The use of internet as a marketing media provides a lot of advantages to various businesses. It also has some inherent drawbacks which need to be taken into consideration while using the media. Some of the major advantages are outlined here. In the present day’s competitive business environment acquiring a higher competitive strength is of utmost importance for any business entity. Global positioning is greatly enhanced by using the internet marketing as it has a wider reach with an absolutely minimum cost.
Especially for smaller companies who are not in a position to put a large advertising budget but at the same time want to position them globally internet proves to the best solution. Internet helps the companies do business with other companies overseas with ease. Internet makes this possible by avoiding the regulations and restrictions in doing business with companies that are physically present in countries in different geographical locations.
It has been proved over the time that internet is helpful in reaching and communicating with more number of customers throughout the world and thus makes the expansion of any business easy at a very low cost. Example may be found in Singapore who promotes ‘The Net’ heavily aiming at making the country the center for Information Technology in Asia. Other examples are the PIPEX in the UK and the Internet Initiative in Japan that proves the ability and prosperity of the commercial internet providers in the respective countries.
(Business Europe 1995; Ohmae 1995) With the increased use of internet as an important marketing media the business entities are more than benefitted by using the net not only for advertising but also as an effective communication media. This enables the companies to remain in contact with their customer during all the 24 hours of the day. The companies are able to access their branches, customers, suppliers, business associates and employees placed overseas and also the online shoppers at any time of the day across different time zones.
This has proved a definite advantage for the companies in the promotion of their businesses by expanding their customer base. The competitive ability of the businesses is greatly enhanced with the use of internet as the businesses are able to provide the customers to decide on the form, content, time and utility of the products they want to buy. This is possible since the companies are able to provide a complete description of the product/service on the internet including the digital photos of the products they want to promote.
According to Pallab Paul (1996) the ‘net’ has made it possible for the businesses to furnish the product and service information to the existing as well as the potential customers as and when they need instead of annoying the customers with unnecessary details as it happens in the case of mass marketing, direct marketing or telemarketing. This greatly enhances the chances of the customer trying the products and also purchasing or repurchasing them again. Historically, advertising was regarded as one of the major forms of communication between the business and its clients.
Wells et al (1995) have identified certain basic types of advertising in “brand, retail, political, directory, direct-response, business-to business, institutional, and public service”. These types of advertising are designed basically to reach a large audience through different media. Similarly the use of the media may vary depending upon the different target groups and the selection of the appropriate advertising media is of crucial importance for the success of any business. This problem of selection of the media of advertising has totally been removed with the advent of Internet.
Internet backed by the advancement in the information and communication technology has placed itself as an alternative to almost all advertising media and purposes of advertising that reaches across all cross sections of the business community. It is possible through the internet to reach any target group. Pallab Paul (1995) submits that with such “convenience and marketing efficiency” Net is able to meet the demands of both the advertisers and the target audience and this makes the Net as a popular advertising media throughout the world.
As an additional advantage Net is able to provide to the advertiser statistical details on the reach and exposure time of the content of the advertising. ‘Reach’ indicates the number of people who accessed the advertisement and it is possible to get this information on an hourly, daily and monthly basis. The ‘exposure time’ exhibits the length of time each viewer has gone through the advertisement. These statistical figures enable the companies to assess the effectiveness of their advertisements in tracking the number of direct purchases which is normally not possible in the case of regular newspaper or television advertisements.
Another advantage available with advertising on the Net is in the cost of advertising. Advertising through Net is at least three times cheaper when compared to the cost of advertising in magazines and newspapers including business journals. The cost of advertising through Net would be negligible when compared to the cost of advertising through the television. Such an effective advertising at a low cost with a wider reach facilitates smaller businesses to reach more potential clients easily and with comparatively lower costs.
While marketing through internet benefits the companies of all sizes invariably, the smaller companies are the ones to derive the maximum benefits. Small and Medium enterprises across the continent of Europe, the United States and the Far East have taken the use of the internet as a marketing media more seriously and with their connectivity they are able to remain connected with their customers as effectively as the major multinational companies.
“The Internet furnishes direct customer contact, combined with the appropriate market and technical reference material, which gives organizations greater ability to identify earlier shifts in product and customer trends and to test new value propositions in response. This enables managers to recognize product and market opportunities sooner and to adopt more effective product, price, distribution and further promotion strategies relative to the customers’ needs.
Ultimately, this ensures increased company revenue through elimination of uncompetitive product offerings and launching of new products better suited for the marketplace. ” Pallab Paul (1995) All the advantages described above strongly suggest that any business adopting internet as a media of marketing is sure to benefit there from. However using the net as an effective marketing media also poses certain issues which the businesses have to take care of. Some of these issues are detailed below: