Saturday, November 10, 2007
Internet marketing, also referred to as online marketing or Emarketing, is marketing that uses the Internet. The Internet has brought many unique benefits to marketing including low costs in distributing information and media to a global audience. The interactive nature of Internet media, both in terms of instant response, and in eliciting response at all, are both unique qualities of Internet marketing.
Internet marketing ties together creative and technical aspects of the internet, including design, development, advertising and sales. Internet marketing methods include search engine marketing, display advertising, e-mail marketing, affiliate marketing, interactive advertising and viral marketing.
Definition and scopeInternet marketing is the process of growing and promoting an organization using online media. Internet marketing does not simply mean 'building a website' or 'promoting a website'. Somewhere behind that website is a real organization with real goals.
Internet marketing strategy includes all aspects of online advertising products, services, and websites, including search engine marketing, public relations, social media, market research, email marketing, and direct sales. The Internet marketer selects the best of these vehicles, given the organization's goals and audience.
Business modelsInternet marketing is associated with several business models. The model is typically defined by the goal. These include e-commerce, where you sell goods directly to consumers or businesses; publishing, where you sell advertising; and lead-based sites, where an organization generates value by getting sales leads from their site. There are many other models (nearly infinite, actually) based on the specific needs of each person or business that launches an internet marketing campaign.
AdvantagesSome of the benefits associated with Internet marketing include the availability of information. Consumers can access the Internet and learn about products, as well as purchase them, at any hour, any day. Companies that use Internet marketing can also save money because of a reduced need for a sales force. Overall, Internet marketing can help expand from a local market to both national and international market places. Compared to traditional media, such as print, radio and TV, Internet marketing can have a relatively low cost of entry.
Since exposure, response and overall efficiency of Internet media is easy to track, through the use of web analytics for instance, compared to traditional "offline" media, Internet marketing can offer a greater sense of accountability for advertisers. Internet marketing, as of 2007 is growing faster than other types of media. 
LimitationsSince Internet marketing requires customers to use newer technologies than traditional media, not all people may get the message. Low speed Internet connections can cause difficulties. If companies build overly large or complicated web pages, Internet users may struggle to download the information on dial up connections or mobile devices.
Internet marketing does not allow shoppers to touch, smell, taste or try-on tangible goods before making an online purchase. Some e-commerce vendors have implemented liberal return policies and in store pick up services to reassure customers.
Security concernsFor both companies and consumers that participate in online business, security concerns are very important. Many consumers are hesitant to buy items over the Internet because they do not trust that their personal information will remain private. Recently, some companies that do business online have been caught giving away or selling information about their customers. Several of these companies have guarantees on their websites, claiming customer information will be private. By selling customer information, these companies are breaking their own, publicized policy. Some companies that buy customer information offer the option for individuals to have their information removed from the database (known as opting out). However, many customers are unaware that their information is being shared and are unable to stop the transfer of their information between companies.
Security concerns are of great importance and online companies have been working hard to create solutions. Encryption is one of the main methods for dealing with privacy and security concerns on the Internet. Encryption is defined as the conversion of data into a form called a cipher. This cipher cannot be easily intercepted unless an individual is authorized by the program or company that completed the encryption. In general, the stronger the cipher, the better protected the data is. However, the stronger the cipher, the more expensive encryption becomes.
Effects on industriesInternet marketing has had a large impact on several industries including music, banking, and flea markets - not to mention the advertising industry itself.
In the music industry, many consumers have begun buying and downloading music files (e.g. MP3s) over the Internet instead of simply buying CDs.
More and more banks are offering the ability to perform banking tasks online. Online banking is believed to appeal to customers because it is more convenient than visiting bank branches. Currently, over 150 million U.S. adults now bank online. Online banking is now the fastest-growing Internet activity. The increasing speed of Internet connections is the main reason for the fast-growth. Of those individuals who use the Internet, 44% now perform banking activities over the Internet.
Internet auctions have gained popularity. Unique items that could previously be found at flea markets are being sold on eBay instead. eBay has also affected the prices in the industry. Buyers and sellers often look at prices on the website before going to flea markets and the eBay price often becomes what the item is sold for. More and more flea market sellers are putting their items up for sale online and running their business out of their homes.
The effect on the ad industry itself has been profound. In just a few years, online advertising has grown to be worth tens of billions of dollars annually. (2007-06-18) PricewaterhouseCoopers reported US Internet marketing spend totalled $16.9 billion in 2006 .
As Advertisers increase and shift more of their budgets online, it is now overtaking radio in terms of market share.
The cost to acquire a customer is lower with internet marketing than with traditional marketing however cost are rising as more companies take traditional budgets and push it to internet marketing avenues. Search engine marketing for example, which is part of internet marketing continues to grow at tremendous rates. Email marketing also grows. Web analytics is a growing aspect of internet marketing, as there is more accountability than in the history of advertising.