With the advent of online marketing and advertising, businesses had to evolve to adapt to the new medium of information delivery.
As internet connections continue to increase in speed and bandwidth, so advertising has become richly interactive, especially now, as slower dialup services are being replaced by faster broadband networks.
In 2008, over 90% of American households had access to a broadband setup.
The advantages of online marketing are myriad. Chief among them is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to other types of marketing, especially when you compare cost with the scope of the target audience. For a comparatively reduced advertising budget, companies can now reach a far larger demographic.
Customers can shop at their own convenience, and are able to research products and prices from the comfort of their own home, rather than having to traipse around brick-and-mortar stores.
Owing to the very nature of the internet, marketers can measure all sorts of statistics pertaining to the success of their online marketing campaigns. For example, they can track the number, length and frequency of website visits, and which pages were visited and for how long. Information such as this is incredibly useful in designing a marketing website and for implementing and testing strategies to encourage customer base growth.
photo courtesy of Steve Rhodes
Although dialup connection services appear to be on the way out, mobile devices have taken over as broad band’s weaker cousin. The more limited connectivity and reduced hardware performance require businesses to similarly temper their online multimedia marketing extravaganzas to cater to this massively pervasive medium. A balance must be struck between catering to the PC based platforms and mobile devices. Many companies, as a way of dealing with this dichotomy, release their own stripped-down applications for mobile devices so the user can experience a similar level of presentation without the problems that occur when a limited capacity device struggles to cope with broadband-focused material.
Another disadvantage of online marketing is the consumer cannot gain first hand experience of a physical product before he or she buys it. For example, you cannot try on a sweater you buy online. Many companies combat this shortfall by employing rigorous return policies and in-store pickups.
Security issues are also a concern for many online consumers. The transfer of personal information over the internet is ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous merchants who can sell or give your information to other companies. Generally, the bigger and more well-known the company, the lesser the security risk.
Online marketing has become the storefront process for many of the world’s largest companies. In this current climate of connectivity, any company without an online presence may as well not exist. To many, it is by far the most important part of their marketing strategy.