Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Ryan Ladner


Internet Marketing, Social Media, Rural Small Businesses, Challenges, Qualitative Study


Business | Marketing


This qualitative case study explored how rural small business owners make decisions about using internet marketing as a strategy. To understand the small business owner’s experiences, this study uncovered relevant factors influencing the business owner’s during the decision-making process. The general problem to be addressed is the lack of internet marketing used by small business owners. The project focused on rural small business owners in Sumter and Marengo counties in Alabama, to gain their perspective on internet marketing, the impact that a failure to use internet marketing have on their businesses, and the specific factors that influence them not to use or ineffectively use internet marketing. The owners were the primary decision-makers for their business, and the interviews provided the qualitative data used to develop a list of key factors that influence the decision making process in terms of internet marketing. The research methodology permitted a deeper understanding of the factors contributing to the problem and helped identify potential solutions to the problem. The study concludes with recommendations for future research and application to professional practice.

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