E Marketing Mix by Maxwell Ranasinghe.
E marketing is applicable when conducting marketing activities through the use of
internet and information technology. It could be considered as availability of an
additional channel for marketers to market their products. However, it has unique
characteristics when compared with the traditional marketing process. Therefore,
marketers have attempted to provide a special e-marketing mix to e-marketing. It is
simply the adaptation of price, place, product and promotion to the e-marketing concept.
Further one could add people, process and physical evidence also to the e-marketing mix
as there is inherent service component in e-marketing.
As in the traditional marketing mix, “Price” is for the price of the product offered in the
e-marketing mix too. Simply what is the price that the e-markerter is charging to sell his
product though internet. E-marketer can use traditional pricing strategies such as
customer based or competitor based. Pricing techniques such as premium, skimming,
penetrative, promotional, discounted could be used. Since the buyer has the ability to go
through many similar product offers in the internet and also to compare and contrast the
offer with others, there is a high degree of information as to pricing. Buyers can decide to
buy the product from the most competitive marketer who offers the best deal comparing
all the benefits come with the product. Further there are unique pricing mechanisms such
as online auction which are unique to e- marketing.
Online auctions. – You can register with a popular online auction company such as e-bay
and place your product for the auction with an open price or a minimum price and let
buyers bid for your product and allow the highest bidder to buy it.
As in the traditional marketing mix “Place” is the distribution point where the consumer
can access to buy the product. If you have access to a computer with internet facility, you
can have access to buy the product where ever you live. This ability to access the product
globally is called digital space. This digital existence of companies emerged in two ways.
Firstly, pre-existing companies before the invent of internet or after the invent of internet
developed their websites to market their products as an additional channel. In other words
these companies are called “ brick and click” companies or “Online Extenders”..
Secondly, the companies who did not have any physical presence before the invent of the
internet, initiated their businesses only though the internet by establishing websites. In
other words they are called “Pure Click” companies or “Online Alternatives” or “ New
start ups” .
However, if that digital existence to be an effective point of distribution in marketing, the
ability to pay by way of credit card or any other acceptable means plus the ease of
delivery to the point where the purchaser is located should be possible. If there is no
barrier in making the product available at any place where a person could access the
website then all such places could be considered as place of delivery in e-marketing.
However, there could be barriers as to this global existence of delivery points mainly on
the access to internet, payment methods and exchange control restrictions and limitations
in delivery of the actual product. Egg. If the e-marketer does not accept payment from a
particular credit card company then that transaction cannot take place. Further some of
the credit cards prohibit making international payments where foreign exchange is
involved, then that customer may not be able to pay for a transaction if the marketer is
located a foreign country. Further, even if you can make the payment, certain marketers
may not have delivery services to certain parts of a country even if it is local transaction
or to certain countries if it is an international transaction.
As in the Traditional Marketing Mix, the “Product” is the product that is offered by the e-
marketer. The only difference is that it is offered in e-marketing through the channel of
internet. It also will have the same product levels such as generic, basic, expected,
augmented and potential product levels. Further it will also go through the same product
life cycle as in the traditional marketing channel. However, the sales data for calculation
would be the sales in done though the internet during a given period.
Leveraging on the technology certain intangible, innovative products have been
introduced mainly though digital format through e-marketing such as information,
books, entertainment etc. They were not in existence before or not very famous products
before the invent of e-marketing. When exiting business introduced new products
designed to be offered mainly on internet it was called “Online Innovator- Existing
Businesses” and when new companies introduced such products it was called “ Online
Innovator- Start Ups”. Further mass customization is also becoming possible through e-
commerce as there are a lot of possibilities of offering products through e-commerce as
per specific requirements of individual customers.
As in the Traditional Marketing Mix” Promotion” is the way that the e-marketer
communicates about the product offered to the target market. E-marketer can use the
online tools using internet itself or offline tools using the traditional promotional
elements to promote the products offered.
There are two main methods of promoting website online. First method is increasing the
attractiveness of the website by search engine optimisation. There are many ways and
means of directing traffic to your website in this manner such as developing key words,
using appropriate website domain names and hosting the website in proper channels.
The second method is by way of using internet advertising. This is mainly done through
Pay-Per-Click Advertising available through Google Adwords and Overture in Yahoo,
Internet Directories, Web portals dedicated to selling products and Affiliate Marketing
Google adwords is the most famous pay per click advertising program available on the
net for e-marketers. E-marketer needs to select a keyword that relates to his product or
service offered through the internet. Depending on the amount that you are willing to pay
ranging from USD 10 cents to any higher amount Google will expose a short add of your
product and a link to your website with the search engine results to anybody who
searches from the key word that you have indicated. It could appear on the top of the
screen or either side of the screen on web browsers computer. If the web browser clicks
the link, Google will charge you the pay per click that you have agreed to pay Google
even if the browser buys your product or not. E-marketer can manage this account by
paying a stipulated amount through credit card to Google and manage it online with
Google. Yahoo Overture is also somewhat similar to Google adwords and it also displays
a sponsored link with the search engine results.
There are many internet directories that you can list your website with a short summary
and a link. There are industry specific directories and general directories that an
e-marketer can advertise his products. Annual or monthly payments have to be made to
these directories to publish the advertisements.
Affiliates Programs work on a different format. E-marketers offers incentives and
commissions to other web based marketers and organisations to advertise products
offered by them. If some one is having a popular website where lot of visitors are
attracted he could have a banner or link that directs the browser to another e-marketers
website. If that person buys a product by going through that link the owner of that
website will get a commission. There is Affiliate Marketing Companies such as
Commission Junction who makes this possible. Initially, one has to register with such an
Affiliate Marketing Company to commence this operation. The link with the e-marketer
and the other website owner and tracking of the transaction is done through the
intervention of this Affiliate Marketing Company and they will send the commissions by
deducting their service charge if any for the sales made.
There are so many offline tools promotional strategies used by non internet based
companies. All such tools are available for the e-marketer to advertise his products
offered through the internet. He could use television, radio, newspapers, bill boards,
magazines, posters, banners, printing of the website on company stationery, many
methods of public relations and publicity, direct marketing tools and personal selling
could be used to promote the website and the products offered.
As in the traditional Marketing Mix “People” are the staff of the e-marketer who will get
involved with delivery of satisfaction to its customers. Since e-marketing is internet
based, separate specialised information technology competent staff has to be deployed.
Further the website is open 24 hours a days throughout the year. Therefore, depending on
the nature of the product or service that is offered though e-marketing a proper
deployment of staff to attend to the inquiries, orders and complaints have to be made
available as and when necessary. If the product or service is purchased globally, then
there would be time differences of the working hours and needs to have staff on day and
night shift basis to cater to the needs. Their courtesy, efficiency and prompt response to
all the inquiries and complains are vital for a marketer to survive in the fiercely
competitive globalized market place.
As in the Traditional Marketing Mix “Process” is the way that the customers and
transactions are handled. In e-marketing, transactions are done through the internet.
Therefore, proper state of the art computers and related accessories and equipment should
be in place to make the process efficient. Further, the information offered about the
products on the website should be easily found and properly explained. The site should
be user friendly and anybody would be able to use without much trouble. There should be
an easy way to inquire, get quarries clarified through telephone, chat or emails , order,
get products delivered and obtain after sales services. In e-marketing the customer needs
information and delivery more quickly than in the traditional marketing. Therefore an
efficient and quick responding process is vital and it has to be established well for the
benefit of the customer.
As in Traditional Marketing Mix “ Physical Evidence” in the e-marketing mix gives
tangibility to an intangible product in the e-marketing mix when the product offered is a
service. Professional appearance of the website, speed and clarity of information, New
Technologies will give tangibility to the services offered.
If the e-marketer offers a product where the customer gets the opportunity to visit his
office or sales outlet then the e-marketer also should see that his building, physical
resources, environment and interior décor etc are in line with the image and positioning
portrayed by the e-marketer.