Internet marketing is a phenomenon that was introduced recently due to the sudden boom in the usage of internet. People have not only become used to the internet and its ease, in fact, they have become so reliant and dependant on it that it can qualify as an addiction these days. Now, life without internet has become unimaginable for all age groups and backgrounds (Benkler, 2006). This is something that marketers capitalized on. Marketers aim to reach their consumers and catch their attention in whatever way possible through whatever medium that is the most effective and efficient.
Every target market/segment uses internet; that is, the entire customer base is available to the marketer online; thus, using the internet as a platform to promote their product is nothing but a wise idea. Marketers had flooded the television, thinking that customers are now more easily available on the TV compared to newspapers and posters. As strange as it may sound, gradually, the amount of people of ages 18 – 26 watching TV has reduced (Ginster, 2005). Viewing of TV shows, movies and programs are easier online on either the home website or Youtube because of the ease of timing and general conveniences.
Thus, at the end of the day, it is all about internet marketing if a marketer wants the product to succeed (Malan, 2006). The reason for this is that there is a product purchase journey which has steps such as familiarization and awareness as the first ones – the internet is used as a medium to instil the familiarity and position the product in the appropriate manners in the heads of the potential customers. (Mangold & Faulds) Internet marketing’s basic tools are emails, websites, advertisements on various websites, youtube, social media like Facebook and Twitter.
However, it is not limited to these tools – when an online record of all the customers is kept to provide them with better customized and personalized service, this is called an Electronic Customer Relationship Management Database. This has become more and more critical today because of the increasingly sharper customers each day who need to be provided with value and will not settle for something that does not meet the expectations and the promise made by the companies.
Blessings Internet marketing has helped companies cut down on their advertising budgets and save up a lot of finances that were earlier utilized for heavy marketing all over the cities and countries. However, in the case of internet marketing, every customer, no matter which corner of the world they are physically present at can access the same advertisement and look at the brochures etc. The geographical advantage helps the marketers a lot, but not just them (Bove, 2000). The customers are also at an advantage because they can look at the product, research on it and purchase it according to their convenience.
This also increases the purchasing frequency of the customers along with the speed of transaction, creating an advantage for the company (Story, 2008) Another advantage is that the marketers do not need to worry about keeping a track or record of all the transactions. There is an automatic electronic record generated as and when activity takes place. There are several methods of doing that – per click, per purchase, per action etc. This way, the statistics can help the marketers figure out what is more popular amongst the customers.
In a way, via internet marketing, the marketer can receive feedback about the campaign instantly and make amendments and more appealing (Czepiel, 1990) Tools like Facebook, Twitters, Linkedin are used so much by almost everybody that even if the marketer gives one single ad to be placed right next to a Facebook page, a huge difference can be made. Curse In a way, internet marketing creates a barrier between those users who have a fast internet connection and those who own a slower one. These advertisements sometimes have pictures and videos which are heavy to download and cannot be accessed with a low quality internet connection.
In some areas, the internet is always low – thus, this in a way limits the customer market and the number of people they can target. (Anonymous, 2008) The establishment and installation of internet marketing as a system in the organization needs a few initial costs which are pretty huge. These include higher technology equipments and programs that help design internet advertisements (Kotler & Armstrong, 1996). For customers, sometimes it is a turn off because buying a product without holding it is a little more of a gamble than usual.
The sense of touch, sight, smell and taste in some cases is very important for the customer to be able to judge how well the product fits into his/her requirements (Strativity Group, Inc. , 2009). Very importantly, sometimes, the internet becomes so messy and cluttered with ads and information and the advertisement put by the marketer does not remain visible, evident and unique anymore. It becomes part of that clutter and eventually feels annoying and unappealing to the eyes. Keeping everything aside, the biggest curse of internet marketing is the security concern.
Information provided by both the marketers and the customers is confidential for them and they do not want it to be disclosed it to anybody (Bitner, 1995); however, when it comes to the internet, nothing is guaranteed – hacking is extremely common. Also, online purchases that charge the money on the credit card before the delivery of the item have no guarantee. There is also no guarantee of the security of the credit card number added to the website for payment (Gentle, 2009) Conclusion My personal opinion is that internet marketing has been a blessing and not a curse for all of us.
The reason for this is that as customers, it has helped us mature because of being right there in front of us all the time. Our awareness levels have increased and our understanding of a product and its analysis is just a click away. Everything has become so convenient and quick. It has helped us gain more perspective because information is only a second away. There are issues as well but everything has issues; if the usage is done properly and if a structure which does not have all of the above mentioned issues is developed, then internet marketing can be a complete blessing for all.