Sunday, 12 July 2009

Marketing on the Internet

To my best friend who has always encouraged me to write.

Why do people buy computers? It is not only about computing anymore; it is more about surfing the internet and becoming part of a world of no boundaries, that is the cyberspace.  The behavior of consumers is changing and people are moving online for most of their activities. The internet is a medium with unique features that make it very different from other traditional media. The world is changing so fast and we need to keep up.

Statistics show that the number of internet subscribers has increased by 719.7 % in 10 years!!! (From 183 million in 1998 to 1.5 billion in 2008). No wonder marketers have passion for the internet.

"Marketing is not advertising" is one famous saying as people always get confused. Marketing is defined as "coordinated business activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute want-satisfying products to target markets to achieve organisational goals". Let us make it easier, you have a product, you have consumers who need this product, how you make those consumers aware of your product is marketing. That is not only it, being aware of a product is not enough to make the decision to buy it and use it. It is also important to create an image of your product in the minds of the consumers. Few examples will make this clear. Here is a list of some brands, let's see if we can associate them with an image.
HP, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Intel, AMD, Microsoft, Google, Bing, Ferrari, Toyota, Great Wall, QANTAS, Ittihad, Nawras, Zain, Telstra, Nokia, Motorola, htc.

There are four important elements of marketing (known as the marketing mix): Product, Place, Price and Promotion. They are called the 4 P's. Some marketers consider Packaging as the 5th P. The product is the core of the marketing mix because simply if you do not have a product, you have nothing to price, promote and distribute.

The internet is a different medium for marketing, yet the same consumers use the internet. The internet has seven unique features: interactivity, variety and customisation, global access, time independence, interest driven, ubiquity and mobility. In addition to cost reduction, efficiency and promotion, the most important reason for businesses to go online is that the consumers and competitors are already there and they do not want to be left behind while others reap the benefits of being online.

The days when establishing a web presence is enough for organisations are over. Today, a website represents the organisation in the cyberspace and serves as a front end to service consumers. It gives the first impression of an organisation when visitors interact with it as people tend to search for information about products and services online first to help them in their decision making. To help you meet your objectives of going online, you should answer some questions: what are you trying to achieve by going online? Who is your target audience (current & potential consumers)? What message are you trying to deliver? What image of your product (and organisation) are you trying to position?

Why do people use the internet? Well, a very simple answer is that the internet is there, people can use it and they derive pleasure from using it. In addition to that, while being anonymous online people can do anything they want because there is no visibility and they do not fear negative social impact. Also, people can be who they really are or who they really want to be. Take as a good example.

The internet gives us global access and allows us to communicate easily with virtually anyone who is online. The popularity of email shows how the internet has changed the way we communicate. Just thinking of social networking and some famous websites like facebook, myspace, twitter and many other online applications makes you realize how the internet has created new environment for new communities to emerge online and for people of similar interests to connect. We also use the internet because it is convenient, you can have your transaction done from home at 12 midnight with a click of button without having to wait in a long queue while enjoying a hot drink in a cold night. Who does not love that?

The internet is also a source of information and you can basically search for any topic because there are so many websites that are specialized. But still you might face difficulties finding what you exactly want. Another very valid point for using the internet is the sense of belonging, if everyone around us is using the internet, we will definitely have a good motive to use it.

Think of your target consumers, make them aware of your existence online by offline means, attract them to visit you online, inform them, deliver to them what you promise them, position your image right, and enrich their experience. They will surely come back.


Zeena said...

Thank you for this very interesting and informative topic Sulaiman.
Marketing on the Internet is a very dynamic subject. Talking about what marketing means takes us ahead to think about attraction, attention gravity, tastes sensitivity and even feelings. When marketing is there, psychology is there as well. Understanding the consumer’s mentalities, needs, desires, dreams, cultures, etc is a must in marketing. I think that creating needs, desires, dreams, cultures and possibilities from impossibilities is what marketing all about. Here we understand that marketing is a philosophy that is turned into creativity.
Keep up posting such wonderful topics.

Sulaiman Al Rawahi said...

Thanks for your support and valuable comment.

Marketing is a very interesting topic especially with the development of communications technologies and it is indeed about creativity.

I have already started thinking of the topic my next post. :)

Deepti said...

Good to see you back after 2 or more months. Your articles provide iteresting insights about a topic. Perceptions of the users/consumers is the target. A nice article, which throws light on business and internet and the relationship between them.... Keep writing and God Bless you

Sulaiman Al Rawahi said...

Thanks a lot Deepti for your valuable comment and support.

It took me longer than what I expected to finish this post.

I have already started thinking of the topic of my next post. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Sulaiman,

Where have you been?
No more new posts?

A friend

Sulaiman Al Rawahi said...

Hi my friend,
I guess that I am still looking for that magical balance between work, family and personal life.

I know, it is time for a new post.


Deepti said...

Hey Sulaiman,
Long time, no post. I was in India for my annual leave. I came 15 days back. Just one point. Any new information???

Take care. Warm wishes on Eid in advance.

Sulaiman Al Rawahi said...

Hi Deepti,
Welcome back (a bit late huh)
I hope you had enjoyed your leave.
Yeah, no new post yet. My plans of posting new posts don't quite work.

The good news is that I am currently doing my MBA and hope that inspires me to come up with quite interesting posts. It is also getting me under pressure. I am trying to manage to learn and do well.

I will be back, I promise.

Sulaiman Al Rawahi said...

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