THE EFFECTS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON THE MARKETING OF CONSUMER GOODS: A CASE STUDY OF CADBURY NIGERIA PLC (1996- 2005)

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ABSTRACT

Information technology is generally believed to be the only tool that has brought the world together as a global neighborhood. It is an unprecedented revolutionary tool that can not be jettisoned or ignored by any forward looking manager of resources, whose objective is to succeed and have an edge over competitors. It is in the light of this that this study attempts to examine some of the attendant effects of information technology on the marketing of consumer goods. Data for the study was generated mainly from reliable secondary sources and the study makes use of both descriptive and analytical tools in analyzing the data
collected. The descriptive tool consists of the use of tables and ratios, while the analytical tool consists of the use of Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression. The findings of the study reveal that there is linear relationship between Information Technology and Turnover and that they are positively related. The magnitude of their relationship is also very high. Thus, growth in information technology has meaningful impact on growth in sales.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The chief goal of any business organization is to make profit. Following the goal of profit making is to keep being in business and gaining more and more share of the market – growth. Every activity of a business organization is geared towards the success of the organization.
Mullins (2002) opined that “in order to be successful, the primary objectives of the business organization may be seen as:
a. to continue in existence – that is, to survive;
b. to maintain growth and development; and
c. to make profit.
All three objectives are inextricably linked and it is a matter of debate whether the organization survives and develops in order to provide a profit, or makes a profit by which it can survive and develop. If we accept survival as the ultimate objective of the business organization, then this involves the need for a steady and
continuous profit.”
In his own words, Drucker (1989) suggested that “the first responsibility (of a business organization – mine emphasis) is to operate at a profit, and only slightly less important is the necessity for growth. The business is the wealth-creating and wealth-producing organ of our society. Management must maintain its wealth producing resources intact by making adequate profits to offset the risk of economic activity. And it must besides increase the wealth-creating and wealth producing capacity of these resources and then the wealth of society.”
It is just pertinent to note here that the business organization can keep being in business only by perpetual profit making. In view of the objectives of profit making, growth, and continuous existence of a business organization, many inventions keep evolving to help business organizations achieve their objectives.
Chief among these inventions, and perhaps, the most recent, is information technology. Simply put (in a layman’s definition), information technology is the use of computer-based (or electronic) devices to gather, process, and disseminate information.
Information is very critical to the survival of any business organization. It is not enough for a manager to know how and where to get the right information, it is important for managers to know the techniques for controlling and processing information. This is referred to as ‘manage information’ which describes the
manager’s role in obtaining, analyzing, and using information effectively to take decisions.
According to Kotler and Armstrong (2001), a century ago, most companies were small and knew their customers firsthand. Managers picked up marketing information by being around people, observing them, and asking questions. In more recent times, however, many factors have increased the need for more,
better, and faster information. As companies become national or international in scope, they need information on larger, more distant markets. As incomes increase and buyers become more selective,
sellers need better information about how buyers respond to different products and appeals. As sellers use more complex marketing approaches and face more competition, they need information on the
effectiveness of their marketing tools. Finally, in today’s more rapidly changing environments, managers need more up-to-date information to make timely decisions.
Developments in information technology have caused a revolution in information distribution. With recent advances in computers, software, and telecommunication, most companies have decentralized their marketing information systems.
Hitt, Ireland and Hoskisson (2003) noted that, “the internet provides an infrastructure that allows the delivery of information to computers in any location.
Access to significant quantities of relatively inexpensive information yields strategic opportunities for a range of industries and companies. Retailers, for example, use the internet to provide abundant shopping privileges to customers in multiple locations.”
Developments in the technical systems of communications such as international telephone connections and the increasing use of faxes, mobile telephones and email generating a working climate in which there is a greater expectation of immediacy of receipt and response; and adding to the dangers of information
overload.
Consistent with this research priority, this paper tries to build on previous research on information technology by examining the effects of information technology on the marketing of consumer goods. Specifically, this study seeks to develop and test a normative process model with sales and financial data collected from the Cadbury Nigeria PLC. Cadbury Nigeria is a major and front-lining consumer packaged goods (CPG) company in Nigeria.
More specifically, models such as regression analysis, coefficient of correlation, coefficient of determination, and hypothesis testing, were used to test the interrelationships among information technology and its consequent effects on the marketing of consumer goods.
The study is made up of five (5) chapters. Chapter one is the introduction which gives an overview of the study, relatively to the problem and objectives of the study. Chapter two is the literature review, which employed the relevant contributions of other people on the subject matter, to drive home the point of the
study. Chapter three is the research methodology and is about how data were collected. Chapter four is the presentation and analysis of data. This is where the data collected are tested, presented, and analyzed. And lastly, chapter five, which is the concluding chapter, summarizes findings and gives recommendations on the subject matter.

1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
Until the 20th century, almost all data processing was done manually. Frequent clerical errors caused transactions to be misrepresented and information was often received too late to serve any meaningful historical purpose.
This necessitated the need to find better, faster, cheaper and more reliable methods of handling information, hence, the advent of information technology. Actually, products of information technology are aimed at detecting and, if possible, improving low-quality information before it reaches the recipient.
However, it is rather bizarre to note that Nigeria, the ‘giant of Africa’ is still way behind the age. Information system is at lowest ebb. No significant data records and the little there is, are statistically incorrect. Adeoti (2004) established that “the availability of secondary data in Nigeria is known to be poor and relatively
unreliable (see Mosely, 1992 and Thoburn, 2000). Our search for secondary data in the course of this research confirmed this notion.” Akanji (Guardian: 2006) also noted that “poor governance, wide information asymmetry, and lack of confidence in the integrity of transactions and internal control mechanisms are the biggest investor concerns in Nigeria.”

The reason for the consternating state of information system in Nigeria may not be unconnected with the country’s level of developments in information technology.
Writers like Toffler (1990), Glastonbury and LaMendola (1992), Frenzel (1996), Naisbitt (1994), and Gates (1995), are of the opinion that, in the next millennium, information technology would determine the countries that would be leaders and those that would be laggards; those that would be rich and those that would be poor; and those that would be powerful as against those that would be weak. Countries that cannot trade using information technology would be relegated to the periphery of world commerce and international relations. They would thus become the outcasts of the New World System. Equally, companies that do not have an appropriate information technology infrastructure and the promotion of information technology use in their operations, management and communication processes would also suffer an existential debacle in the business arena of the new era.
For a business to thrive, therefore, in a country with such asymmetry of information, like Nigeria, something needs to be done urgently. It is on this premise that this study is carried out to assess the effects of information technology on the marketing of consumer goods.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to examine the effects of information technology on the marketing of consumer goods. However, the study will also try to:
1. Assess the need for information technology in Nigeria;
2. Know the level of development of information technology in the Nigerian consumer goods industry/market;
3. Examine the extent to which information technology has affected consumer goods in Nigeria;
4. Highlight the problems of information technology in marketing consumer goods in Nigeria; and
5. Ascertain how satisfied stakeholders are with the use of information technology in marketing consumer goods in Nigeria.

1.4 HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY/ RESEARCH QUESTIONS
To make a decision, it is useful to make assumptions or guesses which are usually untrue. This is what hypothesis is all about. According to Asika (2002), “it is a tentative statement about relationships that exist between two or among many variables. It is a conjectural statement about relationships and need to be tested and subsequently accepted or rejected.” Hypothesis to be tested is known as the null hypothesis, designated (H0). If the sample result does not support the null hypothesis, we must conclude something else. The conclusion that is accepted contingents on the rejection of the null hypothesis is called the alternative hypothesis, designated (H1). Thus, the hypothesis to be tested in this study is:
H0: Growth in information technology has no meaningful impact on sales.
H1: Growth in information technology has meaningful impact on sales.

The problem is sharply focused in form of the following research questions:
1. Why information technology in Nigeria?
2. What is the level of development of information technology in the Nigerian consumer goods industry/market?
3. To what extent has information technology affected the consumer goods in Nigeria?
4. What are the problems of information technology as regards the consumer goods in Nigeria?
5. How satisfactory is the use of information technology in marketing consumer goods in Nigeria?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The relevance of information technology in any organization can not be overemphasized. The world is rapidly turning to a global village. Companies are building electronic networks that link them to consumers, employees, vendors, and suppliers. The use of hand-held computers with internet connectivity, web-enabled
mobile phone handsets is expected to increase substantially, soon becoming the dominant form of communication and commerce.
As a result, Cannon and Perreault (1999) noted that “in the sales and marketing literatures, there has been increasing attention paid to the role of shared information, operational linkages, and cooperation as firms in business markets shift to more closely coupled relationships.” Several researchers have addressed the relationship between information technology and organizational performance.
Most of these works implicitly treat the organization as a ‘black box’ – so the impact of information technology on individual tasks, specific processes, or intermediate outcomes (such as the quality of services) is not explicitly evaluated.
This work is also justified on the basis of its focus on the Nigerian experience with the effect of information technology on consumer goods. This is hoped to keep Nigerians abreast and knowledgeable about the virtues and vices of information technology. It is also intended to serve as a scholarly contribution to the subject, thereby serving as a purpose of documentation for posterity sake.

1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Information technology devices such as the internet were introduced into the Nigerian environment in the mid-1990s. The use of trunk phones, faxes, and cellular phones have been prior to this time, though, the Global System of Mobile communication (GSM) came into the Nigerian environment in the early 2000s.
Therefore, this study is confined to a 10 year period of 1996-2005. This study is purely academic and as such, is faced with time and financial constraints. The researcher is therefore limiting his research to Cadbury Nigeria PLC. A research on the effects of information technology on the marketing of consumer goods should, no doubt, cover the various sectors of the national economy. But because of the peculiar constraints it faced, the study is designed to meet the stipulated time and conditions for submission. Nevertheless, the research is designed to produce meaningful and useful information.

1.7 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
Computer – a computer is an electronic device that uses instructions provided to it, which it stores in its memory unit, to accept data input from its peripherals. It processes the data input using its arithmetic logic processing units, and then produces outputs from its internal processing, while storing the results for use in
the future. This definition of a computer includes things like handheld computers, palmtops, notebooks, personal digital assistants (PDAs), desktops, workstations, minis, mainframe computers, as well as supercomputers.
Data – data refers to raw facts like numbers, words, images and sounds that are fed to a computer as input. Data is processed to create information.
Information – information is used to refer to data or sets of data that have been processed and/or manipulated to provide something meaningful and useful.
Hardware – computer hardware refers to the physical components of the computer, i.e. those aspects of the computer that are physically manipulable.
Software – software refers to the sets of instructions that are fed into the machine that enable the computer to process data/information.
Input device – input devices are the devices used to enter data into a computer. The most commonly used input devices are the keyboard and the mouse. A keyboard is like the keyboard of typewriters. It is usually the Qwerty board variety that is used. A mouse is a device, which could be held and used to move a pointing device about, usually in the shape of an arrow on the screen of a computer.
Network – a network is a series of computers that are connected electronically and that can share information digitally. When not physically interconnected, communication between computers that are spread out geographically can still take place via the use of a modem.
Modem – a modem converts the digital signal of a computer to analog signals that are transmitted through a communication channel like the telephone line.
Cyberspace – refers to the ether world of electronic communication in which individuals or organizations push data and information around to other individuals or organizations around the world.

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