Sample Research Proposal – Business Research Methods

Sample Research Proposal on Effects of Social Media Marketing on Consumer Behaviour in the UK - Business Resaerch Methods

The following is a sample research proposal for business research methods. The topic selected for the research is “An exploration of the effects of social media marketing on consumer behavior in the UK.” A research proposal is a document that is sent for approval by the professor before initiating the actual research. In business research methodology, there are two main types. These are quantitative research and qualitative research. For this research proposal, we will be using qualitative analysis.

Business Research Methods | Sample Research Proposal

Topic: An exploration of the effects of social media marketing on consumer behavior in the UK


1.0 Introduction

Social media and internet marketing have turned into the main point of B2B Marketers, Digital agencies, and CMOs all across the globe. A report from the Content Marketing Association (2018) discovered that 88% of B2B marketers are utilizing Content Marketing, and in this same survey they discovered that 51% of B2B marketers plan to increase their Content Marketing budgets (OTX, n.d.). It has been observed from the same study that social media marketing budgets continue to grow, as do the prospects for outcomes. Still, the people who were engaged on Facebook yesterday may be on Snapchat today, and marketers will have to speculate where they will be tomorrow. With the way things are developing, the trends of marketing, sales, and promotion of products are changing constantly, and companies need to keep up with this pace.

About seven in ten (68 percent) international primary marketing officers (CMOs) seem unprepared for the demands of social media marketing, according to the report released by IBM (Butler, 2017). That is second only to those 71 percent who are challenged by this explosion of information and change in the behavior of customers (Butler, 2017). A large part of CMOs also seem unprepared for the development of communication and design options (65 percent) to keep up with the changing consumer demographics (63%) and financial constraints (59%) (Schivinski & Dabrowski, 2014). This presents the large potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but the lack of understanding on how to reach those outcomes.

Desirable competitors may improve digital marketing strategies by maintaining pressure on them. In the consumer industry, new media companies can prioritize consumers’ expectations and fulfill their needs. For example, current media manufacturers tend to offer fast news information and improve the quality of data to attract people to select their line over competitors’. Ad companies can keep track of their statistics to understand audiences and readers and their preferences. That in turn makes the broadcast media improve their performance and grow more commercially good. Similar strategies are used in social media marketing to reach out to potential consumers.

The motive of this business research is to explore the dimensions through which social media marketing can influence consumer behavior and what factors of social media marketing can be utilized to increase sales.

2.0 Keywords

Consumer’s buying behavior and decision, Online brand communities, Social media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Qualitative research

3.0 Research Aim

The proposed research aims to understand and explore the effects of social media marketing on the behavior of consumers in the UK and to identify the aspects of social media marketing that influence this behavior. There is a lot of research about social media marketing on the internet and this research aims to use all the data that is available online to deduce the overall factors of social media marketing.

4.0 Research Objectives

1) To identify the influence of product features, brand name, social influence, and product sacrifice on the demand for online brand communities among consumers in the UK

2) To identify the key factors that motivate consumers to purchase through social networking sites.

3) To explore the social media marketing strategies applied by successful businesses and identify the purchase intentions of consumers toward online communities

5.0 Research Questions

1) What factors of consumer decision do social media marketing techniques affect?

2) How and in what ways are these factors affecting the consumers’ decision-making process?

3) Which social media marketing techniques are effective in which situations?

6.0 Literature Review

Social media marketing is the usage of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and other websites to promote the product or service of a business (Dave Evans, 2010). Although policies like e-marketing and digital commerce are prevalent in the world, social media marketing is growing more common for both practitioners and researchers (LI, 2017). Most social media platforms have built-in information analytics tools, which enable corporations to track the development, prosperity, and participation of advertising efforts. Companies communicate with a variety of stakeholders through social media marketing, including actual and prospective clients, new and prospective employees, journalists, bloggers, and the general public (Ayda Darban, 2012).

Commerce in today’s digital situation has developed massively. Current business roles are emerging with a higher emphasis on analytical skills, for instance, salesmen find them beneficial when it comes to actions such as Account-Based Marketing (Graa, 2015). There are other studies, such as web search engine optimization and Social Media optimization, which require a distinct attitude from the marketing roles (Melissa Barker, n.d.).

Similarly, customers are also opting for online strategies for looking up products, comparing customer reviews, finding the nearest retail shops, and many more services offered by smartphones to make decisions while purchasing a product (Reto Felixa, 2017). Online social networks have become an efficient and major part of human communication and interaction. They have a strong influence in many different ways on people’s behavior and communication (Phumisak Smutkupt, 2009).

Online communities like blogs and vlogs provide opportunities to influence the decision-making process of customers. Every day people buy things that are relevant to their needs. For every product, they are making decisions based on their understanding and knowledge. Consumer behavior is affected by personal and environmental determinants (Yu-Qian, 2015). This behavior is influenced by social media as it provides the environment to the consumers and shapes their thinking (Sayabek Ziyadin, 2019). A central part of consumer behavior is consumers’ purchasing decisions which include several steps. Generally, social networks such as websites or platforms that wield considerable power over consumers can influence consumers’ shopping decisions. Online social networks provide facilities for customers to communicate with each other through reviews and to access information, comments, brand information, and prices that help them with their purchase decisions in various ways (Heinze, 2016).

7.0 Social Media Marketing in the UK

Digital commerce is characterized by the usage of many digital tactics and communications to interact with consumers where they spend time on a general basis, i.e., online (Phumisak Smutkupt, 2009). The world of digital trading has given rise to various techniques of digital marketing that provide scope for the promotion and marketing of products online like digital advertising, e-mail advertising, online brochures, and location-based services.

Of all these marketing methods, the most successful and widely used is the social media marketing technique. Social media marketing involves the use of social media platforms to advertise and create a positive image of our product. It uses tactics like advertisements, blogs, and content from influencers, chatbots, and other such channels to promote products.

Digital commerce’s growth in the UK since the 1990s and 2000s has altered the way brands and businesses utilize selling applications. As online retail platforms are gaining superiority over the prevailing retail methods, digital marketing has an edge over the customary methods of advertising and promotion. There is strong competition in the marketing sector, now more than ever. It motivates content marketers to be more productive and produce a real-time information system from behavioral patterns and to make it visually engaging. With the arrival of advanced technologies, e.g., artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, and mobility, knowledge marketing, and digital marketing are touching heights (Ezgi Akar, 2018).

The present social media can be observed in two cases- first, the online platform where people interact and share their stories and pictures, and the second is use cases which is how these technologies and platforms are being used by people and businesses. To understand the factors of social media marketing influencing business, we need to understand both these aspects.


8.0 The impact of social networks on consumer purchase decision

People active on online social networking websites generally are divided into different clusters according to their interests and admirations and tend to exhibit similar interests and purchase decision behaviors. Consumers also tend to make joint decisions in such groups of friends or under the influence of a personality they admire. These groups are a topic of study to understand how they influence the decisions and desires of a consumer. These groups are divided into various categories – Primary groups, Secondary groups, Informal groups, Formal groups, and Virtual groups according to their power to influence a customer. Smaller and closer groups have more tendency to influence customer decisions than larger groups. Apart from these groups, one-to-many communication techniques like blogs and vlogs are also effective in helping the customer make decisions regarding their product by offering advice as well as reviews.

Apart from these contact groups, advertisements also play a strong role in social network advertising. A study by Wei Li (2017) states that nearly two-thirds (68%) of customers are more likely to purchase a product that they have seen online. Digital marketing offers the service of recognizing customer needs and advertising accordingly, which means a customer looking for a watch will get advertisements for watches on his social media pages, thus making the advertising process very effective and targeted. This way, different strategies are prevalent in the market that impact the consumers’ decisions through the means of social media.

9.0 Research Methodology

The research aims to examine the impact of social media marketing techniques and how they influence UK citizens, and more precisely how they impact their decisions. So, it is important to go through customer experiences and the factors that they took into consideration while making the decision. Thus, it is suggested that a qualitative approach be taken in this study. Qualitative research is the process of naturalistic investigation that seeks an in-depth understanding of cultural phenomena within their physical environment. It concentrates on this “reason” rather than the “what” of cultural phenomena and relies on the immediate experiences of humans as meaning-making agents in their daily lives. Rather than by rational and statistical processes, analysis researchers have multiple systems of investigation for the study of human phenomena including history, study, past investigation, speech analysis, ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenology.

Questions that elicit text answers are great for qualitative data analysis— but if the information analyst is asked to perform a numerical investigation, multiple selection questions and other scales are much better. If the intention is to investigate a subject we have little knowledge about, analysis studies using short answer questions on forms are important for exploratory or descriptive analyses and will change subsequent evaluation or research. Numerical analysis with categorical, measurable, and differing quantitative information is great for testing assumptions or evaluating a well-known subject, but not for a subjective study like this.

10.0 Findings/Limitations

While the qualitative method of analysis is preferable here due to questionnaire-based surveys, the geographical limitations and present situations limit me to take these surveys through the Internet and not face to face. Live interaction answers many questions that dull responses might not be able to answer.

11.0 Ethical Consideration

In any survey, it is very crucial to maintain the anonymity of the participants and that their data is secure and not shared with any third party or person. Also, it is important to respect the participant’s opinion and have a boundary to not interfere with their thoughts which might lead to conflict or disagreement between the researcher and participant.

12.0 Conclusion

When consumers decide on any purchase, social media influences their decision-making process. Consumers go through information about alternative products and prices offered by different brands that help them with their choice of products. Online groups and influencers also play a major role in guiding customers and shaping their perceptions regarding the products available. Thus, this study is important to analyze the various aspects of social media marketing and the influence it wields on consumers.

13.0   Gantt Chart







Submission of Research Proposal



Feedback on proposal


Improvement of Proposal


Discussion on the topic with the supervisor


Research further on a dissertation topic


Collection and analysis of new updated data


Discussion of collected data


Assembly of data


14.0   References

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  • Chanaka Jayawardhena, A. K. H. K. T. K., 2009. Antecedents to permission-based mobile marketing: an initial examination. European Journal of Marketing.
  • Dave Evans, S. B. J. M., 2010. Social Media Marketing. s.l.:Wiley Publishing.
  • Ezgi Akar, T. D., 2018. Understanding online consumers’ purchase intentions: a contribution from social network theory, s.l.: s.n.
  • Graa, A., 2015. The impact of Online Social Networks? usage on the purchase decision process: Quantitative and Qualitative stud, s.l.: s.n.
  • Heinze, A. R. T. F. G. C. A., 2016. Digital and Social Media Marketing: A Results-Driven Approach (1st ed.). London: Routledge.
  • Johnston, E., n.d. Marketing Manager. [Online]
  • Josephine Pickett‐Baker, R. O., 2008. Pro‐environmental products: marketing influence on consumer purchase decision. Journal of Consumer Marketing.
  • LI, W., 2017. The impact of online social networks on consumers’ purchasing decision: The study of food retailers, s.l.: s.n.
  • Melissa Barker, D. I. B. N. F. B. K. E. N., n.d. Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach. s.l.:Cengage Learning.
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  • OTX, n.d. Impact of social media on purchasing behavior.
  • Phumisak Smutkupt, D. K. V. E., 2009. MOBILE MARKETING IMPLICATIONS FOR STRATEGIES, s.l.: s.n.
  • Reto Felixa, P. A. R. C. H., 2017. Elements of strategic social media marketing: A holistic framework, s.l.: Journal of Business Research.
  • Sayabek Ziyadin, R. D. A. B. A. O. a. A. I., 2019. The role of social media marketing in consumer behavior, s.l.: E3S Web of Conferences 135, 04022 (2019), Innovative Technologies in Environmental Science and Education.
  • Schivinski, B. & Dabrowski, D., 2014. The effect of social media communication on consumer perceptions. Journal of Marketing Communications, 22(2), pp. 1-26.
  • Seyhmus Baloglu, M. U., 1996. Market segments of push and pull motivations: a canonical correlation approach.
  • Social, S., n.d. sproutsocial. 
  • Yu-Qian, Z. H.-G. C., 2015. Social media and human need satisfaction: Implications for social media marketing. Business Horizons.

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