Inimitable benefits of e-marketing | Sunday Observer

Inimitable benefits of e-marketing

21 February, 2021

Encyclopedia.Com defines e-marketing as a process of planning and executing the conception, distribution, promotion, and pricing of products or services in a computerised, networked environment. The process is similar to traditional marketing, is to satisfy customer needs and demands. e-marketing provides more convenient methods to identify and analyse businesses, products, prices, and competition. The most vital advantage for the advertiser is the substantial cost-effectiveness compared to any type of traditional marketing.   

At present, there are approximately 10.1 million internet users, 6.4 million social media users, 6.4 million Facebook accounts, and 31.8 million mobile connections in Sri Lanka. Considering the population, the figures are amazingly high compared to other countries in the region. This means that market penetration through e-marketing has become compulsory for Sri Lankan companies, whether they are small, medium, or large.  

e-marketing is a mix of modern communication technology that focuses on marketing an organisation online. Features on the internet connect the organisation with new customers, retain existing customers, and build an identity. The reality is that whether the business has a physical presence or working completely online, e-marketing is essentially important to achieve high market visibility. 

e-marketing facilitates businesses to reach customers through a range of different means and in a number of unique ways. The internet dispels the geographical limitations of businesses to reach a wider and more accurate audience. The capability of accessing customers anywhere in the country and throughout the globe is an enormous benefit to marketers. e-marketing further personalises the audience through the efficiency of the applications where customers can easily be categorised to suit the marketing need.    

Customer needs

Through the use of social media, companies can harness adequate information to identify the customer needs more precisely where they may get attracted automatically. e-marketing also offers important methods to draw customers including interactive and integrated advertising. The Internet helps organisations to create unified campaigns at substantially low costs. When the communications or promotional efforts are combined, the marketers can design more effective customer-centric messages to target audiences.   

e-marketing is also described as a general term used to signify a collection of different internet related activities including website creating, consumer communications, e-mail marketing, social media marketing, and other similar pursuits. e-marketing can be understood as a broad concept that gained many additional platforms in recent years with the existence of the staggering number of smartphones available in the world. New applications are introduced by various sources frequently although the key platforms such as Facebook with 2.5 billion users, Twitter with 300 million users, YouTube with 2 billion users, LinkedIn with 600 million, and Instagram with a billion users are still leading sources for e-marketing.

The two key advantages among several others are the cost-effectiveness and speed of approach. These two reasons place e-marketing at a far above position when compared to many other traditional and contemporary marketing approaches. The cost to benefit ratio in e-marketing is much higher than any other effort for small and medium-sized organisations depending on the products or services, according to expert opinion. Even for larger organisations, despite their traditional marketing campaigns, e-marketing is considered an exceedingly effective method to reach wider audiences. 

The increased ability to acquire information and analyse them critically is also an incomparable advantage for organisations to design their marketing strategies and also to plan overall business strategies. There are comparison websites equipped with product listings, customer reviews, ratings, and so forth that offer an enormous opportunity to customers to choose options.  Comparison websites are the best examples of the huge influence e-marketing has on customers.  This constantly evolving e-marketing model is expected to improve substantially further in the future.   

Numerous opportunities

The impact of user-driven and community-oriented social media applications is evident throughout the world. Many of these social networking services offer numerous opportunities to businesses in different forms. For example, Facebook offers advertising services to target individuals based on various useful criteria. Such advertising, therefore, is targeted at specific audiences with more focused messages.  

In Sri Lanka, Facebook, with 6.4 million users, is the most effective e-marketing platform available currently for businesses. As the largest social media site in the world and Sri Lanka as well, Facebook has the largest audience for e-marketing in the country. Social media users usually open the Facebook application more frequently than other applications, extending a far better reach to advertisers. It is revealed that most Sri Lankans with active Facebook accounts spend several hours a day collectively. Nevertheless, this habit makes advertisers excessively constructive with much better effectiveness in sending a message.    

However, despite the numerous advantages, e-marketeers should be aware that there are pitfalls in e-marketing as well.  Heavy dependency on technology is one of them. The complete reliance on the internet can lead to different types of issues such as cyber-attacks, the competition created by free availability and misinformation.

Even when the local products are advertised, e-marketing platforms create a global competition with an enormous amount of competitive information. Besides, e-marketing has privacy-related issues as the information is usually public and accessible to everyone.   

Another disadvantage was apparent in recent years with the enhanced use of social media. Despite many benefits, an image of a company, product, or brand can be irreparably damaged by poor reviews and negative comments by readers. Particularly in the Sri Lankan market, these bad reviews can lead to more trailing negative comments that can be detrimental to a business. 

Dissatisfied customers

Poor customer reviews empower dissatisfied customers to a far greater extent and has the potential to destabilise e-marketing campaigns. Particularly, the opinion of one disgruntled customer can go viral in an instant, undermining a successful business. The increased transparency can empower customers to search for competitive alternatives with the ease of acquiring information.  

e-marketing offers perhaps an unlimited customer base to marketers on one hand and offers a vast amount of opportunities for customers to find alternatives or substitutes on the other. Businesses face fierce competition with the availability of a gigantic amount of information about other similar products. Hence, in order to cope with the extent of competition, marketers must be highly competent and focus upon distinctive strategies to differentiate themselves from others in the market.  

Online marketing in the existing fast pace at the market place is vitally important because it helps businesses to get found online. e-marketing also changes the way a business is observed by potential customers.

Whether it is social media, search engine optimisation, e-mail campaigns, or content marketing, the outcome is the boosting the credibility of the company and its products or services. Marketing organisations cannot resist or ignore e-marketing any longer whether they are small or large. Therefore, when considering the enormous benefits of e-marketing, the reality is that if the campaigns are properly strategised, the result for finding customers at the lowest cost is unparalleled.