The Top 10 E-marketing strategy issues of today and
How can E-marketing best
support marketing activities? In this article we answer this question by looking
at the top 10 strategic issues of E-marketing as I experience them from working
with marketers from large and small organisations who are actively integrating
online channels into their marketing activities. For each issue there is a short
introduction followed by typical questions marketers are trying to resolve. In
future editions of WNIM, we will explore each of these issues in more detail.
Before examining my top
10, we look at the growing impact that e-marketing is having in business-to-business
and business-to-consumer markets. I also define the scope of E-marketing since,
as with many terms with the ‘e’ prefix it means different things to different
people. This article was first produced for discussion by UK marketing academics
and practitioners who are part of the Academy of Marketing E-marketing Special
Interest Group. It was presented at a meeting that was convened by the Institute
of Direct Marketing and hosted by the Internet Advertising Bureau on 30th
March 2004. The aim of the meeting was to review alternative directions for the
research and teaching of E-marketing in Further and Higher Education.
which form online channels…
(Web, e-mail, databases, plus mobile/wireless & digital TV)
Contribute to marketing
activities aimed at achieving
profitable acquisition and retention of customers
(within a multi-channel buying process and customer lifecycle)
customer knowledge (of their profiles, behaviour, value
and loyalty drivers), then delivering integrated targeted
communications and online services that match their individual needs.
The first part of the definition
illustrates the range of access platforms such as web, e-mail, mobile phones and
interactive digital TV that comprise the online channels which e-marketers use
to build and develop relationships with customers.
The second part of the definition
shows that it should not be the technology that drives e-marketing, but the business
returns from gaining new customers and maintaining relationships with existing
customers. It also emphasises how e-marketing does not occur in isolation, but
is most effective when it is integrated with other communications channels such
as phone, direct-mail or face-to-face. Online channels should also be used to
support the whole buying process from pre-sale to sale to post-sale and further
development of customer relationships.
The final part of the definition
summarises approaches to customer-centric e-marketing. It shows how it should
be based on knowledge of customer needs developed by researching their characteristics,
behaviour, what they value, what keeps them loyal and then delivering tailored
web and e-mail communications.
The increasing impact
Four years after the dot.com
boom and bust there is now a resurgence in investment in E-marketing. This resurgence
has been driven by a combination of changes in consumer behaviour and online services
that have been refined to meet these consumer needs. For households with Internet
access, the web is now the first port-of-call for finding information to select
or buy the best deal. This is illustrated well by a survey from the European Interactive
Advertising Association from November 2003. (http://www.eiaa.net/).
This showed the following variation in popularity for browsing and purchasing
- 64% browse for holidays
online and 28% buy online.
- 58% browse for travel tickets
and 37% buy online.
- 55% browse for music online
and 26% buy online.
- 47% browse for books online
and 31% buy online.
- 36% browse for electrical
goods online and 20% buy online.
- 25% browse for clothes
online and 16% buy online.
- 24% browse for financial
products online and 10% buy online.
These figures represent
a dramatic growth in popularity of the Internet as a source for selection and
purchase of products. Initially, music and books were the most popular online
purchases. These purchases have become more common place, but have been overtaken
by travel. A common pattern seems to be that as consumers become familiar with
purchase of relatively low-cost, low-involvement, standardised products such as
music and books, their confidence grows and they then diversify their range of
online purchases. The data suggests there is still large potential for growth
in online browsing and purchases for products such as electrical goods and financial
The Interactive Media in
Retail trade body (http://www.imrg.org/) believes
that Internet shopping will become mass market in 2004. Twenty million British
shoppers will spend £17 billion online this year. This follows a 70% year-on-year
increase in UK internet shopping over the Christmas period to £2.5 billion.
By 2009, they estimate that
a quarter of all UK shopping will be conducted via the internet or mobile devices
in a market worth £80 billion. A further 20% of purchases will be influenced by
e-commerce too, there has been continued growth in the online channels. The seventh
annual international benchmarking survey sponsored by the DTI has shown similar
increases in popularity of online ordering and purchases (www.ukonlineforbusiness.gov.uk/benchmarking2003).
For companies that order online, around 28% of orders are now placed online, with
the average amount of sales occurring online accounting for 15 to 20% of turnover.
These figures disguise significant differences within and between countries. Of
the 3,000 businesses surveyed in the UK and 500 in 10 other other countries, there
were significantly lower levels of adoption in small and medium companies, with
declining levels of usage in some of these companies.
Top Ten Strategic E-marketing
Issue 1. The E-marketing
What is it?
The integration of e-marketing-specific
objectives, strategies and activities into the traditional annual marketing planning
- Do we have a separate e-marketing
- What should the e-marketing
- Which objectives do we
set to drive the contribution of e-marketing to the organization?
- How do we align e-marketing
activities with business strategies of market and product development?
- How do we integrate e-marketing
communications with traditional communications?
- Which Internet-specific
strategies should we review?
- New channel structures
- How do we partner / form alliances with online intermediaries, develop new intermediaries
and manage channel conflicts?
Issue 2. Organising and
resourcing for e-marketing
What is it?
As the importance of online
channels increases, the structure of the marketing organisation and responsibilities
may need to change to maximize the opportunities available through new media.
- Do we change the structure
of the marketing organisation?
- Which new responsibilities
do we identify for e-marketing?
- How do we develop e-marketing
specific skills within the marketing team?
- Does the organization have
the database marketing and analytical skills to support e-CRM and e-mail marketing?
- Which e-marketing activities
do we outsource?
Issue 3. Defining the
Internet value proposition (IVP)
What is it?
To achieve increased customer
usage of online channels (web, e-mail, wireless), a distinct, detailed proposition
must be developed for these online channels and it must be clearly communicated
online and offline.
- How can we vary the elements
of the marketing mix online?
- How do we research the
- How is the combination
of e-mail (issue 6) and web-based personalization (issue 9) used to extend the
- How powerful is the IVP
- What are competitors offering
- Are there cannibalisation
Issue 4. E-brand value
What is it?
How does the Internet contribute
to and influence brands?
- How do we extend our brand
- Should we use brand variants?
- How effective is the emotional
connection of an online brand?
- How is the online brand
experience perceived by customers?
- How is online service delivery
perceived by customers?
- Reputation management (or
PR) – how do we manage how third-party sites present the brand through proactive
promotion of the brand and reactive limitation of negative PR?
- Viral marketing – how do
we use the efficiency of online networks to create involvement with a brand? (http://www.wnim.com/archive/issue2403/emarketing.htm).
Issue 5. Setting the
What is it?
Defining the proportion
of online spend on different elements of the communications mix
- Percent of communications
budget allocated to e-communications
- Online spend % on advertising,
direct mail and PR
- Demonstrating return on
investment for e-marketing tools
- Continuous vs campaign
- Relative spend on different
online tools, i.e. search, affiliates, online ads, rented e-mail lists, online
- How do we partner / form
alliances with online intermediaries or should we develop new intermediaries?
Issue 6. E-mail marketing
integration (Touch strategy)
What is it?
Integrating different forms
of marketing e-mail, i.e. rented list, house list e-blasts, service e-mails and
e-newsletters with traditional communications, i.e. direct mail, advertising,
etc to achieve maximum response
- What is our touch or contact
strategy defining minimum and maximum number of touches per customer in a period?
- What communications preferences
do we offer customers for media type, format, frequency and content?
- How are e-mail newsletters
used as strategic communications tools?
- How do we maintain responsiveness
of e-mail marketing given the increasing volume of e-mail reaching recipients
in-boxes including SPAM (60% of global e-mail) and blocking/filtering of legitimate
permission-based opt-in e-mail marketing ?
Issue 7. E-CRM
What is it?
Using online channels (web,
e-mail, wireless messaging linked to customer databases) to build and deepen relationships
- How do we use online channels
to create dialogue and build relationships with web site visitors using a permission-based
- How can we selectively
target customer segments with different characteristics and value?
- What are the characteristics
of customers who preferentially use the online channels?
- How do we manage customer
data? (See Issue 8)
- How well does the web site/e-mail
- What methods do we use
to target and personalize messages for online customers?
- How do we manage change
associated with CRM?
- Which technologies do we
select to support CRM?
- What level of customer
service do we provide online and how do we control the level of online versus
Issue 8. Building and
exploiting customer knowledge
What is it?
Customer knowledge is profiling
information and research characterising customers including their characteristics,
communications preferences, behaviours and perception of service.
- How do we acquire and update
customer details as part of e-permission marketing? (http://www.wnim.com/archive/issue2504/emarketing.htm).
- Who is responsible for
- How do we assess and control
the quality of customer knowledge?
- Integrating separate databases
to achieve a 360 degreee view of the customer.
- How do we segment online
audiences using customer information?
- Which models do we use
to assess customer value?
- How do we motivate staff
to improve knowledge quality?
- How is this data exploited
using targeted marketing communications?
- What are the legal liabilities
and constraints of managing customer data such as, in Europe, the Data Protection
Act, and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act and in the US, CAN-SPAM
Issue 9. E-marketing
What is it?
marketing messages delivered by web and e-mail in response to customer events
- How can we support the
sales process and relationship-building through automated e-mail dialogue based
on web-based triggers?
- How do we build related-products
personalisation into the web site?
- How do we integrate personalisation
technology into our existing infrastructure?
Issue 10. E-channel optimisation
What is it?
Developing a continuous
improvement process to monitor the effectiveness of web and e-mail marketing.
- Which web analytics tools
do we use?
- What metrics/dashboards
to we use to review e-marketing effectiveness?
- What testing programmes
do we use to improve e-marketing?
- How do we optimise different
e-marketing activities – traffic building, web site design, e-mail marketing
- What is the internal process
for review and improvement?
We will explore Issue 3.
The Internet value proposition and Issue 4. e-brand value in more detail.
About the author
Dr Dave Chaffey is workshop
leader for a range of one-day e-marketing training workshops from the CIM:
Go to http://www.cimtraining.com/
for course details and online booking.
Dave Chaffey, trainer and
consultant for Marketing Insights Limited (http://www.marketing-insights.co.uk/)
is a prolific e-business author with ‘Total E-mail Marketing’ and the second
editions of ‘Internet marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice’
and E-business and E-commerce Management new in 2003. Dave is also an
examiner of the CIM E-marketing Professional Development Award. A web site at
supports the workshops and books with over 400 marketing related links.