Online marketing or internet marketing is the theory and practice of using the Internet to promote the sale of products and services. These digital marketing strategies and tactics are embodied within an online marketing plan that includes different techniques such as email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, SEM, influencer marketing and programmatic advertising, among others.
Internet marketing is a component of e-commerce. It can include content management, public relations, online reputation, customer service, and sales. E-commerce and digital marketing itself have become more popular as internet providers are becoming more accessible. More than a third of consumers who have access to the Internet in their homes claim to have used the Internet as a means to make their purchases. It is one of the four marketing paradigms, that a company must choose as the basis for the application of a strategy. Internet marketing originated in the early 90s in the form of simple web pages, which only contained text and offered product information. In the late 1990s, so-called “webmercials” (by the combination of the terms “commercial” and “web”) emerged in the United States. The new way of advertising arose from the need for large newspapers to compete effectively with the growing entirely digital media. The most recent step in this evolution was the creation of entire businesses that operate from the Internet to promote and sell their products and services. The 4 pillars of Internet marketing would be:
- Flow: Flow is “the state of mind that an Internet user enters when immersing themselves in a website that offers an experience full of interactivity and added value.”
- Functionality: If the client has entered a state of flow, it is on its way to being captured, but so that the flow of the relationship is not broken, it remains to provide the online presence with functionality, that is, to build pages taking into account the limitations of technology. It refers to an attractive homepage, with clear and useful navigation for the user.
- Feedback: At this stage, the relationship has begun to build. The user is in a state of flow and also does not get exasperated in his navigation. The time has come to continue interaction and take advantage of the information through the knowledge of the user. The Internet allows asking the customer what they like and what they would like to improve. In short, interact with the client to get to know them better and build a relationship based on their needs to customize the page after each contact based on this.
- Loyalty: The internet offers the creation of user communities that provide content so that a personalized dialogue is established with customers, who can thus be more loyal.
Business Models of Internet Marketing
Internet Marketing is associated with various business models. The main ones include the Business-to-Business (B2B) model and the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) model, services offered by an online marketing agency. B2B (Business to Business) consists of companies doing business with each other, while B2C consists of selling directly to the end consumer. When Internet Marketing originated, B2C was the first to appear. B2B transactions were more complex and came later. A third and not-so-common business model is the user-to-user (P2P) where individuals exchange goods with each other. An example of P2P is BitTorrent, which is built on a platform of users who share files or files.
The limitations of Internet marketing can create problems for both companies and consumers. Slow Internet connections can lead to difficulties. If companies place too much information on their web pages, end users may have difficulty downloading the page. In addition, Internet Marketing does not allow shoppers to touch or try products before buying them.
Impact on the industry
Internet marketing has had a broad impact on various industries including music, banking and second-hand markets. In the music industry, many consumers have started buying and downloading MP3 files on the Internet instead of buying music on CD media. The debate over the legality of downloading MP3 files has become a major concern for those in the music industry.
Internet marketing has also affected the banking industry. More and more banks are offering the ability to bank online. Online banking is believed to have been attractive to consumers because it is more convenient than visiting a banking agency. Currently, more than 50 million adults in the United States use Internet banking. Online banking is the fastest-growing internet activity. The increase in Internet connection speeds is the main reason for this growth. Of those individuals who use the Internet in the United States, 44% bank online.
For both businesses and consumers involved in e-business, security is an important issue. Many consumers have doubts about whether to buy products on the network because they do not trust that when they deliver their personal information it will be kept private. Recently, some companies conducting business online have been found handing over or selling information from their customers. Several of these companies have guarantees on their websites, declaring that the information of their consumers will be kept private. By selling their customers’ information these companies break their privacy commitments, posted on their websites. Some of the companies that buy this information allow users to be removed from the lists. However, many consumers are unaware that their information is being disseminated and cannot stop the transfer of information between companies.
Security issues are of great importance and online companies have been working hard to create solutions. Data encryption is one of the main methods of dealing with privacy and security issues on the Internet. Encryption can be defined as the conversion of data into encoded figures. These figures cannot be easily intercepted unless an individual is authorized by the program or company that performed encryption. In general, the stronger the encryption, the better the data protection. However, the better the encryption code, the more expensive the data encryption becomes.