The technological development of the recent years have changed the ways of the business conduction and facilitated the creation of the separate, online market. Internet has become the interactive channel of business intercommunication partially transferring sales online. This rapid development of the new sphere has become a basis for the new marketing direction development – online marketing.
It does not mean that enterprises should drop the old way of thinking and rush for the implementation of the new technologies to their business, it is more about combining the best skills and practices of the past with the new ones. With Internet marketing, comes a globalization of the market, which allows easier coverage of the target audience; due to the easiness of using global network for the communication purposes, it allows to significantly personalize the interaction with the customer and last, but not least brings a considerable cost reduction.
The following chapters will more closely inspect online marketing, its strategies and the ways to implement them through a website.
Marketing is not just about sales or advertising, its modern concept implies a wide range of functions, alongside with sales and advertising, targeted on a deeper understanding of the cause and gaining of effective result. Main components of modern marketing concept are needs, wants and demands, the market offering, value, satisfaction and quality, exchange, transaction and relationship and the last, but not the least – markets. The technological development of the recent years has changed the way business is conducted through globalization, and contributed to the creation of additional online market.
“I think in general it's clear that most bad things come from misunderstanding, and communication is generally the way to resolve misunderstandings, and the Web's a form of communications, so it generally should be good.” – Timothy Berners-Lee
The modern world is changing very quickly under the huge impact and incredible speed of informational technologies development. This chapter will briefly reveal the history of the Internet and generally describe the ways Internet can be used for successful marketing.
2.1A brief story of the Internet
The Internet population is constantly growing. In our western society it’s hard to imagine a day without using the Internet. Trying to give a definition to this widely used term is a lot more difficult than assumed on the first glance. My personal definition would be: the Internet is a world-size network of interlinked electronic devices, forming an array of digital information. One of the biggest advantages of the Internet is the easy accessible and manageable information of any kind, available 24 hours and 7 days per week.
Everything was different only around 60 years ago, when computers have just been introduced to the public. It is considered to be a milestone in human history and the start of the so-called Informational Age. However, it was still not cost efficient to transfer the information until the computers were interlinked. This changes when the web was formed in 1990s. Nowadays, web can be defined as:
“(The) Web can be considered to be a massive information system with interconnected databases and remote applications providing various services.” (H.P. Alesso, 2006 p. xvii)
Modern Internet is as much a collection of communities, as it is a collection of technologies and its success is largely determined by satisfying the needs of the communities and pushing technological progress further. As a result, the Internet grew above its research routes and now is including both – broad user community and increased commercial activity. Development of the commercial products, implementing the Internet technology turned Internet almost to a “commodity” service, and transformed into a mean of supporting online commercial services. It is important to point out that the popularization of the Internet among users was accelerated by rapid adoption of browsers and the WWW technology, allowing easier access to the information online. (B.M. Leiner, 2012)
The evolution of the ways of getting information caused a rapid decline of the information costs. Moreover, it made it possible for an ordinary user to have control over the consumer products’ information and ability to create their own content. Nowadays, it makes Internet to be a natural marketplace and a sufficient part of the economics.
“Internet is emerging both as an extremely useful tool for business planning and also as a part of a company’s marketing mix. As a planning tool, the Internet search and resource sites can aid any discipline by opening a high-speed gateway to the wealth of information. In addition, the Net is a vehicle for marketing research.” (J. Strauss, 1999 p. preface)
2.2No one is here, everyone is online
According to internet portal Statistic Brain1, 53% of European population is using Internet on the everyday basis, spending an average of 66 hours per month online. It is essential, as with the rapid popularization of the Internet many day-to-day operations got a lot simplified. For example - the search and comparison of products, ticket purchase, hotel booking, etc.
Together with the rapid development and usage of e-commerce, online marketing gives an opportunity to better differentiate business and easily find target customers. In addition, availability of behavioral patterns analysis systems allows conduction of the fairly accurate and cheap statistical studies.
As a matter of fact, online business is constantly evolving and improving, as well as online marketing. The best illustration to the fact is the growing amount of companies creating online presence and mass media duplicating the paper content electronically. Therefore, with a growing competition online, website becomes critical, as a main tool of promotion. It has already became a lot more than just a brochure online – at least, it is expected to be interactive, provide up-to-date information and a hub of activities extendable to social networks. And, as has been discussed in the previous chapter, it should not just sell, it should correspond to customer’s needs and provide value and satisfaction. It brings us to the term Internet or online marketing:
“E-marketing is the term used for marketing activities, such as promotion or customer relationship management, that is conducted over the Internet” (G. Hooley, 2004 p. 491)
What to understand under online marketing activities? Modern technologies, for example, provide a wide range of functionality and allow following the visitor from the first time he or she sees the product, to the cart. It enables behavioral tracking and analysis, sensitive information collecting, and even providing personalized service when the customer returns to the website. Real-time manageable data allows usage of dynamic visual and text content, while being worldwide accessible 24/7.
The modern world is changing under the significant impact of technology and commerce needs to follow the tendencies. Introduction of the computers has become a milestone of human history, bringing technologies and communities together through globalization. It was followed by the rapid development of Internet commerce due to the sufficient reduction of information cost. Nowadays, Internet is considered to be more a commodity service and already has become a part of modern economics. Marketing does not stay behind the technological progress evolving with it, and together with Interned gives an additional opportunity to differentiate businesses and find new customers on the global online market.