IT Information Technology Executive Marketing Strategy

As a IT Information Technology Executive, its very critical for you to understand developing brand strategy is extremely critical. The most important asset your company has is its brand. Quite simply, it drives the direction of your business. So you should definitely have a well thought out brand strategy in place.

Increasing competition in business develops similar products with good quality from different manufacturers. But only an effective, innovative and Supply Chain & planning can make your business and products more popular.

For your profession as IT Information Technology Executive it becomes your responsibility to stay connected with like-minded supporting industry experts who can guide and help you deal with your day to day work issues.

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If you are entrepreneurial in nature owning a business is very exciting adventure. It can also be the most difficult thing for you to get into if you are not prepared.

What is e-Marketing?

e-Marketing is still quite a controversial subject to talk about, since no one succeeded to unify the various theories around it; however there is one thing upon which there is no doubt - that e-Marketing first appeared under the form of various techniques deployed by pioneer companies selling their products via the internet in the early 90's.

The frenzy around these new marketing techniques created by e-tailers and supported by the internet rapidly gave birth to a new dimension of what we knew as Marketing: the e-Marketing (electronic Marketing).

There are many definitions to what e-Marketing is, the simplest and shortest one being formulated by Mark Sceats: e-Marketing is Marketing that uses the internet as manifestation media. A working definition is that coming from a group of CISCO specialists: e-Marketing is the sum of all activities a business conducts through the internet with the purpose of finding, attracting, winning and retaining customers.

e-Marketing Strategy

The e-Marketing Strategy is normally based and built upon the principles that govern the traditional, offline Marketing - the well-known 4 P's (Product - Price - Promotion - Positioning) that form the classic Marketing mix. Add the extra 3 P's (People - Processes - Proof) and you got the whole extended Marketing mix.

Until here, there are no much aspects to differentiate e-Marketing from the traditional Marketing performed offline: the extended Marketing mix (4 + 3 P's) is built around the concept of "transactional" and its elements perform transactional functions defined by the exchange paradigm. What gives e-Marketing its uniqueness is a series of specific functions, relational functions, that can be synthesized in the 2P + 2C+ 3S formula: Personalization, Privacy, Customer Service, Community, Site, Security, Sales Promotion.

These 7 functions of the e-Marketing stay at the base of any e-Marketing strategy and they have a moderating character, unlike the classic Marketing mix that comprises situational functions only. Moderating functions of e-Marketing have the quality of moderate, operate upon all situational functions of the mix (the classic 4 P's) and upon each other.

1. Personalization

The fundamental concept of personalization as a part of the e-Marketing mix lies in the need of recognizing, identifying a certain customer in order to establish relations (establishing relations is a fundamental objective of Marketing). It is crucial to be able to identify our customers on individual level and gather all possible information about them, with the purpose of knowing our market and be able to develop customized, personalized products and services.

For example, a cookie strategically placed on the website visitor's computer can let us know vital information concerning the access speed available: in consequence, if we know the visitor is using a slow connection (eg. dial-up) we will offer a low-volume variation of our website, with reduced graphic content and no multimedia or flash applications. This will ease our customer's experience on our website and he will be prevented from leaving the website on the reason that it takes too long to load its pages.

Personalization can be applied to any component of the Marketing mix; therefore, it is a moderating function.

2. Privacy

Privacy is an element of the mix very much connected to the previous one - personalization. When we gather and store information about our customers and potential customers (therefore, when we perform the personalization part of the e-Marketing mix) a crucial issue arises: that of the way this information will be used, and by whom. A major task to do when implementing an e-Marketing strategy is that of creating and developing a policy upon access procedures to the collected information.

This is a duty and a must for any conscious marketer to consider all aspects of privacy, as long as data are collected and stored, data about individual persons.

Privacy is even more important when establishing the e-Marketing mix since there are many regulations and legal aspects to be considered regarding collection and usage of such information.

3. Customer Service

Customer service is one of the necessary and required activities among the support functions needed in transactional situations.

We will connect the apparition of the customer service processes to the inclusion of the "time" parameter in transactions. When switching from a situational perspective to a relational one, and e-Marketing is mostly based on a relational perspective, the marketer saw himself somehow forced into considering support and assistance on a non-temporal level, permanently, over time.

For these reasons, we should consider the Customer Service function (in its fullest and largest definition) as an essential one within the e-Marketing mix.

As we can easily figure out, the service (or assistance if you wish) can be performed upon any element from the classic 4 P's, hence its moderating character.

4. Community

We can all agree that e-Marketing is conditioned by the existence of this impressive network that the internet is. The merely existence of such a network implies that individuals as well as groups will eventually interact. A group of entities that interact for a common purpose is what we call a "community" and we will soon see why it is of absolute importance to participate, to be part of a community.

The Metcalf law (named after Robert Metcalf) states that the value of a network is given by the number of its components, more exactly the value of a network equals the square of the number of components. We can apply this simple law to communities, since they are a network: we will then conclude that the value of a community rises with the number of its members. This is the power of communities; this is why we have to be a part of it.

The customers / clients of a business can be seen as part of a community where they interact (either independent or influenced by the marketer) - therefore developing a community is a task to be performed by any business, even though it is not always seen as essential.

Interactions among members of such a community can address any of the other functions of e-Marketing, so it can be placed next to other moderating functions.

5. Site

We have seen and agreed that e-Marketing interactions take place on a digital media - the internet. But such interactions and relations also need a proper location, to be available at any moment and from any place - a digital location for digital interactions.

Such a location is what we call a "site", which is the most widespread name for it. It is now the time to mention that the "website" is merely a form of a "site" and should not be mistaken or seen as synonyms. The "site" can take other forms too, such as a Palm Pilot or any other handheld device, for example.

This special location, accessible through all sort of digital technologies is moderating all other functions of the e-Marketing - it is then a moderating function.

6. Security

The "security" function emerged as an essential function of e-Marketing once transactions began to be performed through internet channels.

What we need to keep in mind as marketers are the following two issues on security:

- security during transactions performed on our website, where we have to take all possible precautions that third parties will not be able to access any part of a developing transaction;

- security of data collected and stored, about our customers and visitors.

A honest marketer will have to consider these possible causes of further trouble and has to co-operate with the company's IT department in order to be able to formulate convincing (and true, honest!) messages towards the customers that their personal details are protected from unauthorized eyes.

7. Sales Promotion

At least but not last, we have to consider sales promotions when we build an e-Marketing strategy. Sales promotions are widely used in traditional Marketing as well, we all know this, and it is an excellent efficient strategy to achieve immediate sales goals in terms of volume.

This function counts on the marketer's ability to think creatively: a lot of work and inspiration is required in order to find new possibilities and new approaches for developing an efficient promotion plan.

On the other hand, the marketer needs to continuously keep up with the latest internet technologies and applications so that he can fully exploit them.

To conclude, we have seen that e-Marketing implies new dimensions to be considered aside of those inherited from the traditional Marketing. These dimensions revolve around the concept of relational functions and they are a must to be included in any e-Marketing strategy in order for it to be efficient and deliver results.

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With the support of our professional business network, you get the opportunity to exchange experience and knowledge at a top professional level, and to strengthen and develop your own skills within your management and specialist areas.

Through business relationships and experience sharing in confidential settings for IT Information Technology Executive, we strive to create personal and business value for all our network peers.

Supply Chain Management Case Study

Market segmentation is widely defined as being a complex process consisting in two main phases:

- identification of broad, large markets

- segmentation of these markets in order to select the most appropriate target markets and develop Marketing mixes accordingly.

Everyone within the Marketing world knows and speaks of segmentation yet not many truly understand its underlying mechanics, thus failure is just around the corner. What causes this? It has been documented that most marketers fail the segmentation exam and start with a narrow mind and a bunch of misconceptions such as "all teenagers are rebels", "all elderly women buy the same cosmetics brands" and so on. There are many dimensions to be considered, and uncovering them is certainly an exercise of creativity.

The most widely employed model of market segmentation comprises 7 steps, each of them designed to encourage the marketer to come with a creative approach.

STEP 1: Identify and name the broad market

You have to have figured out by this moment what broad market your business aims at. If your company is already on a market, this can be a starting point; more options are available for a new business but resources would normally be a little limited.

The biggest challenge is to find the right balance for your business: use your experience, knowledge and common sense to estimate if the market you have just identified earlier is not too narrow or too broad for you.

STEP 2: Identify and make an inventory of potential customers' needs

This step pushes the creativity challenge even farther, since it can be compared to a brainstorming session.

What you have to figure out is what needs the consumers from the broad market identified earlier might have. The more possible needs you can come up with, the better.

Got yourself stuck in this stage of segmentation? Try to put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers: why would they buy your product, what could possibly trigger a buying decision? Answering these questions can help you list most needs of potential customers on a given product market.

STEP 3: Formulate narrower markets

McCarthy and Perreault suggest forming sub-markets around what you would call your "typical customer", then aggregate similar people into this segment, on the condition to be able to satisfy their needs using the same Marketing mix.
Start building a column with dimensions of the major need you try to cover: this will make it easier for you to decide if a given person should be included in the first segment or you should form a new segment. Also create a list of people-related features, demographics included, for each narrow market you form - a further step will ask you to name them.

There is no exact formula on how to form narrow markets: use your best judgement and experience. Do not avoid asking opinions even from non-Marketing professionals, as different people can have different opinions and you can usually count on at least those items most people agree on.

STEP 4: Identify the determining dimensions
Carefully review the list resulted form the previous step. You should have by now a list of need dimensions for each market segment: try to identify those that carry a determining power.

Reviewing the needs and attitudes of those you included within each market segment can help you figure out the determining dimensions.

STEP 5: Name possible segment markets
You have identified the determining dimensions of your market segments, now review them one by one and give them an appropriate name.

A good way of naming these markets is to rely on the most important determining dimension.

STEP 6: Evaluate the behavior of market segments

Once you are done naming each market segment, allow time to consider what other aspects you know about them. It is important for a marketer to understand market behavior and what triggers it. You might notice that, while most segments have similar needs, they're still different needs: understanding the difference and acting upon it is the key to achieve success using competitive offerings.

STEP 7: Estimate the size of each market segment

Each segment identified, named and studied during the previous stages should finally be given an estimate size, even if, for lack of data, it is only a rough estimate.

Estimates of market segments will come in handy later, by offering a support for sales forecasts and help plan the Marketing mix: the more data we can gather at this moment, the easier further planning and strategy will be.

These were the steps to segment a market, briefly presented. If performed correctly and thoroughly, you should now be able to have a glimpse of how to build Marketing mixes for each market segment.

This 7 steps approach to market segmentation is very simple and practical and works for most marketers. However, if you are curious about other methods and want to experiment, you should take a look at computer-aided techniques, such as clustering and positioning.

Networking has always been considered a powerful tool for improving business prospects, advancing a career, and developing ideas. Other than some brief, structured events, networking has been mostly informal and inexpensive in comparison to cost they otherwise spend on different channels. But membership is growing in many formal, long-term networking groups, and so is the price tag.

Our groups are not groups for generating sales leads, nor are they places where individuals can drop-in to gain quick advice on an immediate challenge.  Members also sign a confidentiality agreement and benefits from the guided mentoring to help each other.

These groups include an experienced facilitator and use a structured discussion method to ensure appropriate participation.