To understand the variables that factor into successful online marketing.
Key objectives are:
(a) To document the various online marketing techniques those have emerged
(b) To examine the critical success factors in online marketing
(c) To contribute to marketing theory with respect to online marketing mix.
Online marketing is increasingly becoming more powerful, sophisticated and measurable and it is significantly influencing firm performance (Kohler et al. 2011). Many online marketing techniques have emerged, with the key elements being; search term marketing, shopping portals and affiliate marketing (Duffy 2004; 2005). In future, more and more companies are expected to deploy these marketing methods to drive sales and profits while building brands.
Unlike the previous online activities, the online marketing elements particularly the affiliate marketing appear to have more durable potential and it is likely to become the principle mainstream marketing strategy for e-commerce businesses in the future (Duffy 2005; Malaga 2007). An affiliate is a person or company which sends visitors or customers to a website in exchange for commissions. The affiliate industry is growing rapidly and drives billions of pounds in online sales annually and 46% of all affiliates (up from 34% in 2009) now work full-time (Econsultancy 2011).
Online sales in Europe increased dramatically, from £101 billion in 2008 to £170 billion in 2011 with UK topping and accounting for about a third of the sales.
The online marketplace represents an opportunity for innovative and entrepreneurial companies to make money, for instance on commissions by promoting products of other companies. Successful business relationships are essential in this context. Kalyanam and McIntyre (2002) identify online marketing functions and provide taxonomy of online marketing tools. They also propose an online marketing mix but this is yet to be empirically tested and developed further. It would be essential to document the new techniques and developments and examine the critical success factors in the online marketing.
The research will be conducted in the UK. Following a substantial review of literature, exploratory case studies will be selected from online firms. This will constitute both advertisers/merchants and affiliates in order to get views from both sides. Questionnaires will then be developed and a survey conducted. To save time in searching for affiliates’ contacts from internet, a database with company emails will be bought.
In addition to the M. phil thesis, journal papers will be developed for instance one based on the exploratory case studies and another on survey data. More papers could be produced thereafter. Modern online marketing has unique characteristics and may require a marketing mix that is different from the traditional one. This work will build on the existing marketing mix. The work is relevant to businesses such as those interested in understanding how to turn visitors into buyers (Schlosser et al 2006), as it will inform the design and development of appropriate websites. Policy makers will also find the work useful as they get to understand better this industry which is yet to be taxed in UK.