E-marketing is a part of e-business that makes use of electronic medium in the promotion of products and services using age-old marketing principles to meet the marketing objectives of the organization.
According to Marketing Teacher (2000, 2005), e-marketing is by its very nature an aspect of an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that are beneficial to the organization and its stakeholders using its own approaches and tools to contribute to the accomplishment of the marketing goals and objectives. (Bryman & Bell 2007 96)
There have been somewhat drastic changes in technology in recent years and the use of the internet as a medium for promoting products and services of various organizations has become undeniably popular.
This has seen the Internet move from being just a business experiment to a full on marketing channel and today businesses are scrambling for ways to exploit it in an attempt to lower their operating costs and reach their target audience at the same time, in essence, killing the proverbial two birds with one stone. (Burns & Burns 2008, 52)
Although e-marketing has received a lot of criticism for the loss of the personal touch in business with many arguing that there is no substitute for “good old-fashioned” customer services, with the increasing competition exerting pressure on organizations to put their products and services out there, it remains a powerful tool in sending the marketing message to mass audiences. (Burrell & Morgan,1979 12).
Advantages of e-marketing
E-marketing enables small businesses to be able to promote its products and services to an expansive audience putting them on a solid footing with larger companies without them having to necessarily dig deep into their pockets. KL Accountants would benefit from the reduced cost through automation and the use of electronic media. (McGivern 2006 23)
The use of the internet enables organizations to have a global reach. In addition to this, e-marketing also gives businesses an opportunity to customize their marketing messages to reach their target market.
KL Accountants would therefore find this to be quite instrumental in designing campaigns that would enable them to promote their financial and accounting services to small businesses owned by women. (Floyd 1997 63)
With the introduction of online metric tools such as web analytics, organizations are now able to track their e-marketing strategies and establish whether they have been effective in meeting their marketing goals and objectives.
KL Accountants would be able to assess their e-marketing campaigns to ascertain its effectiveness and also how their customers are responding to them. In this way, resources can be invested in the campaigns that reach the target market efficiently. (Hoffman, & Novak 2000 48).
E-marketing facilitates increased interactivity between an organization and its customers. This ensures that the customers respond faster to the firm’s marketing message. The firm is able to know what its customers need leading to better services.
KL Accountants would benefit from this especially in their attempt to expand their business and venture into new markets as they would be able to meet the needs of their new customers as well as retain their existing business. (Trott 2008 27).
With the diverse varieties of new technologies becoming available every day, e-marketing provides organizations with opportunities to reach their customers in a wide range of ways.
E-marketing would therefore go a long way in enabling KL Accountants to reach small businesses owned by women in different ways as well as offer a wide range of products and services to meet the needs of their customers. (Windham 2001 89)
Proposed e-marketing strategies
After analyzing the needs of KL Accountants, ABC Marketing Consultants came up with the following e-marketing strategies to enable the firm to meet its marketing goals and objectives.
It should be noted however that none of the campaigns is a standalone strategy by itself and a mix of the strategies is highly recommended.
Social media marketing
Alan Charlesworth (2009) in Internet Marketing: a practical approach, defines Social media marketing any marketing strategy that uses social media as is the medium for its communication whereby the marketer engages the discourse with the members of the public who may include potential customers.
With most companies and organizations having personal website, it poses a difficulty to users of the internet who do not already know about the organization to reach them. The use of social media as a marketing tool enables such organizations to reach an expansive audience as well as gain brand recognition. (Solomon & Askegaard 2002, 76)
The creation of social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter in recent years has seen the use of social media in promoting products and services become a powerful online marketing tool, growing exponentially to be referred to as the new wave of e-marketing. With social media channels creating a lot of buzz in both social and commercial settings, a lot of businesses are seeking to be perceived as interactive members of the social media. Social media marketing follows the AIDAT model as shown below:
(Alan Charlesworth, 2009)
KL Accountants would benefit from the implementation of this strategy in the following ways:
- By interacting with their customers on a personal level, KL Accountants will be able to give their customers the perception that they are relating with a friend rather than an organization. Personal interaction over time causes emotional involvement between the firm and their audience, the consequence of which is the creation of an avenue for customer referrals among the female business owners that they interact with. This will facilitate customer loyalty which in turn leads to goodwill generation in line with the firm’s goal to expand its business and also retain its existing business.
- Once they have established brand recognition in the social media channels, KL Accountants will be able to attract the attention of female small business owners to their financial and accounting services. (Payne & Peck 2003 37)
- Social media marketing would give the firm an opportunity to use a mix of fun and interaction to draw the attention of female owners of small businesses as opposed to traditional marketing which is basically conservative in nature. The interactive nature of social media marketing will enable KL Accountants to pay attention to the needs and opinions of their customers hence offering them better services. This would assist the firm in their quest to expand their business as well as retain their current business.
The low cost of the social media marketing strategy is also an undeniable advantage to KL Accountants. The firm will be able to benefit from the power of recommendation, the addition of the personal touch in their business through interaction and many other perks at an almost negligible cost. The campaign is compatible with traditional marketing and can therefore be run alongside the firm’s existing traditional marketing campaigns.
E-mail marketing is a form of e-marketing that uses electronic mail to deliver commercial and marketing messages to an audience with the purpose of developing relationships with potential customers as well as maintaining a relationship with the existing customers.
Despite the fact that e-mail marketing may be under threat from spammers misusing the medium, the strategy remains effective in the marketing of an organization’s products and/or services. It allows firms to form a virtual relationship with prospective and existing customers.
The extremely cost-effective nature of this e-marketing strategy makes it appropriate for small businesses. The low cost per contact would enable KL Accountants to develop a relationship with female owners of small businesses which would eventually lead to creation of goodwill. The ultra low cost of communication would make the return on investment that the firm would gain to be immense.
E-mail marketing is targeted as this makes it an ideal campaign for KL Accountants since it makes it possible for them to specifically direct their marketing message to small businesses that are owned by women. The firm can thus send newsletters to prospective customers as well as existing customers as a way of promoting KL Accountants’ financial and accounting services.
The implementation of this e-marketing campaign provides an avenue for businesses to exploit the power of personal touch. KL Accountants will benefit from this in that they will be able to customize the e-mails they send out, to, directly address the end users and make them notice their services. This will go a long way in creating brand recognition and assist the firm to be able to expand its market.
The use of e-mails as a marketing tool also has an eco-advantage. KL Accountants will be able to save monetary resources that would have otherwise been used on hard copy or paper based marketing and advertising. (Burrell & Morgan 1979 53).
Also an undeniable advantage that KL Accountants would derive from e-mail marketing is the high response rate that can be achieved by from this strategy. This means that the firm will be able to receive correspondence from their existing and potential customers in a relatively short time.
This would enable them to attend to the concerns of their audience in good time and by extension retain their existing business and also expand their business. With the use of various software tools, the firm would also be able to trace the response of the user in case he/she does not reply and quantify it. This is especially instrumental in the following up of the campaign.
Mobile marketing is a part of e-marketing that involves communication between an organization and its customers by use of cellular or mobile devices to either put across a marketing message, allow the customers to visit a mobile website or introduce them to a new audience campaign.
Over the past few years the use of cellular portable communication gadgets as a legitimate channel for marketing has become widely accepted in most parts of the world. A survey of wireless carriers (2010) revealed that over 285 million Americans, about 91% of the country’s population, are mobile subscribers.
With these statistics it can be derived that mobile devices provide a world of opportunities as far electronic marketing goes. Mary Meeker, Morgan Stanley Analyst, in fact predicted that within the next five years more users will be using mobile devices to connect to the internet than desktop personal computers.
Mobile connectivity facilitates the connection of people to the internet not only through cell phones and other cellular devices but also brings together a diverse collection of communication channels into a simple and easy to use, yet efficient medium. The compatibility of the medium with virtually any age group and its inexpensive nature has made it to be referred to by marketers as the streamlined version of traditional electronic marketing.
KL Accountants could benefit from the continued importance of text messaging. The SMS is the most universal feature and functionality of cell phones available in almost all mobile phones from the cheapest basic cell phones to the most expensive smart phones.
This would therefore be an easy way for the firm to get their marketing message to virtually anyone. This would also be an effective way for the firm to share their expertise and knowledge with their existing as well as potential customers and thereby enable to maintain the confidence of the public in the financial, accounting and any other services that they may be offering.
Mobile marketing is targeted and therefore KL Accountants will be able to direct their marketing message to the small businesses owned by women that are their target. This will ensure that the firm promotes its products and/or services to the right audience.
A very useful characteristic of mobile marketing is its high response rate. KL Accountants will be able to get feedback from their customers in due time about the issues that concern them as pertains to the services offered by the firm and also the opinions they may have on the improvements that they would like to see in the services they receive.
This would ensure that the firm meets the needs of their customers and by extension ensure that the firm is able to retain its business and also expand into new markets.
Search engine marketing
Search engine marketing is a form of electronic marketing that promotes the visibility of websites on the search engine result pages through a combination of free website submissions and paid search engine listings to make sure that an organization’s website appears in the search results list when customers use search engines to research purchase decisions. (Windham 2001, 12)
Women generally use the internet differently from men and understanding this would be greatly instrumental in the implementation of this campaign. A study done by Burst Media in the beginning of 2009 stated that 62.3% of women use the internet as their primary source for information on the products they were considering purchasing as opposed to men who generally use the internet as a source of entertainment.
This information is useful in making the search engine campaign be effective. KL Accountants could exploit this nature of women to promote their financial and accounting services to small businesses owned by women including links that will capture the attention of women in their website, for instance, and also getting other organizations to include the KL Accountants’ website as a link in their websites would ensure that the firm’s website’s visibility is greatly enhanced when women who own small businesses search the internet. This will encourage brand recognition and assist them in the achievement of their objective to expand their market. (Burrell & Morgan 1979, 71)
Another way to enhance the firm’s visibility in the search engine result pages would be to pay for listings. This would guarantee that KL Accountants’ website appears in the search results when existing customers as well as potential customers are searching for information using the internet.
It’s no doubt that for any organization to be successful and maintain its profitability is has to embrace technology in its marketing apart from their previous traditional marketing methods. Therefore more and more organizations are turning to E- marketing in a bid to gain new techno savvy market while still retaining its old market niche.
For any organization, E-marketing offers a lot more advantages and solutions in marketing of a company’s products or services. This is because, E-marketing offers a faster, convenient and has the power to reach to wide market, moreover its cheaper as compared to traditional advertising methods.
In addition, E-marketing brings on board an interactive and involving continuous communication between the organization and the customers, therefore customers and other interested stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in certain events in a company while the company on the other hand can learn what the market is expecting from them and adjust their products and services to these new trends and demands.
E-marketing will also ensure that an organization can effectively carry out product and market differentiation, whereby it can effectively market certain product for a given market, that is, by either classifying the market by age, sex or any other suitable class. By doing this, a company will ensure that resources are not wasted on a general marketing technique but rather all efforts are concentrated on the intended market.
Therefore as mentioned earlier, the proposed strategies cannot be used in exclusion and a mix is recommended in order for the firm to reach its marketing goals and objectives.
Although these strategies are not necessarily difficult to implement, KL Accountants may find it necessary to outsource the services of an experienced e-marketing agency. It is also important to note that women are generally viewed by the society to be the more empathetic gender and as such KL Accountants would benefit further from the inclusion of online promotion to the benefit of the community.
With that being said, we hope that our proposed strategies will be instrumental in achieving the marketing objectives as well as the overall objectives of the firm.
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