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What is internet marketing?

Internet marketing, also known as i-marketing, web-marketing, online-marketing or e-marketing can be termed as the process by which companies or individuals create customer interest in products or services over the internet also called the World Wide Web. Marketing generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication and thereby business development. It can also be interpreted as an integral process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves.

Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association (AMA) as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Sales Process Engineering views marketing as “a set of processes that are interconnected and interdependent with other functions, whose methods can be improved using a variety of relatively new approaches.” Another definition by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (www.cim.co.uk) defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably” (CIM, www.cim.co.uk). In context to the shareholder value, marketing is defined as “the management process that seeks to maximize returns to shareholders by developing relationships with valued customers and creating a complete advantage”.

The internet has brought about a drastic change in the marketing world, tying together different business models, such as direct sales, affiliate marketing, product creation and marketing online. It has also transported media to a global audience. The interactive nature of Internet marketing in terms of providing instant response and eliciting responses is a unique quality of the medium. Internet marketing is sometimes considered to have a broader scope because it not only refers to the Internet, e-mail, and wireless media, but it includes management of digital customer data and electronic customer relationship management (ECRM) systems. Internet marketing ties together creative and technical aspects of the Internet, including: design, development, advertising, and sales.

The Internet revolution is making the Indian consumer more accessible to the growing influences of domestic and foreign retail chains. Reach of satellite T.V. channels is helping in creating awareness about global products for local markets. About 47% of India’s population is under the age of 20; and this will increase to 55% by 2015 (Gupta and Gupta, 2006). This young population, which is technology-savvy, watch more than 50 TV satellite channels, and display the highest propensity to spend, will immensely contribute to the growth of the retail sector in the country. As India continues to get strongly integrated with the world economy riding the waves of globalization, the retail sector is bound to take big leaps in the years to come.

In an environment, which is still restrictive in many ways and lacks adequate infrastructure, this becomes a formidable task. So how are Indian retailers coping up and how long will it be before organised retail becomes the primary way of selling.

The e-commerce industry stood at roughly INR 9200 crore by end of 2008. Sidelining the big travel portals which contribute roughly 75-80% of this market, the rest of the market is formed by online classified, e-tailing (online purchase of goods) and digital downloads. About 12% of the market is contributed by online classifieds like matrimonial and job portals. This market is poised to grow at 30% per annum for next 5 years but, long term sustainability will depend on how must the market fabric changes. Market players have to be more proactive and innovative in their approach and offering to make serious inroads. In the current market bulk of online sales is in books, gifts, small electronic items. This market in India needs to jump to the next level. More than 32 million internet users makes the market lucrative but, the question is how the market players make the online retail mode viable and competitive.


  • Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Cookham, Berkshire,England. Founded in 1911 [www.cim.co.uk]

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