The World Wide Web: Its impact on marketers.

This paper discusses how the World Wide Web (WWW) is currently
affecting marketers, and looks at the important concerns that
marketers must consider in order to use WWW effectively.  The paper
will define WWW as a multimedia medium, and look at its impact on
the development of a marketing plan.

1    WWW as a Multimedia Medium.

WWW, and the browsers that are available to interact with WWW, are
a truly multimedia medium.  Multimedia is defined as follows:

     Multimedia is the use of a computer to present and combine
     text, graphics, audio and video with links and tools that let
     the user navigate, interact, create and communicate.

WWW allows for the use of text, pictures, sound and video, and with
the use of a browser, the user can interact with WWW taking
advantage of its hypermedia capabilities.  The user can access any
information that is available on WWW assuming s/he has a multi-
media PC that has the MPC2 specifications.

2    Marketing.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) states that "Marketing is
the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing,
promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create
exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives." 
In other words, marketing is determining who your customers are,
determining what they want, and providing it for them in order to
satisfy your customers' needs/desires as well as your own
objectives (profit).  In order to achieve this marketers develop
marketing plans that delineate the requirements that are needed for
the product to be successful.  These plans will include (but will
not be limited to) a description of the target market, and the
marketing mix, which incorporates product issues, promotional
issues, distribution issues and price issues.  The remainder of
this paper will look at each of these individually and assess the
impact and usefulness of WWW on each.

2.1  Target Market. 

A target market is a group of individuals or businesses who are
(potential) customers for your product.  In order for WWW to be
effective the target market(s) of the organization must have access
to WWW.  This is currently the major obstacle in taking full
advantage of WWW.  Latest estimates are that *** people have access
to WWW.  

The effectiveness of WWW will vary depending upon whether the
organization is marketing a consumer product (a product intended
for consumption by the final consumer) or a business to business
product (a product intended for other organizations).

2.1.1     Consumer Markets:
WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Direct has identified a group of
consumers it has described as Technology-Savvy Consumers, or
Techno-Savvies.  These are consumers that are primarily male and
average 42 years old, are 77% married, have average household
incomes of $53,800, live in single family dwellings within 20
minutes of a big city, and use personal computers (48% use them
daily).  The Techno-Savvy group would be an ideal target market for
products marketed through WWW.  Other target markets include
students and younger children who are more computer literate than
other generations.  In the future, more target markets will have
access to WWW as it pervades our society.  Assuming its perception
as a rich source of product information becomes apparent, it may
become the medium of choice when looking for product information.

The location of the target market is also important.  If the target
market is widely dispersed, then WWW presence is important as
location is not a concern for WWW (assuming Internet connectivity). 
If the target market is clustered in one area then WWW presence may
not be necessary.

2.1.2     Business to Business Markets:
Using WWW to target your customers in a business to business
setting is intuitively appealing.  Many organizations have access
WWW; it can be used to display information, including product
ordering.  It can become a part of an inventory control system as
information can be displayed in real time, and is accessible to all
customers that have access to WWW, this will also help in marketing
the organization's products to new customers.

2.2  Product.

The type of product that can take advantage of WWW is important to
understand.  For reasons we will explore, Wrigley's would not
realize any benefits by developing a homepage for its chewing gum,
but Chrysler will for its Neon automobile.  Whether or not a
product will benefit from WWW depends on its target market (do they
have WWW access, see above), the decision making process of the
consumer and the type of product.

2.2.1     The decision making process.
Consumers will go through either extensive decision making, limited
decision making or no decision making (impulse purchase, chewing
gum) before making a purchase.  If a consumer goes through
extensive decision making, then s/he requires as much information
about the product as possible.  WWW allows marketers to display
this information so that the consumer is more knowledgeable about
the product before they enter the retail environment (car show
room) to make the purchase.  This can also reduce both the work of
the salespeople of the organization, since the consumer already has
much of the necessary information, and the legwork of the customer
since s/he can narrow his/her choice before going to the

Another important factor to consider is the stage of the consumer's
product adoption process.  Adopting a product means the consumer
will purchase that product whenever a need for that type of product
occurs.  Before a consumer adopts a product, s/he will go through
the following steps:


WWW is not useful in making consumers aware of a product because it
is unobtrusive.  The nature of unobtrusive information is such that
consumers have to seek it out; if they are not aware of the
product, they will not seek out the information.  However the
information on WWW is very useful for consumers who are interested
in and evaluating products because it is an information rich
source.  Therefore WWW is useful for companies that are competing
for these consumers.

2.2.2     Type of product.
Certain products, due to their technological nature, are expected
to have a presence on WWW.  Companies that market this type of
product (computers, electronics etc.) are at a competitive
disadvantage if their competitors have WWW presence.  This is also
important because the typical target market for this type of
product accesses WWW.

2.3  Promotion.

Promotion is used to inform prospective buyers about the benefits
of the product, persuade them to try it and remind them later about
the benefits.  There are four elements in the promotional mix:
advertising, sales promotion, publicity and personal selling.

2.3.1     Interactive media
Personal selling is currently the only element of the promotional
mix that allows for interactivity, with the sales representative
being the medium of communication.
The following is a diagram of the promotional process (not
including personal selling) using traditional forms of media (TV,
Radio, Flyers, Billboards etc.):

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Feedback takes place outside the medium, therefore there is no
direct feedback as to the effectiveness of the communication. 
Marketers can attempt to improve this by using 1-800 #s in their
promotions but this is limited in accuracy.  Another fault of this
system is that the information the consumer receives is determined
by the marketer.  The marketer determines the information
requirements of its consumers by making assumptions regarding their
informational needs and broadcasts this information to mass

Using WWW as the medium of communication changes the promotional


Consumers can interact with the company through the medium,
allowing for direct feedback.  Therefore, marketers can directly
determine consumers' responses and can offer more information based
on individual customer needs.  This is similar to personal selling
but as cost effective as advertising.  Essentially, individual
consumers design the message based on their informational needs,
framed around the information provided by the marketer.  Marketers
can also directly determine the effectiveness of their
communications, as well as determine the needs of individuals
within their target market(s).  This is a working model for the
future of advertising.

2.3.2     Unobtrusive medium
Using WWW to promote your product is unobtrusive.  This means the
customer must access WWW to be able to retrieve the information. 
Traditional broadcast advertising is obtrusive in as much as it
appears in the breaks of shows you are listening to or watching. 
As the consumer you can either view/listen to the promotion or
change the channel on the medium or tune it out.  Because WWW is
unobtrusive, the audience will pay attention to the information
that s/he receives since s/he has made a conscious decision to
access it.  It is up to the marketer to encourage the consumer to
access this information.  To do this the marketer must create an
effective "advernet" plan:

1    Determine ways to promulgate pointers to the marketer's
     homepage where the potential customers will be exposed to
     them, i.e. include references to the homepage in traditional

2    Employ graphics, sound, and video to enhance the potential
     customer's experience (make it fun), encouraging him/her to
     return to the site and mention it to friends.

3    Exploit the novelty of this medium by making a potential
     customer feel that s/he is getting the latest product
     information while using the latest technology.

2.4  Distribution.

The distribution aspect of the marketing mix is concerned with
making products available when and where the target market is
likely to want to purchase them.  This is called adding time and
place utility to the product.  Since WWW displays product
information in real time, 24 hours a day, and displays this
information wherever a consumer has access to WWW, it does offer
time and place utility.  In fact there are a number of Emalls
(Electronic malls) that are available on WWW for consumers to make
purchases.  There are, however, two issues that must be resolved
before WWW truly becomes a medium for distribution.  These issues
concern the security of transactions and the anonymity of the

2.4.1     Security of the transaction:
Software companies are in the process of developing software that
allows for secure money transactions.  Until customers' perceptions
of security are resolved through these developments, customers will
be hesitant to make purchases in this manner.  To address this
issue marketers will display product information and leave a 1 800
# that will actually facilitate the transaction.

2.4.2     Anonymity of vendor:
Anyone who can set up a homepage on WWW can, in theory, display
information that gives the impression that they are a retailer of
a specific product.  Until there is a mechanism that can verify
that the vendor is who it says it is a customer can not be certain. 
The customer could be sending money to someone posing as a Sony
salesperson who actually simply has computer resources, knowledge
and a large swiss bank account :).

2.5  Price.

Price is the element of the marketing mix that is least impacted by
WWW, unless the actual transaction takes place through WWW.  In
that instance price may be reduced for to offer incentive to
customers to use WWW to make the purchase.  This can happen because
a transaction that is facilitated via WWW is less expensive than a
transaction in a retail store, that saving is passed onto the