Growing virtual market

SHREYA JAKHMOLA analyses the attractive prospects of online marketing

With every single click of a mouse, there is a hike in the sale of products and services.  The use of the internet to convey promotional marketing messages to a large base of consumers across the world has increasingly become popular in recent times. Be it Flipkart, SnapDeal, Jabong or any other such online business, virtual market has become attractive due to a number of reasons.

The rise in the popularity of the internet has turned it into a business portal. With time saving procedures and ease in transaction, e-commerce is now the first preferred choice of many people. But it is not only the trading that has branched its stems from online marketing. Online marketing can be classified into further specialised areas which include web, e-mail and social media marketing. While web-marketing involves direct business promotion through e-commerce and online promotional or informative websites, e-mail marketing involves marketing efforts that advertise and promote businesses through e-mail messages targeting their prospective customers. Social media marketing on the other hand focuses on gaining attention of online traffic through social media sites. Most of the time it involves marketing strategies which make efforts to create substance that not only attracts the readers’ attention but also encourage them to share it with others through their social networks.

A while back, I got introduced to a student-run organization called BloodConnect. Since its inception on April 1, 2010 as a project under NSS IIT Delhi, Blood Connect is committed to eliminate the problem of blood shortage in India. The student body associated with the organization is dedicated to work on making BloodConnect a channel that connects voluntary blood donors with those who are in need of blood. While inquiring about their mode of operation, I got to know how students working for the organization handle the request that they receive and constantly build a donor database. The most effective method of reaching maximum number of people within the shortest period is through the internet and other social networking sites. Most of their database is created by recording the response of these internet users.

Like BloodConnect there are so many other governmental, non-governmental, profit- making and non-profit making organizations that use the internet as a platform to promote and advertise their ideas,activities and ventures. Mostly all the government and private run business houses and firms have a registered website.

With the number of internet users growing, businesses have realised to shift their marketing efforts to the virtual world. It is a result of this realisation that has seen a sudden boom in the number of advertisements, promotional messages and informative websites whenever a link is clicked on the internet. Marketing through blog posts, e- newsletters, e-mails and more are new ways these firms are adopting to promote their businesses. It will not be incorrect to state that on the internet wherever you go, they follow.Additionally,growth of online marketing as an industry has also contributed in generation of new employment opportunities. Online marketing,content writing, ads designing, marketing sites management, marketing research and web development are some of the jobs that attract young tech savvy enthusiasts.

Modern times have witnessed the virtual world winding up almost everything in its claws. Eliminating the need of any physical presence, the internet has created a whole new world where people can communicate, access information, exchange views and ideas, shop, carry out business transactions and accomplish loads of other tasks within a span of a few seconds. Over the years, many brands and businesses have adopted online marketing much more extensively than traditional marketing practices.Online marketing, unlike other conventional marketing ways allows the target base to interact and participate. It has also forced people into thinking creatively and come up with new and innovative ideas about online advertising. Many researches have been conducted which show how expenses on online marketing have gone up. Furthermore, a study undertaken by Gartner, Inc., one of the world’s leading IT research and advisory company, stated that online marketing, today, has successfully aligned with the change in the purchasing behaviours of modern consumers. Their study pointed out that consumers these days depend more on information they retrieve from the internet and other social media. Their decisions on the purchases they make is largely influenced by what they learn from these sites.

But, as every coin has another side to it, online marketing too has its set of cons. One of the biggest challenges faced by online marketing is copyright issues. Many ideas displayed on the internet can be easily copied irrespective of the legal ramifications caused by the act. Internet marketing can further lead to failure due to the presence of too much online ad clutter. The online market place is filled with businesses, trolls, spammers and scammers. Such online litter not onlymakes it hard for the marketers to gain attention of their desired customers butconsumers also, gradually, develop a tendency to ignore online advertisements. This has resulted into loss of potential customers by legitimate businesses. The online market has also resulted in too much competition. Everyone, trying to get their way through this traffic, attempts to employ different techniques that catch people’s attention. Online marketing can also damage the reputation of the advertisers due to negative feedbacks. Lastly, online marketing has not yet been welcomed by everyone. Many people feel that while shopping, physical presence gives you the luxury of properly checking everything before buying them. Mere online presence blinds people, driven by brand names, into indulging in impulsive shopping which often leads to losses incurred by the customers especially with respect to product quality.

Yet, online marketing is all set to dominate the marketing world in coming years. The coming times will see how the potentials of online marketing are tapped to gather a huge customer base. Till then all we are left to do is wait and watch.



Shreya Jakhmola is a student of Bachelor of Liberal Arts at the Symbiosis International University, Pune.