Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Internet marketing is critical for meeting changing consumer needs and staying competitive in the business environment. Small business owners need strategies on how to use Internet marketing to promote their products or services. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore how 5 small business owners in Maryland developed and implemented an online marketing strategy. Participants were recruited for their roles as the chief decision maker of their business; additional prerequisites for their participation were that they used Internet marketing, represented different industries, and had fewer than 20 employees. Data came from semi-structured interviews with the small business owners, direct observations of the firms' online marketing processes and technology, and evaluation of companies' use of different Internet marketing channels. The data analysis strategy drew on resource-based view theory propositions, examinations of conflicting explanations discovered during the literature review, and cross-case synthesis. The 5 emergent themes encompassed unstructured planning, limited Internet marketing knowledge and expertise, use of Internet marketing channels and tools, lack of systematic approach to the management of Internet marketing, and inadequate measurement of Internet marketing efforts. By engaging in Internet marketing strategy planning, acquiring specialized Internet marketing knowledge, measuring marketing performance, and extending their Internal marketing resources through outsourcing, small business owners may develop and implement successful online marketing strategies. These findings may influence positive social change by contributing to more effective and efficient marketing practices in small firms that can lead to better financial performance, higher survival rates, and a healthier economic system.