E-marketing has become an essential part of the marketing strategies for corporations around the globe. Organizations must find innovative ways to market their products through the technologies of the 21st century. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the integration of e-marketing strategies into the overall marketing plan of Dresser-Rand which sells parts and energy solutions for the compressor industry. Our discussion will focus on understanding e-marketing. We will also discuss how segmentation and positioning strategies will affect the marketing and media mix. Let's begin our discussion by presenting some background information about the company.
Dresser-Rand has an established reputation for the quality and reliability of their products. ("A Rugged Reputation for Reliability and Expertise") The company's compressors are world renowned and the company aims to please customers. Dresser Rand's products are designed with the use of computers and are formulated to require very little maintenance. ("A Rugged Reputation for Reliability and Expertise")
According to the company's official website Dresser-Rand manufactures several different products including steam turbines. The website allows clients to purchase parts online which are delivered within 48 hours. (Products and Services) Customers are allowed to purchase products with credit cards and pre-approved accounts. (Products and Services) The company also provides clients with a national and an international phone number which allows them to fulfill critical needs for products and to speed up shipment. (Products and Services)
Frost and Strauss (2000) define traditional marketing as "the process of planning and executing the conception, distribution, promotion, and pricing of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives." (Frost and Strauss 2000) The authors go on to explain that e-marketing simply makes traditional marketing more efficient because of the technology that is involved. E-marketing increases profits and customer satisfaction. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
The first step in the development of a successful strategy for Dresser-Rand is understanding e-marketing and the challenges that it presents. According to Frost and Strauss (2000), e-marketing is slightly different than traditional marketing. The authors state that there are ten rules that a business must understand if they are to adapt an e-marketing plan. These ten rules include;
Knowledge management -- the digital age has provided organizations with the ability to track the spending patterns of customers. It is vitally important that organizations use this information to create strategies that will create consumer loyalty and benefit the company. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Increase velocity-within the internet environment organizations have the ability to observe the strategies of their competitors instantly and mimic them. For this reason organizations must be assertive and innovative when creating new products and services. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Power shift from sellers to buyers- e-marketing is quite different from traditional marketing because buyers are in a more powerful position. Frost and Strauss (2000) explain that "Both individual and business buyers are more demanding than ever because they are just one click away from a plethora of global competitors, all vying for their business." With this in mind, organizations must focus on meeting the needs of consumers. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Global reach- the advent of the Internet has contributed greatly to the creation of a global market. This provides firms with the ability to reach large populations with their products and services. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Death of distance- technologies such as email and teleconferencing have eliminated the distance barriers that many organizations have dealt with in the past. Companies can now collaborate without having to meet in person. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Intellectual capital rules- the intellectual capital that a company possesses is priceless in the technology age. Investors are more likely to invest in a firm that has intellectual capital than one that simply has tangible assets. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Interdisciplinary focus- If an e-marketing strategy is to work effectively marketers and information system professionals must work together to create solutions. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Time compression- the internet allows firms to communicate 24-hour a day and eliminate time constraints. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Market deconstruction-because of the absence of time constraints and space constraints the product bundling that use to be prevalent no longer exist. Customers can now go to several different sites to get information about a product before they purchase them. (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Interoperability- this has to do with the standards for software design. The Internet has created an open standard for the design of software. Frost and Strauss (2000) explain,
Open standards exist in the public domain and are sanctioned by international bodies. Designing for open standards creates systems that will work well together. Such systems are said to be interoperable. The advantages are tremendous. Firms can purchase best of breed systems in each functional area with some assurance that the systems will smoothly integrate." (Frost and Strauss 2000)
Once Dresser-Rand understands these rules they will be better equipped to create an e-marketing strategy. All of these rules play a role in the integration of an e-marketing strategy into the overall marketing plan.
Segmentation and Positioning Strategies
According to Frost and Strauss (2000), "Groups of people that share one or more characteristics and have common needs comprise a market segment." (Frost and Strauss 2000) There are several basic segments that consumers are usually placed in by marketers. These segments include demographics, geographic areas, user behavior on the Internet and psychographics. Dresser-Rand could use some of these segmentations to properly promote various products. Dresser-Rand's segmentation may differ somewhat from these segments because the company operates in a business to business fashion; meaning that Dresser-Rand's products are not normally sold to ordinary consumers but to other businesses that are in the compressor industry. For this reason Dresser-Rand may adopt an e-marketing segmentation strategy that differentiates between different types of businesses. These segments would include small businesses and large corporations. The company can pursue these segments by offering product bundles that cater to the needs of these businesses. For instance, a small business may need some of the same products that are large business needs but in a lesser quantity. It is also likely that a small business will have a smaller budget that needs to be accommodated so that these products can be purchased. Dresser-Rand must create an e-marketing strategy that presents these alternatives to small and large businesses if they desire to see an increase in sales and overall profits for the company.
Dresser-Rand can also use some of the basic segmentations such as geographics and internet usage. Frost and Strauss (2000) explain that North America boasts the largest Internet usage in the world, with 110 million United States users and 13 million Canadian users. This leadership is expected to remain until 2003 when Europe, which is growing at a faster pace than North America, will grow from about 44 million users to 170 million." (Frost and Strauss 2000)
The company must use these facts to get the most out of their e-business. Dresser and Rand can take advantage of this opportunity by offering deals to businesses in North America and Europe. They may also desire to create a website that is written in the various languages that exists throughout Europe. In many cases the best way to communicate with these consumers is through their own language. By catering to the needs of these consumers Dresser-Rand will create a stronger customer base.
As you can see segmentation is a critical component in an e-marketing strategy. In short Dresser-Rand or any company that is selling products on the Web must understand who their customers are. They must know the needs of these consumers and try to accommodate them. In doing this the company can put time and energy into pursuing segments that are likely to purchase the products that they manufacture.
The Internet is saturated with businesses that are jockeying for position, because of this Dresser-Rand must utilize positioning strategies that will get them recognized by potential customers. One of the key concepts in positioning is search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is a fundamental online marketing strategy. When it comes to online promotion, optimization for the Search Engines is the key to obtaining visitors at very little cost! Search engine optimization and submission is definitely the most important step for allowing your online business to flourish. For your web site to sell successfully over the Internet, you need to be recognized by the top search engines" ("Search Engine..." 2003)
Another method that is often used as a positioning strategy is net linking. ("Web positioning..." 2000) This involves the creation of links on partner sites. This strategy can dramatically improve traffic to the Dresser-Rand website. The key to net linking is to place links on sites that cater to the market segments that the company is trying to reach.
In the case of Dresser-Rand the links should be with sites that serve small and large businesses in the compressor industry.
Affect of Segmentation and Positioning Strategies on the marketing and media mix