E-marketing can be defined as 'Achieving marketing objectives through use of electronic communications technology'

This electronic communications technology includes: Internet, e-mail, database and mobile phone

As with many terms with the 'e' prefix, it is useful to return to an original definition of the topic to more fully understand what e-marketing involves. The definition of marketing by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (http://www.cim.co.uk ) is:

'Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitability

This definition emphasises the focus of marketing on the customer, while at the same time implying a need to link to other business operations to achieve this profitability. Smith and Chaffey (2001) note that Internet technology can be used to support these aims as follows:

  • 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 easyJet (http://www.easyjet.com ) 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?

Smith and Chaffey (2001) also provide 'the 5S' a useful mnemonic for how the Internet can be applied by all organisations or for different e-marketing tactics. For example, for an e-newsletter, the 5S's are:

  • Sell - Grow sales (the e-newsletter often acts as both a customer acquisition tool and a retention tool - the lastminute.com e-newsletter has this dual role)

  • Serve - Add value (give customers extra benefits online such as an online exclusive offer or more in-depth information about your products or the industry sector)

  • Speak - Get closer to customers by creating a dialogue, asking questions through online research surveys and learning about customers' preferences through tracking - which content are people most interested in.

  • Save - Save costs (of print and post if you have a traditional offline e-newsletter can you reduce print runs or extend it to those customers you can't afford to communicate with)

  • Sizzle - Extend the brand online. A newsletter keeps the brand 'front-of-mind' and helps reinforce brand values. Added value can also be delivered by the e-newsletter by informing and entertaining customers.

E-mail marketing tools used to drive visitors to a web site for customer acquisition or retention include: References Smith, P.R. and Chaffey, D. (2001) eMarketing eXcellence: at the heart of eBusiness. Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, UK.

For more e-marketing books and Internet marketing related links compiled by Dave Chaffey see http://www.marketing-online.co.uk.