September 20, 2007

Online Marketing in four simple steps Part I

One of the most common issues keeping many strategists and marketing executives busy is how to optimize their Internet presence and make the most out of the web as a communication and distribution channel. These concerns are logical considering that the Internet has become the nr.1 information source for consumers and businesses, the nr. 2 retailing channel in many countries and according to different estimations by 2010 the Internet retailing will be between 10% and 13% of the total retailing volume in the US. Understanding the mechanisms of online marketing and finding a proper way to teach this subject is also a problem that many academics and other educators have. For some people belonging to the above categories a way out could be the 4S Web Marketing Mix model I describe in a paper published in 2002. Next to scientific citations I come occasionally across references to this paper in different blogs , online forums or even web sites of business consultants. This paper has been consistently among the 25 most downloaded articles of the journal from its publication until today, reaching even the first position in the list. I have the feeling that the paper is mostly download by colleagues/teachers but very often by practitioners as well. The inclusion of the model in the popular 123manage site for management models must be one reason for that.
The 4S Web Marketing Mix model is meant to guide businesses in designing and building their online presence. It can be used also as a way to evaluate an existing online presentation with the objective to improve it. In the following 4 posts I will explain briefly the principles of this model and I will explain the additional knowledge build up since the publication of this paper by means of research conducted by my colleagues and myself.
As a first step I would like to say a few things about this model in general. The idea behind it is that in order to build and maintain a successful online presence it is necessary to address four different issues – that for the sake of simplicity I illustrate with four terms starting with the letter S - in a integral and comprehensive manner:
SCOPE : The Strategy
SITE: The customer Online (or Web-) Experience, the “operational” issues.
SYNERGY: The integration of the online presence into the organization and its network: the “organizational” issues
SYSTEM: The technologies necessary to realize the above
The model looks therefore like this:
Next week's post: The Scope