Chaffey et al (2002) highlight the fact that marketing differs today from the past. A steady change has taken place over the last decade due to the increasing use of various digital media for the communication of marketing messages. McDonald et al (1999) state that today there is an electronic marketing mix which is made up of the Six I’s:
- Industry restructuring
- Independence of location
The best summary of the above model was suggested by Smith et al (2002) when they explained how the Six I’s model shows the marketing areas in which technology rich media have changed the traditional marketing campaign. A more extensive explanation of the Six I’s model is located in Appendix A.
One criticism of the I’s model is that it is not really a specific marketing model. It is more of a best practice model that can be applied to exploit the benefits of the web as a business marketing tool. This is because the majority of the model is not specifically “marketing orientated”. This does not take away from its effectiveness as a supporting model when attempting promotion via new media.
Today the customer is once again in the centre of the marketing process. The marketing cycle has made a complete revolution as it started with the customer in the middle before moving to a totally “sell-orientated” approach that had no regard for the customer at all and is now back to the customer centred approach again.
2.1 Push vs Pull
The Internet, and more specifically the use of company webpages, has facilitated the pull model more than any other media before it although digital TV does look like it will eventually force a hybrid of the push and pull models due to using a combination of the two. Traditional advertisements are used to push a product and viewers can then opt to pull up more information.
Traditional marketing involved using various media to “push” a marketing message out to the target market (Ives et al 2003). An example of this would be sending out mail shots to people advertising a get rich quick scheme. This method is usually a one-way communication in which the receiver of the marketing message is unable to reply. Smith et al (2002) refers to this as been a “one way street”. While the student does not entirely agree with the comparison made by Smith et al (2002) [because it is possible to encourage feedback from the target market by encouraging contact information on the mail shot] it is still a useful definition, especially when trying to explain the models in simple terms.
One of the Internet’s major strengths as a marketing tool is that it fits in with the pull model. While pull is unpretentiously the opposite of push it is not the case that a pull marketing model is the opposite of a push one, just an alternative that starts at a different point. This is because the customer and the organisation are not opposites of one another; they are dependants, as each relies on the other to survive.
In the pull system the [potential] customer initiates the marketing communication. Rather than having a company send out a message the [potential] customer decides that they want to find out about the product and thus seeks out the relevant information for themselves.
From the above explanation it becomes obvious that one of the strengths of a true pull model is that the marketing message is sent out only to people who are interested in receiving it. This could be described as perfect targeting. There is, however, a downside to the pull model. People who are unaware of a product that is advertised only using the pull model are unlikely to ever become aware of it. It is for this reason that Campbell (2003) suggests a modern marketing campaign should incorporate both push and pull models. He suggests a good strategy is to push your web address possibly using a traditional medium to a [potential] customer, who will then pull up the site at a later date.
2.2 CRM [Customer Relationship Management]
CRM has had a serious impact on traditional targeting and segmenting especially with regard to repeat customers. While there is still room for traditional segmenting and targeting as a part of a marketing campaign [as we have already learnt, successful campaigns should combine all elements in balance] CRM is a very powerful method of enhancing customer loyalty and increasing the likelihood of repeat sales by building direct relationships between the customer and the organisation (McKim et al 2002).
CRM is fundamentally relationship management that targets only the customer [as opposed to generic relationship marketing in which relationships can be forged with anyone]. Smith et al (2002) refer to the customer database as being the heart of CRM and highlight that it is sometimes essentially referred to as “database marketing”. Rohner (1996) predicted CRM in his fourth epoch as cybermarketing.
CRM involves storing “quality information” (Drucker 2000) about a customer in a database allowing marketers to accurately profile customers to their own criteria before using personalisation techniques (Chaffey et al 2000) to target specific marketing messages at appropriate individuals or groups of individuals (Le et al 2001).
While Law et al (2003) state that sending a unique message to each customer is more like CRMs ultimate goal than a practical target this has to be questioned as the technology supporting CRM is now cheaper than ever (Law et al 2003; Xu et al 2002) and in today’s marketplace/space (Rayport et al 1994) managers are constantly pulling out all the stops in an attempt to gain as great a competitive advantage as possible (Porter et al 1985).
2.3 The marketing timeline
The following timeline plots the landmarks in the development of the marketing mix (Rafiq et al 1995) commensurate to the different marketing epochs (Rohner 1996), it is impossible to say whether the development of the mix forced the movement from one epoch to the next or if the natural progression from one epoch to the next forced changes in the marketing mix. However, the following timeline plots the evolution process and acts as a good visual aid. One interesting observation is that there are two clusters of activity, the first starting in the sixties and the second, more recently, during the nineties. The thickening arrow, in the lower right of the model, represents improving database management over time.