The development of technology facilitates the development of the new marketing instruments and channels of promotion and advertising. Companies worldwide are actively using online marketing tools to strengthen their brands and increase market share. E-commerce as well as Internet marketing helps global businesses reach new markets faster and with less expenses for the operations. According to Plant (2000), “the Internet has evolved into potentially the most powerful business channel ever”. However, despite the fact that Internet is mentioned as a powerful distribution channel of products and services, its key role is communication (Charlesworth 2009). Most researchers believe that the Internet communication channels are the most powerful communication channels that exist by now.
The companies that are moving online include all types of businesses, from consulting to medical services. Political parties are widely using the advantages of Internet as a communication channel to a wider audience (Charlesworth 2009). However, the information that is placed online needs to be carefully checked and controlled. Monitoring is one of the key tasks of the company’s online marketing managers. Most researches on Internet marketing are based on the well-planned content management. Besides the typical approaches to the online marketing and e-commerce, the companies are to adjust their strategies in order to include the Internet marketing tools. As Plant (2000) notes, “in researching and examining the e-commerce strategies employed by traditional, established organizations, the four key pillars of success again surfaced – technology, marketing, service, and branding”. Hence, Internet marketing is closely related to the application of technology, enhancing user experience, and brand awareness.
Due to the fact that e-commerce and Internet marketing are gaining popularity among the many well-known brands, the research is aiming at creation and analysis of the e-commerce and Internet marketing strategy for a famous fashion brand online. The key areas of the research are addressing the distribution and communication channels for the company and planning the content management in order to enable constant and on-going information control and monitoring. The strategies for e-commerce and marketing differ from each other, therefore, both tools will be explored separately. The key considerations that would be studied in this research are technology, brand, service, and marketing, which are the four main pillars of Internet marketing as mentioned previously.
If the fashion brand is present online, it usually requires a website and online marketing campaign to promote this website as a source of communication and distribution. Chaffey et al. (2009) believe that “an internet marketing strategy is needed to provide consistent direction for an organization’s e-marketing activities so that they integrate with its other marketing activities and support its overall business objectives”. Consequently, the strategy created for an online fashion brand would include a thorough examination of the Internet marketing conformity with the overall company’s strategy and study the possible outcomes for consumer behavior.
In case the Internet marketing strategy does not correspond to the overall company’s marketing objectives, the recommendations for improvement will be proposed. These recommendations will be necessary in the long term, when the company’s e-strategy will become visible to the wider audience.
The research that is based on both distribution and communication functions of online marketing involves sales that are represented by e-commerce and internet marketing as a marketing instrument. Combination of both is important; however, if the company manages finding the balance, the proposed strategy would become more practical and efficient. As Chaffey et al. (2009) further mention, “Internet marketing strategy is a channel marketing strategy which defines how a company should set channel-specific objectives and develop a differential channel-proposition and channel-specific communications consistent with the characteristics of the channel and consumer usage of it”. In other words, the strategy of e-commerce and Internet marketing for the online fashion brand is not solely a combination of actions oriented on sales and marketing, but a complex set of values, which have a strategic significance to other marketing and sales instruments.
If the company is set to apply at least one online marketing function, it needs to make sure that this function is well-aligned with the overall strategy of the company (Mohammed et al. 2004). In addition, each function should have a meaningful evaluation of its results to the company marketing. If no benefit from the function is seen, then there is no sense in applying advanced technology towards increasing the profitability levels.
The research proposes application of the Internet marketing plan towards each company (Goel 2007). The existing online fashion brand already has a marketing plan, which lacks online marketing strategy. This strategy is to be incorporated into the marketing plan and make it technology-oriented and up-to-date. Marketing plan is not only a tool for the marketing managers and the whole sales and marketing department, but the vision of the company’s movements and actions on the market. If these movements are not planned precisely and organized in line with the overall company’s goals and potential opportunities, then the marketing plan as well as the e-commerce and internet marketing application will not bring positive results to the business.
Therefore, the gap of the research is seen in the process of incorporating the Internet marketing strategy and plan into the company strategy and marketing plan. However, prior to this process, the whole area of e-commerce and Internet marketing for the online fashion brand needs to be explored to enhance analysis reliability and validity.
The research paper is divided into three major parts. The first part discusses the potential opportunities of fashion distribution on the Internet. The channels of distribution are the company website, social platforms, catalogues, and pay-per-click advertisement. Exploration of the distribution channels is a result of sales plans and it has to be aligned with them.
The second part is more extensive as it focuses on both marketing and brand awareness. Service, as the major factor of marketing, is also mentioned. With the help of advanced technology, the research is conducted in terms of communication mix. If the most appropriate mix is found, then the company strategy will be aligned with the proposed Internet marketing plan.
Finally, the third part compares and contrasts the existing marketing plans and objectives to the newly created marketing communication and distribution mix based on the Internet marketing channels online (including company website). This part helps discover the major problems of the strategy and provides recommendations to the managers about the improvement of Internet marketing for an online fashion brand together with the constant content management and improvement.