In contemporary economies, with the emergence of information technologies and digital tools, online marketing gains more relevance every day. Online shops and the omnipresence of Internet-based information concerning any product or service encourage people to refer to digital means of buying. Moreover, even when purchasing offline, consumers go online to find information about the product they intend to purchase. Online marketing, in its turn, utilizes specific tools to influence buyers’ decision-making and to promote the sales of a firm’s product. The influence of online marketing is very significant due to the ubiquity of digital information. Therefore, the investigation of the effect of online marketing on consumer buying behaviour is relevant.
Research Background and Rationale
Many studies have been devoted to the issue of online marketing and its effect on the buying behaviour of consumers. The core interest of the scholarly research on the topic of online marketing is the general implications of digital marketing on the way people buy (Nizar and Janathanan, 2018; Ramya and Ali, 2016; Vishwagna and Reddy, 2019). Also, many researchers investigate some specific areas within which digital marketing strategies are most influential.
They concentrate on women’s purchasing behaviour in comparison to men’s, the scope of online advertising’s impact on buying of grocery products, clothing, or devices, as well as the particularities of online shopping behaviour in different countries (Ali et al., 2019; Makwana, Sharma and Pathak, 2019; Rahman et al., 2018). The problem under investigation in the current research study is to explore the extent of the effect of online marketing strategies on the general buying behaviour of the citizens of Malaysia.
Aim and Objectives
The aim of the project is to identify the spheres where online marketing applies the most and define how the decision making process of random buyers changes under the influence of digital information. The objectives targeted in the research include obtaining an informational overview of the topic, its analysis on the background of Malaysia, identification of the type of dependence of the marketing strategy on the response in the form of purchasing behaviour of consumers. Overall, the study aims at comparing the purchasing behaviour of individuals who are not exposed to online marketing influence and those who are impacted by digital marketing strategies.
In order to pursue the objectives of the research, the following research questions are formulated.
- Question 1. What are the most frequently used online marketing strategies in Malaysia?
- Question 2. Do consumers pay attention to the messages implied in digital information to which they refer?
- Question 3. Is there a difference in buying behaviour of consumers who are not exposed to online marketing influence and those who are impacted by digital marketing strategies?
- Question 4. What factors define the preference of a consumer to buy a particular product?
Review of Key Concepts
The sphere of e-commerce and online marketing is vastly researched and provides a wide range of key concepts that apply to the proposed research. Online marketing, which is also referred to as ‘internet marketing’ or ‘web marketing’ is “targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of goods or services using digital technologies in order to reach and convert leads into customers and preserve them” (Todor, 2016, p. 52).
Advertising as one of the main marketing tools is defined as “interpretation in terms of audio or visual form of marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service, or idea” (Hee and Yen, 2018, p. 149). Finally, consumer purchasing behaviour is a set of considerations, within a decision-making process when a person explores the information about a product, chooses, purchases, and uses it (Hee and Yen, 2018). All the above-mentioned concepts play a significant role in the current research.
Review of Key Theories
|The social learning theory views the tendencies in consumer purchasing decision under the influence of marketing as the outcome of the importance of social knowledge to an individual.||Bandura||Independent variables: social media influencers, celebrity endorsement. Dependent variable: consumer buying behaviour.||The strength of this model is that it explains the general pattern of consumer’s choice-making under the influence of advertising, especially those delivered by celebrities (Lim et al., 2017).||The weakness of the social learning theory is that it does not include the issue that people are generally aware of marketers’ intentions and might not react to marketing strategies as genuinely as they do to other manifestations of social knowledge.||Lim et al. (2017) ‘The impact of social media influencers on purchase intention and the mediation effect of customer attitude’, Asian Journal of Business Research, 7(2), pp. 19-36.|
|The customer value theory implies that any individual analyses a product he or she intends to buy on the basis of two value sets, including utilitarian (or functional) and hedonic (emotional) characteristics.||–||Independent variables: functional value of products or services sold, emotional value of products or services. Dependent variable: consumer buying behaviour.||The strength of this theory is that it provides a more detailed overview of the constructs behind consumer decision making. It also defines the areas on which marketers tend to concentrate their influence.||The weakness of this model is that it does not explicitly define how customer values determine the extent of dependence on online marketing.||Boakye, K. J., Chiang, C. Y. and Tang, X. (2018) ‘Toward an integrated decision-making model for consumer electronic’, Journal of Computer Information Systems, 58(3), pp. 264-273.|
Critical Review of Empirical Studies
|Author and year||Title||Methodology||Sample size||Findings|
|Rahman, M. A. et al. (2018)||‘Consumer buying behavior towards online shopping: An empirical study on Dhaka city, Bangladesh’||Descriptive study||160 participants||Online shoppers in Bangladesh are young people whose decision making is dependent on their experience, the price of products, the suggestions of friends and family, and the convenience of making a purchase online.|
|Makwana, K., Sharma, P. and Pathak, A. (2019)||‘Impact of digital marketing on consumer buying behavior- A comparative study on the gender basis’||Exploratory study||206 respondents||The study found that among Indian consumers, most people prefer online services to traditional ones. Also, there was a significant difference in the influence of such factors as security and cost between male and female consumers.|
|Haur. F. C., Khatibi, A. and Azam, M. F. (2017)||‘Antecedents of consumers’ perception towards online advertising in Malaysia: The structure equation modeling approach’||Descriptive study||526 participants||The researchers found such factors as consumer satisfaction and consumer acceptance are less important in online purchasing behaviour than the factor of consumer perception.|
|Muda, M., Mohd, M. and Hassan, S. (2016)||‘Online purchase behavior of generation Y in Malaysia’||Exploratory study||200 respondents||The study’s results demonstrate that Malaysian generation Y consumers tend to buy online due to the advertising published on Facebook and Instagram. Among the most influential factors contributing to consumer decision-making process were perceived trust and perceived reputation.|
|Sulaiman, Y. and Hadi, Y. A. (2017)||‘The impact of advertising on consumer’s buying behavior among undergraduate students in Universiti Utara Malaysia’||Exploratory study||375 participants||The study revealed that among the factors influencing the university students’ purchasing behaviour were brand, product quality and price.|
|Ugonna, I. A. et al. (2017)||‘Effects of online marketing on the behaviour of consumers in selected online companies in Owerri, Imo State – Nigeria’||Descriptive study||300 respondents||The findings of the study imply that online marketing has a significant impact on consumer buying behaviour since it ensures customers regular visits to websites where people can find online information about products. It is stated that companies should be encouraged to invest more in online marketing to increase their sales.|
As the overview of some studies investigating the issues related to the topic of the current research, the majority of them concentrate on general factors influencing consumer decision-making and the extent to which buying behaviours are influenced by online marketing in particular countries. Although some studies researched Malaysia, there is still insufficient scope of investigation of the differences between the behaviours of consumers who pay attention to online marketing and who do not perceive themselves as those who pay attention to online advertising. The current research aims at filling in the identified literature gap and providing a basis for further investigation in the same area.
The conceptual framework might be developed on the basis of the research questions postulated within the research proposal. It embraces the factors which determine consumers’ decision to buy a product and an individual’s exposure to online advertising. Overall, the proposed framework is designed to illustrate how the important concepts relevant to the study might interact so that the research questions could be answered in a constructive manner.
With regards to the aims and objectives of the intended research, the following hypotheses might be developed.
The purchasing behaviour of consumer exposed to online marketing does not differ from the purchasing behaviour of those who do not pay attention to digital advertising.
The purchasing behaviour of consumer exposed to online marketing differs from the purchasing behaviour of those who do not pay attention to digital advertising.
Research Design and Methodology
Type of Investigation
The intended research type is a descriptive study, which aims to explore the extent of the influence of online marketing on Malaysian citizens’ buying behaviour. This type of research enables obtaining general implications on the changes in purchasing decision making under the influence of digital marketing strategies. The choice of research design suffices the targeted research questions and hypotheses and provides opportunities for utilizing relevant data collection and analysis methods.
Data Collection Method
The method of data collection is an online survey. It will contain a questionnaire concerning the factors influencing the buying behaviour in two sets of population, including those who pay attention to online advertising and those who do not. Both primary and secondary data will be collected by means of a survey. This method is cost-efficient since it is possible to conduct online. Also, it is time-efficient and provides an opportunity to attract more participants to increase the reliability of the study.
Target Population and Sampling Method
Convenient non-probability sampling is intended to be applied to choose the participants for the study. It is important to locate the Malaysian population, corresponding to two sets of features. The first group of participants need to be reluctant to exploring digital marketing information, and the second group needs to be the one actively using the Internet as a source of information to guide their purchasing decisions. The target population includes people from 18 years and older of both genders residing in Malaysia.
To gain easy access to data and ensure thorough data collection process, the Qualtrics survey software will be used. The data collected from the participants will be stored and accessed by means of the software. It will also ensure the reliability of respondents’ input, as well as the security of research-related information. The online-based software is a relevant means of data collection under the circumstances of a big sample size anticipated for the current research study.
Ethical issues will be preserved throughout the process of research. Under the circumstances of Internet-based research, the issues of ethical considerations are prevalent (Sugiura, Wiles and Pope, 2017). Recruiting of the participants will be conducted through online services with the guarantee that no personal information will be disclosed within the research. The respondents will not need to provide their names, only specific personal information relevant to the study, including age, gender, location of residence and answers to the specific questions within the survey.
Data Analysis Plan
Due to the type of research intended to be utilized within the current study, descriptive statistics analyses will be required. For that purpose, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) will be used. The reliability test will be implemented through repeated data analyses to ensure the accuracy of the results. Descriptive statistics analysis will measure the mean and standard deviation when comparing the results of the two groups of participants.
The anticipated research is anticipated to have several limitations obstructing the accuracy of the findings and their further application within the realm of scholarly research. Firstly, the money constraints impose online data collection method. Since this way of retrieving information from the participants is reliant on the subjective presentation of data by the participants, there exists a significant level of bias in the collected data. Therefore, the findings of the research will depend on self-reporting consumer behaviour and will be not completely objective.
In order to maintain a proper pace of the development of the study, it is necessary to create a schedule that would depict the phases of work, their respective duration, start dates and end dates. As indicated in Figure 1, he intended timetable is approximate and might need changes regarding the flow of work within each stage. Overall, the indicated number of days spent on the phases of the study seems to be satisfactory and will allow for making significant progress and ensure the reliability and accuracy of the data.
|Start Date||End Date||Number of Days|
|Preparation Phase||01 April 2020||11 April 2020||10|
|Sampling and Recruitment of the Participants||11 April 2020||25 April 2020||14|
|Data Collection||25 April 2020||20 May 2020||25|
|Data Analysis||20 May 2020||01 June 2020||12|
|Findings Interpretation||01 June 2020||08 June 2020||7|
|Final Draft Development||08 June 2020||20 June 2020||12|
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Boakye, K. J., Chiang, C. Y. and Tang, X. (2018) ‘Toward an integrated decision-making model for consumer electronic’, Journal of Computer Information Systems, 58(3), pp. 264-273.
Haur. F. C., Khatibi, A. and Azam, M. F. (2017) ‘Antecedents of consumers’ perception towards online advertising in Malaysia: The structure equation modeling approach’, European Journal of Management and Marketing Studies, 2(3), pp. 15-30.
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Lim et al. (2017) ‘The impact of social media influencers on purchase intention and the mediation effect of customer attitude’, Asian Journal of Business Research, 7(2), pp. 19-36.
Makwana, K., Sharma, P. and Pathak, A. (2019) ‘Impact of digital marketing on consumer buying behavior- A comparative study on the gender basis’, Journal of the Gujarat Research Society, 21(16), pp. 478-490.
Muda, M., Mohd, M. and Hassan, S. (2016) ‘Online purchase behavior of generation Y in Malaysia’, Procedia Economics and Finance, 37, pp. 292-298.
Nizar, N. A. and Janathanan, C. (2018) ‘Impact of digital marketing on consumer purchase behaviour’, APIIT Business, Law & Technology Conference. Web.
Rahman, M. A. et al. (2018) ‘Consumer buying behavior towards online shopping: An empirical study on Dhaka city, Bangladesh’, Cogent Business & Management, 5(1), pp. 1-22.
Ramya, N. and Ali, M. S. A. (2016). ‘Factors affecting consumer buying behavior’, International Journal of Applied Research, 2(10), pp. 76-80.
Sugiura, L., Wiles, R. and Pope, C. (2017) ‘Ethical challenges in online research: Public/private perceptions’, Research Ethics, 13(3-4), pp. 184-199.
Sulaiman, Y. and Hadi, Y. A. (2017) ‘The impact of advertising on consumer’s buying behavior among undergraduate students in Universiti Utara Malaysia’, Journal of Advanced Research in Social and Behavioural Sciences, 6(2), pp. 134-145.
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Ugonna, I. A. et al. (2017) ‘Effects of online marketing on the behaviour of consumers in selected online companies in Owerri, Imo State – Nigeria’, International Journal of Business and Management Invention, 6(6), pp. 32-43.
Vishwagna, A. S. and Reddy. M. S. (2019) Consumer buying behavior towards online shopping – A review of literature. Journal of the Gujarat Research Society, 21(16), pp. 1396-1400.