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An Internet Marketing program has two sides. One is the part devoted to individual customers. The other is the business to business component. E-commerce programs as well as advertising, sales support, customer service and public relations are all elements of an internet marketing program.
Similar companies compete against one another while being only a click of the mouse away. In other words, a buyer can locate numerous sellers offering similar merchandise, similar prices and similar offers in a very short time period. As more people and businesses become comfortable with the internet, the marketing landscape will continue to evolve quickly in the coming years.
Use of the internet has exploded during the last few years in both the consumer and business-to-business markets. Although the experts still debate the future of the internet, no one doubts it is having an impact on how business is taking place in the twenty ‘first century, even with all of the – – dot crashes – – of the late 1990s. Here are some facts about the internet that highlight its tremendous growth and presence in society:
– The most common products consumers’ research online and purchase off-line (at the store or outlet) are: automobiles, computer, hardware, travel, electronics, books, appliances, music, sporting goods and clothing.
– Over 25 percent of all business-to-business purchases are placed through some type of internet connection.
– The five top business-to-business e-commerce products are computers and electronics, motor vehicles, petrochemicals, utilities, papers and office products.
– In 2004, 10 percent of business-to-business advertising dollars were spent on the internet. The total amount spent was $8.7 billion.
– About 54 percent of the e-mail users have responded to an e-mail advertisement. Almost half purchased a product.
– Internet retail sales account for almost 2.5 percent of all retail sales.
Business-to-business marketers were among the first companies actually to make profits using the internet. In today’s marketplace, the web is becoming the communication tool of choice for many business-to-business companies. The internet provides opportunities for communication, customer service, sales support, collaboration and e-commerce.
Some companies use the internet for every aspect of their business including taking orders, inventory control, production scheduling, communications plans, sales programs, service departments and support programs. The change from traditional communication channels such as salespeople, telephone and – – snail mail – -to the internet and e-mail happened quickly in some companies and more slowly in others.
Now, convincing top management of the benefits of internet marketing is essential. There is still a lack of internet expertise in the business community. As a result, many companies are turning to marketing agencies for guidance.
To conclude, the influence of the internet on various businesses and industries has been clearly noted in today’s world. The presence of the internet and e-commerce is so sweeping that the various applications of web technology are now essential elements of a fully integrated marketing communications program.