly, marketers will get the data of customer activity information which will help them to design a effective marketing strategy. 

  • Lastly, it will very helpful to those who are willing to prepare research on social media as a marketing tool.  

Literature review 

The meaning of the term ‘social media’ can be derived from two words which constitute it. Media generally refers to advertising and the communication of ideas or information through publications/channels. Social implies the interaction of individuals within a group or community. Taken together, social media simply refers to communication/publication platforms which are generated and sustained by the interpersonal interaction of individuals through the specific medium or tool. Wikipedia has a general definition of the term: Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into content publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers.

Social media uses the “wisdom of crowds” to connect information in a collaborative manner. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures, and video.

Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media uses web-based technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogues. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as "a group of Internet based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, which allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content."

There are two benefits of social media that are important to businesses, they include:

  • Cost reduction by decreasing staff time.

  • Increase of probability of revenue generation.

Social media enables companies to:

  •  Share their expertise and knowledge.

  • Tap into the wisdom of their consumers.

  • Enables customers helping customers.

  • Engages prospects through customer evangelism.

Thus the benefits of social media include: brand reach and awareness, consumer interactions through transactions, referrals and reputation management.

Measuring social media’s marketing potential: The often-unanswerable prediction is whether online marketing campaigns will be effective in the short and long terms (Oracle, 2008). Online marketing is difficult to execute successfully and measure adequately (Ranaweera & Prabhu, 2003). The quest for reliable metrics means that some marketers will shy away from implementing online tactics that draw only short-term attention to tactics that actually allow for prospect identification and capture of behavioral data (Riegner, 2011). Based on Trusov, Bucklin and Pauwels (2009), much of what happens in social marketing are little more than experimental, or simply about “insights” rather than metrics. Many marketers feel the need to “tick” the social media box and demonstrate how cutting edge they are, while the primary drivers of their campaign remain embedded in traditional media (Guba & Lincoln, 1991). There is a need to affect a paradigm shift from a traditional “more is better” approach. While many social media marketers fixate on volume metrics (website traffic, hit rates, click-troughs, time spent on-line, postings etc.), successful social marketing often depends more on qualitative metrics for desirable signs of the tone, quality and customer benefit of the interaction (Cronin, Brady & Hult, 2000; Fisher, 2009). Such metrics not only measure whether people are engaged, but how they are engaging (Keller & Berry, 2006). However, such metrics often need to be customized for individual campaigns and need to be considered in the pre-launch phase, ideally incorporated in message testing (Robey, 2011).

Social media as a tool of communication: current trends and future possibilities: Social media offers a variety of avenues through which we can communicate with people. In fact, social media is known to have been used widely in educational field also. Over the last 30 years the nature of communication has undergone a substantial change and it is still changing. Email has had a profound effect on the way people keep in touch. Communications are shorter and more frequent than when letters were the norm and response time has greatly diminished. Instant messaging has created another method of interaction, one where the length of messages is shorter and the style of the interaction is more conversational. Broadcast technologies like Twitter transform these short bursts of communication from one-on-one conversations to little news (or trivia) programs: which we can tune in whenever we want an update or have something to say.

Increasingly, a computer with an Internet connection is the locus of a range of interactions in a variety of media and a gateway to an array of social spaces for work and play. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace and virtual environments like Second Life and World of Warcraft have become online meeting spaces where users— members, residents, or players—can interact and express themselves. They offer a way to keep in touch with existing communities that users belong to offline, such as social and professional groups. They also make it possible for people who would not normally communicate more than a few times a year to keep in touch—colleagues met at conferences, for instance, or friends met through the online community itself. Sites like YouTube and Flickr represent another forum for online communication that is centered on sharing, preference, and popular culture. Visitors can browse movies (in the case of YouTube) or photos (in the case of Flickr), express personal preferences, add commentary, and upload their own creative work. YouTube is also a repository of popular culture in the form of newscasts, television shows, movies, or music videos that are of current interest. The kinds of interaction that occur on these sites center around shared interests and include not only verbal commentary, but commentary in the form of original or derivative works based on popular pieces.

One of the reasons people prefer such form of media is because of the interactions they can have there, both social and professional. Whether it is as simple as checking back to see what other comments have been added to yours or as involved as attending a workshop or presentation in a virtual world, the nature of the attraction lies in the connections between people that these online spaces afford.

Methodology

Report approach: 

Consumer research is a part of marketing research where preferences is given to know target customers intentions, motivations, or buying behavior through direct observations, focus groups, face to face interviews, etc. Closer observation on customer gives marketer the real position of their products and services- mostly it is facilitated by consumer research.

To get information about the targeted customers, we need to define ontology. It is a position where nature of an issue depicted. According to Wikipedia,  “Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of beingbecomingexistence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.” In the current scenario, the idea is to identify the viability of social media as a Marketing tool in Bangladeshi market.

When a nature of the study is defined the problem can be classified into tow- exploratory and experimental. Exploratory research is research conducted for a problem that has not been clearly defined and an experimental research has three characteristics manipulation, control and randomization. These two are attached with another two different approaches to consider: Quantitative and Qualitative. The abstract of the approaches considering their strengths and limitations has been explained in the following sections-

Quantitative approach: Quantitative research methods usually involve large randomized samples, more application of statistical, and few applications of cases demonstrating findings. 

The objective of quantitative research is to determine the relationship between one thing (an independent variable) and another (a dependent variable) in a population. 

Further, quantitative methods are often used within natural science, and the aim is usually explanatory to explain causal relationships, to facilitate generalization, and also to predict the future.

Qualitative approach: Qualitative research methods focus on providing a complete picture of the situation with the aim of increasing the understanding of social processes and interrelations.  It is defined as a research to explore and understand the opinions and strive for in-depth understanding of different kind of findings in library research.


“Qualitative research designs are those that are associated with interpretative
approaches, from the informants' point of view, rather than ethically measuring discrete, observable behavior. Qualitative methodologies are strong in those areas that have been
identified as potential weaknesses within the quantitative approach.” (Jones, 2003) 


Based on the above description, nature of the problem and relevance with the market, the present research work is done on the basis of quantitative data. The key condition regarding the quantitative data is that the problem is analyzed by different researchers in different ways. Our present problem is extensively analyzed by the researchers of developed countries though this type of research problem is yet to be analyzed in our country. It can be said that the problem will be dissected in Bangladesh as social media is flourishing its arena. 

Data Collection

This study is conducted with intention to know about the perception on social media as marketing tools in Bangladeshi Market. It is undertaken to gain background information about the general nature of research problem. Survey method using structured questionnaire has been used in this research as a tool to collect the possible usable data in order to know about the customers’ perception toward their usage of social media and the relation with the social media as marketing tools. Without incurring higher cost and more time, primarily data for this study, will be collected by approaching the customers and marketers in different parts of Dhaka City who will be convinced to participate in this study.


When the research problem has been defined and the type of research has been selected, it is time to decide which technique for collection of data should be applied.


In qualitative research, there are different instruments for data collection such as interview, recorded observations like focus groups, texts and documents, multi-media or public domain sources, policy manuals and photographs. 


In this research, secondary data has been used and all qualitative research about social media and relevant subjects marketing potential and social media’s impact on life will be collected   from   public   documents   which   can   be   categorized   as   follows: 


  • Reliable books, articles and scientific findings. 

  • Documentation: documentary information including related books, articles, scientific written reports, formal studies, progress reports, proposals. 

  • Archival Records: including survey data previous collected, organizational records, annual reports and personal records. 

  • Internet websites and available online libraries that include information about social media

When choosing the sources, the most difficult task is determining their quality and reliability. The nature of current research provides us to emphasize on “Reliable Sources” for this kind of data collection. In Bangladesh research work on social media is yet to be available, therefore, we should select our sources for data collection very carefully based on library research. 

The primary data for this study has mainly been collected using structured questionnaire designed for marketers and customers. The questions are set to achieve the objectives for the research problems. In order to collect data, both marketers and customers have been approached. Ten (10) customers and Ten (10) marketers were convinced to participate in the process of data collection. Customers include teachers, bankers, students, housewife, etc all classes of people so that data collected can be trustworthy. Marketers include Bankers, Traders, Manufactures, etc with view to reaching a generalized conclusion.

Data Analysis 

“Analysis as a research technique for making replicable and valid references from data to their contexts. The researcher searches for structures and patterned regularities in the text and makes inferences on the basis of these regularities.” (Krippendorf, 1980)

To obtain the research objectives, it is imperative that data collected from the market will be analyzed carefully so that a concrete conclusion can be drawn. Using the research technique, data has been collected and to identify the portion of people using social media, usefulness of information, role of social media and feedback generation the data collected are analyzed using MS Excel and shown as percentage of total population. As percentage presentation is quick and easy to understand and in a short time it will give us the idea regarding the feasibility of social media as marketing tool in Bangladesh. 

Analysis

Customers are part and parcel of any given market. At the present time, most of the markets are customer dominant. To identify social media’s usefulness and acceptance in Bangladeshi market we have gone through below analysis.

People Using Social Media

To identify social media’s marketing tool potential it is obligatory to know how much people are connected with social media. Customers are asked whether they have connection with social media or not. From the data, it is observed that 90% of total population is connected with social media like Facebook, Twiter (X), You Tube, etc and other 10% are not using any social media. The number of people using social media is increasing at rapid pace in Bangladesh during the recent times.

Impact of social media on purchasing behavior

To judge the position of social media in the Bangladeshi market and its impact on the purchasing behavior on the customer, we have asked them whether social media has impact on your purchasing behavior. It is observed 10% people are uncertain about the impact of social media as we have 10% population unrelated to social media and additional 20% population who are using social media is uncertain, so total percentage of uncertainty about social media is 30%. Other 70% people believe that social media has positive impact on their purchasing behavior of the customer.

Usefulness of information available at social media

To marketize, a product in channel it is important to know whether the channel is accepted or the information available by the channel is taken at a justified manner. For judging the acceptability of customer, we have asked them whether you believe the information get in social media. From the study, it is found that 80% of total population believes the information in social media and rest 20% do not believe. In that way, we can say social media has the potentiality to accept as a marketing channel in Bangladesh as customer has found the information useful.

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