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Introduction

Table of Contents

Flores (2014) established that digital marketing refers to the promotion of products and brands among consumers, through the use of all digital media and contact points. This is a credible definition and focuses more on the promotional aspect of marketing. Whereas, Brassington and Pettit (2013) state that digital direct marketing uses electronic and online media to communicate with customers to build relationships and encourage a response; therefore focusing on the communications aspect. Both definitions are perfectly valid, they just express different opinions which are created from various marketing viewpoints.



Digital Marketing as a Trend


Digital marketing has been a concept which has received increasing acceptance over the years. More recently, it is no longer recognised by the majority as a desired aspect of marketing but a necessity. There are different strategies and channels that can be utilised in order to optimise chances of successful digital marketing deployment and these will be discussed in more detail. Technology has transformed significantly over the last few decades and is still evolving today, resulting in companies constantly chasing and changing their strategies in order to progress.



The History of Digital Marketing


The surrounding society and environment today is based heavily around technology advancements and digital processes; it is hard to believe how we managed without these developments. Although digital marketing has received a growing acceptance; it is important that we can look back and appreciate its journey and how far it has come today. The Digital Marketing Strategy (2013) have provided a summary below:

The Web 1.0

The 1990’s saw the introduction of the internet and the platform Web 1.0. At this stage the internet enabled users to retrieve their desired information however they were unable to share what they found. This meant it was fairly monotonous as users could only browse and read the material; there was no interaction.

The Birth of Google
Innovative technology advancements arose in 1998, the search engine Google was created. Around this period social networking websites began to emerge and companies rapidly began to recognise the opportunities and the way they had now gained direct communication with their customers. The next step was to find methods of employing these strategies to ensure maximum benefit was received from these new platforms.

The “Cookie”
The original cookie was essentially established to observe users’ browsing habits; however it has now progressed into playing a more critical part enabling literal user data to be accumulated.

Enter the Web 2.0
Web 2.0 has gradually progressed from Web 1.0. The internet now permitted users and organisations to interact directly, finally becoming a social platform. By 2010, mobile marketing alone brought in approximately $650 million.

From the summary provided above, it is clear that the introduction of Web 2.0 generated many more opportunities for digital marketing to become what we know today. It was a turning point in its history, providing the interaction that was so desperately desired.

There has been talk of a new contribution to the above in the form of Web 3.0, the next installation; although this has not been formally established, some experts have shared their views and ideas with the help of some visuals.

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Seager (2011) illustrates that ‘Web 2.0 is left brain & Web 3.0 is right brain’. This is complimented by Cole (2015) stating that ‘Companies on the leading edge are embracing Web 3.0 technologies, without absolute certainty what Web 3.0 will ultimately look like. Regardless, the characteristics of Web 3.0 are clear’.



Benefits of Direct Digital Marketing


Kotler et al (2014:412-3) have identified the following:

Benefits for Buyers


· Convenient and private. Saves a lot of time and cuts out the middlemen.
· Buyers have access to a large range of products. No physical restraints – an unlimited selection can be presented to an unlimited audience.
· A wealth of comparative information about companies, products and competitors is accessible.
· Interactive and intermediate – buyers can interact with sellers by phone or via the website and order exactly what they need.
· The direct marketing aspects give the consumer a greater measure of control.

Benefits for Sellers


· Customer interaction is increased as more can be analysed from knowing their needs and being able to modify these to customers as individuals.
· A low-cost alternative to effectively reaching target audiences.
· Leads to the operations of the business becoming more efficient. Companies which are solely operated online can cut expenses of running a shop.
· Offers increased flexibility and allows changes and alterations to be in immediate effect.
· Direct and digital marketing allows consumers to be reached that were previously unobtainable. Orders can be made between countries very efficiently.




Digital Marketing Channels


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One significant way in which marketing has developed from traditional methods into digital is through the communication channels that are used. Miller (2012) believes that at its most basic, digital marketing is no different from traditional marketing; what is different is the channels used to relay these messages – instead of print and other traditional media, internet media is now being used.

Bosomworth (2015) believes that ‘The Internet is the first marketing medium not designed for marketing. It’s designed for connection, and we’re leveraging it for marketing. As it evolves we need to ask different questions about how to better work with it’. Newton-Clapham (2011) explains ‘I don’t see any of the existing digital marketing and online media channels disappearing just yet, but I know more is coming and I’m excited but the key to success in online marketing will still be relevance’.

The bar chart to the left illustrates the top online marketing channels in the UK.

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Kotler et al (2011:410) explain multi-marketing channels are distributed through a system in which a single firm sets up two or more marketing channels to reach one or more marketing segments. There are a range of options when it comes to multi-marketing, for example computer and mobile or TV and mobile often work well together. Brenner (2013) has recognised that multi channels are paramount and states that it’s because more and more, our customers are using multiple channels to find the information they need. However, Ashe-Edmunds (2015) argues that to use and manage multiple channels, you might have to give up some marketing control, increase your costs and dilute your staff time – therefore, it may not always be as beneficial as it looks.







The Marketing Mix and Digital Marketing


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As keen marketers will already know, there is a specific marketing mix that is referred to as the 4P’s. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (2015) describes these as ‘the combination of marketing inputs that affect customer motivation
and behaviour. These inputs traditionally encompass four controllable variables 'the 4 Ps': product, price, promotion and place. The list has subsequently been extended to 7 Ps, the additions being people, process and 'physical evidence'.
As more developments within marketing have arisen, these have been adapted accordingly. In relation to digital marketing the 4P’s have been used as a foundation to build a digital marketing mix.

Below is an example created by Wekhamp and shared by Arts (2013) of what the digital marketing mix should look like:


- Product = Content and Connectivity
- Price = Cost and Collectivity
- Place = Context and Convenience
- Promotion = Contact and Continuity


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Another model has been found which offers an alternative and was developed by Fish (2014). This model focuses on the new P’s for the digital world against the traditional marketing mix. Both models are credible and consider different aspects of marketing however, it is important to note that they have both acknowledged and included the original framework within the updated versions. Al-Zaidy (2014) adds support stating that ‘to accompany the four Ps of classical marketing, marketers would do well to instil the digital four Cs, around conversation, collaboration, culture and compensation’. Fish (2014) makes a valid point to conclude ‘as a final point, whilst digital first is important let's not forget that Apple has $160Bn of cash from traditional marketing on real products and Google has a modest $70Bn so we should conclude that traditional works and the new has proven itself as a worthy co-existor!’.





Why Digital Marketing Fails


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Albie (2015) found that a survey of 1,000 US marketers that required them to express opinions on the greatest concerns about digital marketing, found that things are shifting even more rapidly than anticipated and their ability to keep up is declining rather than improving.

Some of the findings shown by Albie (2015) include the following:
  • 76% of marketers think that marketing has changed more in the past 2 years than the past 50 years.
  • Only 40% think their company’s marketing is effective.
  • 68% feel more pressure to show return on investment (ROI) on marketing spend.
  • Most marketers don’t have any formal training: 82% learn on the job.

Wind and Mahajan (2002) claim that digital technology has put the customer in charge, creating a fundamental shift in the dynamics of marketing. Empowered by technology, customers are unforgiving. Pity the poor company that fails to see this or refuses to play by the new rules. This is an important statement as it reiterates the importance of keeping up with new trends in order to avoid falling behind or worse – disappearing altogether.


Goodman (2004) supports this statement and provides a bit more insight to the matter stating that ‘in the digital era, it is attention that is scarce and content that is abundant’. Therefore it is vital that companies spend time and attention on each customer type to meet their needs. Dietrich and Livingstone argue that there aren’t sufficient tools for companies to learn properly or help companies provide adequate training. Dietrich and Livingstone (2012) claim that they fail to realise the full scope of the marketer’s challenge, in becoming a modern organisation that works across media and tactics to achieve its goals. This also provides support to the survey results listed above by Dietrich and Livingston (2012), in particular the fact that most marketers don’t have any formal training and 82% learn on the job.



A Good Example of Digital Marketing


Below is a campaign which is highly innovative. There is a Spanish company who have named their beer Senator Volstead after he pronounced the beginning of prohibition in 1920. To surprise their audience they decided to conceal their product within their company website.

Rothman (2013) explains what happened when she visited the site - You might be confused at first because it appears to be a website selling teddy bears. They give a few clues to the viewer like “Don’t Leave” and “If You Think They’re Not What You’re Looking For, Don’t Give Up, They Are” and all you have to do resize your browser and you get to the real website. It is a pretty gutsy move to make your product invisible when you get to the website, but this will stick out in the mind of your customer.

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Why a Good Strategy is Important


This video, although it is promoting a company to implement the strategy for you, it shows the importance of an effective strategy and the benefits it can bring.





Jones (2015) found ‘the only truly frightening statistic is that 45% of companies don’t have a clearly defined marketing strategy. This suggests there are a lot of wasted pounds being spent by marketing teams’. Another one of the reasons strategy is so important for digital marketers is that we must progress our stories in line with the evolution of our prospects (Albee, 2015).



Structures for How to Make a Good Strategy


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The Future Trends of Digital Marketing


So where does this leave digital marketing trends in the future? Goodwin (2014) has made predictions for what lies ahead in 2015 and beyond by listing a few of the following:

1. Privacy trading - we face a choice. We can either collectively fight to maintain the little secrecy we have or flip our thinking and focus on what we get in return.

2. Anticipatory computing - we will see a rise in products and services that make predictions offering us a more customised personal service.

3. The persuasive web - the web will become simpler, more personal and more anticipatory with contextual nudges and information appearing in more places.

4. Disintermediation - we will see a battle for who owns the interface with the customer, logistics and fulfilment. 2015 will see the threat of disintermediation.

5. Digital disappointment - The only aspect growing faster than what can actually be done are our expectations. From screens that are not touchscreen to apps that don’t automatically tell us when our flights are running late, 2015 will be a time of digital frustration and disappointment for the most spoilt generation ever.


Content Marketing: A Future Trend

The biggest trend that we are seeing in digital marketing is content marketing (see figure 1). According to The Content Marketing Institute (2015), content marketing is ‘a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience, and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’ Its objective is to aid the consumer in truly understanding the industry, the business and more importantly, the brand. It is not about directly selling to the customer, but giving them information on why a certain business or product will benefit them (Rowley, 2008). In order for a business to successfully implement a content marketing strategy, they must actively engage their customers, gain their attention and subsequently, keep them interested (Pulizzi, 2013). As Coca Cola (2011) have mentioned in their Content 2020 strategy, ‘all advertisers need a lot more content so that they can keep the engagement with consumers fresh and relevant, because of the 24/7 connectivity.’ As technology continues to advance, content marketing will be expected to do so also, becoming a more important aspect of digital marketing. Even though content marketing isn’t anything new, it is a vital trend in terms of it becoming a more powerful marketing avenue for businesses in this modern digital age.

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Source: Chaffey, 2015

Advantages of Content Marketing
Content marketing should deliver value to customers by providing immediate information, and should be a powerful brand building tool (Ryan, 2014). It can provide many advantages for a business, as long as that business finds a way to stand out from the crowd (Pulizzi, 2013).

Customer Loyalty
If a business can appropriately and successfully engage their consumers through the likes of content marketing, a major advantage can be an increase in customer brand loyalty (Burrow and Fowler, 2015). Hence, it is important to be able to produce the right content, in order to attract customers to a business and persuade those customers to stay with that business. If this is done correctly, an organisation may see beneficial and profitable business results.

Inbound Traffic
Inbound marketing is an advantage of content marketing, as it means the consumers are going to the businesses themselves, rather than that business going to the customer (Rowley, 2008). This is due to the content they are posting being highly custom targeted and relevant to what the consumer wants or needs. This is demonstrated in a study by The Custom Content Council (2011), which found that 68% of consumers favoured content marketing purely because it caters to their interests or particular needs. Due to the customer seeking out the business, it can lead to higher quality leads, as well as a broader customer base, which can prove beneficial for the business in the long run.

Low Cost
With effectively no barriers to entry, content marketing can be a low cost approach to marketing a business online (Ryan, 2014). The internet can potentially give a business a much wider reach for a much lower cost, in comparison to marketing via print material such as magazines and newspapers. Content marketing can therefore provide massive savings for a business, which in turn means that their marketing budget can be spent elsewhere, subsequently providing an even larger reach in the long run.


Examples of Successful Content Marketing

Birchbox
Founded in 2010, Birchbox is an online monthly subscription service, providing beauty boxes filled with luxury makeup samples, including skincare and perfume products. They have an excellent content marketing strategy which is focussed around ‘the fear of missing out’ (Birchbox, 2015). They upload how-to videos, photos and short articles, which is essentially the basics of an online magazine. Through regularly updating their social media, blog and website with relevant content, they have managed to go from having just 60 subscribers in 2010 to 800,000 in 2014 (Griffith, 2014), illustrating the powerful impact content marketing can have on business success.
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Beats by Dre
Established in 2008, Beats is a business that produces and sells premium headphones, speakers and earphones (Beats, 2015). Not only do they operate a Facebook and Twitter page, but they are also on Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube, Pinterest and Google+, illustrating their huge online presence. Their content marketing tends to focus on shareable visuals, celebrity endorsements and a ‘behind the scenes’ strategy. Through providing the consum
er with all of these, they create a sense of exclusivity and value in the content in which they post. This in turn makes the consumer feel a part of the brand and encourages them to keep an interest in the company and ultimately, stay loyal to them. However, what makes Beats so good at content marketing is their understanding of their audience. It’s this understanding that allows them to create an emotional connection with their consumer and continue to develop and grow their brand.

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Disadvantages of Content Marketing
As well as the many advantage to content marketing, there are a number of issues that a business needs to manage when implementing its strategy.

Understanding the Audience
Content marketing can be compared to the role of the product in the marketing mix. Even if a company has the best distribution system, exciting promotions and competitive pricing, if a customer does not like the product, marketing won’t be successful. Similarly, without suitable and relevant content that consumers find interesting, the marketing efforts will be wasted (Burrow and Fowler, 2015). Unlike Beats by Dre, some businesses do not fully understand their audience and therefore, do not post the most suitable content for them. This in turn has an impact on the potential reach of a business, as if the content is not relevant or valuable to the consumer, then they will not share it, and henceforth, this could mean a loss of any potential new customers in the future. In order to overcome this, businesses need to research into what their audience is after and what material they best respond to, whether that be such things as how-to videos, info graphics or more traditional how-to guides.

Managing Content
If a business does not create any new, original or captivating content ideas, then it could result in a marketing failure. Many businesses struggle with this aspect of content marketing, as it can be difficult to come up with something unique that hasn’t already been done (Ryan, 2014). Especially after a business has spent the time and the money implementing a digital marketing strategy, not being able to develop original and exciting content can be demotivating. One way of overcoming this issue would be to incorporate user generated content, so that a business does not have to constantly be thinking of new ideas to upload. However, Pepsi found that through incorporating user generated content, after some time, engagement with consumers became sparse. This in turn affected their overall engagement as a business and consumers began to feel separated from the brand. Therefore, a mixture of user generated content and the business’ own content must be used, in order for the consumers to fully engage with that brand and for that brand to achieve ultimate content marketing success.

Time and Resources
Content marketing can consume resource and time for a business, as all online marketing initiatives need to be carefully monitored and updated constantly. Consumers will lose interest if all they find is old material that they have seen before. In order to overcome this, businesses can outsource their content marketing to a third party (Rowley, 2008), yet this does mean there could be a loss of control. This must be taken into consideration if content marketing is seen to positively impact a business. Alternatively, for time constrained businesses, content can be created that is quick to generate and easy to digest (Burrow and Fowler, 2015). For example, a business could share a quick ‘behind the scenes’ image on Instagram or Facebook, like Beats by Dre. These wouldn’t take up as much time as say a detailed info graphic or blog post, but must ultimately fit the customer profile.

Measuring Return on Investment (ROI)
A final disadvantage in terms of content marketing is being able to measure ROI. A business can observe traffic to their sites and pull certain analytics, but there is no actual way to find out the amount of money being made or the amount of times someone has read a specific post (Pulizzi, 2013). This is why it is very important to have a content marketing strategy as part of an overall marketing strategy to ensure business goals and targets are considered as a whole.

The future of Content Marketing
With an increase in mobile and social technologies, the future of digital marketing will revolve around the consumer and wherever they may go (Burrow and Fowler, 2015). Given this, with the ability to target and engage with much wider audience bases at much lower costs, content marketing will be a relevant channel in the future of online marketing.

Personalisation
With the advancement of technologies and online capabilities, businesses are able to connect with their consumers on a more personal level (Steimle, 2014). In 2015, we will see businesses offering more personalised content, rather than directly selling themselves or their products. Both Birchbox and Beats by Dre are already the perfect example of this. Instead of marketing their products, both businesses are seen to take an interest and engage in the lifestyle of their consumers. American Express have recently sent personalised digital autographs from Pharrell Williams to those customers who have used live stream to film his concerts (Cooper, 2015). This personalisation of content means that companies such as Birchbox and American Express have an advantage when it comes to retaining customer loyalty.

Emotional Connection
Content marketing will see a rise in the creation of an emotional connection with the consumer (Steimle, 2014). In 2014, the trend was creating short-form videos, no longer than 30 seconds. However, this year the focus will not be on video length, but on the ability to tell a story in an emotional way, that will ultimately connect with the consumer. This is something that has been recently seen in an advert promoting Beats by Dre, which shows LeBron James returning home to Cleveland through a set of powerful clips. Not only does it connect to the consumer on an emotional level, but it also encourages the purchase of their new headphones.

Participation
Content will become more participation based, in order to create a certain bond and experience with the consumer (Cooper, 2015). For example, The Hunger Games successfully created a sense of anticipation amongst its consumers when they released the trailer for their third film on Twitter. The trailer could only be viewed once enough people had retweeted a certain tweet. Through this participation, The Hunger Games managed to create talk and excitement around the brand, leading to heightened interest in the film’s franchise.

Social Media Talent
Businesses will continue to utilise the power of celebrities, but instead of big singers and movie stars, the focus will be more on new and upcoming social media talent (Chaffey, 2015). For example, L’Oreal has recently paired up with Michelle Phan, an American YouTube personality who delivers makeup tutorials, to create a new makeup line. The result of this for L’Oreal is an extended consumer base, beyond its traditional customer profile.

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)
For those businesses looking to cash in on content marketing as a service, there is expected to be increased M&A and partnership activity, especially around software solutions and the growing need to turn data into actionable insights for marketers (Cooper, 2015). Last year saw Sprinklr, a social media management company, buy TBD Digital, a media software company, illustrating that certain sectors of the business world are already placing themselves to take advantage of the growth in digital marketing.


Experts' Opinions

There have been varying opinions on the future of digital marketing from numerous experts and Davidi (2014) provides a perfect insight. They asked five marketing professionals their opinions on what they felt would be the new trends of digital marketing in 2015 and this is what they discovered:
1. Uriel Alvarado, chief marketing and public relations officer, Saxo Capital Markets predicts that the semantic web will be the trend this year due to previous successful campaigns using multi-channel and personalised marketing in addition to being content-focused.

2. Teresa Arbuckle, marketing director UK and Ireland, Grundig supports the comment made above and believes that content will still be most important, however she argues that the content used needs to provide good value or it will not have the desired effect.

3. Allan Blair, head of strategy, Tribal Worldwide, London believes that personalisation will be a key trend this year.

4. Lisa Thomas, CEO, M&C Saatchi Group argues that we need to begin perceiving digital marketing as part of marketing as a whole, not an individual concept stating that ‘digital now accounts for over half the media spend in the UK’ so we need to start experimenting with it.

5. Charles Wells, chief marketing officer, Just Giving declares that this year customers are to be treated for the individuals they are and not be confined by segmenting the market.

Goodwin (2014) argues for ‘a more mature, idea-led marketing environment and I don’t see this happening by increasing the importance of digital thinking. Instead, we need to change how we work with it. We’ve always thought some of the value of digital experts was in how they can guide us on what is and isn’t possible. For many years this was essential, but things are different now. When technology is making everything possible, it’s better to dream big ideas and make things people never dreamt were possible’.




Conclusion



The progression of digital marketing has been positive, contributing to better the method that companies communicate with consumers. The advancements have been developments, each enhancing from the foundation that was already formed. In today’s market you will still see the traditional forms of marketing aligned with the more modern.

Digital marketing has provided an inspiration and innovation to marketing that its audience so desperately craved. Providing that direct interaction between business and consumer has been invaluable and enabled most companies to go from strength to strength. Whether the feedback provided by consumers is positive or negative – the importance is that the message is being received and acknowledged.

Since its introduction, more than two decades ago, digital marketing has become increasingly more important. People are embracing these new developments and moving with the technology advancements, therefore it is vital that today’s marketing pioneers and experts continue to pursue the newest trends in order to form the future of digital marketing.


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Online marketing- the mobile web


eMaketing changed the face of conventional marketing and the way companies viewed this in almost every aspect. Now with further advances on mobile devices that have increased the connectivity between a business and its consumer, Mobile Marketing is going far beyond eMarketing. The current market for mobile adverts is valued at $1.24 billion (Hanlon, A 2012).

One of the factors that has encouraged the rapid growth of social media is the increasing number of the population who own smartphones. In the UK 7 out of 10 people now own a smartphone. Generation Y- those aged between 25 to 34 are the most likely to own a smartphone and are now considered a key targets for mobile marketers. However generation Z (ages 18 to 24) are the group most likely to use apps for shopping rather than going in store, making them also a optimum audience for businesses. The International Telecommunications Union has predicted that mobile internet access will soon over take desktop computers (Reed, J 2013).

Evidently the use of mobile phones has grown dramatically over the past few years and is only going to get bigger. There are now twice as many mobiles as there are computers and mobile searches are now more common than those on computers.
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Figure 1- Percentage of age range with smartphones


The benefits of mobile marketing-

Instant results

Users always have their mobiles on them. Emails, texts or social media updates are seen instantly. Marketers have around the clock access to their customers. No other advertising medium offers this ‘always on’ permanent advantage. . (Viswanathan, P no date)

Direct Marketing

The mobile devices allow businesses to interact with the user directly, therefore allowing the business to personally interact with their consumer. It allows you to reach a highly targeted audience and have direct marketing communications with a variety of customer groups.

Tracking user response

The users response can be tracked instantly. This will help business marketers understand and analyse the users behaviour helping them to constantly improve their marketing quickly. (Viswanathan, P no date)

The Viral Potential

Content on mobile can be easily and very quickly shared between users. Companies therefore can receive far more exposure. Additionally this information can be shared globally in a matter of seconds, helping marketers reach a far wider and diverse audience very quickly.

Promote campaigns at a lower price

Mobile marketing can be a much cheaper that other traditional marketing channels, such as television where adverts normally cost companies millions of pounds. The average mobile advertising budget is between $75,000 and $100,000 per campaign. Creating the content for mobiles can be generally of lower quality and therefore cheaper than that of desktops due to the lower capacity of the mobile, the screen size, the data transfer and the cost of production. This allows businesses to reach more people for less money.

Although there of course huge benefits to mobile marketing and companies are reaching millions of users instantaneously, there are of course drawbacks to companies using this strategy (Hanlon, A 2012).

Drawbacks of mobile marketing

Platforms and Navigation

On the market there are now dozens of different smartphones with a variety of different standards. The screen sizes, resolutions and the mobile platforms all vary. This can therefore make it difficult for businesses to create one single campaign page as what looks good on one device may not on another. Companies now have to make a number of different marketing campaigns so they work and look good on each device. This can not only be more expensive but also time consuming for companies (Hanlon, A 2012).

Privacy

This will always be an issue on any network or device. Marketers need to offer clear instructions of opting out of marketing communications and respect the privacy of their consumers.

Navigation problems

Navigation on smart phones can be difficult. A lot of consumers may not want to spend a huge amount of time scrolling through a campaign trying to click on different tabs and having to zoom in and out to read the text.

O2 Mobile Marketing Campaign


O2 UK has changed the mobile market through their approach to their customers loyalty. They launched the marketing campaign Priority Moments. Prioirty moments is a mobile loyalty programme that uses real time insight and targets offers exclusively to O2 customers. They offer unique experiences and exclusive rewards from brands via customers mobiles based on their interests, behaviour and location.

By the end of 2012 just 18 months from the launch priority moments had acquired millions of customers. Now O2 customers are redeeming 5 Priority moments every single minute from over 150 leading brands. The Chief Executive Officer said that priority moments was about ‘changing things’ and ‘harnessing the power of ideas and technology to create new possibilities’. This marketing campaigns is now one of the UK’s best and fasting growing loyalty programmes (No Author, 2013).

References

or Buyers


· Convenient and private. Saves a lot of time and cuts out the middlemen.

· Buyers have access to a large range of products. No physical restraints – an unlimited selection can be presented to an unlimited audience.

· A wealth of comparative information about companies, products and competitors is accessible.

· Interactive and intermediate – buyers can interact with sellers by phone or via the website and order exactly what they need. The direct marketing aspects give the consumer a greater measure of control.

Benefits for Sellers

· Customer interaction is increased as more can be analysed from knowing their needs and being able to modify these to customers as individuals.

· A low-cost alternative to effectively reaching target audiences.

· Leads to the operations of the business becoming more efficient. Companies which are solely operated online can cut expenses of running a shop.

· Offers increased flexibility and allows changes and alterations to be in immediate effect.

· Direct and digital marketing allows consumers to be reached that were previously unobtainable. Orders can be made between countries very efficiently.