Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing is one of the many components of business that have
been revolutionised by the World Wide Web. A new approach to cope with
the introduction of the Web and the population going online was needed.
The Internet is a new channel for providing services and new sales and
marketing techniques were required. In this section the following topics
will be reviewed:
- Sales & Marketing
- E-Marketing Strategy - Embracing New Technology
- SMEs Providing a Service
- Internet Demographics
- Website Design Methodology
Sales and Marketing
The traditional methods of advertising are still used but more businesses
are opting to target customers online. The traditional methods consist
of TV (about 36%), newspaper (about 35%), magazines (about 14%), and radio
(about 10%). Traditionally, advertisements are seen on a mass production
basis i.e. one ad is viewed by many people. There are limitations and
advantages to advertising online as opposed to the traditional methods
(Turban et al, 2000)
Traditional Methods of Advertising
- TV advertising is a highly effective but expensive method of
advertising. The time duration for TV ads is limited, which compromises
the advertiser's flexibility. On a more positive note, TV advertising
reaches a mass audience and is very successfully aimed towards media
- Radio advertising also operates on a mass scale. It is essential
to estimate what demographic categories are more inclined to listen
to one station as opposed to another. Knowing what audience your products
and services are aimed at determines what radio station you choose to
advertise with. What time of day should your advert be played, will
the customers that you want to reach be listening at that time; these
are important elements that need to be researched.
- Magazines are a very effective method to target individual
customers as opposed to TV and radio, previously mentioned. They give
the advertiser scope to make the ad attractive and appealing for the
readers to look at. Readers can take time to look at the ad as opposed
to TV and Radio. There is a negative side whereby the reader may choose
to ignore the advertisement. It is also difficult to estimate the percentage
of people reading your ad. This is also the case with advertising in
newspapers. In addition, print advertising is an expensive means of
advertising. However, it is a good means of exposing readers to special
The methodologies of advertising on the Internet are different in comparison
to the traditional methods mentioned but the objective remains the same
- enticing the customers to buy your products. Advertising is a very important
aspect of online marketing and it gives the company a new channel to target
prospective customers - a global window.
Online advertising is a more cost effective, method for targeting your
customers directly via one-to-one advertising, which will be explained
in greater detail further on, as opposed to the traditional methods of
radio & TV advertising. The Internet is the fastest growing medium
in history and more and more people are choosing to go online. Having
a presence on the Internet means that customers can now come to you as
opposed to the traditional method of you going to the customer. The great
advantage of advertising online is that the content can be updated immediately
and this will entice your customers to return again and again. The Internet
is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and the advertising cost
is consistent regardless of the time or location of users. There are various
methods for advertising online and targeting your audience. The following
is a list of the various methodologies used to advertise online:
Banners are a common method of online advertising; Fig 5.1 shows an example
of a banner advertisement. Banner ads are constrained in size to ensure
a fast download time. It is also necessary for banner ads to appear exciting
and appealing. When a user clicks on a banner ad the user is either taken
to the home page or a micro home page of the advertiser web site and the
referring page is noted. The number of referrals has a bearing on the
advertising costs charged. There are two types of banner, keyword banners
and random banners.
- Keyword banners have keywords inserted into their background code
and will appear if a user performs a search for those predefined keywords.
This method of advertising is effective when narrowing down a target
- Random banners are used for advertising new products, sales, promotions
etc. and they are less focused than keyword banners.
Ads must be small but effective to attract viewers. Banner ads can be
expensive to place on highly popular sites. Less expensive alternatives
such as banner swapping and reciprocal linking exist. This entails two
websites exchanging banners or linking to each other's sites. It is important
to ensure that your ad will be seen.
There are several methods to determine how successful banner advertisements
- Click through: account of the number of times users click on banner
- Sales and Leads: Companies can determine if sales have increased due
to customers accessing their web site via a banner advertisement by
using different reference numbers for each banner.
- Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM): Used to estimate how many viewers
have seen the banner ad. Impression is defined as one view of the complete
web page (including the banner).
A 1998 study by AOL showed that 9 out of 10 people responded favourably
to banner advertisement and about 50 percent of the views recall ads immediately
after seeing them (www.adage.com, 1998). HotWired's study reported that
banners can still have significant branding impact without being clicked
on although marketing managers still demand decent click through percentages
to justify the money allocated to ad impressions.
Email enables companies to send out mass quantities of unsolicited mail
that contain the same advertisement message e.g. "Spamming".
Mass mailing has become very popular due to email lists being readily
available and cheap. www.yesmail.com sells companies mailing lists of
groups of people who have an interest in particular products or services.
Companies may also develop their own database of customers, based on website
statistics and membership.
GartnerG2 predict cost-conscious businesses will increasingly turn to
the Internet in lieu of traditional direct mail campaigns and that e-mail
advertising revenue by 2005 is forecast to total $1.5 billion. Direct
mail 'will account for less than 50 percent of mail
by 2005' (Garcia,
2002) A study from AMR Research says E-mail marketing has proved to be
one of the more resilient areas of the online advertising industry, but
its clients are often undermining their success through bad business practices
and missed opportunities.
Chat Rooms can create a sense of community between users. Users can exchange
information regarding common interests. Chat rooms can allow business
to analyse what their customer's thoughts and feeling are on new products
and current services and this information can be used to further improve
current products and services. Sponsors can add chat capabilities to a
web site e.g. http://www.multicity.com. This process entails putting a
chat link on your site and the chat vendor takes care of the rest.
In a 1998 report, Montgomery Security estimated that by 2000 Internet
chats were expected to generate 7.9 billion hours of online use, leading
to $1 billion in advertising revenue. The advertisement in a chat room
merges with the activity in the room and the user is conscious of what
is being presented. The message of advertisers is reaching the audience.
(Turban et al, 2000)
Splash Screens (or Popups) are small windows that automatically appear
when a user enters a web site. They are usually smaller than a browser
screen, and do not transport the user away from the original web site.
Pop-ups are intrusive and can be annoying for users. It is essential to
make them creative and good ads will usually have a better click through
rate than bad ones.
Search Engines & Portals:
Search engines are the starting point for millions of web users and are
a service that indexes, organises and often reviews web sites. Users can
search for information by entering key words into the search engine. It
is important that your site is ranked near the top of the search results
for your key words and this can often be a matter of luck. A method of
guaranteeing placement on Search Engines is to purchase an AdWord which
is then displayed on the search result pages for the keywords you buy,
and can be targeted by language and country. Major search engines include
Google, Yahoo etc. Portals provide users with a themed structure and a
sense of organisation, and typically offer search facilities, content,
links to the best sites and email services e.g. http://www.ireland.com,
Ireland.com is considered the main portal site for Ireland, it brings
together information from multiple Irish sources, which provide 'one-stop
surfing', cutting down on virtual travelling from site to site, and provide
direct links to email, shopping, Irish life & culture, weather, news,
Irish history etc.
The purpose of a cookie is to record personal details and registration
for products and services, and show the information requested when a user
returns to a website. Cookies only identify unique computers, as opposed
to individuals unless a user leaves personal information with their browser.
Cookies enable web sites to accumulate data on users based on past selection,
which in turn provides excellent grounds for companies to target customers
using one-to-one advertising. It should be noted that browsers can be
set to accept or reject all cookies automatically, or to alert the user
every time a cookie is offered (Davis, J, nd).
Advantages of Online Advertising
The advantages of online advertising as opposed to the traditional methods
is that it allows companies to advertise more directly to individuals
using one-to-one advertising which allows SMEs to customise ads to suit
individual interests based on past selection. It allows companies to build
profiles on customers using intelligent agents e.g. log-on registration,
cookies, personalised email accounts, content and layout configuration,
virtual storage etc. SMEs can use these intelligent agents to target their
customers based on the profiles they have developed. When new products
and services are released, customers who have selected the option of adverts
being sent to them, will receive tailored ads notifying them of the latest
news and promotions. This is called product brokering.
Online advertising allows for adverts to reach customers at a personal
level. They should state clearly the products and services that are on
offer and enable customers to identify the advantages of buying with your
company as opposed to your competitors. Customers are in control when
surfing the web, it is their choice to decide what sites they wish to
browse and it is therefore essential to have a strategy in place to drive
traffic to your site.
E-Marketing gives rise to opportunities, see fig 5.2 (Source: Datamonitor