Customer Satisfaction and Social Media Driven Micromarketing: An Empirical Evidence.

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Authors: Anyadighibe, Joseph A.[a],*; Ezekiel, Maurice Sunday[a]; Nsobiari Festus Awara[a] 

Abstract 

The research paper intended to view the evolution of  micromarketing from its inception in 1988 by Ross Nelson  Kay to the new dimension, especially in the 21st century.  Also, micromarketing – customer satisfaction model was  developed for the study to show the relationship between  customer satisfaction, social media and micromarketing. 

Micromarketing concept is an upspring from long  standing principles in marketing which include: market  segmentation (target marketing and niche marketing),  mass marketing and relationship marketing. The study  revealed empirical evidences about the effectiveness  of micromarketing to firms. The importance of  micromarketing was identified in study.

The study concluded that Micromarketing concept to a large extent is  adopted by both big/small fi rms in their operations. It is an  essential marketing tool in achieving customer satisfaction  in the Airline industry. Social media is the catalyst to  the development of micromarketing in the 21st century.  Customer loyalty, patronage, and retention are achieved  with the adoption of micromarketing in fi rm’s operations/ activities. Micromarketing assists firm’s offering appeal to  specific customers or segments. 

Key words: Micromarketing; Social media; Customer  satisfaction 

Anyadighibe, Joseph A., Ezekiel, Maurice Sunday, Nsobiari  Festus Awara (2014). Title. I n t e r n a t i o n a l B u s i n e s s a n d  Management, 8 (1), 32-36. Available from: http://www.cscanada. net/index.php/ibm/article/view/j.ibm.1923842820140801.1010 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/j.ibm.1923842820140801.1010.

 Direct marketing has come of age as a result of the  presence of social media leading to micromarketing.  Micromarketing was a term coined in 1988, by Ross  Nelson Kay, as a marketing technique used to describe  a form of target marketing that was more precise  and focused than typical niche marketing technique. 

Micromarketing became functionally viable with the  proliferation of affordable computer and mobile devices  capable of stabilizing data in a format that could be  tracked and altered by a single user. Micromarketing  remains the most effective technique for small business  users to sustain, build and grow their own brands (Peterson  & Rogers, 2007). 

Micromarketing was first implemented in the real  estate industry and remains imbedded in small personal  service base businesses (whitehead, 1988). 

According to Wikipedia articles, Micromarketing  was first referred to in United Kingdom Marketing  Press in November 1988 in respect of the application of  geodemographics to customer marketing (Whitehead, 1988). 

The subject of micromarketing was further developed  with emphasis and understanding market at the local  levels and personalization of messages to individual  customers (Whitehead, 1990).  

Micromarketing is the practice of tailoring products/ services and marketing programmes to the needs and  wants of specific individual and local customer groups– including local marketing and individual marketing (Kotler  & Armstrong, 2010). 

Micromarketing concept has gradually over the years  taken a new dimension, especially in the 21st century.  Verdino (2010) opined that micromarketing is a back-to basic approach to engaging people and sharing stories  more effectively in a world that is decidedly different than  it was 50 years ago. He further said that micromarketing  for the new age (21st century), was a series of approaches  infused to their core with a social media sensibility, 

Powered by social computing technologies, and optimized  to allow business of all sizes and types to satisfy  individual customer. Unlike before when micromarketing  was the most effective technique for small business users  to sustain, build and grow their own brands. 

Through micromarketing businesses are now entering  the mass customized world and marketers are rushing  out to develop or enhance databases to make one-to one marketing a reality (Rogers & Peppers, 2000). It is a  strategy that composes database, direct and relationship  marketing. Micromarketing entails creating superior value by customizing products and service offerings to  customers individually. 

The paper intends to empirically reveal the true nature  of micromarketing in achieving customer satisfaction in  the 21st Century by all firms whether big or small. 

2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF  MICROMARKETING 

The underpinning conceptual and theoretical framework  is drawn from the author’s research: Micromarketing– customer satisfaction model. 

Micromarketing Tools  

Social media  

Internet, E-mail, twitters, facebook, mobile phone, You tube etc  

Interaction Relationship Attention  

Customer satisfaction Patronage, loyalty,  

retention 

Figure 1 

Author’s Research: Micromarketing – Customer  Satisfaction Model 

The above model shows that micromarketing is a  marketing/technique strategy for designing, creating and  manufacturing product for the benefit of very specific  individual with the aid of social media.  

The model above is derived from Verdino’s assertion  on the shift from mass marketing to micromarketing  which had interaction, relationship and attention as key  components toward customer satisfaction. 

Micromarketing for the new age, is a series of  approaches infused to their core with a social media  sensibility, powered by social computing technologies  (internet, e-mail, facebook, twitter, mobile phone, etc),  and optimized to allow business of all sizes and types. 

The social computing technologies assist to enhance  firm’s operations/activities interaction, relationship and  attention through which customer satisfaction is achieved. Interaction – with the aid of social media, customers  

have the opportunity to air their opinion about a firm’s  offerings. It is a two-way interaction or one-on-one  interaction. Gummesson (1999) opined in his model,  “Return on relationship model”, that good customer  satisfaction arises as specific customer’s needs and wants  are understood better and served better.  

The key to effective marketing is to use interactive  communication to develop individual relationships with  customers-based on providing superior value through  personalized products/services. We live in a world where  little things actually matter. Each encounter no matter  how brief is a micro-interaction which makes a deposit or  withdrawal from our rational or emotional subconscious. 

The sum of these interactions and encounters add up to how  we feel about a particular product, brand or service. They  influence our everyday behaviors more than we realize.  Effective relationship with customers, interest in their  opinions, and commitment to meaningful interactions with  them are fundamental to a firm’s success (Verdino, 2010).  

Relationship – to a large extent, the success of a firm  depends on its relationship with customers. Verdino (2010)  opined that “what if instead of buying the many to reach  the few, we built relationship with the few to attract the  many? What if instead of viewing reach as a starting  requirement, we saw it as the result of getting consumer  relationship right?” 

It is pertinent to know that establishing, maintaining,  and sustaining even a few right relationships make brands  more resonant, establish preferences, loyalty and advocacy,  and open the door to new revenue. Mutual relationship is a  great way to earn attention among an often distracted and  even overwhelmed audience (customers). 

Attention – micromarketing creates attention due to  the power behind feedback or interaction. Firms need to  know that attention is active; specific and sharply focused;  watching and listening. 

Firms that pay attention to customer needs and wants  do not just satisfy, but make customers loyal to their  offerings. Verdino who almost lost his flight due to the  alert he had from JetBlue Airline was re-informed by  Morgan Johnson, a Corporate Communication Manager  for JetBlue Airline, the man behind JetBlue Twitter who  directly apologized and confirmed his flight schedule not  been changed. This act of attention by JetBlue Airline  made Greg Verdino loyal and patronized the Airline the  next journey to Las Vegas, Neveda. 

Micromarketing to a great extent enhances customer  satisfaction by paying attention to their individual  needs. Customer satisfaction is the collective outcome  of customer’s perception, evaluation and psychological  reaction to the consumption experience with a product  or service (Khalifa & LIU, 2003). It leads to patronage,  loyalty, retention, improve firm’s image, positive word of  mouth and increase profitability for the organization and  customer (Gummenson, 1999; Wirtz, 2003).

Micromarketing concept is an upspring from long  standing principles in marketing which include: market  segmentation (target marketing and niche marketing),  mass marketing and relationship marketing.  

3.1 Market Segmentation and Micromarketing Initially, the response to meeting customer needs better  was market segmentation. Micromarketing is a concept  that lies in the area of segmentation. While segment  and niche marketers tailor their offers and marketing  programmes to meet the needs of various market  segments. The aim of micromarketing is to get close to  a segment. It is an approach to market segmentation in  which organisations focus precise marketing efforts on  individual customers.  

It is the practice of tailoring products and marketing  programmes to the needs and wants of specific individuals  and local customer groups –including local marketing and  individual marketing. Local marketing entails tailoring a  firm’s offerings to the needs and wants of local customer  groups (cities, neigbourhoods and even specific stores). 

The individual marketing concept holds that the key to  effective marketing is to use interactive communications  to develop individual relationships with consumer based  on providing superior value through personalized product  and services. Other terms for individual marketing are  customized marketing, markets-of-one marketing and  one-to-one marketing (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010; Rogers  & Peppers, 2000). 

3.2 Mass Marketing and Micromarketing  Since the heydays of mass marketing in the 1950’s,  through the decades to the twenty-first century, marketing  thought has pushed for smaller and smaller groups of  consumers as market segment. Mass marketing is a  market-coverage strategy in which a firm decides to  ignore market segment differently and goes after the  whole market with one offer (Kotler, 2010): With the mass  marketing approach, firms were faced with the challenge  of getting their message heard by consumers who were  hard to find and even harder to influence. 

One thing is certain, mass marketing no longer work  effectively. Marketers are no longer able to reach a mass  market. There is a shift from “awareness” to ‘attention”  and micromarketing is the attention. 

With the advent of micromarketing concept firms  have now built better customer’s relationship based on  providing superior value through personalized products  and services. “Micromarketing contrasts with mass  marketing and targets the specific interests and needs of  individuals by offering customized products or services.  It is similar to niche marketing, but rather than targeting  one large niche, a micromarketing company targets a  large number of very small niches” (Mckenna, 2006). 

3.3 Relationship Marketing and Micromarketing Micromarketing is an upspring from relationship  marketing. Micromarketing is a strategy that composes  database, direct and relationship marketing. It is about  attempting to create superior value by customizing  products and service offerings to customer individually  (Lim & Bednall, 2010). 

Relationship marketing refers to a long-term  arrangement where both the buyer and seller have an  interest in providing a more satisfying exchange. This  approach attempts to transcend the simple purchase  – exchange process with a customer to make more  meaningful and richer contact by providing a more  holistic, personalized purchase, and uses the experience to  create a stronger ties. 

In relationship marketing there is a specific individual  dependency between the seller and the buyer and not the  general dependence between sellers and buyers according  to the traditional market model (Mattson, 1995). 

Relationship marketing is a philosophy of doing  business, a strategic orientation that focuses on keeping  and improving current customers, rather than acquiring  new customers (Anyanwu & Nwokeh, 2008). Relationship  marketing has become one of the most important  determinants of corporate success. Retaining customers  and maximizing lifetime customer value are critical to  long term revenue and profitability (McKenna, 2006). 

 The importance of micromarketing to both firms and  customers cannot be underestimated. Perreault and  McCarthy (2000) started that, micromarketing is the  performance of activities that seek to accomplish an  organisation’s objectives by anticipating customer needs  and directing a flow of need-satisfying goods and services  from producers to customers. 

With micromarketing, the approach calls for getting to  know the customer’s needs, likes, and dislikes very well.  This makes it easier to match the consumer with the goods  or services that are being offered. It is often successful  because the customer receives a sense of being important  to the firm and sees the efforts to connect as being on a  more personal level rather than a general one. 

Micromarketing offers a hopeful vision for anyone  who has ever had to create a great marketing plan without  a million-naira budget or an army of resources. 

Small firms often employ micromarketing as a means  of establishing and growing a customer base with a  defined geographical area. Example, a small grocery store  chain with outlets in four different cities could go with the  more common approach of carrying the same produce in  each store. With a micromarketing approach, each store  would carry a core group of fresh produce, but would  augment it with the other produce that is of particular  interest to customers who frequent those individual stores.


5. EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE ABOUT THE  EFFECTIVENESS OF MICROMARKETING

The effectiveness of micromarketing in achieving  customer satisfaction cannot be underestimated. The  research work conducted by Lim and Bednall; Ford  motors and Coca-cola company below revealed that  micromarketing assisted firms in achieving customer  satisfaction, retention, and loyalty. 

5.1 Micromarketing (Social Media) Create  Attention: Ford Fiesta Movement Campaign Ford Motors introduced a new model of car in 2009 called  Ford Fiesta, instead of using their normal traditional  media-advertising to create awareness, the company  rather adopted the social media to create attention of  their offering. Ford loaned European – Spec Fiestas to  100 young typer connected social media mavens (users)  for six full months as means of earning attention, build  evangelism, generating buzz, and sparking a movement  (the fiesta movement, as Ford termed it) that offered  the potential to deliver a return that far outstripped the  company’s relatively meager investment. 

Among the 100 persons used by Ford Motors to  participate in the programme were top YouTube Star  Judson Laipply, lifecasting poster girl Jody Gnant,  and socially Savvy visual artist Natasha Wescoat,  micromavens (microusers) who had not only the  inclination to tell stories and spread the word, but also  the platforms and spark a groundswell in peer-to-peer  conservations about the Fiesta. Verdino (2011) opines  that, but even more important than tapping the right  communicators, Ford stacked the cards for success by  choosing the right non-traditional approach, one that well  aligned with the essence of the car itself. 

Ford has estimated that the agent’s fiesta movement related content, which was created and distributed over the  course of the six-month programme, delivered more than  10 million earned media impressions, all without a single  dollar of paid media spend and an overall investment far  lower than it would have made to field a more traditional  mass marketing campaign. According to data released by  Ford Motor Company (Chapter

1.Fiestamovement.com),  that number comprises: 

– Million YouTube video views 

– More than 3.7 million estimated Twitter  impressions 

– 740,000 flicker photo views. 

Ford attests that the resulting brand-name recognition  for the not-yet-available Fiesta had reached 80 per cent  by the end of the Fiesta had reached 60 percent by the  end of the Fiesta Movement, a notable level of awareness  rivaling that of equivalent models marketed and sold in  North America for two to three years. And this exactly the  type of attention Ford needed to resonate. 

As a final measure of success, through this programme  

Ford accumulated a database of more than 80,000 hand  raisers who expressed interest in learning more about  the 2011 model as soon as vehicles arrived in dealer  showrooms – 97 percent of these people didn’t drive Ford  vehicles at the time. 

5.2 Micromarketing Enhances Brand Loyalty:  Lighting in a Bottle (Coca-Cola Soft Drink)

“In September 2008, Dusty Sorg and Michael  Jedrzejewski – a couple of regular guys from Los Angeles  – created a Facebook Page from their favorite soft drink,  Coca-Cola. Theirs was just one of more than a hundred  similar pages devoted to the brand, but moreso than  others, their tribute struck a nerve among fellow coke  lovers” (Verdino, 2010: 33). 

Within just a few months, the Page Dusty and Michael  built has amassed more than a million fans, making Coca cola the biggest brand on Facebook even though the  beverage giant’s own marketing team had nothing to do  with the effort. 

Coke’s marketing leaders were monitoring its growth  from a distance before eventually stepping in, not with  cease and desist, but with a helping hand. Today coca cola’s page remains one of the most vibrant product focused communities on facebook, and the hub that grew  out of the efforts of just two regular consumers is still  dominated by the voice of the customer. 

Everything coke does in social media abides by a  fan-first philosophy and aims to strike the right balance  between truly organic consumer involvement and  strategic brand participation. As Michael Donnelly, the  coca-cola company’s group director of now world wide  interactive marketing puts it, on facebook “our fans  create, upload, consume and comment on their own user generated, brand-related content.

 Coke listens, respects,  and celebrates the manifestations of their brand while  supplementing what the community itself is doing with  our own content to support brand marketing objectives.”  (Verdino, 2010: 34). 

Micromarketing is not only best suited to small  businesses, underdog challenges, individual strivers, and  grassroots firms, but also global giants companies like  coca-cola, Ford Motors, Motorola etc. 

The Motorola Company is adopting today’s technology  to customize its products – quickly to serve the needs  of individuals consumers. Motorola co-designs pagers  with customers and manufacturers customized pagers  to their specifications. To accomplish this, Motorola’s  pagers sales force visits a potential customer and uses  the customer’s own specifications to design the pager  system that will satisfy the individual customer’s needs. 

Then the salesperson finalises the specifications on a  laptop computer and sends it via modem to the Motorola’s  factory. Incredibly, over 20 million types of pagers can be  specified by a customer and manufactured by Motorola.  More incredibly, it is possible for the factory to finish producing the first customised pager of any customer’s  order in two hours. That kind of customization and speed  creates an amazingly strong relationship (Rogers &  Peppers, 2000). 

5.3 Achieving Customer Satisfaction Through  Micromarketing 

Customer sattisfacton:

 Customer satisfaction is the degree  to which customer expectations of a product or service  are met or exceeded. It is a well known fact that no  business can exist without customers. Firms are required  to offer products/services that meet or surpass consumers  expectation. This in turn will lead to customer satisfaction.  In achieving customer satisfaction firms need to applied  micromarketing in their operations/activities. 

Study conducted by Anyadighibe (2012) concluded  that Arik Air and Aero contractors to a large extent  applied the micromarketing concept in their operations  in achieving customer satisfaction by having database of  customers (passengers). Social media is the catalyst to the  development of micromarketing in the 21st century. The  mobile phone and firm’s website are the most adopted  social media in communicating to customer on any form  of development by services operators. To a large extent,  mobile phone and firm’s website provided satisfaction to  customers (passengers). This is because they can easily be  contacted or informed of a firm’s offerings. 

Customer loyalty, patronage, and retention are achieved  with the adoption of micromarketing in firm’s operations/ activities. Micromarketing assisted Airlines offerings  (services) appeal to specific customers or segments. 

Through micromarketing (social media) interaction  (feedback), attention and firm-customer relationship are  made possible or achieve. 

• Micromarketing concept to a large extent is adopted by  both big/small firms in their operations. It is an essential  marketing tool in achieving customer satisfaction in the  Airline industry. 

• Social media is the catalyst to the development of  micromarketing in the 21st century.  

• Customer loyalty, patronage, and retention are  achieved with the adoption of micromarketing in firm’s  operations/activities. Micromarketing assist firms offering  appeal to specific customers or segments. 

• Through micromarketing (social media) interaction  (feedback), attention and firm-customer relationship  are made possible or achieve. An army of resources are  

not required when adopting Micromarketing in a firm’s  operations/activities. 

Anyadighibe, J. A. (2012). Customer satisfaction and social  media driven micromarketing: A study of airports in Cross  River and Akwa Ibom States (Unpublished Masters thesis). University of Calabar, Nigeria. 

Anyanwu, A., & Nwokah, N. G. (2008). Contemporary book on  services marketing. Owerri: Avan Global Publications. Gummesson, E. (1999). Total relationship marketing:  

Experimental with a synthesis of research frontiers.  Australasian Marketing Journal, 7(2), 200-209.  

Khalifa, M. & Liu, V. (2003). Determinants of satisfaction at  different adoption stages of internet-based service. Journal  of the Association for Information Systems, 4(5), 206-232. 

Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. (2010). Principles of marketing (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson education. 

Kotler, P. (2010). Marketing management (13th ed.). Upper  Saddle River: Pearson education. 

Mattson, L. (1995). Relationships and networks: Companion  encyclopedia of marketing. London: Routledge. 

McKenna, R. (2006). Relationship marketing. In Newton,  N. (Ed.), Business: The ultimate resources (2nd ed.).  Cambridge: A & C Black Publishers Ltd. 

Perreault, W. D. & McCarthy, E. J. (2000). Essentials of  marketing: A global-marketing approach (8th ed.). Boston:  Irwin McGraw-Hill. 

Peterson, K. & Rogers, D. (2007). Principles of marketing,  global media. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ micromarketing 

Rogers, D. & Peppers, M., (2000). One-to-one marketing is  a journey, not a destination, inside 1 to 1, Sourced on  http://www.1to1.com, written on 3/2/2000, sourced on 12/3/2000.  Retrieved from http://smib.Vuw.ac.nz:8081/WWW/ 

ANZMAC2001/anzmac/AUTHORS/pdfs/Lim.pdf Verdino, G. (2010). Get big results by thinking and acting small:  Micromarketing. New York: McGraw Hill. 

Whitehead, J. (1988). The need for rethink analysis, marketing  week. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ micromarketing. 

Whitehead, J. (1990). Paying attention: To detail, marketing.  Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ micromarketing. 

Wirtz, J. (2003). Halo in customer satisfaction measures.  International Journal of Service Industry Management14(1), 96-119.

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