The new and inherited features of the online marketing setting

Written by Yun Zhai

This analysis aims at elaborating the mutual traits and difference between online marketing environment and traditional marketing environment by looking at the essential factors influencing the communication between brands and consumer. Factors differs the online marketing environment from the traditional one are promotion and place element in marketing mix, audience reach, and the emerge of empowered consumer. Because of the change of marketing setting, the appraisal on media marketing’s performance is therefore different in terms of the effective factors. In other words, because of the dynamic nature of online marketing setting, branding approach emphasises more on interaction with empowered consumer and the reach of audience can be more specific by tracking individual online behavior. Unique user’s database serves greater value on targeting for marketing promotion. 

On such note, brand owner integrated online and offline marketing plan to enhance the reach of audience. Social media become important online branding marketing vehicle which holds a mass of audience, yet it is a paradox that no audience is necessarily listening(), and such vehicle serves an 'open source’ (Fournier & Avery, p194) in brand management. Thus brand manager is a host more than a a controller over the audience reach, because he/she needs to open ears for the vocal consumer through the social media. As Christodoulides (2009,p141) pointed out ‘Onesided communication model applied to mass media was unsuitable for the dynamic nature of computer mediated environments’, online marketing requires marketer’s proactive involvement in reaching and responding consumer’s online demands more than merely accessibility of a product and repetitive advocating of the fine feature of it.

Definition of online marketing setting and traditional marketing setting
Online marketing is under the Web2.0 technology environment that brand message and routine activity for branding management can be carried out via website and social media vehicle. With the help of unique user data collecting device such as cookie, consumer’s online behavior can be monitored and the consumer fragment can be targeted. traditional marketing setting is generally physical site or store and one-way mass media, such as TV, out door advertisement and printing.

New features of online marketing
1. 4p marketing mix is differently interpreted in online marketing environment as a hyper media environment (Russell S. Winer,2009), thus the communication is different.which is reflected in the audience reach. The 4Ps components of marketing mix, which namely are price, place, price and promotion((Kent & Brown, 2006).The concept of place and promotion in marketing mix can be different online from the ones in physical marketing site and traditional communication sites, be it physical on-site sales campaign or medium in a traditional sense, such as TV.

On one hand, the online promotion such as advertisement campaign can be placed in different phrases whenever the unique user visit a random site, the content of advertisement can be various because it follows up with such unique user’s online behavior and detects the needs. On the other hand, the promotion in online marketing setting needs to include consumer’s participation. Take advertisement creative planning for example, the brand owner used to set up a brand message through story telling advertisement, but in a social media era, the story is not narrated by brand owner alone but also involves consumer’s co-creativity. In the early Internet era, interactivity on Internet marketing was overlooked and the practice for online marketing was a simple result duplicated from traditional marketing, thus the benefit of new medium was not captured by brand manager (Christodoulides, 2009). In certain sense the 4Ps for online and offline marketing share partial same meaning but the marketing planning should be tailored made for two different environments. Especially the online marketing setting requires immediate response and interactivity to a high degree.

2. Audience reach via Internet advertisement is of multi-layers. It augmented the set of communication tools used in traditional marketing vehicles(Russell S. Winer, 2009). Before 1990 mid, communication mix is used in the forms of advertisement, sales promotion, sales direction, PR and Personal selling(Russell S. Winer,2009). But in the Web2.0 era flooded with the impact of social media, the landscape of open source unfolded as a cultural conversation over the brand that equally shared by consumer, and the social sharing motivation of consumer is strengthened more than their shopping experience on traditional marketing. Thus new marketer emphasis online marketing promotion planning based on consumer’s behavioral targeting.The usage of cookies, sales revenue and tracking relies on ‘clickstream’. Comparing to the traditional media, social media and virtual website became a shifted power on consumer’s smart phone device, which results less TV viewing. Unlike traditional media’s one-way communication utilized in repetitive advertisement to enhance the awareness among consumer, the online marketing involves 3 kinds of new media namely intrusive, non-intrusive and user-generated(Russell S. Winer,2009) to penetrate consumer’s online experience and to integrate content from consumer’s response. Therefore, consumer become empowered with the prevalent usage of social network in the Web 2.0 era.

3. Empowered consumer. With the increasing usage of online formats including real-time blogging, twitter, facebook entities, chatroom and so on, consumers are using computer-mediated communication to share information other than through persuading advertisement and corporate website(Kozinets,2002). On one hand, enable a vast reach of ‘Corporate communication has been democratized’, now one-way advertisement is not effective for enhancing brand awareness, instead, marketer should monitoring online branding ROI and response to the consumer feedback online sharing. And the B2C website like Ebay needs consumer rating to reflect the trust and reputation in product. Consumer’s online purchasing behavior can be stimulated through their casual website visiting, which is driven by fun and curiosity, or out of task-focused utilitarianism with specific purchasing goal.(Daniele Scarpi, 2011). On one hand, consumer is empowered with their own free will on purchasing decision making, yet on the other hand, marketer can take advantage of online affiliation advertisement to imply the purchasing needs and convey the purchasing information.

4. Performance appraisal on online branding would be different. Traditional marketers tend to count the marketing performance by final results, to name a few, consumer verbal feedback or final sales revenue, but ignore the reflective function of tracking the marketing-related data, or fail to connect certain effective marketing promotion to the final sales revenue. Since marketer need to evaluate the ROI of marketing plan by looking at the cafeterias. Some companies are encouraged to have a wider financial casual model or driver maps for marketing online in terms of advertising, promotion and distribution(Yoram Wind,2008). For example, instead of merely counting clickstream of one certain commercial webpage, marketer can use records in unique user’s cookie to chase every click on each webpage to see whether a chain of online marketing promotion leads to consumer’s final online purchasing, or have an idea on which step the consumer stops clicking for further webpage. In this sense, a brand’s online marketing performance can be evaluated by phrasal clickstream record and counted based on successful sales clicks.

Mutual feature of online marketing and traditional marketing

1. 4Ps components in marketing mix stay the same. A certain product and service attracts and communicate its value through consumer by demonstrating its price, indicating its physical accessibility. Store image and shopping experience are still constructing a major purchasing promotion factor to the consumers or shoppers. Be it online or traditional physical shopping site, store image and product display can be achieved in both settings. Consumers’ purchasing motivation can be influenced by store image or category management, and can be conceptualized within the frame of purchasing context when consumers are always not self-aware and tend to make irrational decision(Florin et al, 2007). The physical retail setting is defined as physical store, where major store image(Burt et al, 2007) is constructed, interaction with consumer is enable.

2. Purchasing decision requires the same element from marketing setting. By the characteristic of buying motivation, consumer online classified into utilitarian consumers and hedonism consumer. Marketers perceive that hedonism consumer is more profitable because of their active status for online shopping. but as for the level of price consciousness and expertise on Internet, these two consumer shows no difference(Daniele Scarpi, 2012). Thus, consumer’s buying decision making process involves same factors including information, social cultural background, immediate need rather than the degree of their online operational skill.

Online marketing setting is different from the traditional one because of its interacting nature with consumer’s open source of communication. But the basic elements consisting of marketing mix, because they construct the major effective factors influencing the experience for brand consumers and shoppers, while such experience is cultivated under the brand image building and experiencing. Product is displayed and categorized in physical store to portrait certain image and convey brand message, which also can be achieved in online marketing setting.

Since online marketing can reach consumers who are online active in a wider range, such online marketing vehicles can be more flexible and real-time with consumer’s behavior. One advantage of online marketing is the data adopted from cookie, which enables marketer to monitor and target consumer’s online behavior, even can push and assume their purchasing desire by tracking every phrase of their clicking on website by launching different marketing promotion. That gives marketers a chance to evaluate a brand’s marketing performance or a product’s marketing performance after certain campaigns.

Driven by the nature of online setting, consumers are no longer in a passive position as audience receiving commercial message, they are empowered with active comment towards certain product or service. Marketers should take initiative to interact with consumers’ online activity and response in timely manner, so as to project and manage a brand’s image.

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