When marketing online, the general four step process of marketing is still the guiding idea, in the online world the character of marketing becomes more deeply a conversation between a marketer and a market-of-one a concept that is central to The cluetrain manifesto. In such a role as a communicator, the online marketer is in a position to build awareness of her/his company or business in more personal terms than otherwise, and in so doing enables a more human conversation. Such conversations tend to be more warts and all and should establish confidence of the potential purchaser in the potential vendor.
Smith and Chaffey (2001) claim that Internet technology can be used to focus marketing on the customer, while at the same time linking to other business operations so as to achieve profitability. This can be done by:
- Identifying – the Internet be used for marketing research to find out customers’ needs and wants;
- Anticipating – the Internet provides an additional channel by which customers can access information and make purchases – understanding this demand is key to governing resource allocation to e-marketing. For example, low-cost airline has an online revenue contribution of over 90% since demand for a standardised product online is so high.
- Satisfying – a key success factor in e-marketing is achieving customer satisfaction through the electronic channel, this raises issues such as is the site easy to use, does it perform adequately, what is the standard of associated customer service and how are physical products dispatched?
Detractors of this concept of human-to-human contact through online conversations suggest that companies are going to be careful about marketing in this manner and perhaps will never really have honest and open conversations as the interests of companies and businesses are not the interests of potential purchasers. The cluetrain manifesto allows for this type of thinking suggesting that businesses when marketing in this manner need to be thinking about more than just making money; if a business is thinking only about making money, it will become apparent in close online conversations and the market will treat that business in whatever manner it may as markets can now talk to each other through the same means marketers talk to potential customers.