E-marketing is a term that is used often to refer to the marketing of products online. This involves carrying out the traditional physical marketing activities online and in a more digitized way. It could also refer to the sale of products and services online although this has not been solely what e marketing is. It is quite wide and captures other aspects of e commerce as well.
The internet has widely attracted the attention of the whole globe at large because of the wide capabilities that come with it. The high interactivity of the internet only works to make the marketing online even more efficient. Internet marketing has been broadly viewed to include the email, wireless media and the management of data that relates to the relationship between the customers and the firm by the use of customer relationship models. Online marketing improves the return on investment much more than any other traditional marketing strategies ever would do. This type of marketing has created a global touch and a wide variety of products can be dealt in too (Fatayerji, 2004).
The major models that are incorporated in the online marketing include the B2B model where businesses can collaborate with other businesses information of strategic alliances and marketing of products to other businesses. An example of this is amazon.com. B2C is the traditional model of e-marketing where firms are in a position to market their products to the final consumers (Collin, 2000). Other consumers may as well want to sell to consumers what they feel is no longer needed by them. They will then use the C2C models of e marketing where collaboration of consumers will be enhanced and they can sell their products to fellow consumers. An example of this firm is e-bay.com.
Internet marketing holds a wide array of elements to it. This includes the technical aspects of the internet, designing and development, advertising and finally carrying out the sales. This e-marketing will involve placing of media in the various stages of engaging the customer. This will involve the use of search engine marketing, optimization using the search engines, use of banner ads, and marketing via email. Email marketing however seems to be most convenient (Chaffey, 2007).
Most marketers focus on the concept of marketing in their approach towards coming up with the best strategy for marketing. It is in line with this that most authors focus on the 4 Ps of marketing. Haegele (2001) is one such an author. The theory of electronic marketing is closely linked to that of the physical marketing. The only difference is that the approach will be customized to adopt best to how it would be carried out in the environment to online transactions. The concept of marketing has to be sustained. The 4Ps to be specific is quite vital. Place, price, promotion and product will need to be taken care of. The people to be targeted are very important.
Online marketing will usually focus on the persons that have internet access most of the time. The time appropriate for the persons needs to be determined well in advance. The place in this case does not pose a major challenge as it were since the place will be fixed as the internet. It will only require the buyers and sellers to meet online. Promotional activities in e marketing are diverse and there are several that can be incorporated ranging from free sampling of services online to the advertisements that can be placed on the internet and through top the banners that keep flinging on the internet websites (Haegele, 2001).
Is a theory in marketing that guides the populations that are to be sold to by firms. For proper market targeting to happen, the market has to be segmented. Upon segmentation a firm will know exactly which types of market exist and thereby sell to the market that appeals most to the firm. Using online market targeting will call for an effective market research that needs to be carried out by the firms to understand the type of market to be served. Online questionnaires can be used to achieve this goal.
Segmentation, which precedes market targeting, could be done in the case of online marketing. This is however a bit challenging as a web address opened in Jerusalem Israel and that opened in Tokyo Japan are bound to have the same appearance. A firm could target a market for the rich, Christians, Blacks and other available parameters. This may call for segmentation based on behavior, demography, social status, economic position and other psychographic factors. So, firms will first carry out an extensive study of the online market trends before choosing to supply. Using Google search in Japan for example, will assure the first results attained relate to Japan news and information. This is a form of geographical market targeting
Market targeting and positioning
Are very important strategies applied in marketing. Lewis (2001) states how this should be approached. According to Kurtz, MacKenzie and et al., (2009), use of e marketing systems has operated to immensely cut on the costs of marketing and productions as it were. The costs of suppliers and other logistics are minimized. A firm can therefore position itself as the low cost leader in the market by the use of the web based applications. This will in essence increase not only the customer base of the firm but also improve the customer loyalty towards the products of the firm. Market positioning can best be achieved by the use of the e-marketing strategies that are currently in use.
Targeting of certain markets may take a twist. A firm may choose to target markets with low income levels. To achieve this, it will have to present itself as a low cost leader. Low cost leadership as discussed above can also be achieved by the use of electronic data interchange. Online marketing provides a wide array of activities that can be utilized in making the success of the market even better. Electronic Data Interchange is one such an example. Lewis (2002) insinuates that the digital exchange of documents via email has greatly been improved. There has been an eased process of supply chain. In this case, the firms would be able to very fast process the orders that are placed by the customers. Receipts issued can be processed automatically in a fast way with cost saving implications.
Target marketing in essence is the opposite of mass marketing. Both are however facilitated by online marketing. Several advantages worth mentioning are accrue to by the use of online target marketing even though the same advantages are attributable to the physical target marketing. The advantages include: One can drill down on not only the features that a product is bound to offer but also the benefits thereof. This therefore makes targeting beneficial in terms of the ease it lays on marketing.
Communication with the target market always becomes easier once one has done targeting of the market. In this, one will be in a position to clearly understand the various needs and how best to get in touch with the customers of the firm. Marketing of services is made much easier by the use of targeting. It will be easy for one to determine which online avenues to use for marketing the products and how the customers would want to receive their products.
Targeting of markets creates a host of other opportunities that firms can exploit to be able to improve their profitability. In this, a company may form strategic alliances with other firms that want to venture or have already ventured in that market. Nokia for example was able to form links with Blackberry in terms of email service provision on their gadgets. Through market targeting, it is therefore possible for a firm to not only improve its profitability but also set out profitable partnerships that are bound to grow the institution into the long term. What better way for firms to achieve this end than by using the web based market targeting opportunities that are available?
Market targeting when done online equally provides an opportunity to a firm to determine proactively the institutions that they would want to work with. This is because the specific needs will be well established in advance and therefore other corresponding suppliers and customers. A firm will be in a position to build a brand around a choice that it has come up with. Market targeting may offer a wide array of benefits while saving on costs at the same time. In some cases though, market targeting may not be so beneficial as it were. Mass customization then takes center stage. Mass customization could be used to cater for the segmentation of the various market segments. Google as earlier discussed has mass customized its service. Anyone in any country may operate the local Google service. Another example is that a firm that sells cards online would want to produce them mass yet customized for different markets all across the globe.
Ebay.com represents an online firm that has laid a lot of emphasis on having an excellent online marketing system. Several approaches are handled by the firm in ensuring that the system is not only effective in getting the strategic results but that it also is convenient to the customer as well. eBay is an online company that carries out Consume to consumer marketing of products. This company helps to link consumers who have products that they would like to dispose because possibly they do not have further use for them. In this connection they allow people to dispose off things like mobile phones, I phones, I pods, laptops, personal computers and other personal effects that consumers would love to dispose.
The firm does not only deal with used products but also deals with brand new products of this kind. To effectively carry out the marketing of the products, the firm has put in place several strategies to ensure that the firm gets to reach more customers and makes profits in the process (Chaffey& Smith, 2002).
eBay carries out permission marketing, which is one of the strategies applied in online marketing. In this strategy, any visitors or users of the website are required to register and are asked whether they are interested in receiving more emails from the firm. These emails contain advertisements and notifications about the products that are available. This enables the firm to increase its sales. The utilities on the eBay website are specifically designed in a way that mass customization is allowed. The products that are advertised on the website are ensured to be of high quality and dependable attributes. Permission marketing also allows the subscribers to receive detailed information on any offers that eBay is having for its customers.
Lately for example, there has been an offer on certain iPhones which if purchased; one will get free shipment to any part of the world. When such offers crop up, those subscribed to eBay will get the information first. This strategy is used to create a brand (Sinclair, 2007). This is because the reminders on email and other avenues keep the name eBay in the mind of customers and therefore the brand name of the firm grows.
eBay is so versatile that in their online sales, still they have the grace to accord after sale services (Matthews & Cronan, 2009). Lately certain types of phones purchased have been delivered for free all across the globe. These free delivery services have helped to position the firm as not only a leader in customer care but also as one that is reliable in deliveries. Concessions offered during certain periods are brought to the attention of customers by use of permission marketing.
Some customers for example are allowed to advertise the products that they want to sell for free. Permission marketing sometimes is also utilized by eBay when customers are to complete some questionnaires and thus offer some vital information (Krishnamurthy, 2006). This research has helped the firm to provide the services and the products that are specifically convenient to use and cater the specific needs of the customers. The customers will be requested whether they are interested in taking the research.
A second strategy that eBay utilizes is that it carries out affiliation with other websites in terms of their advertisements. This happens in several ways. eBay has agreed with Google so that the former’s web link appears on the latter’s page after a visitor has gone to search on Google. Similarly yahoo search engine has such an arrangement with eBay. By use of this affiliation, a brand is created since the name “eBay” remains imprinted in the minds of web users. Another way that affiliation works are where eBay does some advertisements on behalf of some companies like Yahoo mail and in return a link of yahoo mail is placed on the website of eBay’s. eBay has an arrangement with several such companies including half.com and EZ.
On these sites eBay utilizes text, animations or banners that keep flinging on the screen to draw ones attention. The use of web portals is also a common phenomenon by eBay.
This firm was created in July 1994. The website was however initiated a year later. Initially the site offered only sale of books. Later it has developed more into a leading online firm. The firm has been raking in lots of revenues to the tune of million dollars. This has been attributed to the awesome online marketing strategies that are implemented in its operations. They have a strategy of making them so effective and accessible. Sorting of their books is one of the strategies that they use to beat other physical book stores. By searching on the major search engines, one can access the available books.
Online customer service is a strategy employed by Amazon in promoting itself. The arduous process of searching books has been simplified by Amazon. Similarly the firm has included a lot of book reviews which act as customer service to ensure that the customers obtain exactly what their bargain is worth. The reviews of the books are made to be current and very relevant. Better management practice has been instituted by Amazon to ensure customer satisfaction. This has been done by creating the website to be an online shopping portal down from being a specialty realtor. The firm offers excellent after sale services to its customers.
This is done by shipping the books that are purchased to various parts of the world. In the year 2003, for one to get their shipment free, they had to purchase books that were worth more than 90 dollars but later this stringency was reduced to 25 dollars worth of purchase. This strategy has by far worked to bring the highest number of customers for the company. Equally more of Amazon’s customers have been retained because of this strategy. Door to door delivery has been a strategy that is used by Amazon.
By using this, the firm has also managed to attract those who would not wish to pay for the extra shipping fees. The firm is also presenting itself as a market leader in the industry in terms of its innovations. This technology called one click buying allows customers to enter their credit cards upon which the shipping information would be stored automatically in the system (Gay & Charlesworth, 2006). This has enabled the firm to stand out as a leader and hence attract more customers. This has also lessened the work since the customer would only click on the item they require and this would automatically lead to completion of all the other transactions relating to the customer (Richards, 2006). Listing of their products is also a strategy that the firm utilizes in reaching a wider market.
The firm also tags its products on other websites thus utilizing affiliate sites so that they can best market their products. Special offers are available on certain categories of books like on the holiday books. Another example of leading innovations is the “Gold Box” which is a feature that is included so that depending on the quantities purchased, one can get discounts of up to 50%. The more one buys, the more discounts they get. This has encouraged more people to increase their purchases and hence the profits of the firm.
Analysis of Amazon and eBay Strategies
Market targeting is a theory that is very important in the online marketing of products. Amazon may find it difficult to target various markets online since their market is quite diverse and spread all across the globe. As opposed to eBay which is not so much utilized in Africa (Mariga, 2003), Amazon has been able to cut across various countries of the world including third world countries. Think of Amazon trying to target customers in the US alone; the benefits that are numerous brought from Africa and Asia will be missed out on. On the other hand, segmentation may work for them better than targeting. In this the firm would be in a position even to incorporate discriminatory prices for books sold in various market segments.
The books sold by Amazon are not limited to a given subject or category thereof. Their books range from those relating to geography, literature, business IT, science, Mathematics, History and many others. By targeting specific subjects like saying Science will only work to reduce the profits that they would reap from the other subjects as well. On the other hand, trying to do market targeting based on the various social classes and status by the firm may not work towards the profitability of the firm since some low income earners have specific books they buy which are not purchased by high income earners. By incorporating this strategy, Amazon will be limiting the breadth of its market and consequently the profits realized.
A quick look at the current strategies utilized by Amazon will present the point that efficacy is noted. Profits lately have been soaring so high because of the market leadership and online customer service strategies utilized. Amazon has managed to beat the usual books stores by the use of the internet where the books that are required by customers can easily be found by the click of the mouse (Waltz, 2003) Equally the whole procedure involved in by the e-marketing has been made to be time saving and cost effective which ideally is how the marketing strategy according to the review of literature is meant to be like.
Through the use of e-marketing, the firms have been able to accomplish the promotional activities previously popular with traditional marketing for example offering of after sale services and free sample by Amazon. Com. This has worked to improve the popularity of the firm as a leading online bookstore. Other strategies are bound to work better as opposed to the online market targeting by the firm. This may include an improvement on their B2C and B2B models. This essentially will still relate to the customer service.
eBay on the other hand may utilize market targeting. This is reinforced by the fact that most of the customers to the firm are not from third world countries. It is therefore almost obvious that you will not find sorghum being sold on eBay. With this in mind, eBay may carry out a research of the basic personal effects that are mostly required by the exotic European and American markets and provide them specifically. EBay’s utilization of market targeting however only seems to be very profitable in the short run.
This is when the trends of virtual transactions are not so popular with third world populations. However with growth in virtual transactions, eBay will be better positioned to carry out mass customization so that the needs of various market segments can be met by the firm at the same time. Apart from this, segmentation may be carried out in future based on the economic capabilities of its customers across the globe.
Mobile phones, i-phones and Laptops are not so prominently utilized in the third world countries and eBay may not reap much from such areas by investing in them. The costs may tend to overwhelm the benefits reaped from such places. In essence markets in Africa may simply be more of cost centers than profit centers (Iyer, 2003). It however is worth noting that with the growth in communications and lowering of the digital divide, eBay may still consider venturing out into these markets. This though may not be very soon. It has also to be mentioned that eBay still has customers in the third world countries; just that they are not substantial to be targeted as such.
The current strategies used by eBay are still noted to be working, and effectively for that matter. Permission marketing for example has seen a growth in the customer base as more and more loyal customers refer the efficacy of the firm to their friends. This referral system has also helped improve the growth of the firm. Although not discussed in the practical above, eBay also utilizes, use of banners that keep flinging on the websites of their partners. Currently, the strategies utilized by eBay are profitable. Market targeting is one of them.
With more digitization levels, a wide array of opportunities keeps being presented to firms to exploit the possibility of online marketing. The capabilities of this type of marketing cannot be underestimated (Canzer, 2006). However, proper planning and market research are of essence. Firms tend to limit their market touch by not engaging in market research in other possible areas like Asia, Africa and the Caribbean where markets could just be explosive (Weinstein, 2004).
What a better way than to use e-marketing to reach these areas? Using this, firms may be in a position to give free sample at a lower cost, transfer and transport products more efficiently by proper collaboration with the transportation companies, and take advantage of the available resources to improve the activities of the firms. In as much as e-marketing is quite explosive with potential of unbelievable growth levels firms need also to consider having a click and mortar type of organization so that to some extent, physical offices are put in place to serve customers who do not have the trust for online systems.
There needs to be a proper cost benefit analysis when using these systems. At some point some organization experience huge losses by using this web based applications in making their deals and other transactions. This is because the set up costs at time are very high while the revenues are effectively low.
Schneider (2009) insinuates that security on the internet applications has been an old age issue. It has hampered the total acceptance of online transactions. Firms need to put security control measure in place to ensure that the safety of the customers’ money is assured.
Credit card fraud and other online crimes have particularly scared persons from engaging in online transactions. Lastly research is of the essence so that before setting up any online marketing system, the requirements of the communities being targeted are well known in advance. The firms also need to hire very highly skilled and versatile web site developers who will; collaborate with system analysts and market researchers to deliver a system that will effectively serve the market needs.
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