Emerging Trend: Online Marketing: UH Manoa 2011 The web has created a tremendous opportunity for companies and business owners to reach their buyers in more efficient and cost effective means, and when done well, can yield mass profits and long term success. The use of Internet marketing strategies has changed the way products and messages are being circulated and received. No longer is advertising exclusively about selling products, nor is the marketing message a one‐way from business to consumer. Instead, this quickly emerging trend encourages businesses to reach out to their customers, open lines of communication and build relationships based on trust and loyalty. Rather than relying on one, costly advertisement meant to appeal to the masses; marketers are now “targeting vast numbers of underserved audiences via the web.” (Scott, 19) Therefore, the use of blogs, podcasts, e‐books and news releases have become essential to online marketing success and give organizations “the opportunity to communicate with their customers in a form they appreciate.” (Scott,26) In many cases, an organization’s website is the first impression a customer receives, therefore, it is crucial for a marketer to create a homepage that is both informative and consumer friendly. “Understanding buyers and building an effective content strategy to reach them is critical for success.” This is done by creating a website that caters to the interests of your target audience by addressing points of curiosity while building credibility in hopes of gaining their attention and encouraging them to take action. A successful marketer “thinks like a publisher”. Success in this arena comes from clearly stating your company’s message, goals and delivering content when it is needed, where is it needed. Recognizing your target
audience and then tailoring your content strategy to their specific needs is what drives this sort of marketing. A company may not be able to tell consumers what to think, but they can definitely determine what consumers will be thinking about (when visiting their website). The strategic placement of links and eye‐catching phrases alone can serve as a guiding light that leads people to take action. Blogs have become instrumental in online marketing and continue to alter the way organizations reach their buyers. Blogs allow companies to “push ideas into the marketplace immediately resulting in instant feedback”. (Scott, 43) It is an ideal environment to introduce new topics, products or services and see if it either catches on or falls short of public interest. Aside from using blogs to educate target markets of a product, blogs also provide businesses with a platform to be present in online discussions where they can build trust, gain credibility and establish themselves as a leader in the industry. Another helpful aspect of blogs, is that they allow for organizations to closely monitor what is being said about “them, the market they sell into and the products they are selling.” (Scott, 50) Some other forms of media marketing include the use of podcasting, which give consumers a constant feed of new material and information on the go. This is especially beneficial to marketers because the listeners are a select group whose interests are pin pointed, so information can be easily modified to appeal to this exclusive audience. Viral marketing is another great example of how the web can be utilized to benefit organizations both efficiently and cost‐effectively. With the development and rapid expansion of platforms like YouTube, viral videos have been making a significant impact amongst audiences. Even large corporations like
Coca Cola, Levi Jeans and Adidas have recognized the power that these viral videos have and are utilizing the more modest yet effective means of viral marketing. Although these corporation’s videos may feature TV Stars or All‐Star athletes to generate buzz, the good news about viral marketing is that all it takes is an innovative idea or powerful message to be broadcasted on a massive level. In conclusion, we have learned that marketing on the web has altered the way organizations and consumers do business. No longer is marketing success measured by expensive advertisements or costly marketing strategies. Instead, the web provides companies with the tools to market themselves effectively and efficiently through the use of web sites, blogs, podcasts, press releases and other forms of viral marketing. All of these examples provide businesses with the means to reach their target audiences with tailored messages all while gaining their trust and building a foundation in their specific niche. Ultimately, creating a relationship with their customers, a reputation in their specified industry and hopefully resulting in profit and success of the company.