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The availability of digital media such as satellite and mobile phones, the digital television and most importantly the internet, as a means for communication makes Internet Marketing (IM) very different from the Conventional Marketing. McDonald and Wilson (1999) elaborately highlighted the key difference between traditional media and new media. With particular emphasises on IM the authors proposed what they call ‘The 6 Is of e-marketing mix’. The authors posit that the relevance of the 6 Is are twofold – (i) they draw emphasis on the practical aspects of IM such as direct response and personalization and (ii) provide an understanding of strategic issues such as restructuring of the industry and the changes in the integrated channel communications.
The 6 Is of e-marketing mix’
In the case of traditional media the marketing message is predominately broadcasted from a company to its target audience, thereby implying the existence of a ‘push factor’. This process of communication provides little scope for interaction with the customers. However, on the Internet, contact is initiated by the customer who, in most cases, is seeking information, implying the existence of a ‘pull factor’ (Deighton, 1996).
Figure 1.13 pg28
The internet renders itself as a cost effective means of conducting market research. The internet is an especially useful tool in gathering information about customer perceptions about the product/ service.
Individualism (Fig 1.14) pg 30
As illustrated in the diagram above, new media forms allow marketing communications to be tailored to the individual that the message is meant for, unlike in the case of traditional media wherein communication is mass media and the same message is disseminated to its audiences. (Lasswell 1984, Katz and Lazarsfeld 1955)
Further, the inherent feature of ‘personalisation’ that new media forms offer to marketers is an important building block in managing relationships with customers.
Integration (diagram: A New Marketing Paradigm for Electronic Commerce)
The conventional marketing communication model witnesses a fundamental alteration in the presence of a hypermedia Computer-Mediated Environment (CME) like the internet (Hoffman and Novak 1996). The internet enables an increased scope for an integrated marketing communication.
The CME communication model provides a platform for consumers to interact with each other, the medium and the company itself. The most drastic departure from the traditional media is the opportunity for the consumers to generate content onto the medium. Hence, in the CME model the primary relationship is with the receiver and the CME, and not between the sender and the receiver, which is the case in traditional media.( Hoffman, 1996)
The active role of the consumers makes it imperative for marketers to integrate their communication messages.
Concepts such as ‘disintermediation’ and ‘reintermediation’ (Chaffey et al, 2003) are important considerations for companies that operate in a CME.
Disintermediation refers to the process of eliminating conventional intermediaries such as agents and brokers, who previously linked the company to its customers.
Reintermediation is the process of creating new age intermediaries between the company and its customer, given the presence of the internet. These new age intermediaries are often referred to as ‘cybermediaries’ (Shankar et al, 1996) and include virtual communities like forums, fan clubs and user groups, search engines like Google and Bing , virtual resellers like Amazon and eBay.
Independence of location
The internet provides the possibility of an increased reach of a company’s marketing communications to the global audience. This can often translate into reaching international markets and audiences.
Social media networks: AN INTRODUCTION
Social media networks, though a relatively new terrain for most companies and brand managers had its humble beginnings when ‘Open Diary’ was founded in 1950’s with the intent to create a community of diary writers. A few years later, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis introduced Usenet, letting its users post articles to its groups. (Kaplan et al, 2010). Dating sites that enabled its users to create profiles and even update pictures and online forums, which were the more user friendly and sophisticated versions of BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems), are all building blocks of the social media networks as we know it today.
With the passage of time and the technological developments that
SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS: OPPOTUNTIES AND CHALLENGES
Social networking sites:
Social networking sites like face book, my space, twitter and orkut are platforms for Internet users to create individual profiles with personal information, make new friends and connect with old ones and even for business networking, in some cases.
Users can use certain applications which help them connect to each other through instant messaging and sending emails between each other, creating personalised profiles for themselves which can be accessed by colleagues and friends etc. Such applications are known as Social networking sites. Personal profiles are highly specialised as they are suited to the users needs. He/she can upload audio files, videos, blogs as well photos into the profile which can be shared to other friends. Facebook is considered to be the largest social networking site and it is interesting to note that it was originally founded by US based Mark Zuckerberg who wanted to stay in touch with his friends in Harvard Unviersity. Myspace is also another example of a social networking site which has over 250 million users worldwide.
SNS are being used for market research with regard to netnography as well as creating brand communities by different companies. SNS have also been used especially well for promoting movies for example when film makers create a fan page of their movie which allows user to access information such as trailers, photos and download games for free. Similarly companies sponsoring football clubs have used SNS such as Myspace to allow fans to feel closer to the teams they support. Apart from marketing their products through SNS other companies go to the extent of using SNS as a distribution channel for their products for example 1-800- flowers a US based florist has allowed facebook users to send virtual flowers to whomsoever they desire or send the real ones by directing users to their company website.
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