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1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
History has shown that societies have unique aspect of Interaction which makes life substantial for survival and co-existence. This unique aspect of interaction is referred to as marketing. Marketing entails ideas which are transformed into products/ services and all the activities that ensure its availability to the prospective customer for mutual benefit.
For the scope of this work, marketing involves the process of communication by a marketer of goods and services to prospective customers. This communication provides information about features, condition of purchase, availability and image. Many are intended as direct stimuli to a purchasing decision. It can also be viewed as the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade and remind consumers, directly or indirectly about the products and brands that they sell in order to arouse purchasing instinct in the sense of their prospective customers.
Marketing communication is indirect where marketer prospect interactions are inhibited. This may be a resultant effect of one-way channel of communication as in the use of broadcasting media such as television, Radio, Newspapers, and billboards. It could also be as a result of interposition of an intermediary of some kind that does not have a principal- agent a relationship with the marketer. E.g. a shop assistant in a retail department store.
Marketing Communication makes available a wide range of opportunities for both marketers and customers buying goods and services especially in this era of paperless
society in which direct contacts/ interactions is less due to the advancement in information technology. Today, many industries and organizations do market their product through internet, television and other related information technologies such as electronic business (E-business) E.g. ATM telebanking, personal computer, banking and the rest of them.
According to Clarke (1998) Marketing Communication are direct on the other hand where;
v The marketer conducts the communication directly with the prospect rather than through intermediaries and or
v The channel supports some degree of interaction between the marketer and the
Direct marketing tends to stress the importance of gathering data about targets, e.g. “most importantly, it usually results in the creation of a DATABASE of respondents”. This gives rise to the use of the term ‘Database marketing’ to refer to “marketing to people as individuals, on the basis of computer file. On-line marketing in still marketing but marketing on internet seems to be more customer driven, more information- base and more personal. The on-line market is global, immediate and nonstop. Today, the explosion of media enables many more companies to sell their products and services directly to customers without intermediaries. The existing media-print and broadcast, catalogs, direct mail and telephone marketing have been complemented by fax machines, e-mails, internet and on-line services. Banks are increasingly using all these media to make direct offers to existing customers and to
identify new prospects. .Direct marketing enables companies to target their offers and to measure their results more accurately.
Kotler (2001:549), observed that more of today’s marketing is moving from the market place into cyberspace. Direct marketing is being used increasingly across a wide range of both consumer and organizational markets. In the relatively conservative financial service industry, there has been a marked increase in the direct selling and direct marketing of a wide range of banking facilities and insurance.
Banks have though seriously about ways of making their services more accessible to their customers. Telephone banking, with processes designed to protect customer’s security and to provide 24 hours coverage, allows customers easy access to their accounts from their own homes whenever they want it. In addition to this, there is an expectation that full-use of on-line banking with most banks is not for away. Zenith Bank Plc is encouraging customers to use on-line services for retail transactions as well as share trading and foreign currency transactions, loans usually still require face-to-face meetings. Also with direct and on-line marketing, one can easily update information, track customers, case of order processing and it is open 24/7 days and all year round. Zenith bank Plc, In compliance with the recent CBN mandate to all banks, has improved tremendously in their technology competence to drive the interest of their customers by introducing line of products that could be accessible by those customers even in their closets.
1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE BANK
Zenith Bank plc is one of the biggest and most capitalized companies on Nigeria Stock Exchange. The bank was established in May 1990 and started operations in July same year as a commercial bank. It became a public limited company on June 17, 2004 and was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange on October 21, 2004. The bank presently has a shareholder base of about one million, an indication of the strength of the Zenith brand.
Operating from its head office located at 87, Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, with over three hundred and fifty (350) branches and business offices nationwide, Zenith Bank has presence in all the state capitals, the federal capital territory (FCT) as well as major cities and towns in Nigeria.
The bank also maintains a strong presence along the West African Coast with wholly-owned subsidiaries in Accra, Ghana (Zenith Bank, Ghana) and Freetown, Sierra Leone (Zenith Bank, Sierra Leone) as well as in Europe through Zenith Bank UK Limited. This is in addition to a representative office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
At Zenith Bank, speed, efficiency and flexibility are abiding watchwords. The bank’s customer-focused approach to service delivery consistently reinforces its value creation processes towards assisting customers in achieving their goals and aspiration. The bank has over the years strategically invested in and deployed cutting edge technology and infrastructure to consistently improve service delivery. At Zenith Bank, products and services are designed to suit the demands of corporate and individual customers. The expertise developed over the years enables Zenith Bank to provide efficient financial services including, but not limited to, corporate and Commercial
Banking Services, E-business solutions including local and international cards, treasury and cash Management Services, Foreign Exchange and Trade Finance Services, Funds/Assets Management, Private Banking, Investment Banking and Financial Advisory Services. The bank’s array of other specialized financial services is delivered through its subsidiaries, including Zenith Capital (the investment banking arm); Zenith securities Ltd. (a securities trading and asset Management Company); Zenith registrars’ ltd (share registration services); Zenith General Insurance Company Ltd can insurance and risk underwriting company and Zenith Pensions Ltd (a pension custodian management company).
Zenith Bank has pioneered several e-products and services to satisfy the yearnings of its teeming customers. Such products include zmobile, a service which allows customers transact their banking businesses using their mobile phones, a message other system which enables customers monitor all transactions on their accounts via short text messages delivered to their mobile phones.
At Zenith Bank, excellent service delivery and development of superior asset quality, strong capital base, professionalism and corporate governance have provided the grounds for consistently high returns to stakeholders. The bank maintains sound risk management and corporate governance culture in line with global best practice.
Impressive growth pattern and performance over the years have earned Zenith Bank excellent ratings from local and international agencies. Standard and poor’s currently rates the bank BB-, which is the highest ever assigned to any Nigerian bank. Fitch ratings currently rates Zenith Bank AA-(National) while Agusto & co, Nigeria’s foremost rating Agency has, for the ninth Consecutive year, rated Zenith Bank ‘Triple A
saying “the bank is a financial institution of impeccable financial condition and overwhelming capacity to meet obligations as and when they fall due”.
In January 2009, Zenith Bank was also named ‘Best Bank in Nigeria’ for 2008 by the same influential publication. It also emerged “best global Banking Champion’ at the 2009. This Day award for excellence. Also in 2009, January, the bank was adjudged the “most customer focused Bank in Nigeria (corporate, from a survey conducted by foremost consulting firm, KPMG. The survey, which focused on corporate customers of banks, including companies in a variety of sectors, found that they were most satisfied with the services rendered by Zenith Bank. In June, 2009, Zenith Bank was recognized as the bank with “Best Asset Quality in Nigeria by financial standard newspaper. Earlier in October, 2008, Zenith Bank was named Africa’s best global bank by the Africa Banker at an impressive ceremony held at the IMF/World Bank meeting in Washington D.C. In 2007, Zenith was recognized by the council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as the “Quoted Company of the year”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The recent mandate to banks by the regulatory body (CBN) which placed a limit of (N10, 000,000) ten million naira Cheque encashment per transaction has posed a huge threat to high volume cash-transactions. Prior to this mandate, high rate of robbery attack on banks brew a lot of concern to banks on how to reduce cash transaction so as to guarantee safety of the business.
These developments compel banks to dove-tail into engaging electronic way of running their normal business because no bank is ready to lose their customers patronage or err against banking regulatory policies.
Given the need for security and business continuity, banks now employ the use of high-tech mode of communicating and delivery of their products and services to potential and existing customers. Direct and online marketing are applied by banks to create product awareness and also used as a strategy for customer retention.
Despite the convenience of the online services, some customers who are not literate enough will face challenges with the application of those electronic way of transacting business thereby creating a problem to the bank on how to win, maintain loyalty and retain such customers.
Again, poor infrastructural facilities pose a big threat to product accessibility. The demand to engage in direct as well as online marketing for bank product has made the empirical appraisal of their application imperative.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The means by which bank’s services are communicated to their existing and potential customers is very vital for their existence and survival. Therefore the major objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of direct and online marketing of banking services.
Specifically, the study will seek to investigate amongst others:
a. The reasons/factors for applying direct and online marketing in Zenith bank.
b. Factors militating against good patronage of bank’s product and services.
c. The effectiveness of direct and online marketing to the overall performance of the bank.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study will seek to answers to the following questions.
1. What are the reasons for applying direct and on-line marketing in Zenith Bank Plc?
2. Does channel of Communication Impact on the profitability level of the bank?
3. Is the application and usage of direct and on-line marketing by Zenith bank deceptive or fraudulent to customers?
4. Are there benefits tied to the application of direct and on-line marketing by the bank?
FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses, stated in null and alternate form are formulated for the
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