Current issues in Marketing, which have informed the strategy or which the Executive and Members should be aware of.
Marketing has been a most prominent and important part of business for a long time now. The time people started trading, there was marketing associated. But with time, and now in the modern era of advanced technologies, the approach and mode for the same has got improvised, as now it would not be feasible to use the same conventional method. People and organisations have moved into use of internet and digital technologies for marketing of product and services, as it is faster and can cater to a rather wider mass. The basics behind marketing are always the same. The only thing that has changed is the increase in wide variety of options, apart from the traditional methods such as advertising, direct mails and other modes. This paper would touch upon the aspect of marketing, mainly associated with usage of E-Marketing, its importance and its effectiveness in spreading the marketing messages to target market.
The phenomenon of Marketing started way back in between the period of first and Second World War. The main transformation that happened during the period was the shifting of the attention from attracting new customers to retaining the existing ones (Eid and Trueman, 2002). Thereby marketing came up with a completely distinct and one of the most important aspects in the business acumen. This as per Lindgreen et al. (2004) can be seen from the case of Unilever and Proctor and Gamble when they started creating a brand image for their organisation during the same period which later became a more prominent aspect for business with the growth of media industry, like television and mass communications. Due to the intense change in the global scenario with advancement of technologies and increase in expectation from customers due of economy change (Brookes et al., 2002), it became inevitable for the business organisations to market their product or services so as to create a brand image for them making it possible to capture a greater market share for themselves. Authors have emphasized on the fact that the marketing practices has changed a lot from what it was in the past (Brady and Davis, 1993). Earlier at the time of using conventional marketing, business organisations were concentrating on the traditional approaches, but that has changed to a certain extent keeping in view in the current business acumen and advancement of technology and stiffer competition (Brookes, 1988). Thus, the method and mode for marketing has changed and improved a lot from the past as now people are diverting their way of marketing onto a rather more efficient and faster approach, by using the modern communication technologies. E-Marketing is one of them and is a one of the most efficient way of marketing and thereby addressing to a wider range of audience.
Changing face of Marketing
When a company wants to venture into e-marketing, it does not mean that they have to start from scratch. The online communication is only required to be aligned properly with the current marketing strategies of the firm. Here it becomes important that the organisations identify the target market and set their objectives. On the other hand there is a misconception that E-Marketing is only feasible to companies dealing with digital product, but this is not true as now companies from diverse field are venturing into the same and is taking its advantage in improving their market position (Wilson and Abel, 2002).
E-Marketing is a quite cheaper mode of marketing as it can be used quite efficiently to reach to a wider range of target market anywhere in the world, making it possible to become global with minimum investment, as well helps in an intense way to find new markets. Moreover, as the details of the organisations would be on website, so anyone can access the same, any time, thus making it possible to have 24 hour marketing. As a matter of fact, with this kind of marketing even the customers' database can be linked to the site, making it quite effective in greeting them with the kind of offer they are interested into, as soon as they enter into the website (businesslink, 2009). Thus, the target customers are only a click away from being your customer by knowing about your product and services unlike the other media where people are required to make a phone call or go to any of the business region they are interested into and thus helps in identifying the customer needs thereby helps in improving on the customer base (Avlonitis and Karayanni, 2000).
There are various modes for E-Marketing i.e. Email, SMS (short messaging service) and Websites. Individuals and organizations can use either of these options to market on their product or services. Email is quite effective in providing up to date information to the customer as the messages can be delivered quickly and cheaply. (businesslink, 2009). Apart from low cost and speedy delivery of messages to the entire list of customers it is also a mode of viral marketing as it is quite easy for the people to forward the message further to their friends and colleagues, if that sounds interesting to them. Moreover, it can also be made personalized to cater to a particular segment or group of people. (chrisg, 2009). However, there are a few things that need to be taken care of in order to get access to the e-mail address of the potential customers. The business has to pay a fee to email broker or has to rely on the consent and recommendation of the existing customers, or else it can be a combination of both. One of the disadvantages of email marketing is that of spam, where email is sent to a huge number of customers with some discretion. This create a risk of breaking the law, as there are very strict laws against it as well sending messages without taking the approval or consent on the receiver. (chrisg, 2009). However, it can be prevented from spreading by use of spam filters or computer security software. Most of the companies usually do this to address the issue. (Source: http://www.wisegeek.com). Apart from this, in case of SMS as well, a large group of community can be addressed. As almost everyone uses a mobile phone and marketing through the same, as well, is quite effective and efficient mode. On the other side, Bennet (1997) argued that websites are increasingly becoming common these days but may not be that effective and well received as customers find it quite difficult to identify the most relevant site. With respect to it, while marketing through websites it becomes very important that the company's strategy is at par to be noticed as there are many a websites to compete with. Here it becomes important, that the company should have a strategy that could be easily differentiated from the rest.
Different authors have different views on E-Marketing. Some has emphasised that E-Marketing always cannot provide a competitive advantage over the other competitor, as the best practices can be easily monitored over internet and can be countered easily (Chaffey et.al., 2000:134) whereas there are others like Hoffman and Novak (1996b), who has emphasized on the benefits it has over the traditional approach, as in the traditional approach of marketing, i.e. one to many, single organisation addresses to the wide range of consumers, by the usage of mass media like TV or newspaper, whereas in the modern approach the communication is many to many with the usage of E-Marketing, as the information passes from the receiver (target market) to further more people creating a rather more effective marketing, thereby making the customer contributing to the commercial content for the organisation. This as per Wu et al. (2003) improves on the strategic positioning and performance of the organisation. However, there are chances of getting copied or imitated by the competitors. To this Porter (2001) stated that to have a strategic positioning in market, there has to be a proper value chain as well as defined activities for product and service delivery, making the company's offering unique. Thus, when a company's activities are synchronised with its strong service system, it becomes difficult for the competitor to replicate one or two features, as if they try to do so, they will have to imitate the whole strategy of the company.
This essay touched upon the use of internet and more specifically E-Marketing approach for marketing strategy. The key to which are the efforts required to be put in for making it more interactive. As well it can be seen that E-Marketing requires a different approach, so it needs a new marketing paradigm to cater to a rather diverse customer base in this very electronic age. This shift in the marketing paradigm is applicable to all the industry, ranging from digital to restaurant business, which has a vision to grow further in future to have a better strategic position in the market.
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