Thursday, January 15, 2009

Online Marketing

Although the basic definition of online marketing as written in the Marketing Management book by Kotler remains the same till this day, many of the processes are no longer that applicable to the local scene.

First of all the Philippines has no online commercial service like AOL. Some companies have tried in the past such as GOL Philippines a Korean company, which tied up with the local ISP Mozcom, but they all failed in creating the mass number in order to be a profitable community.

Kotler used the term electronic storefronts, which connote a ‘store’ selling a merchandise or service, such as Amazon. He writes that “ many home pages serve as electronic storefronts that offer users a wide variety of information.”

A more appropriate term in the context of Online Marketing being discussed would be an Online Portal or Gateway since the company website could act as a ‘doorway’ to information, catalogues, company news and reports, brochures, company employment, community discussion, and a lot more.

Many local companies who tried selling their Online Marketing services failed having just copied western ways and not able to fast adapt to what the local culture demanded. There was a Philippine Marketing newsgroup formed in order to discuss and learn about trends in online marketing. Sad to say it was just good for two years and nothing much happened despite talks of having IAB approval and the like. The list owner from International Data System (selling online info) had to move out of the dotcom business. His co moderator, marketing in charge of DFNN moved away from his online marketing task in the company. DFNN then sold a large part of its content to and this is now known as INQ Money.

It is only, which is still successfully able to maintain its reputation as a credible online advertiser with its huge number of click and mortar clients in its portfolio.

It could have been an advantage that the owners of are actually two media giants, a convergence of print (Inquirer) and Broadcast (GMA network).

The marriage of the brick and mortar plus dotcom concept, which was the best formula so far globally, plus dynamic shifts in strategy helped make this a successful online marketing venture.

Pure online marketing will not bring in the clients that the bank wants. We have learned this from the time we started in 1977. It was BPI, which was the first online advertiser of, the first portal in the country.

Yehey came out with a combination of banner ads, advertorials and online contests with BPI two years after and this was what other online marketers emulated.

BPI didn’t get many customers. Click throughs were huge as always but as in the experience of and other online marketers, there is one important reason why a company will market online, and that is brand awareness.

One cannot expect to get all the traditional sales from website ads or supplements but as in any Integrated Marketing approach, an online ad, announcement or advertorial maybe the point which clinches the deal with a customer.

The main ethical issues which concerns Online Marketing is really SPAM. This become a real problem since as against traditional direct mailers which the marketer pays for and the customer just has the option to throw away, with email spam, customers bear the cost since they are paying connection time from ISP. The longer a customer is online downloading unwanted spam mails, the more expensive it becomes for them and the more irritated they become with the products being sold.

This is of course cured with a Privacy policy of the company which is the email sender and an instruction found within the Sales email on how to unsubscribe from further emails.

Some unscrupulous companies however, use this link to further validate the customers current email address and even plants ‘cookies’ on the customer’s computer to be able to gather more information about client.

There is one marketing company locally offering online marketing services to various traditional companies but has recently been getting the scorn of the industry due to unethical and unscrupulous practices of program intrusions without the explicit knowledge of the client. These type of companies who managed to dupe a couple of the brick and mortar firm bring havoc to the local internet business which has not really grown as large as its western counterparts.

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