What is internet marketing?

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Internet marketing can be defined as the application of the Internet and related digital technologies in conjunction with traditional communications to achieve marketing objectives. This form of promotion uses the Internet or World Wide Web to deliver marketing message to a larger audience via online advertisements on search engine results pages, banner advertisements, social network ads, pay per click, targeted email lists, etc.


The face of marketing has undergone an extreme makeover in the past decade with the surge of social networking portals, multifunctional cell phones, and gadgets. It has in fact become a crucial practice now for companies to follow the latest marketing trends to not just obtain new customers, but to retain the existing ones. For example, drug companies are now marketing their brands to doctors through e-mail and Web conferencing, capitalizing on the high efficiency and low cost of the Internet. Aggressive, competitive, and innovative marketing strategies are the precept today. Technological advancement has given consumers a sense of empowerment. Product information is available at the click of a finger and there are more competitors than ever in the market. Internet and technology have created new media for marketing around the globe in the virtual world. Within this decade, new non-traditional marketing concepts have emerged, such as viral marketing, social media marketing, undercover marketing, and attraction marketing.

In the beginning of the 21st century, companies were armed with human resources to build personal relationships with their customers to boost sales through one-on-one interaction in a controlled environment. Consumers believed the information dished out to them by sales professionals. The tables have turned around and it is now the consumers that have an expanse of verifiable information available at hand at the click of a finger.

The internet has drastically changed the face of trade and commerce in the past decade. The massive online presence of consumers prompted a revolution in the way of advertising and marketing. More companies have stretched these functions to the realms of the virtual world to influence consumer behaviour in their favour. They are attempting to build a strong network that allows them to get closer to their clients. While online advertising began in the form of banner ads on websites, it has now taken the forms of viral videos, blogging, promotional campaigns on social networking websites, and consumer discussion forums. Marketers are making a consistent effort to keep themselves up to date with the changing trends in consumer needs and tastes. In fact, internet has proved to be a reliable source for gathering data for the same. A marketer can research on the target market through surveys, polls, and interaction with focus groups through online media. This has enabled the consumers to contribute in the decisions pertaining to product offering. Nevertheless, the whole process can now be conducted much more speedily than ever before. Search engines were the propellers of these changes in marketing. A product that has no mention in any of the domineering search engines has instantly lost its reputation amongst prospective customers. An example of this trend in internet network marketing is the fundamental - "If Google doesn't know, nobody does."

Thanks to the World Wide Web, it is now possible for marketing to facilitate instant sales through the option of mail order shopping, instant access to product information and subsequently, acceleration in the time taken to make a sale. Companies have transposed their focus to directing online traffic to their websites, blogs, ads, and social networking accounts through search engine optimization of keywords, publishing extensive content, purchasing customer database from other companies, and establishing consumer-friendly interfaces to solve queries. The size of the company's scale of operations is no longer a factor for consideration to plan a successful marketing strategy. Ten years ago, companies could afford to rely on consumer loyalty to maintain a stake in the market. However, if a company does not make its market presence felt through adequate internet marketing, its position may be quickly taken over by its competitors.



Offline businesses can re-launch themselves online, allowing the creation of entirely new online personalities.

It is difficult to anticipate and understand what customer expectations will be.

Allows a business to acquire market intelligence i.e. understand its market better, by analysis of trends and fluctuations in online activity, finding out opinions and feelings of potential customers, establishing visitor use or navigation patterns etc.

Security and payment system challenges- potential for viruses and hacking of company data, credit card fraud, repudiation of orders (where people order goods and then deny that they did).

Allows analysis of competitor activity.

Information overload- can be difficult to keep up with and analyse large amounts of data collected by firm.

Allows businesses to build a brand identity for themselves.

Keeping pace with technological change.

Allows for marketing through search engines.

Ensuring maximum exposure through Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and search engines.

Allows companies to venture into new markets on a global scale.

Linguistic and cultural issues such as language barriers and cultural attitudes to payments.

Legal complexity


E-commerce refers to business transactions conducted electronically on the internet. It allows businesses to overcome geographical limitations because products or services offered through the Internet can be made available to consumers throughout the world. Many people worldwide have switched to online shopping, so businesses can now reach a wider target market. E-commerce also offers lower costs to businesses because a physical store does not need to be set up as well as because the automation of checkout, billing, payments, inventory management, and other operational processes lowers the number of employees required to run an ecommerce setup. Businesses may additionally benefit from longer ‘opening hours’ as there is access to business websites 24 hours a day. This may increase sales. For all these reasons, businesses that engage in e-commerce may thus enjoy a competitive edge over other businesses that do not.

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What is internet marketing?

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