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The most current and relevant literature on e-marketing is examined and the relevant areas disused in various literature which has connection with the objective of the business project are explored in this chapter.
E-business and e-commerce are modern form of business which is performed in a technologically advanced business environment. The e-business is termed as “the application of information technology for internal business process as well as activities in which a company engages during commercial activity. These activities can include functional activities such as finance, marketing, human resources management and operations” (Philips, 2003).
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“Ecommerce is the use of Information and communication technology to enable external activities and relationship with individuals, groups and other businesses” (Laudon and Traver, 2002).Due to the growth in electronic media for business functions , the way of interaction between the supplier, distributor, seller and customer has become changed and more enhanced.
“E-commerce channels allow businesses to get to the customer faster, with more velocity, and more value” (Budhwani, 2001)
“E-marketing is a process of building and maintaining customer relationship through online activities to facilitate the exchange of ideas, products and services that satisfy the goals of both parties” (Mohammed et al, 2001).
Strauss et al (2003) suggest that “e-marketing covers a wide range of IT related applications with three main aims: Transforming marketing strategies to create more customer value through more effective segmentation, targeting, differentiation and positioning strategies; more efficiently planning and executing the conception, distribution, promotion and pricing of goods, services and ideas; creating exchanges that satisfy individual consumer and organisational customer’s objectives”. Business is mainly based on exchange process; e-marketing has the ability to be beneficial for all the people who involve in the business. Mainly organization has realised this and started to refocus their marketing strategy using e-marketing.
E-Marketing versus Traditional Marketing
As number of individuals spending their time on internet is increasing rapidly, e-marketing is growing as a powerful marketing tool. Due to advancement and utilisation of technology in Internet has grown rapidly, thereby e-marketing gained more attention by most of the firms and due to this the traditional marketing methods loses its value. The traditional marketing channels like as television, print media, and radio are becoming less popular. The traditional media are competing with the electronic media for seeking customer attention but the Internet and appear to be gaining over the other media. On implementing E-Marketing a company can reach its customer directly through website, e-mail, social networking sites and various other means. E-Marketing is cost effective and also gains lot of attention of the customer. These factors make E-Marketing to overlap the traditional marketing.
“The Internet is assumed to be an important channel for marketing and distribution of products and services. This is, among other things, due to the cost-effectiveness of the Internet and the convenience for customers. With the Internet marketers can reach out to a broad customer base, locate target customers, identify their needs and communicate with them at a relatively low cost. The Internet provides an opportunity for market testing and optimization. Increasing digitalization will make it progressively easier to experimentally alter particular aspects of a business and quickly observe how customers respond” (Wyner, 2000)
Benefits of e-marketing
E-marketing has several benefits which can be capitalised by the organisation to gain competitive advantages; those benefits are listed below,
“The web allows non-linear communication in which there is free flow and exchange of information, and there is a potential for two-way communication between a business and its audiences in different contexts on a one to one basis, and a many-to-many basis. The many-to-many model involves communication between customers” (Hoffman and Novak, 1995).
E-marketing can increase an organisation’s geographic coverage beyond its traditional operating area. E-marketing will also make the organisation to have a global presence and a wider reach. New market and new customers can be obtained by the company, if the e-marketing is utilised effectively. Moreover e-marketing provides a cheap way of communicating with customers and the business transactions can also be cared out in low cost. A website can be used as a powerful business tool for carrying out sales and services all day providing greater convenience for the customer. Besides that e-marketing can be used for an online sales promotion and provide targeted offers and special privileges to the customer.
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E-Marketing is fast and flexible communication tool and helps to fulfil the customer retention objective of the company. The internet provides rich sources of marketing data for the marketers, which can be used for decision-making purposes. Additionally e-marketing research supported with appropriate software and technology provides a good data analysis to streamline the process of research. Similarly e-marketing help to improve the brand name and provides a better platform for development of the brand presence.
“The purpose of branding is to facilitate the organisation’s task of getting and maintaining a loyal customer base in a cost-effective manner to achieve the highest possible return on investment” (De Chernatony and McDonald, 1998, p.17)
There are also few problems with e-marketing that marketers must understand and respond to. Those are outlined below:
“A company’s marketing environment consists of the actors and forces outside marketing that affect the marketing management’s ability to develop and maintain successful transactions with its target customers. The marketing environment offers both threats and opportunities” (Kotler et al, 2001)
The major problem of e-marketing is lack of trust among the online users to make transactions with unknown traders and the customer’s resistance to change, mainly older and disadvantage people. Next big problem is customers concerns over privacy issues such as spam and unwanted marketing communication. Rising network security doubts over fraud and hacking cause huge setback for e-marketing. Moreover the technology gap between the organization and customer is a disadvantage. There are also difficulties and social impacts in cross-broader trading using electronic media.
Customization and Personalization through E-marketing
The e-marketing provides customization and personalization benefits to both firm and the customer. Customisation refers to more personalised products availability and tailored communication.
“The Internet marketing environment offers extensive customization and personalization opportunities. The evolution from marketing on the averages to marketing on the differences is a very prominent theme and a major advantage of the Web market compared to real environments” (Reitman, 1994).
Customization provides the ability to the customer to order product uniquely as per their need and specification. This helps the firms to know more about the individual customer, so that the offers and communications can be tailored as per the behaviour of the customer. This provides a great competitive advantage.
E-marketing and Customer Focus
The customer is the central focus for any business organisation and marketing activities are will be build to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction. Customer loyalty is emerged from satisfaction and from loyalty come more profitability and sales. The customer is the key element for all business but the e-marketing make customer even more powerful. Due the technology advancement customers are more demanding with search engines, more substitute product availability and multi-channel user friendly technology. Customer makes up the online communities of an organisation. Consumer behaviour growing to be more complex. But e-marketing coupled with emerging technologies enables more precise segmentation and targeting of customer. E-marketing helps to implement personalised offering to each customer, this done by obtaining permission and sends offers to target customer. The interactive nature of internet allows getting quicker customer feedback. These factors of e-marketing helps firms to remain customer focused.
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