Let’s now look at each part of this description in more detail. The first part of the description illustrates the range of access platforms and communications tools that form the online channels which e-marketers use to build and develop relationships with customers. The access platforms or hardware include PCs, PDAs, mobile phones and interactive digital TV and these deliver content and enable interaction through different online communication tools such as organization web sites, portals, search engines, blogs (see Chapter 8), e-mail, instant messaging and text messaging. Some also include traditional voice telephony as part of digital marketing.
For example, an online bank uses many of these technologies to communicate with its customers according to the customers’ preferences – some prefer to use the web, others wireless or interactive TV and others traditional channels. Sven never (2004) summarizes the growth in the usage of these digital technologies. The second part of the description shows that it should not be the technology that drives digital marketing, but the business returns from gaining new customers and maintaining relationships with existing customers.
It also emphasizes how digital marketing does not occur in isolation, but is most effective when it is integrated with other communications channels such as phone, direct mail or face-to-face. As we have said, the role of the Internet in supporting multi-channel marketing is another recurring theme in this book and Chapters 5 and 6 in particular explain its role in supporting different customer communications channels and distribution channels.
Online channels should also be used to support the whole buying process from pre-sale to sale to post sale and further development of customer relationships. The final part of the description summarizes approaches to customer-centric e-marketing. It shows how success online requires a planned approach to migrate existing customers to online channels and acquire new customers by selecting the appropriate mix of e-communications and traditional communications