Funded PhD Opportunity Digital Marketing and the Small Firm

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Business and Management Studies


That small firm marketing is different to large firm marketing is a point that is continually reemphasised in the small firm literature, and it is contended that the small firm sector merits its own marketing theories.  However, while the application of large firm models to a small firm context is generally criticised, it is accepted that the basic principles of marketing are broadly applicable to both large and small businesses.  Within marketing, digital technology has opened up opportunities for businesses, and it follows that digital marketing offers opportunities for small firms.  However, as is the case for marketing more generally, an understanding of what digital marketing ‘looks like’ in the  small business sector is difficult to achieve.

This project will focus on digital marketing in a small business context.  Specific aspects that may be investigated are, inter alia, usage, objectives, drivers and challenges of small firm digital marketing.  These aspects may be examined in the context of what is happening in small firms, what could happen in small firms and what should happen in small firms.

The project may focus on perceptions of small business owners and/or their customers.  It might examine the principle of online engagement and how it can be achieved in a small firm context.  A researcher may opt to focus on one type of small firm (e.g., founder-managed; new; established), an industry sector; a geographical region.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
  • Research proposal of 2000 words detailing aims, objectives, milestones and methodology of the project

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • Masters at 65%


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £15,009 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

Watch Video

Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 18 February 2019
Interview Date
week commencing 11 March 2019

Contact Supervisor

Dr Aodheen McCartan

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #344918 when applying for this PhD opportunity