Socio-economic challenges on building a strong online presence. Case study small and micro businesses in Cyprus.
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The old classic marketing model has been outdated by globalization. Nowadays, it is well acknowledged that there is an urge for all businesses to create and actively support a digital presence, placing digital strategies (company webpage, social media pages, digital advertising, web analytics etc.) at the top of their marketing plan and efforts. According to the European Commission the European Union (EU) is getting more digital (with Cyprus, Ireland and Spain having progressed the most, by more than 15 points, over the past 4 years) but the progress is still considered insufficient, when compared to global leaders. The 2013 economic crisis and the haircut forced many microbusinesses in Cyprus to close down and many others to introduce significant organizational and structural changes. Currently, 93,3% of Cyprus economy is formed by 45706 microbusinesses (employing 1-9 people). It is observed that a significant number of these businesses do not have or do not actively engage in online marketing strategies. It is of great significance to analyse and understand the level at which they engage in digital development and what are the factors and challenges that keep these companies inactive, from using such tools, thereby preventing them from booming. First of all, this study is expected to examine the status of the actual microbusinesses’ digital development in Cyprus. Second, to create a blueprint for them about efficient digital marketing practices which combine innovative digital strategies and tools that can lead to better performance and higher revenue.