In an online setting, Rowley suggests that marketers do not need to "speculate about customer needs" because they can use the Internet to download customer's buying profiles and enhance their customer service and product development strategies based on the information they receive from online reports. Further, the author suggests advertising can be more targeted because it is more easily tracked in an online setting vs. An offline setting. Rowley (2004) goes on to assert that the combination of online and offline services allows for more customization, and enables "mutual dependence" which in turn creates complex and diversified communities inclusive of customers and businesses. Organizations that utilize the Internet wholly, rather than partially, are more likely to become targets for innovation, research and development, which will only advance their goals in the short- and long-term (Rowley, 2004, p. 39).
There are theorists that study certain aspects of marketing, like advertising, but conclude these components are important to online marketing in a broader context, one that is supportive of the integration of online and offline marketing. Maddox and Gong (2005) suggest advertising effectiveness can increase when organizations adopt their own URL and become more active with Internet marketing. The authors explore how advertising online differs from offline advertising and compares the utility and efficacy of each. The results of the study do not suggest advertising takes a lesser role in marketing than customer service, as the original argument suggested. Rather, the researchers noted that the addition of a URL to an ad "enhanced brand perceptions and increased consumers likelihood of visiting the web" (Maddox and Gong, 2005, p.673). While this research cannot be generalized to other nations necessarily, especially given the small population sample, it does suggest that advertising is as valuable as product development, customer service and other marketing venues offline and online. Their research reflects growing consumer trends that suggest more companies should investigate the possibilities of online marketing as a comprehensive venue or methodology, especially now that more consumers are technology savvy and interested in buying by online avenues because they are often efficient and convenient (Maddox and Gong, 2005; Bansai, Gordon, McDougall & Dikolli, 2004).
Bansai, Gordon, McDougall and Dikolli (2004) also suggest more customers are likely to report satisfaction when companies invest time and money into e-marketing. The authors explore current and previous research related to Internet marketing, noting e-satisfaction is relative to the amount of time a company spends investing online. While customers are always going to shop in retail environments, Bansal, Gordon, McDougall and Dikolli (2004) suggest that consumers are drifting from old models to new ones, and the new ones involve comprehensive Internet marketing and services. They also note customer service is not more important than product development or advertising; rather, the authors suggest that all elements are equally important to a comprehensive web-based consumer satisfaction program. Web "characteristics" including a company's storefront or marketing behaviors are critically and directly related to consumer outcomes (Bansal, Gordon, McDougall and Dikolli, 2004, p.290). This suggests that many facets of marketing can be utilized in the technology field to spur customer interest, product development and favorable advertising and branding when companies willingly adopt more technologically savvy marketing efforts.
Simmons (2007) provides the most up-to-date information on marketing and the Internet. The author notes that i-Branding as he calls it, is just as important as generic branding, claiming organizations must develop their own "conceptual framework" from which they can brand to their customers by Internet "form" which can result in the development of "successful internet-based marketing strategies" (p.544). Simmons suggests in the mainstream organizations, it is critical they develop a framework for marketing they can easily translate into an online environment, because by doing so they will facilitate greater "intellectual interest" and provide "practical value" to consumers (p. 544). Further, the author notes that offline and online marketing efforts must by systematic in nature, so the organization can improve and compete in the technology-oriented environment in which we live.
Marketing online today must include systematic use of all digital tools available to the company in every area of marketing. Semeijn et al. (2005) claims that most online transactions today include an offline component, whether that includes offline fulfillment in the way of delivery of goods or product development. The two work systematically and must be integrated in whole not in part for an organization to be successful. The author notes that to please customers and to provide them with the greatest possible service, organizations must combine their online and offline efforts. If they do not, they face extinction given the customer's high perceived value of Internet-savvy firms in today's world (Semeijn, et al., 2005). This confirms the idea that digital tools are more efficient when organizations take advantage of all technology has to offer, and utilize the Internet for common and new marketing efforts.
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