Use of social media tools for marketing communication with customers: Case of Disneyland Academic Essay

The importance of social media tools to improve the connection and marketing to the customer directly has been established over time (Fan et al., 2013, Kaplan and Haenlein, 2012, Powers et al., 2012). In this regards, companies need to ensure that they can understand the changing demands of customer (Kim and Ko, 2012, Nicholls, 2012, Winpenny et al., 2014), and improve brand loyalty by connecting more directly with them (Mackey and Liang, 2013, Luo and Zhang, 2013, Kaplan, 2012). Social media for marketing allows companies to establish a rapport between the different stakeholders (Erdogmus and Cicek, 2012, Kumar and Mirchandani, 2012, Thackeray et al., 2012). The ability to understand the changing needs of customers remains especially important for companies such as Disneyworld in the services industry (Berthon et al., 2012, Hennig-Thurau et al., 2013, Abrahams, 2012). The literature highlights that the services industry is able to use customer needs and wants to change the products that they deliver, which can lead to long term competitive advantage (de Vries et al., 2012, Lipsman et al., 2012, Kumar et al., 2013). Improvement in marketing communication can also be undertaken by the use of social media, as the customer is directly engaged in promotions, likes as well connects with the social media stream or page of Facebook and other mediums (Kumar et al., 2013, Chu et al., 2013). This high level of connectivity, however needs to be implemented in a structured manner, and therefore there is a need to ensure that they can understand the dynamics of marketing communication within social media, especially in the case of Disneyworld (Wasko, 2001). The main aim of the research is to understand the marketing communication processes used by Disneyworld through social media engagement with customers. The following objectives have been established for this research Understand the main difficulties in using social media to engage for marketing communication with customers How can customer needs and wants be better understood through us of social media by Disneyworld? What opportunities of future improvements are present for improving marketing to customer through social media? A mixed methods approach will be suggested for this research, as suggested in literature (Sharlene, 2010, Tashakkori and Creswell, 2007, Tashakkori and Teddlie, 2003). The mixed methods approach uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore the problem (Greene, 2008, John, 2008, Johnson et al., 2007). The use of qualitative methods is especially suggested as it helps in understanding the deeper concerns of informants, while exploring the perspectives with which they evaluate the problem (Ritchie et al., 2013, Miles et al., 2013, Silverman, 2010). However, qualitative methods such as interviews can bring in the bias of the researcher, and can be v very time consuming (Silverman, 2011, Curry et al., 2009, Barnett-Page and Thomas, 2009). Therefore, quantitative methods such as a survey is used to collect larger amount of data which can be easily analyzed (Davies, 2007, Brett, 2007, Wisniewski, 2005). However, one of the limitation of quantitative method is that it does not allow the researcher to delve inside the different areas which need further investigation (Oakshott, 2011, Sale et al., 2002, Waters, 2001). For this research, in-depth interviews will be undertaken with 5 customers of Disney, and 5 managers at the firm. Interviews will be conducted face to face where possible, or through the use of teleconferencing. Customers and possible clients will be found through social media. This will be followed by a closed ended survey of 100 customers to understand their concerns, and ways in which improvements can be made to marketing communications. Chapter 1: Introduction (900 words) Chapter 2: Literature Review (2200) Chapter 3: Methodology (1200words) Chapter 4: Analysis of Data (4000 words) Chapter 5: Conclusions and Recommendation (1200 words) Abrahams, S. W. 2012. Milk and Social Media: Online Communities and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. Journal of Human Lactation, 28, 400-406. Barnett-Page, E. & Thomas, J. 2009. Methods for the synthesis of qualitative research: a critical review. Bmc Medical Research Methodology, 9. Berthon, P. R., Pitt, L. F., Plangger, K. & Shapiro, D. 2012. Marketing meets Web 2.0, social media, and creative consumers: Implications for international marketing strategy. Business Horizons, 55, 261-271. Brett, M. 2007. 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Fan, L., Zhang, Y., Dang, Y. & Chen, H. 2013. Analyzing sentiments in Web 2.0 social media data in Chinese: experiments on business and marketing related Chinese Web forums. Information Technology & Management, 14, 231-242. Greene, J. C. 2008. Is mixed methods social inquiry a distinctive methodology? Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 2, 7-22. Hennig-Thurau, T., Hofacker, C. F. & Bloching, B. 2013. Marketing the Pinball Way: Understanding How Social Media Change the Generation of Value for Consumers and Companies. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 27, 237-241. John, W. 2008. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, London, Sage Publications. Johnson, R. B., Onwuegbuzie, A. J. & Turner, L. A. 2007. Toward a Definition of Mixed Methods Research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1, 112-133. Kaplan, A. M. 2012. If you love something, let it go mobile: Mobile marketing and mobile social media 4??4. Business Horizons, 55, 129-139. Kaplan, A. M. & Haenlein, M. 2012. The Britney Spears universe: Social media and viral marketing at its best. Business Horizons, 55, 27-31. Kim, A. J. & Ko, E. 2012. Do social media marketing activities enhance customer equity? An empirical study of luxury fashion brand. Journal of Business Research, 65, 1480-1486. Kumar, V., Bhaskaran, V., Mirchandani, R. & Shah, M. 2013. Practice Prize Winner Creating a Measurable Social Media Marketing Strategy: Increasing the Value and ROI of Intangibles and Tangibles for Hokey Pokey. Marketing Science, 32, 194-212. Kumar, V. & Mirchandani, R. 2012. Increasing the ROI of Social Media Marketing. Mit Sloan Management Review, 54, 55-+. Lipsman, A., Mudd, G., Rich, M. & Bruich, S. 2012. The Power of Like How Brands Reach (and Influence) Fans Through Social-Media Marketing. Journal of Advertising Research, 52, 40-52. Luo, X. & Zhang, J. 2013. How Do Consumer Buzz and Traffic in Social Media Marketing Predict the Value of the Firm? 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M., Lohfeld, L. H. & Brazil, K. 2002. Revisiting the quantitative-qualitative debate: Implications for mixed-methods research. Quality & Quantity, 36, 43-53. Sharlene, N. H. B. 2010. Mixed Methods Research, London, Guilford Press. Silverman, D. 2010. Doing Qualitative Research, London, Sage. Silverman, D. 2011. Interpreting Qualitative Data, London, Sage. Tashakkori, A. & Creswell, J. W. 2007. The New Era of Mixed Methods. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1, 3-7. Tashakkori, A. & Teddlie, C. 2003. Handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research, California, Sage Publications. Thackeray, R., Neiger, B. L. & Keller, H. 2012. Integrating social media and social marketing: a four-step process. Health promotion practice, 13, 165-8. Wasko, J. 2001. The magical-market world of Disney. Monthly Review-an Independent Socialist Magazine, 52, 56-71. Waters, D. 2001. Quantitative Methods for Business, London, Financial Times/ Prentice Hall. Winpenny, E. M., Marteau, T. 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