by Kenneth Rudich
Internet marketing can be a difficult concept to grasp.
Part of the confusion is tied to the fact that it covers a lot of territory, and there’s a dizzying array of knowledge and skills that go with it. Another part of the confusion stems from the constantly changing nature of it. It is, after all, some of the most fertile ground you’ll ever find for stimulating innovation.
I’m willing to wager that even internet marketers occasionally struggle with staying abreast of all it entails.
this may sound dumb, but…
First and foremost, internet marketing is marketing. That is to say, it is foundationally grounded in many of the same concepts and practices that govern traditional marketing.
But then internet marketing adds a slew of new concepts and tools to that foundation, which tends to give it a different flavor. You would never see or hear most of the words shown above while sitting in a traditional marketing course.
Marketing sprouted another arm with the advent of internet marketing. Nobody knew what offline marketing was until online marketing came along. Now, those two words summon distinctly different impressions.
The sphere of influence for internet marketing can be divided into four categories based on its relationship with offline marketing. They are:
- An enterprise that conducts all of its business exclusively online, making the online business its only source of revenue.
- An enterprise that simultaneously conducts business both online and offline, with each providing a separate source of revenue for it.
- An enterprise that uses internet marketing only to support its offline business, where the offline business is the only source of revenue.
- An organization that merges offline and online elements together to produce a single revenue source from combining them.
a value chain perspective
The value chain for marketing can be used to put this in further perspective.
For example, a category 1 enterprise probably illustrates the purest form of internet marketing in that every component of the value chain is deployed online. Search engines exemplify this type of enterprise.
A category 2 enterprise plies the value chain components in a manner that allows it to simultaneously operate online and offline. Perhaps it has brick-and-mortar retail outlets as well an online shopping option. It may deploy the same component of the value chain one way for the online option and another way for the offline option, such as in the way products are put on display. In other instances, an overlap between online and offline may allow it to consolidate the two within a component for added efficiency. Credit card transactions work in both platforms, for example.
A category 3 enterprise uses only a certain few aspects of internet marketing to bolster its offline marketing. For instance, it may tap the online aspects of the communications component, like a web page or social media marketing, while using the offline aspects of the value chain for the other components. A local pizza parlor that does delivery might operate this way, given the obvious hurdles associated with having an online distribution channel.
A category 4 enterprise might deploy some components of the value chain in a strictly online manner and others in a strictly offline manner to form one complete chain from product to market. For instance, it might let you shop online, conduct the transaction online, but then uses on-the-ground distribution for delivery of the item to your home or business. In this case, there’s no brick-and-mortar option, like a store, for people to visit.
the big sprawl of internet marketing
Each type of enterprise can pluck what it needs or wants from internet marketing and plug it into the value chain as appropriate.
Here’s a list of some of the activities that can be considered for deployment in the value chain. You can see what is meant by “a mosaic of knowledge and skills.”
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Email List Building
- Pay Per Click
- Keyword Research
- Social Media
- Buzz Mining
- Auto Responders
- Brand Development or Enhancement
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
- Market Research
- Electronic Sales Letters
- Web 2.0
- Online Shopping Carts
- Article Marketing
- Social Bookmarking
- Social Networking
- Funnel Optimization
- Outbound/Inbound Link Building
- Web Analytics
Can you think of any others or anything more to add to this post?