A consumer gets on the Internet and types in a keyword related to an insurance or financial services product. Thanks to your company’s search engine marketing (SEM) strategy, your company is listed on the first page (perhaps even at the top). The consumer clicks on the links to your company’s Web site and completes contact information. The lead goes to your agent or inside sales representative, who contacts the prospect and makes a sale (Art and Mary, 2006).
In the developed world, companies have realized the importance of digital marketing. In order for businesses to be successful they will have to merge online with traditional methods for meeting the needs of customers more precisely (Parsons, Zeisser, Waitman 1996). Introduction of new technologies has creating new business opportunities for marketers to manage their websites and achieve their business objectives (Kiani, 1998).
In another scenario, a current client provides his email address to your company to receive a newsletter. The newsletter is emailed regularly, personally addressed to him. and is packed with interesting, non-sales oriented information, including an article based on stages. Your company’s Web site address is in the newsletter, and when the client reads it, he decides to check the site for information on a product he is considering. Interested, he then calls his agent.
Many scenarios are possible, combining various aspects of e-marketing. It may be- that a new homeowner spots a banner ad for your company while on a mortgage Web site, or just the right email arrives when a new parent is considering life insurance. Digital marketing is relatively new, and companies are often only using a few aspects of it, testing the waters of this relatively new way to market. Some companies use email marketing, others use search engine optimization (SEO), Internet-based lead generation, personalized collateral, interactive advertising, or Web seminars – or a combination of these. Digital marketing strategies involve utilizing existing and rising communication and data networks to inform personalized and uninterrupted communication between the firm and its customers and to provide worth above customary networks (Watson et al, 2002).
It is much more convenient for businesses to conduct surveys online with a purpose to get relevant information from targeted groups and analysing the results based on their responses. Potential customers can look for reviews and recommendations to make informed decisions about buying a product or using the service. On the other hand, businesses can use the exercise to take action on relevant feedback from customers in meeting their needs more accurately. Digital marketing is the use of technologies to help marketing activities in order to improve customer knowledge by matching their needs (Chaffey, 2013). Marketing has been around for a long time. Business owners felt the need to spread the word about their products or services through newspapers and word of mouth. Digital marketing on the other end is becoming popular because it utilizes mass media devices like television, radio and the Internet.
Exploring Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing can be viewed as a new philosophy and a modern business practice involved with the marketing of goods, services, information and ideas via the Internet and other electronic means. By reviewing the relevant literature it is noticed that definitions of digital electronic marketing vary according to each author’s point of view, background and specialization. For that, while Smith and Chaffey defines it as: ‘Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies’ (Smith and Chaffey, 2005), Strauss and Frost define it as: ‘The use of electronic data and applications for planning and executing the conception, distribution and pricing of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals’ (Strauss and Frost, 2001: 454). On the other hand, the review of the relevant literature revealed that one of the main obstacles in the literature is the unclear way of dealing with the concept and definition of Digital Marketing. In this respect most of the researchers misused the term Digital Marketing; the majority of researchers are using the terms: Digital Marketing / Internet-marketing / E-commerce / E-business as equivalents or a deferent wording for the same meaning, which is incorrect because they are deferent. For example, Digital Marketing has a broader scope than internet marketing since Internet Marketing (IM) refers only to the Internet, World Wide Web, e-mails. While Digital Marketing includes all of that plus all other E-Marketing tools like: Intranets, Extranets, mobile phones etc.
International Scenario of Digital Marketing
The internet, web and related information technologies have proven to be transformational. While these technologies have impacted all parts of the corporation, the marketing function has perhaps been most affected. E-marketing is now a significant part of every global corporation’s marketing arsenal. As international acceptance of the internet and web increases, the scope of international digital marketing now transitions from possibility to reality (graph 1 clearly shows the percentage how really the digital marketing consumers are).
International marketing scholars have followed the transformational impact of the internet/web closely. Several studies in the international digital marketing context have already emerged at the individual consumer (Callow and Lerman, 2003; Dou et al, 2003; Kucuk, 2002; Singh et al, 2004).
Search Engine Optimization as Digital Marketing
The most common digital marketing tool used today is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Its role is to maximize the way search engines like Google find your website. Digital marketing concept originated from the Internet and search engines ranking of websites. The first search engine was started in 1991 with a network protocol called Gopher for query and search. After the launch of Yahoo in 1994 companies started to maximize their ranking on the website (Smyth 2007).When the Internet bubble burst in 2001, market was dominated by Google and Yahoo for search optimization. Internet search traffic grew in 2006; the rise of search engine optimization grew for major companies like Google (Smyth 2007). In 2007, the usage of mobile devices increased the Internet usage on the move drastically and people all over the world started connecting with each other more conveniently through social media.
This is why a lot more attention is being given to the potential of search engines. These are the web’s unsung heroes, the first stop for most surfers. The problem is that your web site is not guaranteed to appear in the all important first ten listings. After all, the average search engine can connect you to more than 500 million pages. But marketers currently rate search engines very low as a marketing tool. Just under half of the marketers surveyed by CyberAtlas spend less than 0.5% of their annual budget on getting the most from search engines. Only 10% spend more than a quarter of the budget on it. This is a missed commercial opportunity. A few search engines now offer paid placement whereby advertisers pay to improve their rankings and pay the host site only if users click through. One of the main proponents of this performance-based model has been the former Goto.com, now renamed Overture. Advertisers pay to be in the top tier of search results in categories such as shopping, travel, computing and entertainment. Overture claims it has 45,000 advertisers connecting to 62.5 million consumers. Research company Odyssey predicts that consumers are less likely to shop online this year than last. Jupiter Media Matrix, however, says that online retail and travel sales will reach more than 8bn in the run-up to Christmas, an 11% increase on last year.
Digital Marketing in Online Education
In one view of education, the textbook can be considered the repository of knowledge about a subject, the student can be seen as the final consumer, while the instructor can be regarded as the middleman delivering the knowledge. A disintermediation strategy (i.e., direct model) eliminates the instructor as principal communicator of the material. The publisher communicates directly with the student. As they have in the past, educators work with publishers to develop the product, course content. However, the publisher’s responsibility consists of converting the lecture, exercises, quizzes, cases, and exams into an interactive online course, administering it to students, and communicating with them. Since the publisher or service provider would be a paid supplier to the university, yet also work with instructors, this constitutes true disintermediation from a student viewpoint. In an example of supplier capabilities, Thomson Learning announced an agreement with Universities 21, a consortium of 18 universities in 10 countries, to develop distance learning higher education courses to be delivered online (Hilts 2000). Thomson Learning will be responsible for course design, delivery, testing, assessment, and student database management. Universities 21 will award degrees to students who complete the course requirements. In another example, Harcourt General (education publisher) offered college-level courses over the Internet and was prepared to grant bachelor’s degrees (Kirkpatrick 2000). One year later, Reed Elsevier acquired Harcourt, and the program was abruptly closed due to incongruence with the business strategy of the new parent company (Emery 2001). The low total enrolment of 20 to 30 students was likely due to the fact that Harcourt has no reputation for administering education. As Emery (2001) noted, most successful online programs are those offered by established brick and mortar schools. Since Harcourt was acting on its own and not as a supplier of the information, this example is meant to illustrate publishers’ potential of facilitating disintermediation.
Digital Mobile Marketing
During the precedent decade, pioneering marketing communication channel that distribute applicable and personalised messages to object audiences, have emerged as chief components in the straight marketing programs of various organizations (Harmon et al. , 1999; Watson et al. , 2002). In particular, the internet, alongside ubiquitous devices such as the mobile phone, is facilitating new channels for reaching and interacting with consumers (Moffett et al., 2002; Xu, 2006). Despite these apparent opportunities, technological complexities and privacy issues surrounding the implementation of mobile phone marketing have meant its diffusion within the Australian marketplace has been comparatively slow (Howarth, 2007).
A diverse range of definitions for the broad concept of mobile marketing exist (Mort and Drennan, 2002; Pousttchi and Wiedemann, 2006). In view of these, mobile phone marketing is defined here as the use of mobile phones to provide consumers with time and location specific, personalised information, which promotes goods, services and ideas. The novel status of the mobile phone as a one-to-one communication device suggests mobile phone marketing is reminiscent of an innovative form of direct marketing. Several researchers have studied the factors which influence consumer acceptance of marketing messages sent via this medium (Barnes and Scornavacca, 2004; Barwise and Strong, 2002; Bauer et al. , 2005). Overall, their findings reveal consistent support for three main elements: whether the user has given their permission to receive marketing messages to their mobile phone; the level of control the service provider maintains during the transaction, and extent to which the user trusts the brand being marketed.
The relationship between compatibility and consumer adoption of mobile phone marketing suggests that obtaining user permission and sending relevant messages underpin successful mobile phone marketing campaigns. Consumers, who do not give organizations permission to receive marketing messages to their mobile phone, are more likely to view marketing communication sent via this channel as an invasion of their privacy. If organizations choose to ignore this, then they risk consumers perceiving mobile phone marketing to be as intrusive as telemarketing and email spam, as well as transferring the same negativity to their product or brand. The significant and positive relationship found between a consumer’s level of involvement with their mobile phone, and their intention to adopt marketing communication sent via this medium also has important managerial implications. For example, organizations that target products to an audience that are mobile phone savvy and place significant importance on their mobile phones may benefit from using this medium in their direct marketing campaigns.