The research questions are well aligned with the previously designed research objectives. The objectives of the research can be stated as follows,
- What are the opportunities of internet marketing?
- What are the factors that give rise to these opportunities of internet marketing?
- What are the factors that affect customer satisfaction?
- What is the magnitude and impact of the internet marketing on customer satisfaction?
Objectives of the Research Work
The research work will solely focus on determining the opportunities that internet marketing can provide to the business organizations in today’s competitive environment. Simultaneously the influence or impact of internet marketing on customer satisfaction level will also be investigated. This will help to determine whether internet marketing affects customer satisfaction in a positive or negative way (Armstrong et al., 2015). As organizations are making use of internet marketing they will be able to gather sufficient knowledge regarding the use of internet marketing and how it can be used so that the level of customer satisfaction increases. In the next few sections a brief overview of the entire research work and the justification behind selecting “Internet Marketing Opportunities and Their Effect on Customer Satisfaction” will be provided. Furthermore the broader aim, objectives and questions of the research work has been stated in the section.
In the era of globalization and advancement business organizations are undergoing rigorous environmental change. In such a situation internet marketing and drastic evolution of the World Wide Web has restructured the business competitions and helped to customize the B2C to business to customer relationship. The combination of internet and World Wide Web has introduced an efficient as well as innovative retailing platform where a one to one communication with the customers could be established (Schivinski and Dabrowski, 2015). Internet can be characterized as a potential factor that can revolutionize the conventional business traditions and improve the customer’s experiences in numerous ways. While internet is expanding significantly a number of businesses has already globalized their marketing and sales efforts related to their products and services through internet. Now it has become almost more than a decade that various organizations are providing their products such as books, apparels, toys, software and other appliances to their customers over the internet. As a result of this internet marketing has become the fastest growing and interesting branch of marketing which is of prior importance to the researchers (Elbeltagi and Agag, 2016). Over time the world will get more connected and in order to cope with the changing customer needs and developments the marketers are now trying to reform the marketing strategies so as to reach new audiences. The internet marketers makes appropriate use of the internet and use the myriad of tools that the internet offers. Another important aspect of the internet marketing is that through this the marketers keep in touch with the customers on a regular basis, as a result of which they can somehow influence the needs and customization preferences of the consumers at a lower cost (O. Pappas et al., 2014). This possesses a potential of strengthening the business customer relationship and enhancing the customer satisfaction.
Overview of the Research Work and Justification for the Topic
On the other hand, it is also necessary to mention that in this ever changing business environment emergence of advanced technology has brought forward significant changes in the online behavior of the customers. These changes have posed significant challenges and opportunities to the business organizations. Through internet the customers are now able to access information easily at any point of time (Kotler, 2015). Moreover, presently they are not required rely solely on the facts stated by the company regarding their products and services, they can easily view the responses posted by the other customers over the internet. Hence the business organizations are required to understand the needs of the customers and try to address their needs as effectively as possible in order to satisfy them.
The research work investigates the opportunities prevailing in the internet marketing segment and how it can influence the customer satisfaction. In order to do so the current trends and patterns of the internet market have been observed along with this how these key factors can give rise to numerous opportunities of internet marketing (McDonald and Wilson, 2016). Afterwards it will focus on determining the impact of internet marketing on the level of customer satisfaction and in which direction it can drive the customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction has become a crucial factor to the organization because in the competitive world leaving a customer dissatisfied does not guarantee that the customer will visit the store again (Joseph et al., 2015). Therefore determining the opportunities of internet marketing will in turn help to exploit those opportunities for enhancing the customer satisfaction. Increased customer satisfaction ensures that the customer will certainly visit the store again and there is also a chance of increased word of mouth marketing.
Presently in advent of continuous advancements in the business segments and technological aspects the business organizations are using internet marketing as a major tool of marketing. In other words, internet marketing has become an inevitable part of the business entities in the developed and globalized business environment. Hence it can be stated that identifying the opportunities prevailing in internet marketing and determining the impact of internet marketing over customer satisfaction as a research issue is quite meaningful.
As the business organizations are advancing at the same point of time the perceived value of the customers about a product is also changing. Consumer behavior can change over time due to various factors it may be because of a specific trend prevailing in the market or due to the approach adopted by the marketer. Hence as the organizations are adopting internet marketing in order to cope with the ever changing business market developments and changes it has become also essential to investigate the impact of implementing this internet marketing over the level of customer satisfaction. Hence the research topic is considered as an important issue of research at this specific point of time.
Impact of Internet Marketing on Customer Satisfaction
It is expected that the research work will be able to identify the opportunities of internet marketing effectively and efficiently which will help the business organizations. On the other hand, it will also identify the impact of internet marketing over the level of customer satisfaction that will help the business entities to successfully address the ever changing needs of the customers while maintaining their level of satisfaction at a higher level.
The aim of this research work sis to identify the opportunities prevailing in the process of internet marketing and determining how internet marketing can influence the level of customer satisfaction.
The objectives of the research can be summarized as follows,
- To identify the opportunities of internet marketing
- To identify the factors giving rise to these opportunities of internet marketing
- To identify the factors affecting customer satisfaction
- To identify the magnitude and direction of the impact of internet marketing on customer satisfaction
In this section a brief structure of the entire dissertation is provided. The structure will incorporate all the sections in a sequential manner one after another and the flow depicts how the dissertation has achieved its desired outcome after conducting all the chapters.
Internet marketing also known as eMarketing or online marketing is a marketing activity which is performed online through using internet technologies. It does not only incorporate the advertisements that are observed on the websites but also several other activities such as social networking and email marketing (Bianchi and Mathews, 2016). Each and every aspect of online marketing or internet marketing is digital that signifies that it is a type of completely electronic information which is transmitted from one computer to the other or similar devices. However, it can also tie up with traditional offline advertising activities and sales as well.
As pointed out by author, internet marketing has three distinct principles which act as the cornerstone of internet marketing. These three underlying principles are explained below,
Immediacy: The web keeps changing continuously and rigorously at a significant speed and so the online audiences. The attention spans of these people are very short and they always expect updates within a minute and minute information as soon as possible (Richani et al., 2016). In order to maintain an effective communication with the online audience the organizations are always required to respond to the online messages and respond to the communities as quickly as possible.
Personalization- Presently the online customers are not considered as the faceless audiences who are needed to be targeted while targeting the broad target audience. These customers are now treated as individuals with individual choices and preferences who are needed to be addressed personally. With the help of the personal information available over the internet the organizations can now be addressed personally and that too in a quite precise manner (Mathews et al., 2016).
Opportunities Presented by Internet Marketing
Relevance- While communicating over the internet it must be interesting and the contents provided must seem to be relevant as well as interesting to the reader else the reader will just ignore it. Incorporating all the relevant information and attracting the attention of the target audience by standing out from the crowd by engaging the customers is the way of successful internet marketing. The best possible way to solve this issue is to develop a proper understanding about the customers, providing them with what they want and when they want.
Hence the more attractive the marketing process will be the more it will be able to attract the relevant customer base. The key to a successful internet marketing is therefore, attractive advertising with useful and relevant information that will serve the needs of the customers instantaneously.
Internet can be characterized as the youngest medium which has achieved its current situation in just 20 years. The first ever interconnected computer network was designed simply as a joint project between a number of research organizations and the military in the year 1969. The concept kept evolving and the first network email concept was introduced in the year 1971 and afterwards international connections were established during 1973. The specific terminology “internet” was first used in the 1974. In the early 1990s Tim Berners-Lee was acknowledged as the inventor of internet and since then the development process of internet accelerated since then. By the end of the year 1993, business entities started showing their interests towards internet where the debate raged whether they should be allowed to use the internet for commercial purpose as internet is strictly an educational and non-commercial area. However, later on the businesses own the debate and the issue was resolved during 1995.
The preliminary top notch internet companies like Amazon and Yahoo introduced the online platforms during the middle of 1990 among numerous newly introduced search portals like Alta Vista, Infoseek and Excite. Google introduced its search engine in 1998 that provided internet search a new edge and accuracy. Different other commercial websites such as the auction site eBay started dominating the web while strengthening the potentiality of internet as a global commercial platform.
During the early stages of 2004, public became aware about the concept of “web 2.0” which is nothing but a user centric web can be used for various commercial, interactive and cooperative purposes. The main characteristic features of this were to enhance the use of social networking and the use of tools that increased the use of tools that in turn made it easier for people to create and personalize personal pages. This provided a big push for the marketers who can now advertise and promote their products and services online by increasing the accessibility of their services over the internet.
Principles of Internet Marketing
There are some opportunities of internet marketing which the online marketers enjoy. These opportunities can be stated as follows,
Among numerous opportunities one of the key opportunity of internet marketing is associated with the enabling effect that is helpful especially for the small business enterprises. Internet is quite efficient in extending the market reach as well as operational efficiency of these small and medium sized organizations. It is a matter of fact that internet has given rise to a democratized business environment where marketing activities has been restructured in such a way that the small and medium scaled enterprises also get equal opportunities for promoting their products and services at a larger scale. Hence it could easily be stated that internet has given rise to enormous opportunities for the small businesses so that they can take part into the national and international marketing activities which would have been unaffordable for them without internet because of the extensive amount of resource required. Email marketing, Search Engine Optimization, blogging and introducing websites are easily affordable channels of internet marketing which equips the small businesses with the opportunity to survive in the advanced and competitive market structure.
Another opportunity that can be enjoyed by the practitioners of online marketing or internet marketing is that it eradicates all the geographical barriers involved with practicing the buying and selling activities. That is internet allows an unlimited global reach and that too at a very affordable price. As the cost associated with the traditional media is substantially high the aspect of global reach was only considered by the gigantic corporations. Though in the advent of internet technologies the smaller businesses have also become eligible to enjoy this broader geographical reach. After the eradication of the geographical barriers the organisations now have become able to present their products and services to the different groups and communities across the world, the consumers will be able to view or purchase the products if they have access to the internet.
The ease of accessibility and availability features of internet are also evidently important to any business entity. Due to the availability feature internet is able to equip the customers with correct information timely. After the establishment of online shopping platforms customers now can acquire information and shop at any point of time during the night or day. Hence there are no specific time bound for shopping as the online shops do not have any specific time for closing and opening. It is a matter of fact that people may visit the physical stores after searching the internet or people can search for competitive price and compare after visiting the physical store. However, shopping online is more convenient as there is no need to get out of the house, visiting stores and compare the prices of the products. The online buyers can perform the same activities sitting at home. This has contributed largely in attracting a huge customer base towards the online shopping platforms.
Evolution of Internet as a Marketing Medium
It is needless to mention that the compared to the cost associated with the resource intensive traditional media channels online marketing is way too cheaper and the businesses would be able to achieve its objectives at a significantly lower cost. For example it can easily be observed that placing or publishing an advertisement over the internet is less expensive as compared to publishing an advertisement on any print media like magazine, newspaper or billboard. Moreover, in this context it can be stated that through internet marketing establishing the virtual presence of an organization and ensuring effective networking with other organisations have become more cost effective. Through internet marketing the organizations have also become able to save their human resource as well as monetary resources.
Another key opportunity of online marketing is that it can easily be monitored and tracked. In other words this feature of internet marketing provides the marketers with a pool of opportunities. Internet can track and measure each of the activities taking place within it. Henceforth, the number of clicks that a particular advertisement has achieved or the amount of traffic in a particular website can easily be measured. In the aforementioned method the marketer becomes able to monitor the activities of the visitors of his or her website and thereby gathers sufficient information regarding the behavior of that particular person his or her choices and preferences. Then in accordance with the choices and preferences of the consumers companies can send customized advertisements or assorted products to them. Internet also allows the organizations to evaluate whether their promotional strategies are working or not, which type of customers are in fact interested in their products and from which region they belong to.
The ability of the organizations to track the online activities of the customers increases drastically because internet is considered as one of the most accountable media. Several software are there which can track the website logs and real-time profiling track of the customers who are viewing each of the pages.
2.3 Trends and Patterns of Internet Marketing
2.4 Factors Affecting Internet Marketing
2.5 Models of Internet Marketing
2.6 Role of Internet Marketing in Current Business Scenario
2.7 Concept of Customer Satisfaction
2.8 Models of Customer Satisfaction
2.9 Factors of Customer Satisfaction
2.10 Impact of Internet Marketing on Customer Satisfaction
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