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This module discusses the use of the web as a marketing tool.

This is an adaptation of an excerpt from "Electronic Commerce: The Strategic Perspective" © 2008 by Richard T. Watson, Pierre Berthon, Leyland F. Pitt, and George M. Zinkhan, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License .

Personal selling is usually the largest single item in the industrial marketing communications mix. On the other hand, broadcast advertising is typically the dominant way used to reach consumers by marketers. Where do Web sites fit? The Web site is something of a mix between direct selling (it can engage the visitor in a dialogue) and advertising (it can be designed to generate awareness, explain/demonstrate the product, and provide information--without interactive involvement). It can play a cost-effective role in the communication mix, in the early stages of the process-need recognition, development of product specifications, and supplier search, but can also be useful as the buying process progresses toward evaluation and selection. Finally, the site is also cost-effective in providing feedback on product/service performance. Web sites might typically be viewed as complementary to the direct selling activity by industrial marketers, and as supplementary to advertising by consumer marketers. For example, Web sites can be used to:

  • gain access to previously unknown or inaccessible buying influences. Cathay Pacific Airlines uses a Web site to interview frequent international airline flyers, and determine their preferences with regard to airline, destination, airport, and even aircraft. Much of the active ticket purchasing is not normally done by these individuals, but by a secretary or personal assistant acting on their behalf.
  • project a favorable corporate image. Guinness allows surfers to download from its Web site its latest television commercial, which can then be used as a screen saver. While the advertiser has not made the objectives of this strategy public, conceivably the approach builds affinity with the corporate brand as fun involvement, while the screen saver provides a constant reminder of the advertising message.
  • provide product information. Many business schools are now using their Web sites to provide information on MBA and executive programs--indeed, there is now even an award to the business school judged to have the most effective Web site in North America. Similarly, Honda uses its Web site to give very detailed information about its latest models. Not only can the surfer download video footage and sound about the latest Honda cars, but by clicking the mouse on directional arrows, can get different visual perspectives of the vehicles, both from outside and inside the car.
  • generate qualified leads for salespeople. The South African life assurance company SANLAM uses its Web site to identify customer queries, and if needed, can direct sales advisers to these.
  • handle customer complaints, queries, and suggestions. Software developers such as Silverplatter are using their Web sites as a venue for customers to voice complaints and offer suggestions about the product. While this allows customers a facility to let off steam, it also allows the marketer to appear open to communication, and perhaps more importantly, to identify and rectify commonly occurring problems speedily.
  • allows customers access to its system through its Web site. FedEx's surprisingly popular site allows customers to track their shipments traveling through the system by typing in the package
  • receipt number. "The Web is one of the best customer relationship tools ever," according to a FedEx manager.
  • serve as an electronic couponing device. A company called E-Coupon.com targets college students, because they possess two important characteristics--they are generally very computer literate and also need to save money. The site features lists of participating campus merchants, including music stores, coffee houses, and pharmacies. Students click on shop names to get a printable picture of a coupon on their computer screen, which they can take to shops for discounts or free samples; in return, they fill out a demographic profile and answer questions about product use.

In summary, different organizations may have different advertising and marketing objectives for establishing and maintaining a Web presence. One organization might wish to use the Web as a means of introducing itself and its new products to a potentially wide, international audience. Its objectives could be to create corporate and product awareness and inform the market. In this instance, the Web site can be used to expedite the buyer's progress down phases 1 and 2 in See Buying and selling and Web marketing communication. On the other hand, if the surfer knows the firm and its products, then the net dialogue can be used to propel this customer down to the lower phases in the buying progression. Another firm may be advertising and marketing well-known existing products, and its Web site objectives could be to solicit feedback from current customers as well as inform new customers.

Thus, Web sites can be used to move customers and prospects through successive phases of the buying process. They do this by first attracting surfers, making contact with interested surfers (among those attracted), qualifying/converting a portion of the interested contacts into interactive customers, and keeping these interactive customers interactive. Different tactical variables, both directly related to the Web site as well as to other elements of the marketing communication mix, will have a particular impact at different phases of this conversion process: For example, hot links (electronic links which connect a particular site to other relevant and related sites) may be critical in attracting surfers. However, once attracted, it may be the level of interactivity on the site that will be critical to making these surfers interactive. This kind of flow process is analogous to that for the adoption of new packaged goods (market share of a brand = proportion aware x proportion of new buyers given awareness x repeat purchasing rate given awareness and trial) and in organizational buying (the probability of choice is conditional on variables such as awareness, meeting specifications, and preference).

Questions & Answers

do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Inb3104 e-commerce and international business. OpenStax CNX. Jun 27, 2014 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11668/1.1
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