At the beginning of the century, social life was mostly local. It was followed by a period in which commodities were produced on a mass scale. Consumer Marketing operated on mass marketing principles and business primarily concerned itself with how to build the best sales force. At the end of the century, there is an emerging global culture. The major driver of these changes is technology. Technological change has moved steadily back focusing on the individual. These changes shape the possibility and conduct of business. Marketing is especially tied to communication and transportation revolution. As the tools and reach of marketing increase, the job and responsibilities of marketers have evolved with them.
Kotler formalized this evolution with his book “Marketing Management.” His key stages are production, sales and brand management. Each of these is strongly motivated by technological opportunities, which permit new methods and new opportunities. A fourth stage, a focus on the individual customer, is also important. As the new technology of the Internet develops, it reinforces the new marketing emphasis – which in many ways is a return to business at the turn of the century.
In today’s technology driven world, a new fast paced digital economy is emerging. In the near future, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that there are companies that exist only inside computer networks. Most business transactions will be made electronically, directly from the producer to the consumer, bypassing the supply chain. In the digital marketing environment, the consumer becomes an integral player in the development of the product. In fact, a consumer might build the product himself from a wide array of parts provided by the company. It is e-commerce that is changing the way products and services are conceived, manufactured, promoted, priced, distributed and sold. The reason being that it is much cheaper; it allows vast coverage and helps in serving the customer better.
Growth of Internet usage and E-commerce:
According to the research report of Goldman Sachs, India has emerged as the second largest Internet market in Asia after China with 100 million users in 2005. It estimates that Indian Internet Users will increase by 130% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from 0.5 million users recorded at end of 1998. Also the figures of the number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is expected to increase by leaps and bounds and March 2006 sees at least 30 private international gateways. As per preliminary findings of the NASSCOM survey, the total volume of E-commerce transactions in India was about Rs.131 crore in the year 1998-99. Out of this volume, about Rs.12 crore were contributed by retail Internet or Business-to-Consumer transactions, and about Rs.119 crore were contributed by Business-to-Business transactions. The survey also revealed that E-Business transactions in India are expected to exceed Rs.300 crore during 1999-2000. Out of this, about Rs.50 crore could comprise of retail transactions.
For Business-to-Business transactions, Indian industries are expected to reach online penetration of 2% by 2003 and 8% by 2008.
The Figure below gives us a fairer idea of the current world internet usage.
WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS
As On Sep 30, 2005.
World Regions Population
( 2005 Est.) Population
% of World Internet Usage,
Latest Data Usage Growth
2000-2005 % Population
( Penetration ) World
896,721,874 14.0 % 23,867,500 428.7 % 2.7 % 2.5 %
3,622,994,130 56.4 % 327,066,713 186.1 % 9.0 % 34.2 %
731,018,523 11.4 % 273,262,955 165.1 % 37.4 % 28.5 %
260,814,179 4.1 % 21,422,500 305.4 % 8.2 % 2.2 %
328,387,059 5.1 % 223,779,183 107.0 % 68.1 % 23.4 %
546,723,509 8.5 % 70,699,084 291.31 % 12.9 % 7.4 %
Oceania / Australia
33,443,448 0.5 % 17,655,737 131.7 % 52.8 % 1.8 %
WORLD TOTAL 6,420,102,722 100.0 % 957,753,672 165.3 % 14.9 % 100.0 %
Effectiveness of the Net in Reaching Out to the Masses
The reach of Internet may not yet be as wide as that of other mass media, but given its unique advantages, it is undoubtedly the communication medium of the future. Marketers around the world have from time to time tried to reach their target audiences through various media. Scientific and technological advances have and will continue to create newer media to improve communication, and marketers will try to use the same to effectively address their audiences. Internet is one of the latest to join the list of such media inventions.
Internet Fame with the Indian Audiences
Let us first take a quick look at the audience that this medium is trying to reach. The top 8 metros of the country, the scope of the Internet as a medium to reach out to a large number of people is presently limited. However, some of these limitations can be addressed.
1. Internet is available in regional languages also. Even today this medium is largely confined to only those who are literate in English. Various initiatives of companies like ITC and HLL like E-choupal and i-Shakti have given a considerable boost to vernacular usage of internet
2. Internet is accessible though other media also and not only through telephone lines. In the current scenario, the usage of internet might be dominated by telephone lines, but broadband and cable net are coming in a huge way.