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In present business environment, internet based business models have completely changed the business scenarios. Organisations are increasingly shifting their business models from brick and mortar to other models like click and mortar etc. In such situation, role of internet based marketing becomes important for the organisations (ELLSWORTH & Ellsworth, 2012).
Concept of Unit 30 Internet Marketing Sample Assignment can be defined as the process where marketing principles and other marketing techniques are applied via use of electronic and information technology medium, especially in context of internet. Hence the focus of this assignment is, to understand various aspects related to internet marketing and how it is enabling the organisations to conduct their business. For better understanding reference of Amazon.com-an electronic commerce website which operates at global level has been taken.
Internet marketing is mainly efforts which an organisation puts in order to promote its business over internet. These efforts are in form of advertisement and marketing campaigns in various forms. Internet marketing uses mediums such as the web and e-mail to push direct sales via e-commerce, this is done in addition to the sales leads which are generated from the website or other channels such as e-mail. In other words, it can be said that internet marketing is application of various digital and internet based technologies in combination with the traditional communications, in order to achieve the marketing objective of an organisation (Joseph et al, 2015, pp.410-414).
Internet marketing is supported by several elements. First element is e-marketing which is focused on achieving the marketing objective of an organisation like Amazon.com through use of communication technology. Hence as part of its e-marketing strategy Amazon.com sends regular e-mails to its customers or potential customers about updates on any specific product launch or any new offer. Below image displays how Amazon consistently sends its marketing e-mails to the customer on various offers and the products.
Figure 1: Amazon's e-mail based marketing.
Second important element of internet marketing is Pay-per-click (PPC) model. Concept of PPC helps an organisation like Amazon to place its advertisements among the natural search results generated by the search engine, and Amazon has to pay only when user clicks that particular entry and visits the website of Amazon. PPC helps Amazon in targeting of a specific geographical area. For example, below image displays an advertisement placed by google, when a user searches for iPhone in UK.
Figure 2: Amazon's PPC strategy.
Digital marketing is also an important element of internet marketing. The concept of digital marketing is based on variety of platforms or hardware such as laptops, smartphones, PDAs, interactive digital TVs, websites etc. Digital marketing tools make use of online communication tools such as blogs, search engines, instant messaging etc. to fulfill their marketing requirements. Search analytics is also an important element of internet marketing. Analysis of search results and further optimisation of the content in order to improve the search visibility is the main focus on search analytics. For example, Amazon’s search analytics is so effective if a user searches amazon, then instead of amazon forests the first search result is Amazon.com’ website address as displayed in image below
Figure 3: Amazon's search results
Other, two critical elements of internet marketing are its business models. Internet marketing is driven through two business models, firstly B2B (business-to-business) model in this business model business transactions takes place between two business entities, on other hand in B2C (business-to-consumer) model business transactions takes place between business and consumer (ELLSWORTH & Ellsworth, 2012). In this regard, Amazon.com follows a B2C model, which means that it connects the sellers to the buyers, and the transaction cost is of relatively less value as compared to that of B2B transaction.
Traditionally marketing mix is combination of four elements of marketing product, price, place and promotion. These elements are used in formulation and implementation of marketing strategy by many marketers. However, these marketing mix elements are equally relevant in present internet marketing scenario as well. It is important to known that in present scenario with growth of service based organisations these 4 Ps have been extended to 7Ps of the marketing mix. Internet marketing mix evaluation of Amazon.com is mentioned below:
Product: This element of the internet marketing mix refers to the characteristics of a product, service or the brand. Hence for Amazon.com its core product is its website which is the main user interface through which user fulfil their transactions. An image of home page of Amazon.co.uk has been displayed.
Figure 4: Amazon.co.uk home page
Internet has proved to be a major impact on the product element, as it helps organisation like Amazon to focus on mass customization of its website, then to ensure an active engagement of producer selling his products and the consumers with each other in form of prosumer (Producer + consumer), and lastly helping the organisation to bundle and offer various complimentary services such as tracking of an order placed through the website etc.
Price: the price element of the organisation refers to an organisation’s pricing policies which are used to define the pricing models and to set the prices for products and services. Amazon, focuses on the dynamic pricing model which means that pricing depends a lot on the demand of the product. However, it also offers significant amount of discounts from time –to-time to earn profit through volume rather than margin. Internet has major impact on the pricing, as it has allowed organisations like Amazon to offer price transparency and has helped in introducing new pricing approaches such as dynamic pricing and auction based pricing. However the core pricing strategy of Amazon is based on competition-based pricing which means that as per pricing of items on other websites such as eBay etc. it decides its pricing strategy (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012).
Place: Place is that element of the marketing mix, which focuses completely on the aspect that, how the product is distributed to the product. Unlike offline channel, where business organisation setups dedicated warehouses and other physical locations, online retailers like Amazon’s distribution process initiates from its website itself. Hence, once a customer places the order through the website of Amazon, the backend inventory gets updated and the seller selling the product has to ship the product in adherence to Amazon’s product quality. In a way, Amazon focuses more on the monitoring of the products rather than delivering the product itself. It will not be wrong to term Amazon’s website as a place of purchase which is seller oriented hence in this arrangement sellers are controlled by third party platform like Amazon, which connects seller and the buyer with each other.
Promotion: promotion element of internet marketing mix highlights Amazon’s efforts towards promoting its websites, along with range of offers and services for its customers. It can be said that Amazon follows the elements such as advertising and sales promotion in its promotional mix. For example, it consistently advertises its products through digital banners, pop-ups etc. whereas from time to time, it also focuses on sales promotion of any specific discount event etc.
People: with focus increasing on service based industry, there has been addition of new element in the internet marketing mix known as people. The people element of the marketing mix refers to how an organization’s staff interacts with customers and other stakeholders during sales and pre- and post-sales communications with them. Hence, Amazon has its dedicated customer care center which services all customer queries through various methods such as online chat, e-mail notification, onsite search engines etc.
Process: is one of the most important elements of the internet marketing mix for Amazon. It mainly refers to the methods and procedures which Amazon uses to achieve all of its marketing functions (Roberts & Zahay, 2012). Hence, focus of this marketing mix element is to ensure that there are no issues in processes such as order management, delivery process, complaint, feedback etc. Efficiency of these processes to a large extent defines the customer experience, that is why Amazon has introduced several processes such as “1-click order”, “15-days product return” etc.
Physical evidence: In online context and for websites like Amazon, physical evidence defines the overall customer experience with the website. Hence degree of ease with which a customer is able to search a particular product and complete their shopping is a critical aspect which Amazon focuses upon. That is why; it has kept design of its home page minimalistic in nature so that a customer doesn’t feel lost in the numerous categories of products.
In order to facilitate the process of internet marketing, organisations like Amazon have to rely on several internet marketing tools also known as e-tools. Following are the categories of the marketing tools which can be used today:
Interactive digital television: with rise in convergence of internet with television, digital televisions today have become an important marketing tool for companies. However, tool like this is appropriate for organisations which are engaged in selling of product and services related to entertainment. However advancement in digital television has converted present TV sets into a new form of information system from which people can place order any time from their preferable websites etc. However, cost of setting up a digital television which offers such computing capabilities is still high due to which its reach among the customer remains questionable, making it less preferable for the advertisers like Amazon (Chen et al, 2011).
Mobile wireless devices & Wireless Application Protocol (WAP): mobile wireless devices such as smart phones etc. have become one of the most popular internet marketing tools. For example, Amazon has its dedicated mobile application, through which a customer can not only order products, but from time to time Amazon pushes its marketing campaigns to its customers in form of notifications. Similarly, WAP protocol has enabled the mobile devices for accessing information over a mobile wireless network. Hence, WAP protocol enables present smart phones with browsers to access various websites just like it is done through any other computing device like desktop or laptop.
Application tools: such as TweetDeck, Youtube.com, Twitter.com, Facebook.com have become an important breeding ground for launching the marketing campaigns by companies like Amazon. Today, Amazon has its own Facebook page, through which it interacts with its subscribers, notifies them of any future change or offer etc. In a way, e-tools have offered the organisations like Amazon to engage in two way communication.
Over a period of time, websites such as Amazon have been increasingly focus on converging these offline marketing tools with the online tools. Core purpose of this strategy is to ensure uniform customer experience. Hence, if a user is surfing Amazon’s website on his laptop will have similar experience if it is opened on a smart phone.
For a global e-commerce giant like Amazon, efficient order processing is its key to success. Hence a typical order processing system of Amazon has been displayed in below image:
Figure 5: Order processing flow in Amazon.com
It is important to note, that order processing in an internet scenario should be flexible enough to allow user to change his/her order details at any given point of time. That is why, Amazon has focused on making its order processing as interactive as possible. If at any given point of time customer wants to add new products then his current shopping cart will remain as it is, and any product will be added on the top of the existing products in the cart. However, one major aspect of the order processing flow is the payment security; with rise in online frauds related to credit cards etc. people have increasingly become apprehensive about use of bank information to make their payment. However, Amazon invests significant amount of revenue in making its payment system foolproof. It has implemented ‘Secure Payment System” which encrypts customer’s bank or card related information when it is stored or verified with the bank.
In internet marketing there are two different yet similar concepts. People often confuse search engine optimization (SEO) with search engine marketing (SEM) which is incorrect. SEO can be defined as a strategy or act through which an organisation modifies its website in such a way that it increases the ranking of the website in the search result in search engines such as Google.com or Bing.com. This can be understood by example displayed below:
Figure 6: SEO and SEM example
Hence, above example shows a scenario where a user searches for “iPhone UK online shop” now as a result, first two results which are displayed are of Vodafone.co.uk and mobile.co.uk. First two listings are displayed as part of the SEM effort, which means that Vodafone and Mobile.co.uk has bought the keywords such as “iPhone”, “UK”, “Online” etc. Hence, as part of SEM strategy these companies have paid Google.co.uk in order to ensure that every time users searches with these keywords, their listing should be displayed first followed by organic results.
Now, below these two ads listing, there are organic results where Apple’s store in UK has been displayed as one website link. Hence, it represents the example of SEO. Which means, that Apple’s UK’s website has been optimized in such a manner, that every time users searches for iPhone store in UK, the result in Google should first display Apple’s website link followed by other hyperlinks. Hence, SEM can be defined as the process of internet marketing a website via search engines by purchasing paid listing.
Figure 7: Elements of SEM
Above figure displays three different elements associated with SEM. These elements are:
Cost Per Click (CPC) is an important concept in SEM. Hence, every time a user clicks on Amazon’s paid listing in Google’s search results, Amazon has to pay certain specific amount of money to Google (Parker, 2014). However, SEM doesn’t mean that there will be guaranteed ranking of the advertisement as per the wish of the advertiser. There might be 10 advertisers fighting for same key word such as iPhone, in such situation all it depends on the three elements of the SEM defined above.
An Opt-in email marketing newsletter is mainly sent by various organisations based on internet, in order to ask their readers to opt-in or sign in for receiving timely updates about their offers, news of products, any new changes etc.
Hence, a copy for a suitable opt-in e-mail marketing newsletter for Amazon’s customer, who has placed an order for the first time from the site, is as follows:
Please note that the purpose of this newsletter is to ask the user to subscribe for the “Daily deals” which are offered on Amazon’s site from 4PM to 5PM.
*We never share your e-mail address, and you can opt-out at any time.
On internet, everything is not just about marketing and selling products. Every brand has a certain image, which develops over a period of time (Kent, 2012). Especially in case of e-commerce, reputation plays a major role that is why companies like Amazon, eBay etc. are extremely reliable among customers, whereas no one will prefer to buy from a newly launched e-commerce website. In creating a brand image, public relations play a major role. PR (public relations) according to The UK Institute of PR (IPR, 2003) can be defined as
The management of reputation – the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.
Hence, PR to a large extent defines the way reputation of an organisation is build up. Hence following guidelines should be used as best practice in online public relations:
Hence, above guidelines can be considered as the best practice which an organisation like Amazon should follow in order to build its PR.
Today, digital media communities such as review sharing websites, or file sharing websites have proved to be a major advantage for the organisations like Amazon. These digital media communities have completely changed the way interaction between a business and its customer takes place, this aspect can be understood on the basis of diagram displayed below:
Figure 8: History of Interaction
Based on above diagram it can be clearly seen that we are present in the third age, where interaction is taking place in multi-directional manner. Today, websites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.com are proving to be a major way of promoting the business and getting engaged with a customer (Jerath et al, 2014). It can be said that these digital communities are helping in advertising, and creation of awareness about the brand. Similarly, it helps in social monitoring which indicates the mood of the potential customer base (TAMILARASAN, 2014).
For example Amazon UK has its dedicated Twitter handle which is displayed below:
Figure 9: Amazon UK's Twitter page: Source Twitter.com
Hence, it can be seen that how Amazon, is engaging with its customer through notification about any promotional event, or resolving any customer query etc.
Process of marketing research can be defined as a process, which is focused on gathering, recording, analysing and reporting of all the facts related to sale of goods and services from products to consumer. Hence, research is conducted when an organisation wants to understand demand for product in market and other related information to any specific scenario for a particular product or service. In this regard secondary research can be defined as a research process which is done on the basis of the existing data related to a product or service (Berman & Katona, 2013, pp.644-651).
Hence for the purpose of this task, organisation which has been selected is Apple, and its product ‘iPad’.According to Gartner’s report, tablet PCs sales have been growing significantly over last few years. For example in 2013 sales of tablets increased to 68% from 2012 sales. In this regard, share of iOS-operating system which runs on iPad declined by 36% in 2013, whereas share of Android-operating system used by non-apple tablets increased significantly. Hence, it becomes important for Apple to identify that what are the models of iPads which are still displaying growth, and what are the areas where sales can be improved.
Even though Apple’s iPad remains the top leader in the category of tablet PCs, but other tablet manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Asus etc. are catching up fast, as displayed in table below:
Figure 10: Worldwide Tablet Sales to End Users by Vendor, 2013 (Units)
Hence following section, will focus on designing an online survey which will represent various questions related to use of iPad.
Electronic customer relationship marketing is an integral part of any organisations business strategy today. The concept of e-CRM focuses on aspects such as direct marketing, relationship marketing, database marketing, and one-to-one marketing. Below mentioned diagram represents an e-CRM strategy
Figure 11: eCRM Strategy
Hence, based on above diagram it can be said that following are the steps which will enable effective e-CRM for an organisation like Apple.
Apple has strategically used its website in order to implement its e-CRM strategy. It can be understood by example of Apple’s UK website’s customer support page:
Figure 12: Customer support page of Apple UK.
Now it can be clearly seen that how, from its support page, Apple is not only allowing an existing customer to select product for which support is needed, but it is also showcasing the range of products it offers. Hence, such strategy is like upselling or cross selling, where a customer who has an iPod comes for support on the product, and tends to see that Apple also offers Apple TV, which he might end up purchasing. Hence, eCRM strategy is about invoking customer interest in existing range of products, and then accordingly providing those product to the end customer.
Purpose of an internet marketing plan is to integrate various marketing activities such as planning, implementation, measurement and control (Ho et al, 2011). Unlike traditional marketing plan, internet marketing plan has to focus on various new marketing mediums as well, such as e-mail, social networking websites etc.
Hence an internet marketing plan should be capable of addressing the mix of communication techniques such as SEM, online advertisement etc.
Following is the internet marketing plan for a new version of iPad to be launched in 2015 by Apple.
Internet marketing plan for iPad
Situational analysis: Based on report by research organisation Gartner, it can be said that Apple’s tablet PC known as iPad leads the tablet market, and has more than 35% of the total market share in tablet segment. However, over a period of time competitors such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Google Nexus Table, Asus’s fonepad etc. are catching up fast with Apple’s iPad.
Since its launch, Apple has always maintained its focus on brick and mortar model for pushing its iPads in the market (Nabout & Skiera, 2012, pp.141-154). Today more than 75% of iPad sale is generated from physical stores, which reflects that how minimal is the presence of internet in the overall marketing strategy of Apple. On other, hand competitors such as Google sells its product Nexus Tablet from its online ‘Play store’ itself with almost nil presence in the physical stores. That is why, it is extremely important for Apple to ramp up its marketing plan in the direction of internet as well, so that internet as a medium can be used to further increase the customer base for the product. .
Competitor Analysis for iPad: Based on Gartner’s report, following are the competitors of Apple’s iPad.
Figure 13: Apple's competitor analysis
Based on the above table, it can be clearly understood that Apple is getting tough competition from companies like Samsung, LG, ASUS, and GOOGLE etc.
Apple should focus on improving its distribution strategy, which is controlled through PLACE element of internet marketing mix. It should enter into exclusive tie-ups with e-commerce websites such as Amazon.co.uk and ebay.co.uk to offer iPads to its customers.
Also, the buying process of iPad should include payment through EMIs, which will enable customers to buy iPad on EMIs. Hence, with growing competition from other companies listed above, Apple should focus on penetrating the market thorough use of online sales channel. One major advantage of this strategy will be that, it will enable Apple to trim down its operational expenses which occur in the physical sales channels.
Overall, Unit 30 Internet Marketing Sample Assignment said that in present era of internet based economy, internet marketing has an important role to play in success of an organisation like Amazon or Apple. Gradually, organisations in brick and mortar business are shifting towards click and mortar and pure play model of business. Hence in such situation it will be a poor strategy if they do not focus on the concept of internet marketing. Today there are several specialized in this field which provide their services in enabling efficient internet marketing plan of an organisation. Thus, if an organisation believes that it is not capable enough to drive its own internet marketing plan, then it can take services from such agencies.
ELLSWORTH, M. V., & Ellsworth, J. H. (2012). Marketing on the Internet.
Joseph, W. B., Cook, R. W., & Cook, K. J. (2015). Measuring Internet Marketing Productivity: A Study of Fortune 1,000 Companies. In Proceedings of the 1999 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 410-414). Springer International Publishing.
Roberts, M., & Zahay, D. (2012). Internet marketing: Integrating online and offline strategies. Cengage Learning.