Price, Product, Placement and Promotion in the Internet Age
Internet marketing is the process of enticing customers to see what is being offered, convincing them that the offer is what they need, at a reasonable cost for the perceived benefit, and delivery of the product as promised.
The following questions are not sequential, since the result of one is affected by the outcome of others. Think if it as a repeating process, narrowing in on an answer.
What is being offered?
Creative design work is required, keeping in mind the customer desires.
What are the benefits to the customer?
The customer knows what she wants, and why. You want to provide it. This requires market research in an organized manner to gather information about the customer and competition. How people behave, their beliefs, wants and needs. This can be segmented based on geographic, demographic, gender and other differences. The more focused the market, the better you can tailor your offering to meet the motivating factors for a sale.
What is the cost?
The competition establishes the existing price structure. Your product differentiation (market segmentation) determines how different the customers’ cost can be.
How is the product delivered?
The distribution of the product may be widespread, where your competitors all have stock of the product and there is significant price competition.
If there is only selective distribution, with limited sources available to the customer, you have less price competition but it is more important the customer is attracted to your offering.
If you are the exclusive distributor you have a leg up in convincing the customer to buy from you, but probably have a smaller market.
The tools of internet marketing are constantly changing.
Enticing customers is called engagement. Discussion forums or blogs are ways of creating, stimulating and influencing customer behavior, and they are often in already-segmented markets. They are a good place to keep up with changing desires and needs of customers and to develop a deep understanding of your customer. They can contribute to optimizing the timing of an introduction.
Search Engines are important. Finding a way to show up at the top of search results is every internet marketer’s concern. Key words, AdWords, article submission giving relevant content are all useful.
Contextual advertising is one of the more recent innovations. When a customer searches the web for information on a subject of interest, the web page can be coded to provide advertisements of relevant products (Google AdSense, and others are making coding and advertiser links). This well-targeted advertising results in a higher response rate.