Website Missing a P?
expectations for marketing via the Internet
can range from increasing sales leads to
completely revolutionizing your business and
customer interactions. Increasingly most
businesses are incorporating the Internet
into their marketing strategies.
your Internet strategy is vital to using the
medium successfully. Without integrating
Internet marketing within your traditional
marketing strategies, you can lose focus of
your primary goals and easily become
disorganized in your overall approach to
your target market.
understood, the Internet can be harnessed to
complement your existing marketing
practices, extend your current operations
and create new opportunities. The key to
successful marketing over the Internet is
applying its strengths to proven traditional
marketing practices in innovative ways.
the four Ps of marketing, Price, Product,
Place, and Promotion, have been considered
the primary pillars of a marketing strategy.
The use of the Internet as a marketing tool
includes what many see as the fifth P of
marketing, 'People' and its seamless
integration within the traditional
So, the first P
is for people. Why people? Traditionally
most small to medium sized companies
approached a local demographic within a
specific radius of their operations for
their marketing operations. With success,
typically the radius expanded. Now with the
Internet global audiences are potential
customers? The Internet can increase your
radius of operations to an extent never seen
before by most small to medium sized
It is now not
just a question of demographics, you must
also take into account a clients ĎInternet
Access Profileí, or in other words their
technological capabilities. With such
questions as: What are my target groupís
hardware and software capabilities? How do
they access the Internet and at what speed?
Do they access the Internet from work, home
or the library, etc.?
Design of your
marketing plan and consequent website design
must reflect these access points. How does
your demographic compare with your
traditional media marketing approach? It may
be necessary to use a combination of media
to gain access to your intended audience.
The second P to
be considered is pricing. Pricing and
payment policies on the Internet are subject
to immediate scrutiny and comparison. What
pricing will your customers accept that
yield sufficient revenues and profit?
Advances in Internet technology can help
your company reduce its costs, which in turn
allows you to lower prices if necessary or
improve current margins.
Our third P is
the all important product. Do you have
products that meet your targets needs?
Where service is an important component of
your product, the Internet allows you to
provide better information, well written
content and establish added perceived value
of your product. There are also many
companies whose Web site is their product.
The fourth P
being place is now less important to web
based companies and to a lesser extent a
company with physical geographic locations
as the Internet can now be used by
businesses as a distribution channel,
allowing direct sales to customers. Yet,
order fulfillment and shipping of physical
product with all that entails is still your
You may also
find that your supply chain can be shortened
as you may conduct direct transactions
between your suppliers and end-users without
the involvement of intermediaries. A word of
caution, this does require that you rethink
how you may operate successfully with your
existing or future dealer networks.
And last, but
not the least P, is promotion. Most
companies with a Web site use it simply to
promote their products. An online brochure
that is potentially unexciting and boringly
informative. What forms of promotion will
reach your customers? Will you use a mix of
print advertising, banner advertising,
competitions, newsletters, search engines,
brochures, sales staff and customer support?
plan is the master strategy that defines the
above five Pís of marketing and must outline
how you will integrate the various
processes, technologies and strategies. A
web site design and Internet strategy that
does not include all five Pís in its
marketing mix will never be fully effective.
Thatís another story.
John Shenton - May 14, 2002