Marketing: Digital Tools and Technology Evidence-Based Research Essay

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Marketing: Digital Tools and Technology

Evidence-based research suggests that companies who integrate their online and offline services are much more likely to benefit from marketing by utilizing an entire spectrum of tools and methods available to them. This in turn will result in greater efficiency, production, customer service, branding and a more competitive outlook in today's technology-oriented society. Companies should use marketing tools more comprehensively both online and offline to gain the most value from what technology today has to offer. Customer service should not be the mainstay for digital exploration; rather, the use of digital tools for customer service, product development, and advertising should be equal, so organizations are more likely to benefit from all the Web has to offer. These concepts and ideas are explored further in the notes below.

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Herington and Weaven (2007) note in their exploration of marketing and the use of online banking as a tool for customer service, show that while online service ability does not impact customer satisfaction directly, it does improve a customer's "relationship to e-loyalty" (p. 404). This suggests that customers are more likely to use online services because they are convenient and because they are already familiar with the Web as a digital tool for organization. This does not suggest however that the banking industry is one that fully integrates online marketing capabilities with offline capabilities, especially given the study's limited nature, with emphasis on an analysis of customer satisfaction or customer service. The authors conclude that customer "delight" has no bearing to online service quality, the strength of relationships involving e-service and no noticeable effect on e-trust.

TOPIC: Essay on Marketing: Digital Tools and Technology Evidence-Based Research Assignment

The results of this study contraindicate what others suggest when they say that customer loyalty and service is improved by online transactions. In this case, the authors conclude that online service quality is not remarkably related to retaining customers and does not allow the organization to build relationships with customers. It is important to note however that these results may be specific to the banking industry and not necessarily generalized to other industries. It is also important to note this study may prove the point that only integrated and comprehensive online marketing is capable of resulting in systematic improvements in a company's marketing presence both online and offline. If the banking company in this study had focused on digital tools other than those geared toward improving customer service, they might have realized the many benefits online technology has to offer, as indicated by the studies below.

Support for Digital Integration in Marketing

Foucault and Scheufele (2002) explore social motivation theory, social influence theory and gratifications theory to discern whether online services result in greater satisfaction. The authors also explore advertising and cost issues. The findings of their survey suggest that the use of the Internet may impact social environment, professor support, knowledge of retailers and the perception that student's needs will be met in a positive way (p. 420). The authors find that the Internet in this instance is a tool that an organization can use to improve not only satisfaction, but also improve sales by promoting or advertising their services online to a directed and targeted audience, who in this case were students attending university. The authors indirectly suggest that product development can also be a tool that is positively received by customers, especially when organizations develop their product line and "look" or culture by operating online and offline. In fact, the authors of this study suggest that online operations may be more efficient, less costly and more productive than offline operations (Foucault and Scheufele, 421). The authors in this study are supportive of the use of more systematic online digital tools to gain benefits in more than one area of performance.

Joines, Scherer and Scheufele (2003) also provide positive impetus for organizations to streamline their operations and provide more systematic use of online tools to enhance comprehensive marketing efforts. The authors suggest marketing and customer service efforts will improve by taking advantage of online technology. The authors explore the motivating factors of two types of consumer Web use including (1) "the percentage of weekly Web surfing time spent searching for products and (2) the percentage of time spent shopping and engaging in online transactions." The authors found that different motivational factors related to each of the variables studied, suggesting economic motivators positively influenced shoppers and encouraged them to engage in online commerce, and that online shopping was directly influenced by information motivations along with "interactive control motivations and social motivations" (p.107). This suggests that consumers are more likely to engage in online e-commerce when it is readily available, where a great allowance for consumer control is accounted for, and where consumers were confident their online transactions would be handled securely (Joines, Scherer and Scheufele, 2003).

Harridge-March (2004) notes organizations across the globe are now interested in developing a presence online, although some are not certain of what "type" of online presence they want to invest in. For this reason the author explores the potential of digital tools from a marketing perspective. The author explores electronic marketing and provides a synopsis of the latest types of online marketing that organizations are taking advantage of. Harridge-March notes that many consider marketing "the new kid on the block" and although not all organizations are fully using the Internet, most now realize the latest type of marketing is framed by the seven "Ps of marketing" including "product, price, promotion, place (distribution), process, physical evidence, and people" (p.298). This suggests that organizations that take advantage of all Ps of marketing online are likely to surpass firms that do not use the online environment wholly, because more so now than ever before consumers are interested in working with organizations that provide comprehensive online services. Managers should therefore be trained and work to embrace technology and teach their incumbents to do the same (Harridge-March, 2004, p.300). By doing so they create an organizational culture that revolves around online marketing, which can be a "valuable and complementary tool" that enables the organization to create value and greater service for its customers, regardless of their preference (Harridge-March, 2004, p. 300). This suggests that organizations that fully embrace technology are more likely to surpass those that are on the fence about Internet services, or those that have not fully integrated their online and offline services.

Harridge-March is among a growing body of researchers that believe all facts of marketing can easily be implemented offline as well as online. There is no reason product, price, promotion, distribution and customer service to name a few principles, cannot be easily initiated in the online environment; in fact, some organizations may find the online environment more user-friendly than the offline environment because of the efficiency and reliability of online transactions. Schoenbachler and Gordon (2002) note traditional businesses and online-only businesses must accept new business models inclusive of "multiple channels" because retaining a single-channel model involves "a risk of becoming obsolete" (p.43). The researchers note that it is critical businesses simplify business and adopt a multi-channel strategy so that they can best serve customers, who are more likely to embrace a multi-channel model. Multi-channel marketing is more oriented toward customers, whereas single-channel marketing often focuses only on the channel rather than the customer. This information does nothing more than assert and confirm Harrige-March's (2004) views on marketing, noting that marketers can adopt a full marketing strategy online and offline, and if they do so, are more likely to survive than if they only take advantage of the Internet for product development or advertising; the authors Schoenbachler and Gordon, as well as Harridge-March confirm the statement that a full integration of offline and online marketing is necessary for organizations interested in remaining competitive in a new "age" where more and more customers are relying on combined offline and online transactions to suit their interests and meet their needs.

Rowley (2004) asserts much the same, noting that modern society is as much a "digital" world as it is an offline one. Technology-driven businesses are more likely to succeed according to Rowley if they work diligently to create an online "presence" and work to create relationships both online and offline, which will lead to "mutual value" between the customer and the organization (p.24). The author notes when organizations adopt the Internet as a marketing channel, they then provide "interactive, accessible, ubiquitous and integrated service" to customers regardless of their location and needs (p.25). Further, the author notes that e-merchants or companies that decide to operate online must adopt a new vocabulary that is inclusive of online terms including "banner ads, click through, affiliate networks, URLs and portals" (p.25). Rowley suggests brand value will take on a new meaning when organizations work offline and online to enhance their presence. The potential for relationship building online and offline according to Rowley (2004) is "inherent in every transaction and dialog" (p.25). In fact, the Internet may do more for organizations in the way of relationship-building than offline marketing, because the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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