Evaluating the effectiveness of mobile marketing communication in the UK retail industry

Research Proposal


Significance of research problem

The digital marketing has changed marketing communication environment in recent times (effectiveness of mobile marketing communication). Marketers are using targeted marketing communication to managed relationships with customers. The developments in information and communication technologies have offered new horizons and perspectives for personalised marketing communications. The technologies are used by the companies to manage relationships with customers and it has allowed offering personalised communication which is interactive in nature (Ryan, 2016).

Hofacker et al (2016) added that interactive media has changed the marketing communication into the two-way process of interaction of marketer and consumer at the core. Interactive marketing is known as exchange process in which company uses technology, customer behaviour and other resources to manage the collaborative relationship with customers and enhance value through relevant brand as well as products/service offering by delivering appropriate message to right customers at appropriate times.

According to Skeldon (2017), 37.2 million UK consumers have selected mobile communication as their preferred choice of communication from the UK business. Moreover, Ofcom estimates highlight that 94% of the population in the UK own a mobile phone, as well as 98% of branded messages are opened by the mobile user. However, there are only 50% of businesses are using mobile communication as part of communication strategy (Skeldon, 2017).

Therefore, UK businesses are missing an opportunity to interact with customers to manage customer value and maintain collaborative relationships (Watson, McCarthy and Rowley, 2013).

Rationale for topic selection

From an interactive marketing perspective, ‘Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)’ not only assigns and defines the role of communication media but also focuses on the combination of different media which enhance the value of the company-customer relationship. IMC impacts how marketers communicate with customers and interactive marketing domain has provided the new approach to add customer value through media, touch point and messages. In todays, customer-oriented and data-driven world, the traditional mass marketing communication is no longer sufficient to develop long-term customer relationships (Bruhn et al., 2017).

Csikosova, Antosova and Culkova (2014) explained that mobile media presents new possibilities of interacting with current and potential customers. Mobile phones allowed the marketers to deliver personalised messages which are location and context specified for the specific target audience.  Mobile communication allows the companies to deliver contents and direct response as part of marketing strategy.

Therefore, this research focuses on mobile marketing and evaluates the effectiveness of mobile marketing communication in the UK retail environment. The aim is to evaluate consumer intentions and perception and how companies integrate mobile marketing communication as part of marketing communication strategy (Finne, Gronroos and Gronroos, 2017).

Literature review

Concept of Mobile commerce

According to Barnes (2002), m-commerce is known as the transaction with the monetary value which is either direct or indirect and conducted over the wireless network. Therefore, m-commerce includes the transaction of monetary value and conducted via the mobile telecommunications network. It is the subset of e-commerce in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer context.

M-commerce is different from e-commerce and it provides opportunities for companies to reach customers in multiple locations for the personalised message and offer a fresh perspective as well as making possible new product and service and shopping experiences (Kourouthanassis and Georgiadis, 2014).

The success of m-commerce is based on how providers understand multiple roles for work styles and lifestyles. The diverse combination of multiple factors such as person’s self-ascribed role, person location and stance. The diagram 1 below depicts m-commerce value chain (Strom, Vendel and Bredican, 2014).

The model highlights how value is added in providing m-commerce to the consumers. Moreover, it discloses technologies and key players that form m-commerce value chain. The six core processes of value are shown into categories as content and infrastructure and services. In the context of content, content creation involves creating digital material, content packaging highlighting customizing and formatting of content and marketing making is associated with mobile portals (Young, 2014).

On the other hand, infrastructure and services comprise mobile transport and refers to basic networks which facilitate mobile communication, mobile services involves accessing the internet and security and mobile interface and application focuses on integration of system and infrastructure with user (Nilashi et al., 2015).

Mobile Commerce Value Chain - effectiveness of mobile marketing communication

Figure 1: Mobile Commerce Value Chain

Mobile marketing

Watson, McCarthy and Rowley (2013) stated that mobile marketing includes any form of marketing, sales promotion or advertising which is aimed at consumer and conducted over mobile channel. According to Dickinger et al (2004), mobile marketing involves using interactive wireless media to provide consumer contents which are location and time sensitive, personalised to promote ideas, goods and services, and i.e. generating value for all stakeholders.

Bragge et al (2005) stated that there is lack of conceptualisation and deficient understanding activities and actors related to mobile marketing. Sinisalo & Karjaluoto (2006) stated that mobile communication is divided into three categories: 1) push-based, 2) pull-based, and 3) interactive communication which is shown in the diagram below (Shankar et al., 2016).

Mobile marketing Framework

Figure 2: Mobile marketing Framework

In the context of push-based mobile marketing, it refers to content sent by marketers and advertisers to mobile of customers at different time other than subscriber request it. The push marketing includes email, SMS, multimedia, survey other type of content. On the other hand, pull marketing is relatively similar to interactive communication and involves ongoing customer-marketers dialogue and activity and suitable when interaction is managed within context of shared meaning. Therefore, it is important that message has to generate interactivity and understood by the receiver as well as receiver respond to message immediately (Rowles, 2017).

Concept of Interactivity in marketing and mobile marketing

Schultz and Malthouse (2017) explained that in communication setting, interactivity refers to the variable characteristic. It is an expression of extending ideas which is given through series of communication exchanges and transmission of the message and consequently, linked to exchange to earlier transmission. In other words, interactivity means two-way communication between sender and receiver which is multidirectional. Interactivity involves person-to-technology information exchange designed specifically to change the behaviour or knowledge of at least one person.

The three major perspective of interactivity are: 1) it is implicitly or explicitly, 2) a communication process, and 3) perception. Interactivity through m-commerce represents the degree to which communication is perceived by communicating entities as 1) multi-dimensional, 2) mutual, 3) timely, d) responsive, and e) controllable (Stone and Woodcock, 2014).

The interactivity can be categorised into two perspectives which are device centric (medium) and message-centric (perspective). In message-centric perspective, interactivity is known as the extent to which user participate in modifying content and format in real time.

On the other hand, the medium centric approach focuses on technologies system features which facilitate electronic interactivity. In the interactive marketing perspective, the control over the mediated environment is the important element of interactivity (Amirkhanpour, Vrontis and Thrassou, 2014).

Furthermore, Pavlov and Stewart (2010) provided the clear distinction between process and outcome control. The control process focuses on with and when consequence marketers and consumers choose to use particular interactive media and marketing contents. Conversely, process measures the outcome which focuses on the outcome of interactive media usage for marketing effectiveness. The mobile is interactive and therefore, Pavlov and Stewart framework can be used in mobile marketing context (Li, 2015).

Integrated marketing communication (IMC)

According to Kitchen and Burgmann (2015), IMC has gained importance and recognition for effective marketing because companies are moving away from mass media due to increasing segmentation of consumer preferences and needs, increased media fragmentation, data mining and databases development, customer loyalty via relationship marketing as well as importance of brand’s image based equity.

IMC is a valuable concept in marketing communication planning which helps to add value to comprehensive plan and evaluate the strategic function of communication disciplines and combines disciplines for consistency, clarity and maximum communication impact (Andrews and Shimp, 2017).

IMC involves strategic coordination of all media and messages used by the company to influence its perceived brand value. The four elements of IMC are 1) IMC requires skills and knowledge for strategic thinking; 2) IMC is a both process and concept; 3) IMC focus on expanded perspective for brand communication; and 4) IMC distinguish three pillars which are channel-centred, audience-focused and result-driven. IMC starts with customers, aims at affecting behaviour, achieve synergy, use multiple channels of contact and builds relationship (Percy, 2014; Kitchen and Burgmann, 2015).

Vernuccio and Ceccotti (2015) stated that the principles of IMC includes that all customer touch points should impact brand equity (not just promotional messages), interactive two-way communication, transactions are relationship building blocks and improves customer relationships. In 21st century, it is important that marketing managers recognise the multiple marketplaces, multiple markets, multiple channels, multiple customers and multiple media. The forces and issues behind growth of IMC include advances in technology communication, audience fragmentation, consumer empowerment, emergence of global consumer and shifts in channel power.

Vernuccio and Ceccotti (2015) added that companies can use IMC for best response to such trends and presaged best approach to take advantage from technology and communicate directly with customers. In changing market environment, marketing communication investment has become difficult and i.e. IMC offers a concept for attracting ad generating intellectual informed disclosure. IMC provides useful theoretical framework to explore and evaluate mobile marketing communications (Young, 2014).

Research questions

Overview of theoretical discussion

The literature highlights that mobile media is interactive in nature and i.e. mobile marketing involves integrated content delivery as well as it are a direct-response platform for marketing communication program. Mobile marketing is not a promotional activity but used to extend the presence of company into the additional channel. IMC provides the valuable theoretical framework to analyse and evaluate the marketing communication.

IMC focuses on the process and concept of management of audience in a strategic manner and encloses result-driven communication program over time. Interactivity through m-commerce represents the degree to which communication is perceived by communicating entities as 1) multi-dimensional, 2) mutual, 3) timely, d) responsive, and e) controllable. The concerns for the level of integration in the value chain for mobile marketing show the relevance of key stakeholders, their actions as well as critical success factors in the value chain.

This highlights decisive importance for mobile marketing that activities and actors are identified. Hence, the research aim for this study is to understand the process of mobile marketing integration into companies planning process and communication strategies for mobile marketing success.

Research questions and objectives

The research question for this study is ‘what are nature and implications of mobile marketing perceived in retail consumer markets. The three specific ‘Research Objectives’ (RO) are

  • To determine how mobile marketing is integrated into company marketing strategy?
  • To identify factors associated with customer perceptions an intentions for mobile marketing communication
  • To analyse actions and plans for implementation of mobile marketing?

The diagram below depicts the research framework for this study

Figure 3: Proposed Research Framework for this study


Research approach – Mixed research methods

Mixed research methods are useful to evaluate potential problem through the inclusion of both qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection and analysis. The mixed methods allow generating diverse rich data for phenomena and exploring the scenario in border context (Creswell, 2014).

Qualitative research is useful to explore the social problem and explore variable relationships using non-quantifiable approach. In qualitative research, researcher cannot separate itself from situation and relationship analysis among variables is explored in broader context. Qualitative research for this study would allow exploring the company perspective for mobile communication through action research approach.

For this study, management action research is useful because it is research in action, participative, the sequence of event and concurrent with action (Lampard and Pole, 2015).

Quantitative approach allows exploring relationship among the variables and consequently, identifies the causes and effects. The quantification of variables offers insight of problem and rigid framework and structural approach is used for data collection and analysis. In quantitative research, the unintentional relationship and connections explored through close-end questions. On the quantitative research allows collecting data from larger population and results are validated through statistically (Morgan, 2013;).

For this study, quantitative approach is useful to explore the customer perceptions and intentions.

Research instruments and data collection


Interview encloses a direct conversation with the respondent and three types of interviews are unstructured, semi-structured and structured interviews. The researcher for this study is intended to conduct three interviews at three supermarkets to understand the mobile marketing communication practices using semi-structured interviews. The interviews will be conducted among the marketing representatives from the selected supermarkets. The interview of marketing managers would allow exploring the m-mobile communication approach (Thompson, 2015).

In addition, semi-structured interviews will be used to discuss the questions generated from the literature review. The research intended to use three themes for interviews which are marketing communication mix, experiences of mobile marketing and technology opinions of mobile marketing (Appendix 1) (Galletta, 2013).

4.2.2 Survey – Questionnaire

Cox et al (2014) explained that survey enables quick data collection from the sample population. When study population size is large, the survey is convenient to collect data in cost-effective and timely manner. To understand customer perspective, researcher intended to conduct online survey from customers. The survey will comprise variety of mobile marketing experience and actions taken by the customers. The survey questions include potential factors which influence engagement of consumers through mobile marketing.

The research questions examine customer familiarity with mobile marketing, buying behaviour upon mobile communication, consumer engagement and interaction. The questions will be structured into four constructs which are relevance, benefits, privacy and control. These constructs will be measured through Likert scale (Appendix 2) (Zikmund et al., 2016).

4.3 Sampling Approach

Sample involves a method of selecting people which represent the whole population. There are two types of sampling are random and non-random sampling. For interviews, non-random sampling approach will be used. The purposive sampling is used to achieve the purpose in the mind of the researcher. The researcher intended to conduct three interviews at marketing department of three supermarkets based on availability and response from retailers.

For survey, random sampling approach will be used to select participants for survey. The table below summarises the study population details (Thompson, 2012)

Table 1: Sampling Approach

Access and Ethics

The research participants will be informed about the data collection and informed consent will be asked before data collected and analysed. For interviews, social contact and personal approach will be used to reach the respondent for interviews. For the survey, the respondent will be reached through the email address and social media.

For both interviews and survey, no personal information of participants will be collected. The participants will be asked to sign the consent form before the interviews and survey and data collected will be kept under strict confidentiality. The confidentiality and privacy of participants will keep as top priority during the research (Bernard, 2012).


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Appendix 1 – Interview questions

1.0 Marketing communication mix

Question no. 1: Could you tell about marketing communication channel used by the company and explain the role of the promotion mix in terms of mobile communication.

Question no. 2: What is the central idea and core message of company marketing communication and how these messages are developed and evaluated.

Question no. 3: Who is responsible for implementation of marketing campaigns and effectiveness of mobile marketing communication.

2.0 Experiences of mobile marketing and technology

Question no. 4: how integrated marketing communication plans (channels/contents) are managed and influence goals of mobile marketing campaigns.

Question no. 5:  Can you explain type, price, and nature as well as delivery context for mobile marketing message.

Question no. 6: What are mobile marketing campaign logic, data analysis and message testing procedure

3.0 Opinions of mobile marketing

Question no. 7: Can you explain ecosystem and success factors for mobile marketing communication.

Question no. 8: What is future of mobile marketing and discuss key players in value chain

7.2 Appendix 2 – Questionnaire


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