INTEGRATED MARKETING STRATEGIES: RESEARCH FRAMEWORK

RESEARCH FRAMEWORK

Proposition 1.1 In order to become an online success in marketing, companies must be able to catch the eye of consumers. Most methods are considerably profitable. Yet, using the combination of 3-D animation and the use of a Website for a company, a better way to attract consumers would be to create an avatar as a sales guide for the site.

By combining the need for consumers to search a site and the visual means of advertising, a 3-D avatar becomes the next step in online consumer targeting. The avatar guides the consumer throughout the site and answers questions based on the information within the site. This avatar serves as a permanent salesperson for consumers to use as they wish, without pressure and on their own time.

The proposed method of testing is creating an organization or company as a “dummy site.” By implementing the dummy site, participants use both the dummy site and an actual site within the same market (e.g., Amazon.com and a dummy site of the same proportion). The participants complete a survey regarding their online experience with each site and express their likelihood of returning to each site for a future purchase. Buyers and Sellers

As a crucial suggestion, the avatar is not an aid in finding products and answering questions. The avatar should also be interactive in that it asks questions about the user and in turn makes suggestions based on their input. This increases the possibilities for sales, and shows consumer care by adding a personal touch of showing interest in the consumer.

It is worth noting that certain Websites utilize a similar technique to a small degree, not for research purposes but as a means to personalize the experience for the consumer. For example, OpenSky.com allows consumers to select certain icons that represent their style of clothing. Relying upon the “curators” consumers select, periodic e-mails arrive containing suggestions for the consumers based on the style of their selected curators. The merchandise is available for purchase, or something similar to the product is available. As referenced with the avatar research, it is a personal touch and shows that the Website cares for its consumers.

Proposition 1.2. Online marketing, although capable of reaching global accounts, could be more profitable if focused locally, such as within just the United States, as opposed to spreading globally.

Often companies attempt to expand too quickly. In turn, many companies fail due to overspending and lacking the ability to meet challenges of a multinational market. Therefore, it is possible that focusing on a local environment, such as advertising for the American consumer could prove the most successful. When marketing globally, there are variables to consider. Such variables include the language barrier between nations, cultures, currency conversions, etc. While focusing on a local environment could prove less costly than globally marketing a company, overspending is a possibility. In order to ensure that a company remains in a budget, research is crucial. Since the target environment is smaller, a company is less likely to overspend; however, a company must recognize the attitudes and beliefs of the target environment. Alternatively, a company branching into online advertising might opt to focus on an even smaller environment rather than the entire United States. For example, a company begins its online advertising by narrowing the campaign to the city in which it conducts business. If this step works well for a company, next it broadens to the entire state. By using extremely small environments, the likelihood of familiarizing itself with online advertising slowly builds. Eventually, a company decides whether it is financially beneficial to utilize online advertising and expand or discontinue online advertising as one of its marketing campaigns.

Thus, a study using a dummy site with two different marketing strategies, one globally minded and the other locally focused, is an interesting research idea. By monitoring site hits and purchases, one deduces the marketing campaign that best suites the site. Consequently, a site (depending upon its product or service) may be more profitable if it focuses on a local demographic opposed to allowing the Internet to dictate more of a company than its capability.

Proposition 1.3. Companies with a completely brand associated Web address are more successful than those with addresses that are only partially relative.

What does it mean to have a Web address with a fully associated brand name address? It is simple…a fully associated brand name address encompasses the company in the address (e.g. www.nike.com or www.amazon.com. A company or product that has a fully branded associated Web address is easier to find than one without the association.

Although consumers like to search before making online purchases, a Website that is difficult to remember or lacks an association with the brand tends to lessen the attraction of consumers. What would consumers think if they had to spend time going to a search engine to find a Website by searching for the product name or description? Often, time consuming or tedious actions such as uselessly searching for something that is common or should be easy to find deters consumers from ever making a purchase from the given site due to the aggravation from failed searches.

Research for this Proposition has participants look for various brand name products with and without a search engine. Afterwards, participants answer questions regarding the products that were the easiest to find. The next step is comparing the rankings to the association between the product and the brand name, as well as between the brand name and its official Website address.