"Has Internet Marketing come of age?"
...this is one question that constantly comes to my mind, whenever I visit a portal and see a neatly designed slug or a really tempting subject line waiting to be read, only to give an impetus to the guy responsible for the campaign, giving him an extra number in the campaign's open rate.
This gives me food for thought whether Internet Marketing is here to stay or is it just a passing cloud. Whatever, the case may be, Internet Marketing is one segment that has been growing enormously, making its way the world over, breaking all boundaries. One advantage the Internet enjoys compared to Television, Newspaper ads is the fact that while you sit in New York, you can think of a simple marketing campaign targeted towards Thailand, which is on the other side of the world. Now, no other kind of media will allow you this direct access. Yes, there are ways to do it, however, when you think of a direct Internet Marketing campaign, then I haven't seen anything like this before.
This brings us to the obvious question. Will Internet marketing survive or will it stagnate as it reaches a saturation point. Well, the last we saw was when the dotcom bubble burst and instantly millionaires were back to where they started, not to forget the millionaires it did make during the hay days. However, a few companies braced themselves up for the bleak period that lay ahead of them, only to realize that the wait was worth it. The companies that survived the dotcom burst have now become household names for many.
Not to forget the fact about Google's IPO, and other search engines brought to light the power of the Internet, which was when people started taking this media seriously. What was known as taboo long ago, thanks to the instant awareness of anonymity & convenient access to pornography, has now become a part of business meetings of companies, and the fact that a certain amount of their marketing expenditure is set aside towards the Internet Media is proof enough.
So, what we see here was first, a mad gold rush towards the Internet, which later collapsed. The few companies that survived, coupled with the aggressive marketing methods adopted by Search Engines "Google" per se, coupled with the various policies and the increased awareness of SPAM.
In other words, the negative of the Internet has helped to bring it to the place where it belongs now. Quite frankly, how many people were aware of SPAM, until the issue was raised and taken seriously to the extent that the Government had to approve it? Not to forget the fact that Google, which was just another site quite some years ago, has now established itself as the premier search engine on the Internet.
Getting nostalgic, I remember the first site I visited when I was introduced to the Internet way back in the mid nineties. Yahoo! Well, it seemed a bit absurd of a name for me, but I remember, Yahoo at that time, humble in its own way, just staring out of the computer screen. Coming back to the present, the feeling you get when you look at Yahoo! is that of aggressiveness and dominance, sitting there, commanding respect.
The future of Search Engine Marketing
Coming back to the present, and thinking about the future, I see a major scuttle between the BIG 3 of the Internet (Google, Yahoo! and MSN) battling it out for the supremacy. And when the BIG 3 are involved, then why should the millions of other sites not be left behind? In terms of Search Engines and the various marketing vehicles available, we should not be surprised to see an improvement in terms of the keyword relevancy.
Who knows, the next time, you type in the word "Rose, you might be asked whether you are researching the word, or locating a florist, or whether you want to send flowers to someone. Once we achieve this, and I am sure that as I write, some search engines are actually testing this out, we can know of the obvious. The increase in the demand for people who can ensure that your site comes up, and I mean, relevance. Also, not to forget the Paid Inclusions, getting more strict in terms of the bid amount heading towards the north, and sites battling it out towards the top slot, coupled with an anti-fraud features to ensure that your competitor does not waste your money by hiring someone to click on it through out the day.
The future of Internet marketing on portals, etc.
When we talk about portals, we do see quite a few portals that have its unique loyal audience. And it is these unique loyal audiences which will increase the credibility of the portal, in other words, increase CPM & CPC rates, and improved results. So the next point we see here is an increase in the portals focus towards its audience, if it really wants to be in business and make business.
The future of e-mail marketing
E-mail was there and it is here to stay. Apart from telephone, and other various mediums of communication, e-mail has grown to become an integral part of communication. Although it took quite sometime for the e-mail to be recognized as the next level of direct Internet Marketing, it has grown quite fast, and with its growth, came a lot of SPAM and with SPAM came legislations and with legislations came awareness, and all this while, we had some really smart companies already using this medium to achieve maximum results.
Yes, try sending a bulk mail now, and there is a good chance that it will land up in the e-mail users "BULK" folder as compared to the "golden era"
when a "bulk" folder was non existent. However, with the increase in the awareness, and also the effectiveness of e-mail marketing, we have seen quite some companies started up that solely live out of the e-mail marketing niche segment.
What we can expect to see would be an increase in the number of SPAM mails. No matter how many SPAM checking applications be set up, some mails do work their way around to end up in your inbox. And the loser in this battle between "good" and "evil" mail will be that genuine mail that your dear friend sent you.
The E-mail market will have to get its act right so as to ensure that it does not end up as a completely messed up segment. Google has taken e-mail marketing to new heights, in terms of advertising its ads relevant to the e-mail content. This is one indication that while Google could very well jump into the e-mail marketing segment, given the fact of the number of e-mail addresses it should be having on its data centers.
However, the fact remains that e-mail marketing must and should improve its act if it has to stay in business. At the end of the day, we would not to see people frustrated to such a extent that they completely stop using e-mail, or may be work around this in a way that the real e-mail addresses are actually cloaked and only the application would know the real e-mail address that has to be delivered to.
All said and done, Internet marketing is one segment that really requires a professional's hand and mind. Although simple it might seem, this is one area of marketing which marries the technology and marketing bring you this intriguing world of what we call the Internet.
Looking at this through the bigger perspective, we can see an increase in the revenues that will be spent towards having a successful Internet marketing campaigns, thereby, adding impetus to the fact that Internet Marketing is here to stay.