E-MARKETING CONNECTING PEOPLE

KAMRAN AHMED SOOMRO (kamran.ahmed@iba-suk.edu.pk)
Jan 25 - 31, 20
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E-marketing, I-marketing, online-marketing, or web-marketing are the terms mostly used for such marketing in which internet is used. The products are marketed with the help of the internet. Unlike the traditional methods of marketing, nowadays the marketers prefer to adopt modern and innovative technology to increase the sales of their products by targeting and educating wide range of target audience.

It is believed that online marketing is more effective, efficient, and cheaper than the conventional marketing.

FEATURES OF E-MARKETING

There are various latest means on the internet, which help the marketers market their product globally, like, e-mails, websites, advertisement banners and links on famous websites and search engines, blogs, social networks etc. The internet offers the marketers a chance to target their products or brands in any part of the world. They can attract, retain, and maintain the customers with the help of internet tools and portals.

Website is a portal through which the companies can introduce their products and services in detail. It is like an outlet, which displays the brands on the shelf so that customers can be attracted. Websites usually are interactive where from the customers can observe, choose, and buy the products of their choice online, paying through digital payment systems. This interactivity helps the customers to view variety of products on various websites and to make purchasing decisions. In this way, the customers save their time of physically visiting the shops or markets.

Websites also offer feedback option through which customers can complain and the company can know its weaknesses and try to improve.

Internet also offers marketers a facility to contact the prospect customers through emails. Companies can send motivational mails to inform, attract, and influence the customers. This is also a method to maintain good relationships with the current customers of the company by sending them the compliments and thanksgivings.

SOCIAL NETWORKS

Nowadays social networks are the effective place for the marketers to project their products. There are various such networks where millions of people, especially youth join and interact regularly, such as Facebook, Orkut, Myspace, Twitter, Linkedin etc. Such platforms are favorable for placing the ads of products and brands.

Blogs, YouTube, search engines, and other famous websites are decorated with companies' banners, logos, product pictures, features, and other forms of advertisements. Links are also placed on such websites, which give an access to the company's home page.

BENEFITS OF E-MARKETING

Internet provides the competitive advantage to the companies. In the global village, companies are no more geographically bound and the horizons of businesses have been stretched. Some of the benefits are:

- Easy approach to global customers
- Cheaper cost
- Specialized marketing
- More ROI (return on investment)
- Quick customer response
- Interactivity
- Performance measurable

IN PAKISTAN

During last decade, Pakistani companies are showing an increasing trend of using the internet for marketing. There are many sectors that are shifting towards e-marketing. Especially the multinational banks in Pakistan are performing their major operations online. They provide facilities of online transactions like utility bills payments, account information enquiry, money transfer, ATMs, debit, and credit cards transactions etc. Such facilities are also these days being offered by various commercial enterprises such as telecom companies, famous shopping malls etc.

Higher Education Commission provides digital libraries and other facilities. Many of the universities are also using websites for admissions and other correspondence. Videoconferences are also a type of e-marketing used by many universities and institutes in Pakistan.

In reality, e-marketing has not completely been successful in Pakistan. Only e-mail is used as advertising technique, but again it is not effective enough and most of the time irritates the recipients. Most of the business transactions and marketing activities are pursued in a conventional manner. It has not yet fully influenced the local businessmen, marketers as well as the customers. They prefer traditional methods to the innovative technology of e-marketing.

LIMITATIONS

There are various limitations and constraints, which inhibit the success of e-marketing in Pakistan.

Low access to the internet: majority of the people do not have internet facility at their proximity. Most of the people do not know how to use the internet. Uneducated are unable to understand the English language that is a common communication medium on the internet.

Unawareness: Some businessmen are unwilling to try this technology because they fear higher risk. Same is the case with the customers. They fear frauds, hacking and other such malpractices on the internet. They prefer traditional means due to their perceptions and beliefs.

Lack of trust: in fact, most of the customers are lacking trust in the e-marketers. That is why they ignore online companies, dislike internet purchasing, and become irritated by the marketing e-mails, and banners etc. As the marketer and customer do not interact physically, there is a lack of trust. Customers are suspicious of the genuineness of e-marketers and their products while the e-marketers fear the fair purchasing and payments of the products.

Security concerns: there is also a problem of security in the online transactions. Hackers and trackers can harm the transaction and the customers.

Resistance: People are used to traditional life style, so they resist any kind of innovation or change. They are uncomfortable and uneasy with it.

Economic conditions: most of the people are not economically sound. Their income level is not sufficient to buy costly goods (mostly focused in e-marketing). Neither they can afford internet nor can they prefer online purchasing due to economic backwardness.

SUGGESTIONS

Government should create awareness among the masses and the businessmen. They need to be educated and informed of the advantages and benefits of using e-marketing. And the marketers must dare try the internet more effectively as a tool to market their products. Marketers must use e-marketing to target other parts of the country where there is demand of their products. Moreover, the latest technology of mobile marketing must be effectively marketed, and oriented among the people to benefit the most. In this technology, mobile phones can be used for various purposes including mobile banking, mobile shopping, mobile money transfer, mobile payment etc. Most of people have mobile phones, so mobile phone can also be effectively used for education purposes.

NGOs can use this technology for targeting remote areas, and can educate and train the people about the technology.