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Journal cover: Marketing Intelligence & Planning

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503
Incorporates: Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science

Online from: 1983

Subject Area: Marketing

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e-CRM in SMEs: an exploratory study in Northern Ireland

Document Information:
Title:e-CRM in SMEs: an exploratory study in Northern Ireland
Author(s):Paul Harrigan, (University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK), Elaine Ramsey, (University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK), Patrick Ibbotson, (University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK)
Citation:Paul Harrigan, Elaine Ramsey, Patrick Ibbotson, (2008) "e-CRM in SMEs: an exploratory study in Northern Ireland", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 26 Iss: 4, pp.385 - 404
Keywords:Communication technologies, Customer relations, Internet, Northern Ireland, Small to medium-sized enterprises
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/02634500810879296 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – Relationship marketing principles have seldom been applied to the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME). The purpose of this paper is to develop what is a striking link by investigating the role of internet technologies in the customer relationship management of SMEs based in Northern Ireland (NI).

Design/methodology/approach – This study took an exploratory outlook and a quantitative approach to data collection was adopted. A self-completion questionnaire was distributed by post to a sample of 300 SMEs in NI. A response rate of 18.6 per cent was obtained.

Findings – The findings of this study illustrate that SMEs are implementing fundamental electronic customer relationship management (e-CRM) practices and reaping the benefits from internationalisation. Challenges are few, but centre on a preference for face-to-face relationships and a lack of government support.

Research limitations/implications – It is hoped that this exploratory research has laid the foundation for further examination of e-CRM in the SME context. Future studies should be able to replicate the process in other countries and on a larger scale. The potential also exists for in-depth qualitative research.

Practical implications – The paper concludes that e-CRM may have to move on to a more strategic and integrated level if SMEs in NI are to compete, both locally and globally.

Originality/value – This exploratory research has shed some light on the marginalised subject of e-CRM in SMEs. For SMEs operating in a peripheral economy such as NI the benefits to be gained from e-CRM are lucrative.

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