Internet Marketing in 2018

While studying Business Studies for my A-levels for the past 2 years I’ve had this idea drilled into my head that marketing is the mix of decisions of Product, Price, Promotion and Place. As a person born in 1999, roughly the same time as the start of the internet as we know it, I found this concept outdated as soon as I begun actually thinking about it. The world today isn’t as it was for Jerome McCarthy in the 1960’s, societal and technological changes have been constantly redefining what marketing even is! At the forefront of these changes is the Internet, which over the last couple of decades has turned the meaning of the word Marketing on its head.

The (often called) most important P in the 4P’s is Product, this aspect has remained largely similar to how it was previous to the internet, however, there some important changes that we can’t ignore. First of all, there are the basics such as the inability of the customers to really touch or feel the product puts more emphasis on what can be seen in picture/videos as well as accurate descriptions by the vendor. Another very important aspect, the enormous size of the internet combined with the endless amount of specialized websites and the anonymity in certain parts of it provides the ability to sell products which people would previously not be able to sell due to lack of reach to potential customers, social stigma or a variety of other reasons. The enormous size of commodities available online for buying makes it important for each product to differentiate itself, lower cost to customer, or use effective promotion, bringing us to our 2nd P.

The P most often associated with marketing to the public, Promotion, remains just an important an aspect of marketing as it previously was, and might be even more important now. In a “market” as large as the Internet, it is expected that certain segments of the market (especially those with low barriers to entry) would be flooded with similar undifferentiated commodities vying for customers that is why effective and smart promotion is mandatory for a company to grow on the internet today. Luckily, the evolution of the internet has provided many ways to achieve that effective promotion. One of the most prominent new ways of effective promotion is through the utilization of Social Media such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube , etc., especially through paid promotion by famous figues on such sites like instadean. This sponsorship can either be explained by the figure, sometimes including a special discount for customers referred by this figure, or secretly integrated into a video, a picture or a post, both methods have shown to be effective for products such as Audible and Color switch respectively. Although this form of promotion is gaining more and more traction recently, the dominant form of advertising on the Internet is still the more traditional ads on the sides of the webpages or commercials before or during the watching of videos online, and this doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Among the most innovative forms of promotion is AI content curation on the Internet, which is basically the recommendation of products on search engines or vending websites using your past internet history which the AI keeps track off. Although this is becoming more and more common, many are harshly critical of this way of promotion as it can be easily exploitable by larger corporations and is regarded by some as an invasion of privacy.

The 3rd P, Place, is the P that has changed the most with the beginning of online marketing, as the entire meaning of the word itself has changed completely. Place is no longer a physical location but the website through which a customer can buy a product. This change has several interesting implications to discuss. First of all, in order to reach the largest amount of potential customers as possible, a company might want to make use of referrals from other websites. This can be tied to promotion from other places on the internet such as social media or from websites that gather links to certain products in one place, a company might also want to artificially make its website climb up the ranks on a search engine through sponsorship. Companies might also want to pay to be suggested through content curation mentioned before if funds are sufficient. Finally, an important aspect of this P is whether the company will sell its products on its own dedicated website or through third-party vendors such as Amazon or E-Bay, this decision will affect brand image and visibility and is an important factor to consider.

And the final P is, Price, probably the P that has changed the least with the advent of internet marketing, however, there are still some interesting decision to make when considering the price in the marketing mix. Firstly, with such a huge selection of products on the internet it is important for all companies to maintain competitive prices if they wish to succeed, even if complimented by the high quality of a product, the decision on pricing must be integrated well with the rest of the P’s as was the case before the start of internet marketing. Furthermore, the internet provides interesting methods for price promotion to vendors, it is now possible to utilize promotion codes that you can only obtain from certain websites or content creators, make use of AI content curation by offering discounts to people who have searched up products similar to yours, and many other methods.
In conclusion, it is clear that the internet has completely redefined marketing as it does with most of what it comes in contact with, this revitalization has provided fresh and innovative methods for companies of varying sizes and types to compete and grow in this new environment. However, the basic spirit of marketing remains, if a company creates an integrated marketing mix that reflects the brand image it wants to conveys, and pairs that with smart decisions to draw customers on each of these 4 aspects then it will surely reach success.