Natalia Thomas, MSc Digital Marketing & Analytics at Dublin Business School, recently concluded her dissertation; The Impact of Digital Marketing Training on Northern Ireland SMEs Ability To Innovate.

The research aim was to assess if there is an influence between the SMEs in Northern Ireland who received the digital marketing training by ProfileTree and the potential impact the training has had on the SMEs’ ability to innovate. 

Within this article, we’ll explore the key findings of the report and the impact this has for SMEs within NI.

This report also highlights that Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of SMEs  amongst the UK region and as such, gives sound reason to investigate the impact of digital marketing training on NI SMEs.  

Report Summary

Here is a summary of the report, but you can read the full dissertation here: 

Report summary: the impact of digital marketing training on northern ireland smes ability to innovate
  1. The research aims to assess the impact of digital marketing training on SMEs’ ability to innovate, specifically in Northern Ireland. It uses a qualitative research design with semi-structured interviews.
  1. Lack of digital marketing skills and knowledge was found to be a major challenge faced by SMEs prior to the training program. Their online presence and activity was quite limited with most efforts being either outsourced or ad-hoc.
  1. The main driver for SMEs to participate in the training was the funding support offered by the local city council. This highlights the important enabling role local governments can play through such initiatives.
  1. Key findings show the training does impact SMEs’ ability to innovate in their digital marketing. This includes improved marketing effectiveness from trying new techniques and content like social media analytics, competitor analysis, paid ads, content variety, etc.
  1. The reported outcomes of enhanced marketing effectiveness lead to higher sales, new customer acquisition, and lead generation.
  1. Beyond tactical skills, the training also boosted the confidence of entrepreneurs to expand their business, be more creative, and feel higher ownership of brand direction.
  1. Additional influential factors were also recognised, e.g.) being in a niche industry with little competition, competitors’ lack of digital marketing, and entrepreneurs’ prior experience.
  1. Local government bodies have an important role via funding support to enable SMEs to participate in such training programmes, which is a key driver due to SMEs’ limited finances.
  1. The study recommends policymakers actively enable SMEs’ digital marketing adoption through funding and support for training programs. It also encourages SMEs to leverage such training in order to innovate their digital marketing.

There is clear evidence within this report that tailored digital marketing training programs, especially when supported through public funding initiatives can have a significant positive impact on NI SMEs’ ability as well as propensity to innovate and adopt new marketing techniques.

Digital Marketing Training Increased SMEs Ability to Innovate

The findings from this report found that SMEs in Northern Ireland, who received digital marketing training, significantly improved their ability to innovate.

This innovation was manifested in several ways:

  • Improved marketing effectiveness: SMEs that received digital marketing training were more likely to report improved marketing results, such as increased website traffic, social media engagement, and leads generated.
  • Boosted entrepreneurial confidence: SMEs with training were more confident in their ability to explore new digital marketing strategies and experiment with innovative approaches.
  • Experimentation with new areas of digital marketing: SMEs were more likely to venture into new areas of digital marketing, such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media advertising, after completing the training.
  • Leveraging new content types: SMEs were more likely to create and utilise new types of digital marketing content, such as infographics, video, and interactive elements, after receiving training.
  • Inviting new forms of engagement from consumers: SMEs were more proactive in engaging with their target audience through interactive campaigns, chatbots, and personalised marketing experiences.

The findings of the study suggest that digital marketing training is a valuable investment for SMEs in Northern Ireland seeking to enhance their innovation and marketing effectiveness. 

Dr. leva Masevic

Digital Marketing and Research Methods Lecturer 

Dublin Business School

“This research proves the integral and influential role of digital marketing training on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) successful ability to innovate. More specifically, this research provides noteworthy industry insights and recommendations by highlighting how digital marketing training boosts an SMEs marketing effectiveness as well as entrepreneurial confidence to explore new opportunities.”

Ciaran Connolly

Founder of ProfileTree Web Design and Digital Marketing

Member of Dublin Business School B&M Advisory Board 

“The findings of this report shed valuable light on the benefits that training participants reap upon completing our digital marketing training programmes. These insights reinforce the effectiveness of our training, as we observe NI SMEs gaining enhanced marketing expertise that leads to business success.”

Dublin Business School

Dublin Business School (DBS) offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business, accounting, law, marketing, computing, and more. The school has a strong reputation for its industry-focused education and its commitment to providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workplace.

Natalia Thomas

Natalia Thomas is a digital media executive who brings a data-driven, yet creative flair, to digital marketing campaigns.

This dissertation ‘The Impact of Digital Marketing Training on Northern Ireland SMEs Ability To Innovate’ was submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc Digital Marketing & Analytics At Dublin Business School. Natalia received first-class honours for this research report.

Report summary: the impact of digital marketing training on northern ireland smes ability to innovate
Natalia Thomas

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *