INTEGRATED MARKETING STRATEGIES: GROWING INDUSTRY

The Internet proved itself as a growing industry with the ability to reach various cultures and consumers. For the relative size of a marketing campaign, the Internet has the most results for the money spent. The Internet allows advertisers to go far beyond the boundaries once established for corporations, products, or services. The Internet is the sole alternative in which a company may globally market their business with such ease and low cost. T aking into account the number of people that access the Internet, businesses reach the entire world with an online advertisement. The only costs related to online advertising is the price to purchase an Internet domain or to establish an advertisement. While businesses might spend a substantial amount of money on an online advertising campaign, it is pennies compared to traditional advertising. In addition, the Internet reaches people globally. Alternatively, a traditional advertising campaign could costs millions to launch a global campaign especially factoring in the attitudes of various cultures. Furthermore, the ability to target consumers and learn from them is a plus. Online advertising has the ability to track the attitudes and behavior of consumers rather quickly. Each time a consumer visits a Website or uses a search engine companies track these numbers. Banks’ service

In addition, there is a high number of ways consumers leave feedback on the Internet. Between consumer feedback on retail Websites, blogs, and social networking, companies have the unique ability to know what their consumers think and want. Having feedback from those who purchase the products greatly adds to the ability to better market a business or reevaluate a product or service. This information allows businesses to create advertising campaigns that are on target with the desires and ideas of consumers. The closeness that online feedback and advertising allows is extremely beneficial in creating a highly effective marketing strategy.

One of the greatest threats facing a marketing strategy is the assessment of whether the outcomes exceed the input. With this in mind, it is valid to ask several questions. For the price, is there another way to advertise that provides results customized to a particular product or service? Is there another way to market in multiple demographics for such a low cost? Where else can a business target 203 million Americans outside of the Internet?

Although great research exists when considering online marketing, one major area needs addressing. As with any other marketing strategy, one of the main concerns is customer loyalty. Therefore, more research based on how to determine techniques to assure consumer loyalty for an online presence is necessary. Many factors play into the consumer loyalty aspect of the online marketplace. Taking into account consumer privacy, feedback, assessments, and consumer relationships through various marketing practices, there lacks a model of research to determine what method or focus works best in achieving loyal customers. A great benefit to the online marketplace is a way to assess what consumers look for when trying to decide on sites that make them feel the most comfortable, thus consistently returning to the site. Presently, numerous Websites utilize surveys either immediately upon visiting the Website or at some point during the visit. While the surveys are optional, they provide crucial information to companies. The surveys are typically ten questions and want to gather feedback on the experience of consumers on a particular site. Generally, the surveys question the visual appeal of the Website, the ease of navigation through the site, and the lack of confusion on the site. In addition, the surveys request the purpose for visiting the site, whether there was a purchase, and reasons for not purchasing a product. Most importantly, the surveys question the future decisions of consumers. Will the consumer return to a particular site in the future? If not, what needs adjusting for the consumer to return? Will the consumer recommend the site to friends and families? If consumers take the time to answer these brief questions, the quality of Websites improves because of the feedback. Alternatively, a different type of surveying exists. After making a purchase through an online retailer, consumersreceive an e-mail containing a survey about theirpurchase. The survey requests that the consumer wait until the product arrives and then answer the questions. These surveys question the entire process with the Website from the online experience to the actual product. Again, this is another way for companies to ensure consumer loyalty. By expressing feedback of the whole experience, companies gather more information as to what consumers want from Websites and its products and services. According to Sprague and Wells (2010), marketers are engaging in “stealth marketing,” a method of communicating with potential customers in a manner that disguises the originator of the communication (p. 415). As the Internet increases as a marketing medium, consumers are overwhelmed with commercial messages; however, consumers are more likely to pay attention to opinions by fellow consumers. On the other hand, if consumers know a marketer sponsors the comments, they are less likely to believe the credibility (Sprague & Wells, 2010). Thus, Internet marketers look for a way to gain the trust of consumers without disclosing the sponsorship of the advertiser. Lastly, a number of Websites has a “pop-up” window in which a consumer receives live chat sessions with a representative of the company. This feature works well to improve consumer loyalty. For example, if consumers cannot find the product they want, a representative is available to assist them. The pop-up occurs within seconds of attempting a search on a Website. A live person is accessible to consumers for instant messaging and receiving answers. Not only does the chat session enable consumers to ask questions about products, they receive answers instantly. The use of chat sessions improves the likelihood that consumers will visit the Website again. By utilizing chat sessions, it is one more way in which companies attempt to ensure consumer loyalty.