What is Online Marketing?
Online marketing, also known as digital marketing, is the practice of using digital channels to promote a product, service, or brand. It includes a variety of tactics such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and more.
Online marketing has become increasingly important in recent years as more and more people use the internet to research products and services before making a purchase. By using digital channels to reach and engage with potential customers, businesses can increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their websites, generate leads, and ultimately increase sales.
Table of Content
- 1 What is Online Marketing?
- 2 Principles of Online Marketing
- 3 Strategies for Online Marketing
- 3.1 Product-centric Marketing Strategies
- 3.2 Customer-centric Marketing Strategies
We are aware that the Internet has become a key requirement in almost everything we do. Be it personal interactions or business communication or dealings, the Internet has firmly gained a foothold in all areas. As one of the key aspects of business is marketing, the use of the Internet is visible in this area as well.
The use of the Internet for marketing goods and services by organizations is called online marketing or Internet marketing. A major difference between online marketing and traditional marketing is that the former is more interactive and provides an instant response to the organization and customers, whereas the latter is slower in reaching out to customers.
Online marketing also has a wider scope than traditional marketing, as it covers various digital media, such as web, e-mail, and wireless technology, as well as digital customer data and electronic customer relationship management (e-CRM) systems. Online marketing streamlines an organization’s business model with its website’s function and appearance. It focuses on target market segments, appropriate advertising, and promotional tools on the Internet.
Principles of Online Marketing
There are three key principles of online marketing. These are:
Online marketing offers retailers a new path to reach their customers. It helps them create a memorable interactive experience with their customers. For example, a company can advertise its products and services on social media sites, which are frequented by potential customers.
Online customers want to be recognized and appreciated for their comments. Gone are the days when they would be happy to remain faceless, anonymous members of the World Wide Web. Now they prefer to be addressed and acknowledge personally for their opinions. For this, organizations conduct online surveys, understand the requirements of customers, and address their needs with a personalized touch to the whole exercise. This helps them target customers accurately and personally.
Today, online marketers, to cater to the personal needs of customers, are designing their websites in such a manner that the websites can generate high levels of realism. Such websites effectively associate customers with the products/services in an interactive manner and enhance their online shopping experience. This further helps in delivering products/services as per the need and demands of the customers.
For example, online shopping websites, like flipkart.com, snapdeal.com, and amazon.com offer various services, which enable customers to order the product as per their demand. They can not only customize the products as per their choices but could also select the delivery date and mode of payment.
Customers often get recommendations from websites regarding their interest in purchase. These companies often give discount coupons to their loyal customers to make them feel how important they are to the company. All of this helps in increasing the personal attachment of the customers to the company and brings a sense of personalization.
The online marketer must upload information that is relevant, interesting, and focussed.
Online marketing focuses on building customer-directed dialogue, identifying new prospects for business, and increasing loyalty among customers.
Strategies for Online Marketing
The foundation of an e-commerce organization is the online marketing strategy that it adopts. Its online marketing strategy identifies ways to attract potential customers to its website and encourage them to buy the products and services displayed there. An online marketing strategy should explain the following:
- A plan to attract new customers
- A plan to convert visitors to customers
- A plan to retain and value existing customers
An organization can categorize its marketing strategies into two main groups based on the area of focus:
- Product-centric marketing strategies
- Customer-centric marketing strategies
Let us discuss these strategies in detail in the following subsections:
Product-centric Marketing Strategies
An organization is said to be product-centric if it focuses on the products that it offers in the market. Such organizations aim to develop new products or improve the existing ones to capture markets and maximize revenue. Examples of companies that focus on product-centric strategies are the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies.
The marketing strategies of a product-centric organization focus on the following criteria:
Developing New Products
An organization can develop and improve its products by using new and innovative technologies and skills. The products might be independent of customers’ needs and are highly specialized in their utility.
Expanding Product Portfolio
An organization can expand the portfolio of its products to capture a larger market share and increase sales.
Designing Innovative Products
An organization can focus on designing innovative products that capture the customer’s attention. If a product serves multiple purposes or has special features, such as power savings or easy mobility, then it is likely to capture the market.
Advertising and Promoting Products
A product-centric company can increase its sales by launching extensive advertising and promotion campaigns for its products, which capture the imagination of customers and entices them to buy the products.
Offering Promotional Discounts
A product-centric company can increase its sales by offering attractive discounts and offers on its products.
The strategies mentioned above enable product-centric organizations to design their websites effectively by highlighting their products, product range, and features. The websites contain details of the products, their price, and special offers; the launch of new products; and the various schemes and discounts offered to promote sales.
Customer-centric Marketing Strategies
An organization is said to be customer-centric if it focuses on gaining more customers and retaining the existing ones. Such organizations aim to fulfill the needs and preferences of the customers through their products and services. Examples of customer-centric companies are those related to the fashion industry and IT companies.
Customer-centric marketing strategies should mainly focus on the criteria. Let us discuss these strategies in detail as follows:
A customer-centric organization formulates its marketing strategy according to the demographic or psychographic segmentation of the market. The organization assesses the needs of the people in a specific market segment and builds its business that is focused on serving this specific group.
For example, bookmyshow.com segments its market based on different geographical areas or cities. It offers tickets for movies and events as per the needs and choices of local inhabitants.
A customer-centric organization focuses on creating and offering the best solutions for its customers rather than just the best products. It can do this by offering customized packaging, after-sales service, discounts, offers, etc. All this helps in developing customer loyalty as well as enhancing customer experience.
For example, traveling websites, like cleartrip.com and makemytrip.com offer customized tour packages to their customers depending on their preferences and budget. The e-commerce company also offers numerous discounts on hotel bookings and special trips. All this is done to provide the best solution to the customers so that maximum satisfaction could be achieved.
A customer-centric organization should conduct customer surveys regularly to determine customer preference so that the organization can fine-tune its products according to the needs of the customers. Surveys also help in obtaining customer feedback and reviews, which the organization can use to improve its products and services.
For example, online shopping websites, such as amazon.com conduct regular surveys to get genuine feedback from their customers (after they make any purchase with the website). Customers are asked about their satisfaction level with the product quality, timely delivery, product information on the website, payment methods, etc. These questions help the organization in managing its drawbacks and improving its services in the future.
The strategies mentioned above enable customer-centric organizations to design their websites according to the needs and preferences of their customers. Regular surveys should be conducted on the websites to gauge the needs of the customers. Such websites generally have review and feedback columns for customer feedback. The focus of these websites should be on the customization and personalization of the organization’s products and services.