The key objective of this chapter is to develop an understanding of the background, current state, and future potential of e-marketing. You will learn about e-marketing’s important role in a company’s overall integrated marketing strategy.
After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
- explain how the advances in internet and information technology offer benefits and challenges to consumers, businesses, marketers, and society
- distinguish between e-business and e-marketing
- explain how increasing buyer control is changing the marketing landscape
- understand the distinction between information or entertainment as data and the information-receiving appliance used to view or hear it
- identify several trends that may shape the future of e-marketing, including the semantic Web.
For The Piano Guys, an American musical group that has swept the nation with their original blends of classical and modern sounds, e-marketing has played a key part in the huge success the group has become today. Paul Anderson, a local piano store owner in Utah, was searching for new ways to market his pianos, so he started a YouTube channel and a Facebook page for his store. He created unique music videos to showcase his pianos, which caught on quickly, going viral and generating traffic to his store.
One day, Jon Schmidt, a solo piano performer, came into Paul’s store and asked if he could practice for an upcoming concert he was performing in the area. Paul asked Jon if he would be willing to be in a video that could both promote Paul’s store and Jon’s music. The duo hit it off, and Jon invited his friend and cellist, Steve Sharp Nelson, to join the team. Finally, Al van der Beek approached Steve, who was moving into Al’s neighborhood, to show him his elaborate at-home music studio. Al’s studio engineering skills would prove to be an invaluable piece that makes The Piano Guys the remarkable musical group they are today.
The Piano Guys started creating music videos that blended classical and modern songs, and enhanced the videography with unique special effects such as lightsaber cello bows during a special version of the infamous “The Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back
of the Star Wars
saga. This video can be found on The Piano Guys’ YouTube channel and has garnered 40,333,058 views, making it a great example of a viral marketing success.
Today, The Piano Guys are known just as much for their remarkable, classically influenced instrumental music as they are their highly-professional music videos that incorporate unique special effects and are shot in breathtaking locations. The musicians have 5,848,403 subscribers to their YouTube channel, where they have dozens of fascinating videos uploaded. Many people learn about and become fans of The Piano Guys on YouTube first, before purchasing their music and concert tickets, to enjoy offline.
Why do we begin this book with this story? Because a musical group is a product, promoting its benefits to consumers in hopes that they’ll purchase songs, albums, or concert tickets, or even engage in another type of “purchasing,” by subscribing to The Piano Guys’ YouTube channel or liking its Facebook page. The Piano Guys have even blended these two types of purchasing by showcasing the details of their nearest concert and offering the opportunity to purchase tickets as a viewer watches the videos posted to their YouTube channel. The Piano Guys’ use of e-marketing is a stellar example for businesses and demonstrates the power of the internet. The Piano Guys created a product (unique and inspiring music and video content), reached people via the media they prefer (online and social media), and created a dialog with people, often initiated by the group. Their story successfully generated interest through its viral videos and created a loyal following that has made this group a full-time job for the musicians, completing with a full tour schedule around the United States. What a remarkable way to respect the beauty of classical music and infuse it with the sounds of today that people just can’t get enough of.
and The Piano Guys social media pages.)
The Piano Guys example demonstrates that some marketing principles never change. Companies must meet the needs of their customers. Further, markets always welcome good products and demand good company/customer communication. Customers trust well-respected brands and talk to others about them. What is new is that these classic concepts are enhanced and often more challenging when applied to social media, huge databases, mobile devices, the internet of things (IoT), and other internet technologies.
The rapid growth of the World Wide Web (basis for “www.”) in the 1990s, the subsequent bursting of the dot-com bubble, and mainstreaming of the internet and related technologies created today’s climate: the comprehensive integration of e-marketing and traditional marketing to create seamless strategies and tactics. This provides plenty of profitable opportunities, as will be discussed. This chapter is just a sampling of what you’ll find in later chapters.
- The customer is CEO. After all those years of marketers talking about the customer being their focus, finally, this has become a reality. The consumer is now in charge. This power shift means that companies must be transparent, authentic, monitor online discussion about brands and engage customers to help improve products (a strategy called crowdsourcing).
- E-commerce. US consumers spent more than $320 billion online in the first three quarters of 2017, representing a nearly 14 percent increase over 2016, according to figures reported by the retail survey from the US Census Bureau (available at census.gov). Over 70 percent of connected consumers use the internet to buy products, bank, make travel reservations, or research products before buying. Mobile commerce sales in 2012 were over $156 billion, predicted to reach over $400 billion by 2021, according to eMarketer.
- Advertising online. Online advertising is a bigger part of advertiser media budgets than every other medium except television. Marketers spent more than $72.5 billion on online advertising in the United States in 2016, with more than $34 billion spent on mobile advertising that same year (“IAB Internet,” 2017).
- Search engine marketing. This marketing tactic is hugely important. Digital search advertising spending (i.e., purchasing keywords that present ads on search engine results pages) yielded more than $34.8 billion in 2016 (“IAB Internet,” 2017). Google gets the lion’s share of the user search market, and most e-marketers use search engine optimization to be sure their sites appear near the top of the first page of the search engine results pages for natural searches.
- Owned, paid, and earned media. Marketing communication planning now involves owned (e.g., website), paid (e.g., banner ads), and earned (e.g., blog and Facebook posts) media. The traditional marketing communication tools of advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, direct marketing and public relations are used within this new context to generate earned media.
- Mobile marketing. Seventy-seven percent of American adults now have mobile phones, providing plenty of profitable opportunities for smartphone applications and advertising. When added to mobile computing (iPads and netbooks), the wireless internet offers users anytime, anywhere access for consumers—and where consumers go, marketers follow.
- User-generated content. Now a huge part of online content, this includes everything from consumer-created commercials and product improvement suggestions to YouTube videos, Facebook photos, Pinterest posts, as well as all the text on blogs, social networks, and user review sites (such as the Amazon.com book reviews).
- Social media communities. These communities gather users with like-minded interests for conversation and networking. This includes social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Marketers use these sites to build brands and engage customers.
- Content marketing. Marketers are becoming publishers, creating content on websites and in social media to attract and engage prospects and customers. Companies publish videos, press releases, blog posts, white papers, infographics, eBooks, and more. Content is king and customer engagement online is queen.
- Local and location-based marketing. These efforts work well online, thanks to Google local search, eBay classifieds, and the hugely popular Craigslist. Smartphone users can easily find a local business with a global positioning system (GPS) and the Google application or check into local businesses on Facebook.
- Brand transparency. This means that marketers are rewarded for being honest, open, and transparent in their communication with internet users. Those who are not get called out under the bright lights of the blogosphere, product review sites, and on social media.
- Inbound marketing. The days of “interrupt” marketing (e.g., television commercials) are waning. Consumers are not waiting for marketing messages. Inbound marketing strategies are about enticing consumers to find companies online (more in this chapter).
- Metrics rule. Web analytics and many other techniques allow marketers to keep track of every mouse click and use it to improve strategy efficiency and effectiveness. There are millions of metrics and marketers select the most appropriate for their objectives and tactics and follow them daily.
Technically speaking, the internet
is a global network of interconnected networks. This includes millions of corporate, government, organizational, and private networks. Many of the servers (hard
drives and software) in these networks hold files, such as webpages and videos, that can be accessed by all networked computers. Every computer, cell phone, or other networked device can send and receive data in the form of e-mail or other digital files over the internet. These data move over phone lines, cables, and satellites from sender to receiver. One way to understand this process is to consider the internet as having three technical roles: 1) content providers who create information, entertainment, and so forth that reside on Web servers or computers with network access; 2) users (also known as client
computers) who access content and send e-mail and other content over the network (such as a Facebook comment); and 3) a technology infrastructure to move, create, and view or listen to the content (the software and hardware). Note that individuals can be both users and content providers at various times so the line between items 1 and 2 is slowly disappearing. In e-marketing
we stopped capitalizing the word internet
. Following Wired Magazine
’s suggestion, we agree that the internet is not a place (requiring a proper noun’s capitalization) but a medium, similar to radio and television.
There are three types of access to the internet:
- Public internet—The global network that is accessible by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
- Intranet—A network that runs internally in a corporation but uses internet standards such as HTML and browsers. Thus, an intranet is like a mini-internet but with password protection for internal corporate consumption.
- Extranet—Two or more proprietary networks that are joined for the purpose of sharing information. If two companies, or a company and its suppliers or customers, link their intranets, they would have an extranet. The access is limited to extranet members.
E-business, e-marketing, and e-commerce are internet applications. E-business
is the optimization of a company’s business activities using digital technology. Digital technologies are things, such as computers and the internet, which allow the storage and transmission of data in digital formats (1s and 0s). In this book, we use the terms digital technology
and information technology
interchangeably. E-business involves attracting and retaining the right customers and business partners. It permeates business processes, such as product buying and selling. It includes digital communication, e-commerce, and online research, and it is used in every business discipline. E-commerce
is the subset of e-business focused on transactions that includes buying/selling online, digital value creation, virtual marketplaces and storefronts, and new distribution channel intermediaries. Mobile commerce (M-commerce) and social commerce are subsets of e-commerce (discussed in Chapter 11
E-marketing is only one part of an organization’s e-business activities. E-marketing is the use of information technology for the marketing activity, and the processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. More simply defined, e-marketing is the result of information technology applied to traditional marketing. E-marketing affects traditional marketing in two ways. First, it increases efficiency and effectiveness in traditional marketing functions. Second, the technology of e-marketing transforms many marketing strategies, as shown in The Piano...