Direct electronic marketing opportunities for SMEs
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The paper deals with an analysis of direct electronic marketing as an important marketing channel for SMEs primarily focusing on the identification of its advantages and disadvantages as well as efficient best practices for SMEs. Available direct electronic marketing statistics, cost-benefit analysis, business and consumer value, and regulatory mechanisms are investigated in the international as well as in the Lithuanian context. The present research focuses on the analysis of the balance of private and entrepreneurial interests and identification of the efficiency and acceptability criteria in regulating and adopting direct electronic marketing. The paper concludes that direct electronic marketing is very advantageous to local businesses and especially to SMEs. Unfortunately, the common perception of direct marketing and especially electronic direct marketing is negative, since it may compromise personal privacy. Analysis of the U.S. business experience shows that direct marketing is among the most efficient marketing channels. Analysis of the Lithuanian experience demonstrates that the advantages of direct electronic marketing are not considered and negative perceptions and strict regulation prevent businesses from employing direct electronic marketing. The paper summarizes the best practices in applying direct electronic marketing principles in order to consolidate privacy interests with economic interests, suggests amendments to the regulations, and encourages a wider acceptance of business self-regulation.
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