Marketing on the Internet

Edward L. Fox MBA (Writer, archival researcher and business consultant Dunedin, New Zealand)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




Fox MBA, E.L. (2000), "Marketing on the Internet", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 141-147.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

The Internet is advancing so fast that any book that attempting to define it in any way runs the risk of immediate obsolescence. However, Marketing on the Internet anticipates this factor and goes so far as to point out in the Preface that it is the first edition of a book about a “moving target”.

It is, as the authors say, “a snapshot of the Internet from June to October 1998” and they acknowledge many things in the book will be out of date before it is off the press. Hardly a good reason it would seem for buying it. But where this volume succeeds is in the authors’ acknowledgment of this fluidity and their anchoring the concepts of Net marketing soundly in classic marketing theory.

Figures presented by the authors are a clear indication that new media companies represent the largest and fastest growing US industry sector in two decades, with the most valuable people in this advancing economy being those who understand technology and marketing. It is these people the book seeks to educate. In addition, the student of marketing on the Internet can learn the topic one step at a time because of the way the book is written. It is also designed to help those with differing levels of Internet experience who want to learn about marketing online.

Not easily assimilated in a first reading, because of the wealth of information presented, Marketing on the Internet is, as the authors say, “challenging”. It is organised into three parts – “Online marketing prelude”, “Internet marketing strategies”, and “The Internet marketing plan”.

Opening with the Yahoo Case Study, an excellent example of how an organisation employs the marketing concept, it goes on to discuss “What is the Web?” from a business perspective.

In the opening chapter, Strauss and Frost liken the Internet to a drop in the US price of petrol creating enormous wealth in the US economy. The “petrol” in an information economy being information, the cost of which is falling dramatically because of the Internet. By continually reducing the distance between people and the information they need, the Internet makes that information cheaper.

Cheap information, the authors say, allows business to become more efficient and effective, by reducing the costs of doing business and opening up strategic opportunities respectively. They suggest that if businesses become more efficient because of the Internet, they are able to both improve their competitive position and lower consumer prices. Their competitive position is improved by becoming more effective and they are able to introduce added value for both consumer and shareholder.

These gains in efficiency and effectiveness are pinpointed by the authors as purchasing, inventory management, cycle times, customer service, and sales and marketing.

However, the Internet as a new opportunity creates many questions which Strauss and Frost’s book encourages the student or reader to answer, while questions that are answered include new technology leverage and the market online.

Interesting aspects of the book are the items included at the end of each chapter. “Practitioner perspectives” has important people in Net Marketing, such as Manish Bhataia, vice‐president, Interactive Services, Nielsen Media Research and Bob Ivins, senior vice‐president, Media Metrix Inc., discussing front line issues. Each “Leveraging technology” explains technical concepts critical for online marketing and programme building and “Ethics and law” sections, written by an eminent lawyer and computer science professor, cover the ethical issues arising within each chapter. Codes of Ethics are included in the Appendix.

Readers, be they students or marketers, are encouraged to explore the Internet on their own. In this respect, Marketing on the Internet is possibly as interactive as a book can be, without actually being a Web site.

A back‐up Web site neatly overcomes the latter difficulty – Here are included ideas on teaching Internet marketing, as well as ideas received by, and a direct e‐mail contact to, the authors.

Further enhancing this “interactivity” are the “Savvy Sites”, that is, important sites provided for further research located at the end of each chapter, presenting the reader with Web sites, addresses (or URLs), and a brief synopsis of the sites’ importance to Net marketers.

Midway through, the book moves from describing the way promotional tools can be put to work on the Internet, to describing how marketers view the Internet as one of many media, and comparing it in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Then, in Chapter Eight it moves into the seven steps of an Internet Marketing Plan, and uses as an analogy for this, the preparation of a football team for a game, with its strategies, objectives, weaknesses, strengths and so on.

The book concludes with basic online search procedures, the ESOMAR guideline conducting marketing and opinion research, codes of ethics, glossary and references. The latter again liberally sprinkled with all‐important URLs.

Marketing on the Internet provides an excellent signpost for the student, or for that matter, anyone interested in burgeoning new Internet opportunities and related ethical and technical issues. It is a book that immediately compels the reader to go “surfing”.

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