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(Harris & Dennis, 2002, p. 72) These human factors will be explored in more detail below.
2.3. Human Barriers
As is evident from the above discussion, while many of the barriers to e-marketing are technological and demographic in nature, what is also apparent from the literature on the subject is that there are many human barriers to these developments. Central to these human barriers is resistance to change. As one pundit states, there are a number of reasons why people may be unwilling to accept organizational and technological changes implicit in e-marketing; for example when their stability and security is threatened and "… Coping strategies and comfort zones are affected." (Harris & Dennis, 2002, p. 74) This can occur when new emerging technologies are introduced.
The growth of e-marketing methods can therefore cause anxiety in some people who may feel threatened by these new technologies and approaches to marketing and business. This can also refer to aspects such as changes to conventional authority structures and different ways of working and interacting with others that the more dynamic and interactive online world tends to promote. (Harris & Dennis, 2002, p. 74)
These aspects are reflected in a study by Ruzdic ( 1989). This study surveyed a number of companies that implemented new e-marketing method. It was found that, "In those companies without enthusiastic middle managers, automated marketing was not successfully implemented" Ruzdic, 1989) in other words, this suggests that a central barrier to the ongoing development of e-marketing methods is fear of risk represented by these unfamiliar methods.
2.4. Security Issues
Central to online commerce and marketing is the issue of security. This includes the fear of privacy intrusion and data security invasion. In recent years there have been an increasing number of reports in the media of online fraud and credit card infringements. This has created a certain perception of the internet that has led to mistrust and suspicion; which in turn has negatively affected the acceptance of e-marketing methods and processes.
The ever-present possibility of hackers compromising data and identity theft, among others, is a serious obstacle to all forms of online commerce and interaction. Security issues are therefore possibly one of the greatest barriers to the full acceptance of e-marketing methods and processes, as many people still perceive of the internet as a very vulnerable platform for interaction. This perception is bolstered by sophisticated forms of identity theft that have become common in recent years, such as phishing. Phishing refers to the use of false emails and websites constructed to deceive the visitor into divulging important personal information and data, such as credit card numbers.
The situation with regard to security on the internet is succinctly summarized in the following quotation.
The Internet has grown considerably during the past decade, particularly with respect to its use as a tool for communication, entertainment, and marketplace exchange. This rapid growth has been accompanied, however, by concerns regarding the collection and dissemination of consumer information by marketers who participate in online retailing. These concerns pertain to the privacy and security of accumulated consumer data & #8230;and the perceived risks that consumers may experience with respect to these issues
(Miyazaki, and Fernandez, 2001, p. 27)
As the above suggests, the issue of security is one that compromises the honest marketer and places e-marketing under as cloud of often unwarranted suspicion. This is therefore an area of concern for the future of e-marketing, and a problem that has to be overcome in order for e-marketing to progress.
3. Conclusion: Overcoming Barriers.
From an e-marketing point-of-view, the contemporary online and networked world is one that emphasizes relationship building and communication. This presents a different set of methods and a new paradigm for marketing strategies and techniques. While the internet and new innovations in mobile networking presents the e-marketer with a plethora of tools and opportunities for marketing, at the same time the marketer also faces a set of unique problems and obstacles to be overcome.
As discussed above, the barriers to the progress of e-marketing are varied. There are technological problems to be dealt with as well as social and human obstacles in the way of advancement. There is, for example, a need within modern e-marketing to develop a close interrelationship with the prospective client. This means that new methods of interaction need to be accepted and understood at many different levels. This in turn can lead or obstacles related to fear of change and distrust of new innovations and technologies. As one expert notes: "A genuine e-Business strategy provides electronic links in order to 'foster conversations' with staff, customers and partners. Such 'customer-led' approaches involve listening to customers in a strategic way, deepening relationships and loyalty." (Harris & Dennis, 2002, p. 78)
However, these obstacles can also be seen as challenges in a new digital networking environment which, once overcome, can lead to increasing progress and innovation in the field of marketing.
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