Internet marketing involves the usage of the Internet to market and sell goods or services. In this thesis I wished to seek answers for the following questions with the help of secondary data obtained from the News Papers, Business Magazines, Online articles along with web, email surveys and e-questionnaires taking into consideration consumer perspective, and see if they are moved by the internet marketing done by the companies or not, and if they are then up to what extent. The survey results helped me in predicting the trends in Internet marketing.
In 2008, if you’re not on a social networking site, you’re not on the Internet. It’s as true for advertisers as it is for consumers. Social networking is the ultimate manifestation of user generated content, and as such, holds more potential for growth than any other form of content on the Web today. User Generated Content (UGC) and Social Networks are transforming the media ecosystem. Gone are the days when power rested in the hands of a few content creators and media distributors. Gone are the days when marketers controlled the communication and path between advertisement and consumer. Today’s model is collaborative, collective, customized and shared. It’s a world in which the consumer is the creator, consumer and distributor of content. Today there are over a billion content creators and hundreds of millions of distributors. The proliferation of quality, affordable technology during the past 5 years, one of the most profound social effects of the Internet has been the democratization of media. Nowadays, anybody with a computer and an Internet connection is ready to start broadcasting to the whole world, for free. Online tools such as the well known Blogger make publishing on the Internet extremely easy and accessible to people with hardly any technical knowledge.
7 P'S Of Internet Marketing
The four P's - Product, Price, Place and Promotion have long been associated with marketing, but things have changed on the Internet. So along with a change in the nature of the four P’s there are three new P’s which are relevant to the internet marketer: Presentation, Processes and Personalization.
Product on the Internet usually changes form online, and the user experiences it electronically, in the form of text, images and multimedia. Physical goods are usually presented in the form of a detailed online catalogue that the customer can browse through. Technology allows the user to virtually touch and feel the product on the Internet - rotate it, zoom in or zoom out and even visualize the product in different configurations and combination. Content and software are two avatars of digitized
products that can be even distributed over the Internet. On the Internet, E-marketing will be based more on the product qualities rather than on the price. Every company will be able to bring down the cost of its products and hence competition will not be on price. It will rather be on the uniqueness of the product. To be able to attract the customers and retain them, the company will have to provide nouvelle and distinct products that forces the net users to purchase and come back for more.
Price has been drastically changed over the Internet. It lets the buyer decides the price. Also it gives the buyers information about multiple sellers selling the same product. It leads to best possible deal for the buyers in terms of price. Pricing is dynamic over the Internet.
Place revolves around setting up of a marketing channel to reach the customer. Internet serves as a direct marketing channel that allows the producer to reach the customer directly. The elimination of the intermediate channel allows the producer to pass the reduced distribution cost to the customer in the form of discounts.
Promotion is extremely necessary to entice the customer to its website, as there are currently more than one billion web pages. Promoting a website includes both online and offline strategies. Online strategies include search engine optimization, banner ads, multiple points of entry, viral marketing, strategic partnership and affiliate marketing. Presently, the cyberspace is already cluttered with thousands of sites probably selling similar products. For the customers to know of the Company’s existence and to garner information on the kind of products or services that the company is offering, promotion has to be carried out. There can be traded links or banner advertisements for the same. Also the traditional mediums like print, outdoor advertising and television can be used to spread awareness.
The presentation of the online business needs to have an easy to use navigation. The look and the feel of the web site should be based on corporate logos and standards. About 80% of the people read only 20% of the web page. Therefore, the web page should not be cluttered with a lot of information. Also, simple but powerful navigational aids on all web pages like search engines make it easy for customer to find their way around.
Customer supports needs to be integrated into the online web site. A sales service that will be able to answer the questions of their customers fast and in a reliable manner is necessary. To further enhance after sales service, customers must be able to find out about their order status after the sale has been made.
Using the latest software it is possible to customize the entire web site for every single user, without any additional costs. The mass customization allows the company to create web pages products and services that suit the requirement of the user. A customized web page does not only include the preferred layout of the customer but also a pre selection of goods the customer may be interested in.
Understanding the Internet Customers
Now to be able to use the seven P’s effectively in order to achieve the predefined goals of any organization it is imperative to understand the customers. Customization will only be truly effective if we understand our customers and their true needs.
Before adapting marketing practices to the Internet, the marketer needs to understand the characteristics of the online customers. The Net users can be classified into five categories depending upon their intention of using the Internet. The five categories of users are:
Directed Information Seekers: They require specific, timely and relevant information about the products and services being offered.
Undirected Information Seekers: These users require something interesting and useful. Something that can give them an edge, advantage, insight or even a pleasant surprise.
Bargain Hunters: They are of two kinds: One who look for free items on the internet and other who are seeking better deals, higher discounts etc.
Entertainment Seekers: They see the Web as an entertainment medium of vast breath and potential and want to explore the medium before the mass gets there.
Directed Buyers: They want to buy something - now. They are sure what they require and just log on to the Web to purchase the item.