(Forward: A classic paper about the comparison of werewolves and software engineering was written by Frederick Brooks in 1987. His paper was highly influential among the software engineering community on the subject of reliability in terms of the software engineering development process. No, this isn’t a software engineering post, but I thought I’d mention Dr. Brooks and Aristotle also, since I borrow some terms of theirs which I use in a similar context.)
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I’m sure most of you are aware of this infamous beast, the frightening werewolf. Werewolves are one of the most fearsome monsters which stand out from the usual, scary bunch. It’s that transformation, from the familiar and expected, to the brutal and uncontrollable monstrosity, which gives us that chill in our spines. According to werewolf legend, the main way to stop such a beast is with a silver bullet.
In thinking about internet marketing, there are occasions when your strategy or campaign starts off clear, concise, and manageable. After a while however, your strategy starts to take on the characteristics of the werewolf due to flawed plans, a misguided budget, and uncontrollability. When this starts to happen, we look for that silver bullet to quell the beast. Question is, does it exist? Simply put, yes, and no.
Essence of Internet Marketing: Inherent Difficulties in the Nature of Internet Marketing
When talking about the essence of internet marketing, one first needs to think of all that which encompasses this umbrella term. It’s a compilation of various concepts and strategies that are all interconnected by his/her goals and what one wishes to achieve. Putting more thought into this, the essence of internet marketing is an abstraction. The conceptual construct is generally quite the same under various manifestations. At the same time, however, it can be meticulous, methodical, and highly detailed.
We now will take a closer look at the inherent properties which make up the essence of internet marketing: changeability, visibility, and uniqueness/saturation.
For internet marketing to be most effective, it must be able to evolve and keep up with the ever-changing internet itself. We see a change in techniques every couple of months and sometimes even weeks. Keeping up with current trends, adjusting ones marketing strategies to target his/her audience more precisely, and utilizing effective advertising are some of the key points that the internet marketer should be keen on. If one fails to stay afloat, he/she will not survive for too long. Change is an essence of internet marketing due to the sheer fact that it is intertwined so intimately with the internet. As a result, there will occasionally be pressure to improve what has been done until that node/concept is irrelevant, and something else replaces it. What worked before, is not as effective now in comparison to current strategies…and what works now will be inadequate compared to future techniques.
The tools that the internet marketer has at his/her disposal are ample compared to a few years in the past. Ones efforts are still limited, however, due to the inherent properties of the tools itself.
Ones creativity is not bounded by rationale, but must be throttled regardless in order to interface with the reality of internet marketing strategies and mechanisms. Even a brilliant artist will be hindered without the proper tools. Ergo, we face a similar dilemma. One can only “tinker with margins, tweak pricing and promotions, add incremental features to products and come up with slightly more effective campaigns and media plans” so much (Batra Rajeev, professor of marketing at the University of Michigan).
Visibility / Uniqueness:
Thousands of individuals are promoting their brands/services/etc. through internet marketing these days. As a marketing strategy becomes useful, more and more people follow suit. It’s inevitable that we are reaching points of saturation in certain niches already.
The more popular a niche gets, obviously the more saturated it becomes. Marketing(online) a product or service pertaining to a niche such as consumer computer technology will be much more difficult to do so now then it was before. Thus to market a product or service, one’s internet marketing strategy must be unique and not so much as to the approach, but the message being conveyed.
Uniqueness is an essence of internet marketing because of the inherent difficulty of offering something valuable and “selling” it. First, the skills of the internet marketer must be adequate. Does he/she have the proper arsenal at his disposal? Second, the value of product or service must be determined. An accurate analysis for this will improve the effectiveness of one’s internet marketing efforts.
It can be quite the jungle out there on the internet. There is fierce competition to get one’s product or service on the quintessential “front page”. One might think he/she has done an extensive campaign only to witness that the competitors have doubled their efforts as well. Thus, another essence of internet marketing, the inherent difficulty of competition, or more so visibility, comes to focus.
Silver Bullet to accidental difficulties: Outsourcing
While breaking down each component of internet marketing, we see that in practice, it’s not so difficult per se. The sum of all parts however, can be quite complex. From purely textual representation of data, to the multiple channels of media to communicate your message, the internet has come a long way. Therefore, this has increased the number of ways to market ones product and service. As a result, the amount of time required to effective market has increased in a linear fashion. Fortunately in recent years, a multitude of services are available to the internet marketer.
The number of options to outsource ones internet marketing work these days are vast. Virtually anything can be delegated. Thus in terms of productivity, it has definitely increased the amount of projects that one can handle, as well as maximizing ones time efficiently. This has become quite a breakthrough which mostly solves the accidental difficulties of time-consumption and complexity.
Promising “Silver” Horizon
Advancement of Internet Marketing tools
Marketing executives agree that there is a higher need for more theory and analysis in internet marketing. This also what I believe. The environment is dynamic and complex. Therefore we need to approach internet marketing in a similar fashion with that in mind. Emerging analytical tools are giving us a clearer picture of this active and ever changing domain. It gives us the data that we can use to form more effective internet marketing strategies which brings in a more targeted audience.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
I have high hopes for SMM as many others do as well. It is definitely changing the landscape of the internet and may potentially be the “tip” of the silver bullet. Let’s break it down as to why:
- Highly viral if used correctly.
- Visibility more “approachable”.
- Although the traffic isn’t very convertible, getting on the front page of a social network will get the momentum going.
- Backlinks, backlinks, backlinks.
- “Banner-blindness” and other forms of traditional marketing are becoming less effective. With SMM, one can reach out to visitors without resorting to the these failing techniques.
Great Internet Marketers
It all comes to full circle. Great strategies are not developed by simpletons. It’s this creative process where one truly finds the need of a great internet marketer. They have striking qualities which stands them apart from the rest:
- Passionate, sound methodology, sound principles, inspiring, pioneer, great ingenuity, stubborn.
With that in mind, there are vast amounts of resources to teach potential internet marketers. Online, there are various articles and tutorials on nearly any subject. Offline, there are events and workshops to further improve one’s skills and interact with mentors/each other. It’s impressive to see so many opportunities given to starting internet marketers which they can grow and develop upon to be great.
Perhaps this is the main piece of the silver bullet. While SMM (and analytical tools as well) may be the tip, great internet marketers make up the body…backing up the tip and giving it more power/momentum to push on through.
And with this post, I’d like to bid you all adieu. I’ve been lacking in developing my other sites and studying for school. So good luck to all you internet marketers and bloggers out there. A few words of advice, “Go the route less traveled”. I’d like to give a big thanks to all who commented as well, especially Catherine Lawson whose commented the most. Thank you and farewell.
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