Online Marketing – A Pandora’s Box

We all love to sit, relax and surf the internet day in and day out. A worldwide survey says that only about 18% of the human population surf the internet and 20% of them are from United States alone. But due to the growing trend of internet usage among the developing countries, especially in Asia, lots of organizations are now focusing towards building online marketing. Though there are many advantages of going online and promoting the brands and products, there are some drawbacks as well. This online Marketing concept is like a mixed bag with random arrangement of blessings and curses.
One of the beautiful features of online marketing for the users is the availability of choices. There are uncountable websites which offer a wide range of products and services on just a single click. But unlike the traditional way, there is no direct contact.
There are many companies which have large visibility across the social networking sites but Internet cannot be touched or felt and this is a barrier in the effectiveness of online marketing. Visual impression works well along with touch and feel. Additionally unavailability of sample test especially in the case of perfumes and food diminishes the passion of the customer and subsequently his willingness to buy.  The quality offered online may not be exactly the same as delivered for example, fabrics and shoes. This leads to unauthenticated and unethical practices.

Online promotion is a speedy marketing technique to create the presence of a brand/ product but it does not provide instant response to the curious questions that bombard the customers’ mind. The data available is either not readable in the available context or is outdated. On a broader canvas, if one wants to trace back the historical records of a company, a hard copy will provide more solid answers than online web pages. It is like without a physical, well written text, much of the history may be lost forever. The worst case may be modifying and rewriting the same.
Online marketing is a path to explore great opportunities through social connections but there is also a feeling of temporariness while going through online presence of a company. It’s like the company which was not there the day before, is present now and it may not be there tomorrow morning. A sense of trust and confidence lacks in such cases.
One more important aspect about online marketing is the way drama and hype is created. Most of us follow some brand on some social site. A webpage has millions of fan following but it is very difficult to segregate the number of customers from the fan followers list. Tweets are easy but converting tweets and likes into a potential customer is a very difficult task. Therefore, rather than promotions and fan followings, deep relationship building is much more important for sustainability. Personal interaction and communication engages the customer and wins credibility and loyalty.
An important point to note is that since the sharing of information is one click away, the web sites are continuously getting crowded with spam and irrelevant data. A large set of data may distract the customers mind. They can easily get diverted by online games, junks and going through some updates and photos and keeping note of status updates from friends and family. Thus, reaching to target and segmented customer base becomes difficult. Additionally proper education is required for the stakeholders and user manuals need to be made available on online promotional sites as well.
The threatening part is that since the internet is freely driven and provides easy access to end users, a negative publicity may harm the company in both short and long run of its business. Negative publicity spreads faster in social media than in digital media now-a-days.
Therefore we can say that hash tag marketing may not be the best style of marketing and brand promotion in today’s world especially when it comes to giving power to the users. Some negative instances have already happened with companies like McDonald and Coke. Online marketing can be a riskier business for the company. Each time the client uses the social media, continuous monitoring about the brand and products need to be accounted for by skilled people in the company and proper actions need to be taken on time. It’s not about good or bad in online marketing. Rather, it’s a perception and it can be favourable to the society as a whole provided proper planning is done, continuous update of information is taken care of and an ethical and consistent approach is practised.
[The article has been written by Kartik Kaushik. He is presently pursuing his Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) from Government College, Rohtak]

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