Before the global impact of pandemic, we published the part III of this series. As for a quip recap, under the “basics” sub-header we discussed “Digitization and Marketing”. Under the “corporate and marketing goals” sub-header, we discussed Marketing strategies, Customer requirement, Customer acquisition, Customer loyalty and New markets. In the part before this part, under the “Digitalization in the field of marketing” sub-header we discussed Marketing mix. Marketing mix has Product policy, Pricing policy, Communication policy and Distribution policy. In the last part, we have discussed up to Pricing policy. In this part, we will discuss the Communication policy and Distribution policy.
Among the four instruments of the marketing mix (product, price, distribution and communication policy), market-oriented corporate communication alongside the product is of greatest importance. As was repeatedly made clear in the previous sections, there is no area of brand management and no marketing instrument that has no communicative aspect and has not undergone any major changes due to digitization.
Web 2.0 presents many companies with a new challenge. Communication no longer means only sending out information (unidirectional communication) with a very limited perspective on the desired reaction (finding more attractive, developing needs, buying), but communication with bidirectional information exchange. For companies, listening and learning applies here. Media experience increasing interactivity through this bidirectional exchange of information. Digitization turns the media into dialogue media. Social communities, Internet TV, interactive television, e-magazines and many more are communication channels that take on a dialogue function thanks to digitization.
About 30 years ago there was only a small number of media (magazines and magazines) in which companies placed their advertising. It is different today: the number of communication channels has increased significantly in recent years. There are now over 100 contact points between the brand and customers or non-customers. The mass of media has made communication for companies in our society significantly more complex.
It is important for companies to see opportunities and to face the situation. Customers require an exchange. For companies, this means getting involved in the interactivity of the digital channels. Examples of this include Telekom, which offers its customers help via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube. These are modern communication channels and are used by more and more companies.
The content of commercials has also changed with digitization. With so-called “user-generated content”, a real customer or employee is used as a reference. The goal is, therefore, to respond more to the customer and to give the feeling of identifying with the product.
As part of the far-reaching changes in the communications landscape, companies are required to make changes themselves. One must be able to use every point of contact with customers or prospects to seek and find the dialogue. In this way, they can gain valuable knowledge and supplement the existing customer data with additional information.
The so-called touchpoints (contact points) can be found between the company and the customer. Via advertising emails with, for example, discount offers or the like. for new customers, they are sent to a landing page. As soon as the customer registers, the company should already inquire about their preferences, preferred means of payment, etc. Information such as this about the customer is stored in a database and is now linked to the respective customer. Also, each touchpoint is networked with other channels and contact points. Touchpoints, therefore, offer the opportunity to deliver the right product information to the right customer.
This presents the company with new challenges in the area of communication. Different channels have to be developed and tried out at the same time. It is no longer sufficient to select the appropriate channels from proven media and to record them with content. Furthermore, people demand exchange. For companies, this means that they have to get involved in the interactivity (receive, reply, react).
The main task of the distribution policy is to make products or services available to the customer at the desired location and at the desired time. Here, too, had and still has a direct influence on the distribution. There is no industry in which online trading is of no importance. The number of online buyers is steadily increasing.
This growth is not surprising. Shopping online is easy, can be done at any time and has attractive prices. You no longer have to put your foot in front of the door to buy your product.
In contrast to the real-life markets, the permanent availability means that there are hardly any entry barriers for the customer, which is both a problem and an advantage for the Internet for companies. The advantage is that it has become easier for new companies to enter the virtual market. For companies already active on the Internet, this means constantly dealing with new competitors.
However, there are still many retailers who are still not aware of the enormous potential and many retailers have had to say goodbye to the market. Dealers have to adapt, or sooner or later they disappear from the scene. The online retailer Amazon shows how much potential retailers can have if the digital and physical world work together perfectly. Amazon initially sold books from warehouses and began selling music CDs in 1998. The range has been constantly expanded and thousands of products can now be purchased. This is thanks to Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) idea. He created an Internet company in which the majority of employees work from warehouses. In the meantime, both private individuals and companies can sell their goods via Amazon and use the existing logistics.
The Amazon example shows how important it is to understand the purchasing behaviour of its customers. In this way, Amazon is constantly able to make useful and interesting offers at the relevant contact points and, overall, to offer customers a highly positive Amazon brand experience – almost entirely without physical contact.
Amazon offers services such as writing product reviews, viewing other customers’ reviews, “Customers who bought/searched for product A also bought product B!” etc. Amazon strives to offer the best possible service. The customer can also choose the shipping method and speed. Logistics software calculates where a customer lives and in which warehouse the desired item is in stock. In the meantime, this means that delivery is not only possible on the same day (same-day delivery) but also at the same hour (one-hour delivery) in some cities.
M-commerce also plays a role. Companies have to be prepared to provide smartphone-enabled platforms. Because shopping via a smartphone on a non-smartphone-optimized webshop can lead to the purchase being cancelled. The statistics show the development of the use of smartphones or tablets for mobile shopping on the Internet. Nevertheless, classic department stores are finding it increasingly difficult and have to come up with something new. In this way, digitization also has an impact on branches in city centres. Customers can have their clothes tried on or trained service personnel take photos in the changing room and publish the images directly on Facebook. Here too, similar to the product policy,
Today and in the future, multichannel means the multichannel perspective on distribution and communication channels. The challenge lies in the increasing networking of all digital and analogue channels. This means that companies shouldn’t just focus on one area, but have to offer multiple contact points. The link between the analogue and digital channels means that customers can use online discount campaigns, for example, to go shopping in the local shop or be inspired by the shop window and shop online.