Marketing is a very broad ranging discipline which is undergoing radical changes. The approach is adopted by Marketing managers in the 21st century is conditioned by the deep social and cultural changes that we are going through at the end of this century. It is also greatly impacted by the significant alterations of today’s business practices. In a world where change is constant and is also happening at a quickening pace, it seems fundamental to us that Marketing be placed within the big picture of strategic management. The vision for the future of the firm is central to this approach. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) is considered important for creating competitive advantage.
The increasing popularity of the Internet as a business tool can be attributed to its current size and prospected growth, as well as its attractive demographics. The Internet potential to provide an efficient channel for advertising and marketing efforts is overwhelming. The information and communication technology is a very powerful tool that help prospective business owners to make their business known to the world.
ADVANTAGES OF ICT IN INTERNATIONAL MARKETING
The following are the advantages of using ICT in international marketing:
- Far Cheaper and Much More Flexible Than Print Advertising: The Internet is extremely different from print advertising in that space is cheap, your advertisement is accessible for a longer period of time, the content can be changed without having to ask someone to do it for you (if you use a content management system) and you can potentially reach a wider audience. This is not to say that you should not use other forms of advertising. You can use it to entice people to visit your website and find out about your company and potentially open two-way communication between the potential customer and a sales person.
- Market Expansion: The Internet has allowed businesses to break through the geographical barriers and become accessible, virtually, from any country in the world by a potential customer that has Internet access.
- Diversify Revenue Streams: The internet is not just a medium for representation of your company; it is a form of media from which everybody can acquire information. You can use this media to sell advertising space to other businesses. A recent trend has risen where businesses feature their very own directory of complimentary services, where the visitor can search for information on a business that will enhance the use of your service. The business sells complimentary businesses a listing in their directory. A good example is a catering company featuring a directory with businesses such as event co-ordinators, electronic equipment, rental companies, etc.
- Offer Convenience: It is far more convenient for a person to research a product on the Internet than it is to get in a car, drive somewhere and look for or ask someone for information on a product. Also, a potential customer would not have to judge a call centre agent to determine whether he/she has their best interests in mind, or just wants to make a sale. The potential customer can visit your website whenever they like in their own privacy and comfort, without the stresses and distractions that exist in the “real world”. Your website is a self-service medium – for example, instead of having to wait on a long cue to pay your TV Licence, you can now do it electronically through the TV Licence website.
- Add Value and Satisfaction: By offering convenience, a point of reference and that touch of individual customer service, you ultimately add value to your offering and your customers experience a higher level of satisfaction. Your website can add value in other ways too, by featuring tips, advice and general interest content you can “entertain” your customers. This will also help them remember you better.
- Standardize Sales Performance: By looking at which approaches pitches have worked in the past and those which have not, you can produce the ultimate pitch and use it with your website, so that you use it on every customer. No more training of sales people and waiting for them to get a feel for your line of trade.
- Improve credibility: A website gives you the opportunity to tell potential customers what you do and why you deserve their trust and confidence. In fact, many people use the internet for pre-purchase research so that they can determine for themselves whether a particular supplier or brand is worthy of their patronage, and would not take them for a ride. The Internet also allows for Viral Marketing – where your website visitors spread positive word-of-mouth about your business, that is, your customers do your marketing.
- Growth Opportunity: A website serves as a great place to refer potential investors to, to show them what your company is all about, what it has achieved and what it can achieve in future.
- Two-Way Communicative Marketing: Customers can quickly and easily give feedback on your product and/or marketing approach.
- Affordable Market Research: You can use features on your website such as visitor polls, online surveys and your website statistics to find out what your customers like more and how they feel about certain aspects of your business to determine how you can improve your product and the way you do business.
Any transfer of goods or services from seller to buyer that involves one or more electronic methods or media can be considered electronic marketing.
Electronic marketing is a form of product promotion and customer relations conducted with the use of electronic media. With the development of the telegraph, a new era in marketing was created. Marketers have been quick to jump on subsequent technological developments from radio to the Internet. Companies may market exclusively via electronic media or use a mixture of marketing media in order to reach a broad target audience.
Marketing has a number of goals, including familiarizing people with companies and products, encouraging consumers to adopt specific products, and promoting a positive public opinion of a company, product, or service. Electronic marketing is highly flexible and allows companies to create targeted campaigns with broad reach. This form of marketing can also be very cost effective, making it possible for companies to reach lots of consumers at a fraction of the cost for other types of advertising.
Some advertising firms specialize in electronic marketing services. They can help their customers devise effective campaigns and may also be involved in the implementation of marketing campaigns. These firms keep up with the latest trends in marketing so that they can stay ahead of the curve with advertisements that will appeal and attract consumers.
Companies must use electronic marketing with care. Some consumers may find such marketing intrusive, forcing companies to find creative ways to advertise in a way that will boost interest instead of irritating people. It is also necessary to think about how advertising fits in with a company’s image and the ideals that a company wants to project. A company that prides itself on discretion, for example, would probably not want to deliver an intrusive email marketing campaign based on browsing habits.
ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRONIC MARKETING
- In any business organization, advertisement cost constitutes a major expense in the operations of the business organisation. However, Internet marketing has promised to significantly reduce the cost of advertisement. For example, accumulating email addresses and sending newsletters through the Internet is relatively cheaper compared to traditional marketing strategies.
- Due to the popularity of the Internet in the modern world, almost all organizations have a website. Making good use of the website can significantly reduce the cost of advertisement.
- The ability of the organization to track the rate of return on investment. For example, click-through feedbacks as well as responses to emails from customers enable the organization to rate the effectiveness of their marketing strategies.
- The instant delivery of the message enables organizations to make their marketing campaigns faster and facilitates immediate responses or communications between the customer care department and the customers.
- It enables an organization to personalize messages or more effectively select the targeted clientele. For example, different electronic marketing strategies can be employed for the youths, professionals and other categories of customers.
- It can easily and effectively be integrated with the traditional marketing strategies. For example, a brief advertisement on the print media can guide a potential customer to the company’s website for more detailed information on the product.
DISADVANTAGES OF ELECTRONIC MARKETING
- Electronic marketing is limited by the ability of the consumer to access and use Internet services. Although there is an increased popularity of Internet services in the modern world, a large number of consumers are unable to use or have no access to Internet services.
- It is important to note that spam filters that have become very essential to majority of the users are a major limitation to the effectiveness of E-marketing. There are concerns over the high number of commercial messages being filtered because the spam filters consider them illegitimate.
- It has intensified competition which is a major barrier to new entrants in the global market.
- There is no replacement for good old fashioned customer service. The majority of internet marketers lack customer service and inquiry response programmes. As a result, many online visitors to your site will already have painted your site as poor service before they have even contacted you. The majority of websites also have poor navigation, which makes it difficult for your visitor to find what they are looking for. Many sites were created with a marketing view, not from a customer service point of view.
INTERNET ETHICS AND ABUSE
Ethics are a set of moral principles that govern an individual or a group on what is acceptable behaviour while using a computer. Computer ethics is a set of moral principles that govern the usage of computers. One of the common issues of computer ethics is violation of copyright.
Internet ethics means acceptable behaviour for using the internet. We should be honest, respect the rights and property of others on the internet. The following are various internet ethics:
- Acceptance: One has to accept that Internet is not a value free-zone .It means World Wide Web is a place where values are considered in the broadest sense, so we must take care while shaping content and services and we should recognize that internet is not separated from the universal society but it is a primary component of it.
- Sensitivity to National and Local cultures: It belongs to all and there is no barrier of national and local cultures. It cannot be subject to one set of values like the local TV channel or the local newspaper since we have to accommodate multiplicity of usage.
- While using E-Mail and chatting: Internet must be used for communication with’ family and friends. Avoid chatting with strangers and forwarding e-mails from unknown people /strangers. We must be aware of risks involved in chatting and forwarding e-mails to strangers.
- Pretending to be someone else: We must not use internet to fool others by pretending to be someone else. Hiding our own identity to fool others in the Internet world is a crime and may also be a risk to others.
- Avoid Bad language: We must not use rude or bad language while using E-Mail, chatting, blogging and social networking, We need to respect others views and should not criticize anyone on the internet.
- Hide personal information: We should not give personal details like home address, phone numbers, interests, passwords. No photographs should be sent to strangers because it might be misused and shared with others without our knowledge.
- While Downloading: Internet is used to listen and learn about music. It is also used to watch videos and play games we must not use it to download or share copyrighted materials. We must be aware of the importance of copyrights and issues of copyright.
Internet has some abuses too nowadays. They some time keep chafing and whiling away their time with friends or even unknown persons when they are supposed to be on their desk working. They tend to enjoy pornography, and do many immoral and hazardous tasks. Thus they are going away from their work and becoming morally degraded. In addition, sometimes criminals and terrorists take advantage of the internet to materialize their goal. They exploit cyber caf? as their means of fulfilling their task. It is called cyber bullying; even some heinous and immoral person to belittle and derogate others, we should use internet sorting for the best, so that we can be benefited as well as others.