Marketing has experienced a dramatic shift from what it used to be in the past years when production was the center of concern to many firms. The service industry has experienced growth in the United Kingdom and currently there are several firms offering various services, from entertainment banking services, hospitality, transport, healthcare, to education, legal and communication services.
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There are a host of firms offering services in this country. Each line of service has numerous of players offering either the same product or very close substitute.
This makes market competition very stiff. A firm that is not able to adapt to the market demands will find itself edged out of the market. This calls for the firms to develop marketing strategies that are responsive to market demands and which are able to withstand the pressures of the market.
Innovation and creativity in marketing offers the best strategy for firms to get competitive advantage over the competitors. This paper focuses on creativity and innovation in the service firms, with a bias on banking and entertainment sectors.
The researcher will apply the use of direct observation (i.e. by participating in some of the activities to get first hand information), interviews and questionnaires in the process of collecting data. From the literature review, it is evident that innovation is a tool that any serious firm cannot afford to assume if it is to succeed in the current competitive marketplace.
Technology has completely changed the way business units approach the marketing issues. There has been an increasing concern of environment conservation that marketers have to observe when positioning their product in the market.
The stakeholders’ demands that the firm must explain the amount of carbon that is released into the environment before the product can be released into the market. The customers are also becoming more aware of their needs and alternative units where they can access the products.
The constantly fluctuating economy makes the market very unpredictable and the cost of production is always changing with sporadic oil prices. The marketer must go against all these odds, and deliver to the market, quality service that is affordable, and can comfortable produce profit to the business.
This puts the marketing department at a very precarious position as it has to balance the profitability and the need to retain customers in the market through competitive market prices. Innovation and creativity offers the best way through which a firm can navigate the highly competitive market.
Through creative marketing design that incorporates the market demands, a firm is able to attract a good number of customers in the market, hence increase its market share. Marketing innovation and creativity in the service firm is very important because unlike goods, a service may not be tested through seeing or touching. The marketer must therefore be in a position to make the customer appreciate the value that the service offers without having to see it physically.
With unpredictable market, increasing number of firms offering products in the same line, increased cost of production and delivery of products to the market and increasing environmental concerns, a marketer finds himself at a very difficult situation. S/he must be in a position to respond to the market forces appropriately.
As a student of marketing, the main aim of this research is to create an understanding of marketing innovation and creativity among the stakeholders in the service industry, especially the banking and entertainment sectors. The researcher aims to create an awareness of creativity and how firms can apply it when conducting business in the current competitive market.
The researcher also intends to develop an informative dissertation that will not only be important to practicing marketers but also to the students and other scholars who will be interested in conducting further research in the same field latter on.
This should be a rich source of information that will help transform the way in which marketing firms conduct their business within the United Kingdom and other European nations. The researcher aims at equipping the stakeholders with information that will transform their marketing approach into that which is technology sensitive.
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The researcher was interested in achieving the following objectives:
- To ascertain the positive impact of creativity and innovation on service firms; with bias on the banking and entertainment sectors.
- To ascertain the cost implications that is associated with innovation and creativity in marketing operations.
- To ascertain other non cost constraints that a firm may be forced to withstand when employing innovations and creativity in marketing.
- To ascertain the level to which firms in the United Kingdom have embraced the use of innovative ideas in running their marketing operations.
- To bring to focus, direct and indirect benefits that service firms in other locations outside Europe, especially in the United States and China, have incurred by successfully embracing creativity and innovation in marketing.
With this, the researcher hopes to inculcate the culture of creativity and innovativeness in the service firms operating in United Kingdom.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is limited to service firms within the United Kingdom, with limited reference to firms in the United States. The researcher limits the research to service firms, especially the Banking and Entertainment sectors. The study will ascertain the implications of innovation and creativity on these firms. The timeline for the study runs for three months, between the months of September and December.
Justification of the Study
The world has been turned into a global village by technology. A firm in the United States can easily finds its market in the United Kingdom. With a market that has no restriction as to the entry of firms, it remains open to competition from firms that operate in it.
The biggest concern to these firms is not the current strong competitor, but the new ones whose marketing strategies are not yet known. The change in the market place has never been such unpredictable. It therefore calls for the service firms that operate in this market to know that it is not an island market that is closed to external competitors.
They should appreciate that the market demands creativity and innovativeness from the players in order to stay afloat. This is what the research is based on. It fully crates an informative awareness among the players, in bid to making everyone appreciate the need for the same.
Literature Review and Conceptual Framework
Many scholars have done a lot of research about this topic and some of the works are published while others are yet to be published. The service industry has experienced a massive growth in the past one decade, with the English football rated as the most popular in the world.
There has been an increasing need for more information in this field. The rise in fraudulent activities in the banks, the increasing need for entertainment in the country among other emerging trends have seen the need for innovation and creativity be on the rise.
Kabana (2010, p.589) defines innovation as the inventions of new ideas in solving current problems in a better way. It is the use of technology to bring to life creative methods of approaching marketing in a way that will make the whole process much easier and more effective.
Andrzej and Buchaman (2007, p.36) define creativity as the imaginative capability of an individual to come with new ideas and approaches every time he or she faces a similar problem or issue. Services are products that are satisfy the needs of an individual but they are intangible.
Marketing creativity therefore refers to bringing in creative ideas in the process of marketing of services, with an aim of gaining competitive advantage over the rival firms. The marketplace is very competitive and every business unit must make a concerted effort to understand the requirement of the demanding customers. This will enable them design their products to reflect these requirements.
Need for innovation and Creativity by Service Firms
The market currently is characterized by a customer who is very knowledgeable. Technology has made the world a global village where information flows freely. The social media, the mass media and other forms of communication has made the customer more knowledgeable about the market offerings.
They know what they want and where to get them. The market is also flooded with many firms offering similar products. This makes the marketplace very competitive. As a marketer, there is need to not only understand the dynamic customers, but also the competitors in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.
Charles Darwin once said that survival is always for the fittest, and that the moment one is not fit enough, then he/she will be eliminated from the existence (Garvin 1988, p.69). This is the principality that is there in the marketplace. Firms must be fit enough to face the daunting challenge that is in the market, failure of which, they will automatically be faced out of the market.
Service Marketing in United Kingdom
According to Harvard Business Review (2011, p. 13), United Kingdom is one the world’s developed nations with very strong economy. This nation is technologically advanced. This scholarly article asserts that the service sector in this country is well developed, with competitors that are technologically advanced.
The service sector, particularly the entertainment sector requires the players to invent new ideas in order to be relevant. A customer who comes to watch a movie in London may not be amused if he comes to the Manchester city and is subjected to the same item without any modifications.
It will be boring and at times the customer may be forced to look for other forms of entertainment other than movies. For this reason, this scholar observes that the movie makers must make an effort to create new scenes whenever they go to theatre.
This calls for a high level of creativity on the side of the movie maker. S/he must be creative enough to come up with news ideas that have originality and ability to capture attention of those seeking entertainment.
The banking sector is not safe from this demand for creativity either. Carson (2008, p.41) reports that Barclay Bank has continuously registered a massive loss from fraudsters who are able to manipulate the system and make away with the company finances.
The bank must therefore develop its systems to be foolproof in order to be safe from the constant loss it has experienced from this group which has perfected the art of breaking into this system. It must be innovative enough to develop mechanisms of that are able to protect its data base from undesirable elements that may pose danger to the bank
Impact of Innovation and Creativity on Service Firms
Del, Best and Coney (2005, p. 63) observes that there has been a massive growth of service firms in United Kingdom because of their ability to apply innovation and creativity in their marketing strategies. This has seen them grow in the market share to regions beyond Europe. Sports have also embraced creativity. English premier league is the most popular and widely watched football in the world.
These scholars explain that football has embraced creativity in many aspects. Unlike before when the fields were maintained by watering them so that the natural grass could be kept at desirable heights to protect the players, currently all the fields in England are carpeted, eliminating the cumbersome practice of maintaining the grass.
The carpet is much safe. The teams have also embraced creativity in their management. Football is completely commercialized in this country, unlike what it used to be in the recent past. With the invention of the DSTV, the English matches are streamed in real time for the lovers of this game worldwide.
Some of the popular teams in this country like Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Aston Villa among host of others have following beyond Europe. So successful are the teams that many of the fanatics have died supporting them in countries beyond.
Through creativity it has emerged to be one of the most lucrative service industries in the country. Both the players and the team management must make a concerted effort to be more creative and innovative in order to maintain this following.
They must ensure that they deliver to their customers, new products, even though this may appear rather absurd in a game like football where the style expected of players in the field has relatively remained the same.
The banking sector has also embraced technological innovativeness. They have currently gotten into cheque truncating system that provides both the customers with security from the fraudsters who have been a major threat to them. Their system has also been changed to flex in order to increase efficiency in operations.
Research Design and Methodology
Approach of the Research
This research plans to incorporate all the stakeholders in the service industry irrespective of their position in the various firms. This population will then be sampled to have a manageable number that is within the scope of time and finance available for the researcher.
The researcher intends to sample a population of about126 individuals from various service firms within four cities in the United Kingdom: London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. The four cities will be our sample population which will be a representative of the entire nation.
The sample will be drawn from professionals in various service firms, especially the banking and entertainment sectors. The sample population will be strictly limited to the locations named above because of the limited time available for the research.
The researcher intends to use stratified sampling method in a bid to counter bias that may come from one quarter of the service sector.
Even though snowball sampling may work in this case as the aim of the research is to come up with a generalized idea that may be applicable to all the firms in the service sector, it is advisable to use stratified sampling. Other sampling methods may also be applicable in this research, and future researchers may be advised to try them, but the researcher prefers stratified sampling method for this research.
Sources of Data
Although there are several researchers who have done a lot of work in this field and published a lot of very resourceful, the researcher intends to use primary data as much as possible. The researcher intends to go to the fields and collect raw information from the respondents.
This is specifically so because this sector is in a continuous change. This therefore means that information that was gathered one year earlier may not be the same information that will be available today. These changes are very important to take note of as it will help the researcher determine the rate at which this industry experiences changes.
Secondary sources of information may only be used in case there is need to compare what the condition was in some past days in comparison to what it is today; to predict what it will be tomorrow. The secondary data will be from books, journals, newspapers and other online libraries rich in the information about this field.
Data Collection Instruments
The researcher intends to use three methods in the collection of the primary data. Although there are other methods of data collection (like electronic methods) that may be used to collect data, the financial scope and time available restricts the researcher to the three methods of data collection instruments.
Direct Observation (Participation)
The researcher will use survey as the first method of collecting data. In this regard, the researcher intends to participate in the activities of the service sector as a customer (especially in the banking and entertainment sector) to get a fast hand experience of how innovation and creativity is impacting the service sector.
This is important because it will be useful when determining bias or falsified information from respondents when other methods of collecting data are employed. The information collected using this method will act as the hypothetical result and we would only be verifying it by the use of other methods.
This method may be time consuming and very demanding on the side of the researcher as it requires a lot of keenness. However, it is one of the most reliable sources as it enables the researcher experience the actual impact of innovation and creativity in this industry.
The researcher also intends to use questionnaires to gather information from some firms. This is so because; there is information that cannot be gathered by the researcher through observation. The researcher will therefore have to request the executives and individuals working within the service firms to volunteer such information be responding to the questionnaires that will be distributed to them.
The questionnaires will be structured in a manner that will allow the respondents give more details in their work, other than just having a fixed Yes and No structured format. They will be mailed to the respondents and be collected after one month.
Accompanying the questionnaire will be a cover latter that will be introducing the researcher to the respondent, and explaining the importance of the research to the researcher and to the industry as a whole. The questionnaires are appropriate where there is need to gather information from a wider geographical area, which is the case in this research.
The last method will be face to face interviews that will be conducted by the researcher from among the selected respondents. This will help the researcher gather information that may otherwise be difficult to get through the other two methods.
Information that may be sensitive may be collected through this method as the researcher will be available to convince the respondent that the information provided will be handled with care and that researcher will not reveal the identity of the respondent as is demanded by the research ethics.
The interviews are also important because the researcher will be able to determine instances where the respondent is providing biased information just by reading the facial expressions. It is also easier to identify falsified information through this method.
This method will only cover a smaller population because of financial and time constraints that are involved, especially if the respondents are located in various regions that are widely spread.
There will be two sources of data available for analysis: the primary source, and the secondary source that will basically be employed when there is need for comparison of what the situation had been in the past in relation to what it is in the present.
The researcher will employ both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data. With the primary source of data as our main focus, the researcher intends to group the data into three groups depending on their method of collection. Data collected through questionnaires will be approached through quantitative means as they will be received in mass.
This information will be very vital in testing our pre-determined hypothesis as we are able to determine the number of respondents whose response are supporting or disputing the hypothesis. Because of the large number of data from this method, we will need to determine how the information varies, what the middle ground is and how far the extreme ends are.
This calls for Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) method of data analysis. This will ensure that the result is as near the true face of the market as is possible.
Data gathered from direct observations will be given qualitative analysis. This is because the researcher directly participated in it and got a first hand experience on it. It is not subject to any form of bias; save from that which may come from the researcher himself (in which case the ethics restricts the researcher from such), and misinformation that comes from individuals who may be relied on to provide the information.
This data will be analyzed to bring to focus how specific service firms have either benefitted or suffered due to innovations and creativity in this field.
The researcher intends to apply the use of statistical tools in coming up with values that reflects on the market variability and the statistical units of the firms that have had both positive and negative impacts of marketing innovation and creativity
Limitations and Delimitations
There are some limitations that are expected during the process of gathering data, data analysis and data presentations. The research touches on the service industry, an industry where some professions are considered unethical and immoral.
When there be a need to gather information from individuals in this field on a face to face basis, chances are high that they may refuse to be responds for fear of intimidations or such related concerns. Some of the executives holding viable information are known to have undue procedural processes when one needs to have interview with them.
This may be prohibitive in terms of time. Some respondents may provide information that does not reflect his/her actual feelings, or the facts on the ground. This may result in untrue data that is not reflective of the factual information on the ground.
To counter some of these challenges, the researcher plans to conduct an interview that covers a larger sample populations in areas suspected to be in a position to provide unreliable information. This is done so in an attempt to neutralize the possible element of misinformation.
The researcher will also explain to the respondent the importance of the study, and the need to provide information that reflects the truth. The researcher also intends to make prior appointment with executives with limited time available for such interviews.
The researcher understands and appreciates the ethical concerns that a research requires, and wishes to positively apply them in this research. The researcher appreciates that it is not only illegal to reproduce other scholar’s work, but also immoral act that shows cowardice, lack of creativity and high standard of laziness.
The researcher appreciates that such actions do not add any value to the field of study as the result of the study will not bring in anything new. For this reason, the researcher will refrain from any acts of plagiarism, and if there is need to refer to what other scholars have done, and then their work will appropriately be referred to according to the demands of the copywriter.
The researcher also intends to maintain a high sense of professionalism in their activities. It is not lost to the researcher that there are some issues that are very sensitive to the society and may raise emotions when referred to. The researcher will avoid subjects that may affect the respondents negatively, or issues that they may not want to talk about due to security reasons or other factors.
If this can not be avoided, then the researcher intends to cloth the message in a manner that will not negatively impact on the respondent. Any communication received from the respondents in whatsoever form, will be treated with privacy it deserves, without revealing the identity of the respondents.
All the respondents will be briefed on the importance of the research, and the implications that the research will have on them. They will be given a chance to ask questions that relate to this topic or any other question that relates to the research.
The respondents will be allowed enough time to complete the questionnaires so tat they may not feel pressured when answering the questions raised in the questionnaires. Any information that may result in negative publicity will be avoided a much as possible.
The research is expected to run for the period between the months of September to December 2011. The following is a time table scheduling the activities that will be done on various days within the stipulated time frame.
|16thto 30thSeptember||Identification of the sample locations, identifying specific firms that will be visited, allocating the necessary time for each.|
|1stto 15thOctober||Structuring the questionnaires that will be distributed in the sample locations indentified. The questionnaires will also aid the process of direct interviewing.|
|16thto 30 October||Distribution of the questionnaires in the locations pre-determined. Conducting interviews from among the sample population|
|1stto 15thNovember||Direct participation of the researcher in the field, gathering directly, the data which is relevant to the research.|
|16thto 30thNovember||Gathering the questionnaires from the locations that they were distributed. Arranging them in readiness for analysis.|
|1stto 15thDecember||Analyzing the data using the tools described above. Presenting the analyzed data in tabular and pictorial forms.|
Format and Presentation
After data analysis, the researcher intends to present the findings in tables, graphs, and other pictorial formats that will make the information easy to consume by those who will need it. The graphs will provide a presentable way of summarizing a large piece of information on just one page.
The pictorials will help in visualizing the report in order to facilitate clarity in the data presented. The tables will be useful in giving comparison of the cities and how they are affected by the marketing innovations.
The business environment has become challenging and dynamic following many uncertainties in the environment. Many organizations operating in different environments are forced to use different strategies to maintain their competitiveness.
However, marketing remains a vital option since it creates value for the firm. Marketing creativity could be attained through various strategies especially with the use of information technology. Creativity in marketing communication and distribution strategies could help an organization gain competitive advantage in low cost and high revenue performance.
Due to this, creativity and innovation in marketing is a must for organizations seeking to dominate the market. Marketers must embrace technology in an effort to coming up with innovative ideas that will be thrilling to the customers. It is through this that the marketers will form attachment between them and the customers, ensuring that their respective firms stay afloat the competition.
This paper focuses on creativity and innovation in the service firms, with a bias on banking and entertainment sectors. The researcher will apply the use of direct observation (i.e. by participating in some of the activities to get first hand information), interviews and questionnaires in the process of collecting data.
From the literature review, it is evident that innovation is a tool that any serious firm cannot afford to assume if it is to succeed in the current competitive marketplace.
List of References
Andrzej, A & Buchaman, A 2007, Organizational behavior, Prentice Hall international, London.
Carson, A 2008, Organizational theory: A libertarian perspective, BookSurge, Washington.
Del, I, Best, J & Coney, K 2005, Consumer behavior, Tata McGraw Hill, New York.
Garvin, D 1988, Managing quality, Free Press, New York.
Harvad Business Review, 2011, Smart rules: Six ways to get people to solve problems without you, Harvard Business School. Web.
Kabani, S 2009, The Zen of social media, an easier way to build credibility, generate buzz, and increase revenue, Benbella Books Inc., Dallas.