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Marketing Online (Internet Marketing)

Internet marketing, also or web-marketing, online-marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or e-Marketing, are terms you hear these days on different forums.

What is Internet Marketing

It is the marketing of products or services over the Internet by means of a web site, a classified advert online, by an email newsletter or via social networking web sites.

These days the conventional marketing is facing huge challenges because of the Internet marketing in the cartoon on left you see a customer looking at all the hard worked brochure of a travel agent and finally decides to do her search on the internet and book directly on the internet hence giving a blond setback to the agent who had spent lo of money developing her brochures and other marketing material.

The Internet has brought media to a global audience. The interactive nature of Internet marketing in terms of providing instant response and eliciting responses, is a unique quality of the medium. Internet marketing is sometimes considered to have a broader scope because it not only refers to the Internet, e-mail, and wireless media, but it includes management of digital customer data and electronic customer relationship management (ECRM) systems.

Internet marketing ties together creative and technical aspects of the Internet, including: design, development, advertising, and sales.

Internet marketing also refers to the placement of media along many different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies. In 2008 The New York Times, working with comScore, published an initial estimate to quantify the user data collected by large Internet-based companies. Counting four types of interactions with company websites in addition to the hits from advertisements served from advertising networks, the authors found the potential for collecting data upward of 2,500 times on average per user per month

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Advantages of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is relatively inexpensive when compared to the ratio of cost against the reach of the target audience. Companies can reach a wide audience for a small fraction of traditional advertising budgets. The nature of the medium allows consumers to research and purchase products and services at their own convenience. Therefore, businesses have the advantage of appealing to consumers in a medium that can bring results quickly. The strategy and overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns depend on business goals and cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis.

Internet marketers also have the advantage of measuring statistics easily and inexpensively. Nearly all aspects of an Internet marketing campaign can be traced, measured, and tested. The advertisers can use a variety of methods: pay per impression, pay per click, pay per play, or pay per action. Therefore, marketers can determine which messages or offerings are more appealing to the audience. The results of campaigns can be measured and tracked immediately because online marketing initiatives usually require users to click on an advertisement, visit a website, and perform a targeted action. Such measurement cannot be achieved through billboard advertising, where an individual will at best be interested, then decide to obtain more information at a later time..

Because exposure, response, and overall efficiency of Internet media are easier to track than traditional off-line media—through the use of web analytics for instance—Internet marketing can offer a greater sense of accountability for advertisers. Marketers and their clients are becoming aware of the need to measure the collaborative effects of marketing (i.e., how the Internet affects in-store sales) rather than siloing each advertising medium. The effects of multichannel marketing can be difficult to determine, but are an important part of ascertaining the value of media campaigns.

Limitations of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing requires customers to use newer technologies rather than traditional media. Low-speed Internet connections are another barrier. If companies build large or overly-complicated websites, individuals connected to the Internet via dial-up connections or mobile devices experience significant delays in content delivery.

From the buyer's perspective, the inability of shoppers to touch, smell, taste or "try on" tangible goods before making an online purchase can be limiting. However, there is an industry standard for e-commerce vendors to reassure customers by having liberal return policies as well as providing in-store pick-up services.

A survey of 410 marketing executives listed the following barriers to entry for large companies looking to market online: insufficient ability to measure impact, lack of internal capability, and difficulty convincing senior management.

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Security concerns

Information security is important both to companies and consumers that participate in online business. Many consumers are hesitant to purchase items over the Internet because they do not trust that their personal information will remain private.

Recently some companies that do business online have been caught giving away or selling information about their customers. Several of these companies provide guarantees on their websites, claiming that customer information will remain private. Some companies that purchase customer information offer the option for individuals to have their information removed from the database, also known as opting out. However, many customers are unaware if and when their information is being shared, and are unable to stop the transfer of their information between companies if such activity occurs.

Another major security concern that consumers have with e-commerce merchants is whether or not they will receive exactly what they purchase. Online merchants have attempted to address this concern by investing in and building strong consumer brands (e.g., Amazon.com, eBay, Overstock.com), and by leveraging merchant/feedback rating systems and e-commerce bonding solutions. All of these solutions attempt to assure consumers that their transactions will be free of problems because the merchants can be trusted to provide reliable products and services. Additionally, the major online payment mechanisms (credit cards, PayPal, Google Checkout, etc.) have also provided back-end buyer protection systems to address problems if they actually do occur.

Broadband-induced trends

Online advertising techniques have been dramatically affected by technological advancements in the telecommunications industry. In fact, many firms are embracing a new paradigm that is shifting the focus of online advertising from simple text ads to rich multimedia experiences. As a result, advertisers can more effectively engage in and manage online branding campaigns, which seek to shape consumer attitudes and feelings towards specific products. The critical technological development fueling this paradigm shift is Broadband.

In March 2005, roughly half of all American homes were equipped with broadband technology. By May 2008, broadband technologies had spread to more than 90% of all residential Internet connections in the United States. When one considers a Nielsen’s study conducted in June 2008, which estimated the number of U.S. Internet users as 220,141,969, one can calculate that there are presently about 199 million people in the United States utilizing broadband technologies to surf the Web.

As a result, all 199 million members of this burgeoning market have the ability to view TV-like advertisements with the click of a mouse. And to be sure, online advertisers are working feverishly to design rich multimedia content that will engender a “warm-fuzzy” feeling when viewed by their target audience. As connection speeds continue to increase, so will the frequency of online branding campaigns.

Effects of Internet marketing on industries

The number of banks offering the ability to perform banking tasks over the internet has also increased. Online banking appeals to customers because it is often faster and considered more convenient than visiting bank branches. Currently over 150 million U.S. adults now bank online, with increasing Internet connection speed being the primary reason for fast growth in the online banking industry. Of those individuals who use the Internet, roughly 44% now perform banking activities over the Internet. Internet auctions have become a multi-billion dollar business. Unique items that could only previously be found at flea markets are now being sold on Internet auction websites such as eBay. Specialized e-stores sell an almost endless amount of items ranging from antiques, movie props, clothing, gadgets and much more.

As the premier online reselling platform, eBay is often used as a price-basis for specialized items. Buyers and sellers often look at prices on the website before going to flea markets; the price shown on eBay often becomes the item's selling price. It is increasingly common for flea market vendors to place a targeted advertisement on the Internet for each item they are selling online, all while running their business out of their homes.

In addition to the major effect internet marketing has had on the technology industry, the effect on the advertising industry itself has been profound. In just a few years, online advertising has grown to be worth tens of billions of dollars annually. PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that US$16.9 billion was spent on Internet marketing in the U.S. in 2006.

This has had a growing impact on the electoral process. In 2008 candidates for President heavily utilized Internet marketing strategies to reach constituents. During the 2007 primaries candidates added, on average, over 500 social network supporters per day to help spread their message. President Barack Obama raised over US$1 million in a single day during his extensive Democratic candidacy campaign, largely due to online donors

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