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|The 10Ps of Internet Marketing:
marketing in the internet age
Despite the problems of many dot.com companies, the Internet is here to stay. E-commerce can bring advantages to every business, and there are few large corporations today that do not have e-business initiatives. But creating a website is only the start and will not guarantee a flow of visitors, new business and satisfied customers. Indeed, our analysis shows that many large corporations have a very ineffective Internet presence and show a lack of understanding of how to market effectively via the Internet. This Insight introduces a proven ten point strategy that distils the lessons from successful Internet strategies. If you follow the principles behind these 10Ps of Internet marketing, your success in marketing via the Internet should show a distinct improvement.
Marketing on the Internet brings many new opportunities not readily available or affordable using conventional marketing methods, including:
However, there are certain marketing fundamentals that remain as true as ever:
Above all, the customer - or potential customer - is the focus. Your customer knowledge and the experience you provide them with throughout the whole sales cycle and their ongoing relationship with you - is what matters.
The 3Cs and 4Ps of Marketing
Marketing textbooks talk about the 3Cs and 4Ps of marketing. The three Cs are Customer, Competitor and Company (your organization). The 4Ps - the so called marketing mix - are Product, Price, Promotion, and Place (distribution channels). These remain core considerations in Internet marketing, although their emphasis changes, viz.:
Positioning has three aims:
How can you achieve these aims in practice?
Online packages come in a wide variety of forms, from face-to-face consulting assignments to information packaged in documents or databases. Or it may be simply a promotional package that describes a physical product. The main aim of packaging is to make it easier to sell and distribute with minimal marketing costs. Three considerations are important:
Achieving these requires a degree of online development. For information and knowledge products one challenge is determining how much to codify. Greater codification means lower reproduction costs, whereas a higher personal knowledge component that can be tailored to a customer's individual needs can command higher prices. Whatever the level of codification, give due attention to the product 'wrapper'. This is where you explain clearly what'd in the package, and also, where practicable, allows the potential buyer to sample it.
Don't be bemused by the rush into portals. The concept is simple - a one-stop shop for information. The practice, however, is a little trickier. A good portal has structured and unstructured knowledge (content and communities), news and reference material, indexes, navigation tools and search facilities, personalization tools and various in-built applications. personal utilities. Only a few websites can achieve portal status - even if it is for a specialized profession or industry- specific portal. For most organizations, developing an internal enterprise portal is a a major change in itself - and it is not simply a matter of technology but the whole knowledge management infrastructure that lies on top of it. Because portal sites are generally the most highly visited websites, marketers need to consider these two important questions:
Visitors beat a path to your site from many directions. Your aim should be to create as many pathways as possible. Some of the techniques for doing this are:
In general, there is no need to pay high amounts for advertisements or placements. If you have helpful editorial content, any number of sites are willing to take it to boost their own credibility, and you get a free hotlink into the bargain. Finally, don't forget to publicize your URL in other publicity material - both online and offline. Having a memorable URL also helps!
This P is all about making a good impression with your visitors. Unfortunately, far too many websites put style over substance. Talk to any professional, and these are the typical things they look for in a website:
and perhaps a bit of intrigue, where tantalizingly one more click may uncover yet more valuable knowledge. The three basic areas that need attention are:
Personalization comes in two flavours. First, is the ability for the user to personalize the layout of your home page, such as at MyYahoo! Second, and more widespread, is the serving of pages based on individual profiles or pattern of use of the site. This means that two different people clicking the same initial hyperlinks may be shown two different pages. While it takes expensive eCRM and other software to build fully personalized sites, your website should, as a very minimum, aim to address different classes of audience. For example, on this website, we have FAQs for managers, knowledge professionals, researchers and so on.
Like all technologies with possibilities, it is possible to get so overwhelmed with personalization, that if a visitor does not fit a given profile, then they get shown no pages at all! In fact, you can offer a level of personalization without going overboard on technology e.g.:
And remember, once you enter the realms of personalization, you are wading through the hazardous waters of personal privacy protection, where laws are becoming stricter all the time.
Progression is the art of guiding a user from free information through to paid-for goods and services. Unless you are providing a public service or using your website purely for promotional purposes, at some stage you want visitors to turn into paying customers. Take a look at your product portfolio. Do you have free products or samples? What can you sell for $10, $100, $ 1000 and so on? At each stage of progression give the customer value for money, convey your quality, and smooth the pathway to your premium offerings. A good progression in a knowledge-based business goes something like:
Once abhorred by the big banks, payments over the Internet are now quite straightforward, thanks to the services provided by Payment Service Providers, and for small businesses, a growing number of shop hosting services. From a marketing perspective, you want to give your customer as much choice as possible, while at the same time making sure you get their funds! Here are a few practical considerations and questions to ask your service providers:
It may seem odd to put process as one of the 10Ps of the Internet marketing mix. After all, aren't business processes an integral part of the business, whereas marketing primarily involves with the customer interface? Yes, and that's the point. Marketing is concerned with the whole customer experience, and many websites let the customer down in the quality of that experience - before the sale, during the sale, and after the sale. Surveys have shown consumers abandoning shopping baskets half way through because of usability problems and of goods that are not being received when promised - if at all.
So, before you embark on a major Internet marketing effort, make sure that you can deliver what you promise. Broken promises and lost customers are much more costly to your business, than not even making the offer in the first place.
This is the bottom line! Unless your website delivers performance, you are wasting your time. This P addresses performance for the customer in terms of online experience and satisfaction; and performance for your business in terms of service delivered and revenue and profit results. As we know, far too many dot.com companies have failed on both counts.
Performance measurement systems (such as the Balanced Business Scorecard or the European Foundation for Quality Management model) are increasingly used to drive a business forward. But an online business is slightly different:
However, these are differences in detail. What remains fundamentally the same is that:
Above all, the general approach is the same - clarifying objectives, developing indicators, initiating the system, data collection and analysis, initiating change.
In this Insight we have tried to demystify some of the factors surrounding Internet marketing. Fashions change quickly. Whereas everyone was promoting banner advertisements a couple of years ago, today they are out of favour. The Internet has always been, and will remain, a dynamic communications medium, offering many possibilities. It enhances the ability of people to connect and communicate with each other on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis. Above all it is a community. Many traditional methods of marketing did not carry over well into Internet territory, because they ignored such basic facts. Over time the details of these principles will change, but their general thrust is based on established marketing practice and the special characteristics of the Internet. The 4Ps of marketing have survived for four decades, with occasional tweaking here and there. Learn and apply the 10Ps of Internet marketing and you will be building on a solid and practical foundation.
The 10Ps started off as seven. You can read more detailed explanation of each of these, starting with Portals in I3 UPDATE No. 31.
The Knowledge Briefing The 10Ps of Internet Marketing provides a structured section for each of the 10Ps, covering description, aim, strategies, guidance, issues. In addition, there are case examples, and URLs of additional resources and websites, and an evaluation tool for checking your website (or competitors) against the 10Ps. Price: US$10; UK£7; Euro: 12. Read Details or click below to Add to Shopping Basket.
Management Insights are publications of David Skyrme Associates, who offers strategic consulting, presentations and workshops on many of these topics.
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