WEBSTER, Geoff_Thesis An Explorative Study of Local AreaMarketing Techniques Used byAustralian Small to Medium Enterprises.pdf (4.36 MB)

An Explorative Study of Local Area Marketing Techniques Used by Australian Small to Medium Enterprises

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posted on 2023-11-20, 04:57 authored by Geoffrey WebsterGeoffrey Webster
Even though small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are vital to driving Australia’s economy, accounting for a significant proportion of the workforce as well as GDP revenue, they appear to be struggling with broad industry digital disruption. SMEs who embrace contemporary local area marketing (LAM), that is, digital marketing methods, are expected to be financially better off, and they are, hence, encouraged to be more digitally ready. Due to the lack of academic research, however, it is unclear how Australian SMEs perceive LAM techniques as a medium for touchpoint activation and engagement as well as customer engagement; it is also unclear what factors influence their perception of the effectiveness of these techniques. The current research is designed to address these gaps, aiming to explore LAM marketing techniques, especially how well Australian SMEs embrace contemporary LAM techniques. The research included three separate studies. Study 1 consisted of a content analysis that reviewed 156 SMEs, assessing their online website touchpoint presence. The content analysis addressed Research Question 1. Study 2 involved quantitative research and utilised a 27-question online survey undertaking descriptive statistical, correlation and regression analysis. The quantitative analysis addressed Research Question 2. Study 3 entailed qualitative research incorporating in-depth interviews with 15 Queensland-based SMEs selected using a convenience sampling technique. Interview questions were framed around media methods, touchpoints and customer engagement, with interview transcripts thematically analysed using methodological triangulation. The qualitative analysis addressed Research Question 3. ii The research found that SMEs perceptions of the effectiveness of marketing methods, both traditional and digital as SME LAM techniques, were mixed. From Study 1, the content analysis, found touchpoint emphasis for some SME business sectors had increased whilst other touchpoint engagement practices had declined. SME survey results (Study 2) indicated higher preferences for traditional marketing methods because they were deemed more effective and also an informal approach to tracking customer engagement. SMEs advised in Study 3 that they used digital LAM techniques for brand awareness and traditional techniques for customer engagement and had concerns about a lack of effective measurement tools and guidance for improved customer engagement. These concerns were consistent with issues raised in international academic studies reviewing SME digital technology adoption.



Central Queensland University

Open Access

  • Yes

Era Eligible

  • No


Dr Tasadduq Imam; Dr Cait White

Thesis Type

  • Doctoral Thesis

Thesis Format

  • Traditional