Impact of IT on Marketing

Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 2407 , Published on 26 March 2014

Marketing, at the very basic level, can be defined as fulfilling the needs of the customer, at a profit. While the pundits, in the traditional way, define marketing as “the process through which value of a product or service is communicated to the customer, for the sole purpose of selling that product or service”, the focus today has shifted on holistic marketing. The concept of holistic marketing looks marketing as an activity, which is complex in nature, and acknowledges the fact that “in marketing, everything matters!” and in order to develop, design & implement marketing programs and activities, a broad and integrated perspective is necessary. Another premise, which it puts forward is that “there are four components which characterize holistic marketing, namely integrated marketing, relationship marketing, internal marketing and socially responsive marketing”., renjith krishnan

What is more interesting to see is that a whole new dimension of marketing, through ‘holistic’ marketing, has been brought about in form of the IT. Marketing through IT mediums is not only limited only to making a website or leveraging the social media, but also the platforms provided by mobile-based or web-based applications to something as basic as a simple text message in a phone.

According to Malcolm McDonald, technology changes marketing through the collaboration of 6I’s, viz. Integration, Interactivity, Individualisation, Independence of location, Intelligence & Industry restructuring.

While Integration focuses on knowing the client, Interactivity focuses beyond addressibility to dialogue with Individualisation referring to information enabled tailoring. With Intelligence, it is expected that an informed strategy is made and ‘death of distance’ is expected in Independence of location. Industry restructuring refers to redrawing the marketing map

This article focuses on the impact of technology on the stream of marketing, through an analysis of the marketing mix.

1. Product

The products and services available today are being changed in a humongous manner. In the professional services, firms are being allowed to develop new ‘packaged’ products, through the integrated or related services, estate agents and financial services being some examples. The clients can also be provided with access to internal systems of the firm, with the help of extranets, which both adds value and ‘locks in’ clients to the firm’s service.

With the advent of the internet, the world has contracted while the networks have expanded. The availability of information and flow of knowledge on the web has been abundant and phenomenal, respectively. Same has been the case with the availability of digital products. The expansion of the Internet has actually led to creation of unthinkable issues, in terms of contractual rights and copyright infringements and, invariably, this is favouring another community- that of lawyers.

2. Price

As already described above, the expanse network of the internet allows an easy flow on information and knowledge, about a good or service or product, from one end to the other. While this is an advantage, the flip side of the same coin is that it’s easier to compare prices, of the goods; services & products, making the price wars fiercer. The application of the computer systems & networks, in order to have a reduction in time and effort in producing and delivering products and services underlines the assertion that margins have to be increased by the suppliers or the same services will be offered at a decreased price. The ‘packaged’ of products and services as described above, also known as Commoditisation, can be offered via technology at a lower price following the high volume, low value approach of operations management. Another possibility of price reductions can be there through the on-line system of payment. Cash collection is made quicker and cheaper for suppliers and convenient to customers & clients, through the online payment. Having said that, the internet can make or break the way of having different prices for different customer groups.

3. Place

Developments in the recent past do suggest that the direct marketing has actually come to the fore, allowing new segments to be easily identifiable and segments-of-one to be targeted profitably. Another form of marketing which is born, but still is in its infant stages, is the Permission marketing. The World Wide Web, as a place, allows one to match up with the global activities, especially with that of clients’ & competitors’. The surveys; polls & researches on-line yield a large chunk of additional information about the clients & competitors.

The above, as a place, also suggests that it’d become increasingly tough & difficult to retain any form of differentiation for firms, when the services; competencies and approach are clear for all to see.

Not only the Internet establishes a geographical spread, which has been wider than any-time before, it also makes markets more even. Still, the detractors argue that the Internet is just a channel which needs managing similar to other marketing channels.

4. Promotion

Every sphere of promotion, right from advertising to direct marketing to personal selling to public relations, is experiencing a fundamental change in the style and functioning of marketing.

  • Advertising

All one needs is presence on the web, be it the pages on social media or an account on a micro-blogging site or a website– even if only as an on-line brochure. In order to get traffic on the web site, one has to advertise. Mass advertising is made practical & affordable for companies who are new to the market, and are potential threats to bigger fishes in the fray, by the digital television and the broadcasting revolution. New advertising media available these days such as electronic posters, information kiosks, banner advertisements etc. are challenging the creative treatments of advertising as well.

  • Direct marketing

A dramatic impact on direct mailing has been there, courtesy database technology. Clear; regular & focused communication has been attained with the customers & clients through the email listings. A reference to permission marketing has been made earlier. It can be described as a thing where customers provide information about their needs and preferences and agree to the supplier using this information for further marketing activities.

  • Public relations

The publications, in its electronic mode, are being made interactive and custom-made, i.e.; tailorable according to the needs of the players in the market. Through the PR, an effective and efficient way of client communication programmes is maintained, with the help of electronic communication, including the email. This, invariably, reduces the costs of the postages.

  • Sales promotions

A real time exhibition space is no more required with the invent of simulations    and virtual reality. A perfect example of this could be the a leading paint      company gives an option to its customers, of selecting the colours on their own     and see if the design/pattern matches their need and demand. Also, various          giveaways are flavoured with technology.

The article has been authored by Mitul Kathuria, Fore School of Management, New Delhi


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