The impact of e-marketing on business performance: A case study of the Midlands Meander Association members
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The study was undertaken to establish to what extent the use of e-marketing has impacted on the Midlands Meander Association (MMA) members relationship with their customers and influenced their business performance (during the period August 2013 to January 2014). As stated in the literature review, the utilisation of technology and e-marketing are important areas of future research. The literature review incorporates various studies such as Mathfield (2000), Lourens (2007) and McLaren (2011) which focus on the MMA members and their customers. Moreover, the literature review includes a discussion of several definitions of e-marketing, while the importance of a number of e-marketing techniques was examined. The study was an empirical, descriptive investigation which applied a mixed methods approach. The study utilised three types of data collection methods: online survey, telephone interviews and the analysis of public domain documentation. The research found an extensive difference between how the various MMA members implemented e-marketing within their businesses. The research showed that e-marketing was not utilised or exploited by the majority of the MMA members to its full potential. Also, the study revealed the need for the MMA members to increase their utilisation of social media, search engine optimiser and complementary links to other websites in order to realise the advantages which may be gained. The study found that over half of the MMA members held a moderately positive perception of e-marketing and that the members’ ages might impact on their perceptions of e-marketing. The research suggested that the majority of the respondents recognised that their business performance had increased due to the use of e-marketing. Furthermore, the research found that two thirds of the MMA members acknowledged the importance of e-marketing to connect and build relationships with their customers. Finally, the research highlighted the need for future research to be undertaken to incorporate other tourism routes within South Africa in order to examine the use of e-marketing and its effect on both customer relationships and business performance.