Marketing is a discipline that analyzes the needs of the customers and develops mechanisms for business entities to fulfill these needs better than the competitors. Generally, marketing as a profession is large and could be categorized into several segments (marketing departments) in order to suit the demands of the customers. In order to clearly define the problem faced by the customers and also engineer the best way to satisfy the customers, the marketers formulated the marketing mix (Bidgoli 2004, p.708). The marketing mix is the strategies that an organization could put in place before considering introducing a new product to the market.
Selected Marketing Mix
The 4Ps has been described as the best way to introduce a new product to the market. It involves a timely application of the 4Ps namely price, product, promotion, and place. The 4Ps’ marketing mix is most applicable where the product in question is tangible but where the company specializes in service delivery, then the extended marketing mix is adopted. The extended marketing mix is an advancement of the 4P model with the inclusion of people, processes, and physical layout decisions. By and large, there are several marketing mix, which includes the boom, Bitner’s and the Lauterborn’s 4Cs (customer, cost, convenience and communication).
Expanded marketing mix for online marketing
The 4 Ps marketing mix model can be used to designate how best to introduce a new product to the market. It can also be used to evaluate how a new product would impact the market or how an existing product would survive in the market. The elements of the marketing mix are product- this is tangible or intangible that is produced. The intangible products are usually services based like the insurance, banking of air travel. The other marketing mix is the price. The value of the product varies depending on the market demand and the cost incurred in production (Fatayerji, 2004, p. 867).
The third element is placed, also known as the distribution channel (Hill 2000, p.566). This refers to the physical location where the product can be available for purchase. The last of the 4Ps’ marketing mix models is promotion. This involves all the awareness about the product made by the marketer. It involves the use of advertisements or even the word of mouth. The extended marketing mix incorporates the three more elements on top of the traditional 4Ps. These additional p’s namely physical layout, people, and processes are essentially important as the market has become more customer-oriented than before.
Moreover, the emergence of the service industry has increased the need to add on the extra ps. The physical layout – The customers as opposed to earlier days when they used to buy most of the retail products to the wholesalers, nowadays, they prefer to purchase their products directly to the manufacturers (Vedder 2001, p. 90). This contact between the customer and the seller has increased the quality of the products as manufacturers are able to establish consumers’ tastes. The other P is processed: This finds its use in the service industry where a number of processes are involved in making marketing effective.
The handling of the customer is paramount as this can build or tarnish the customer’s relationship with the company. For example, where the Bupa insurance makes the compensation of the unfortunate client slow and cumbersome, it makes their customers dissatisfied and may even seek services of other Insurance companies. The last of the extended marketing is the people: these are the most important element in the service industry. Since most of the services are produced and consumed at the same time, the altitude and expertise in dealing with the customers is highly regarded, most customers will tend to buy products from a seller who has a better customer relationship and who have a depth of knowledge concerning the services or products they are offering,
Varying the marketing mix for online marketing
The need to satisfy customers’ needs has forced the marketers to shift from the traditional marketing mix to a more sophisticated and reliable method. This has resulted in the emergence of electronic marketing. E-marketing is online trading where the inquiry and payment of products are made via electronic devices over the internet. E-Marketing involves marketing and promoting products and services using the internet as the platform.
This creates more awareness as the adverts reach far more customers than the traditional method. Using the internet to market products is cheaper compared to the other method, actually social sites like Facebook and Twitter allow the customers to posters their advertisements for free. The use of the internet is also essential as the advert can fetch customers around the globe.
The use of the internet creates a global village where customers can place orders without necessarily being on the same physical locality as the seller. This is in contrast with the traditional form of marketing where media was only afforded by large multinational. This had confined the market to only rich companies and encourages monopoly. This trend however, is quickly loosing ground as the E-marketing takes helm.
With internet marketing, marketers are in a better position to reach out to a wider market. In addition, they can also effectively provide a diverse range of products to the market. This helps the customers to choose from a variety of products available. Another importance aspect of the internet marketing over the tradition method is that the time limit is addressed as customers can make order at any time they feel.
Most of the client from the Bupa’s insurance company can fill the claim form over the internet or inquire about certain policies available without having to travel to the head office (Armstrong 2009, p.45). The Internet has helped the Bupa insurance company eliminate the middle men in the consumer path thereby reducing the high cost incurred by the customers. This increases efficiency of the insurance company and its client. The Bupa insurance can be able to conduct interviews and surveys in order to establish their client taste or preferences.
The E-marketing has helped the insurance company to access mass market at a lower price and also made the advertisement of their service more personalized. This has the benefit of:
- Global reach-Bupa’s website can virtually reach their entire client around the globe as long as the customers have an internet connection. This allows the company to find new insurance market and participate in global competition from other established and emerging companies.
- Lower cost. Due to the effective planning by the insurance company in order to match their client demand and their products, the Bupa’s targeted E-market campaigns has so far reached the right client at a relatively lower price.
- 24 hour marketing. This is necessitated by the fact that Bupa’ insurance company website is always available online for the customers to visit (Institute of Marketing Management 2009, p.586)
The use of the internet to do marketing targets the potential customer who are scattered around the globe (Leebaert 1999, p.667). Since it is hard to reach them, the use of internet become easier as it can be displayed on the customers desktop in a matter of seconds. This has provokes the insurance company to adopt their own brands to distinguish their product from other companies. Branding is designed to give the customers impression that the Bupa insurance company offers the solution to their needs
Internet allows the companies do many new things that could be otherwise impossible. Rapid growth and technological advancement makes it impossible for companies to keep up with security issues. This makes legal and ethical issue as the major concern regarding internet security. (Anandarajan, 2003, p. 494).One of the major source of concern is the protection of intellectual property. The intellectual properties are intangible and it’s hard to draw a line on the owner ship as it involves ideas and expression regarding a particular service. Since there is no trademark for ideas to distinctively claim their ownership, there has been a tendency by competitor companies imitating the services of the Bupa insurance Company and getting away with it.
The other issue involves privacy. The Bupa insurance company database carries vital information concerning their customers. This information is strictly meant for the company alone and should not therefore be disclosed to any other person. However, with the internet, that information can be hacked and used for malicious reason (Fatayerji 2004, p. 867). With internet security is never guaranteed. While the legal aspects are easily pinned down, the ethical issues are difficult to handle, as it stems from malicious intention by internet fraudulers who are out to deceive ignorant customers.
Although internet marketing strategies is associated with making most business succeed it should not be assumed to offer a guarantee. It requires proper planning and dedication for business to prosper.
Armstrong, G., 2009, Marketing: Business & Economics / Marketing / General. New York: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Anandarajan, M., 2003, Managing Web Usage in the Workplace: A Social, Ethical and Legal. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc.
Bidgoli, H., 2004, The Internet: Computers / Internet / General.London: John Wiley and Sons.
Fatayerji, C. N., 2004, Electronic Marketing: Advantages and Disadvantage: Business & Economics / E-Commerce / General. New York: Raider Publishing.
Hill, L. L., 2000, Ethics and the Internet: Internet: Law and ethics. California: National Law Foundation.
Institute of Marketing Management., 2009. Marketing mix. Pretoria: The Institute of Marketing Management.
Leebaert, D.,1999, The Future of the Electronic Marketplace: Business & Economics / E-Commerce / General Business & Economics / E-Commerce / Internet Marketing. Mass: MIT Press.
Vedder, A., 2001. Ethics and the Internet: Computers / Internet / General Compute. Web.