Companies are realizing that internet based techniques and strategies must
be approached as they would with any traditional marketing activity.
The fundamental questions must still be addressed
The learning curve of this still world is being addressed. From
hard-learned lessons new business, pricing, distribution and advertising
models are emerging.
- Who are our customers/prospects?
- What are the competitors doing?
- What are the channel dynamics, challenges and potential missed
- Which marketing mix strategies are most cost effective?
- What is the response time?
- What will we make a return on investment?
A Snapshot of The Internet and the World Wide Web
The Internet is a complex system of computer networks. Anyone with a
computer interface (PC, laptop, PDA, etc.) and the ability to access the
network (wireless modem, telephone line, cable,) can easily hook into
The World Wide Web is a software application that runs on the
Internet. It provides the platform that incorporates text, video,
graphic and audio functions. Consider the “Web” as the user-friendly
interface that brings the Internet to life.
The Changing Profile of Internet Users
At the start of the Internet’s history, the typical user was a
high-income, young man. It’s not surprising that the people who
developed the system would be its most dominant customers.
However, the overall demographic profile (U.S.) is shifting to
reflect the average population. Many analysts, including those from the
Yankee Group, report that the Internet is now reaching the mass consumer
market. Cheaper computer prices, cultural acceptance and the ubiquitous
influence of the Internet are influencing the online surge of new users.
A significant finding from the Yankee Group’s Interactive Consumer
Survey (IAC) 2000 indicates the Internet is losing its mystique. For
many the Internet has become an integral part of the daily lives of
household users. According to the Yankee Group study, 87% of respondents
logged online at least once a day.
As users gain a greater comfort level interacting with the Web and
begin to establish trust among the Web sites they visit, it is logical
to assume that online buying will continue to escalate.
In a study released May 2001, the Boston Consulting Group projected
$65 billion in North American online sales for 2001. This represents a
45 percent increase from 2000 purchases.
Another strong signal that the Internet is becoming more entrenched
in daily life is the increase in time spent online. Based on a study
from Media Metrics, the average user in the United States spends
approximately 40 minutes a day on the Internet compared to 30 minutes
online in 2000.
When it comes to B2B, Jupiter Media Metrixorecasts that most
business-to-business companies will eventually move online even though
purchasing agents plan to conduct only 20 percent of their transactions
via the Internet by 2002. Jupiter predicates that 85% of online
transactions will occur between buyers and sellers who have established
Forrester projects that online worldwide commerce, including both
business-to-consumer and business-to-business, will reach $6.8 trillion
in 2004. North America will capture $3.5 trillion.
Business and marketing on the Internet continues to explode. With
easier access to computers, greater acceptance from the general public
and faster connectivity the Internet is becoming the channel of choice
for gathering information, and for some early adopters, the commerce
medium of choice as well.