Info

Old media

Digital media

Comment

One-to-many communication model

One-to-one or many-to-many communication model

Hoffman and Novak (1996) state that theoretically the Internet is a many-to-many medium, but for company-to-customer organisation(s) communications it is best considered as one-to-one or one-to-many

Mass-marketing push model

Individualised marketing or mass customisation.

Pull model for web marketing

Personalisation possible because of technology to monitor preferences and tailor content (Deighton, 1996)

Monologue

Dialogue

Indicates the interactive nature of the World Wide Web, with the facility for feedback

Branding

Communication

Increased involvement of customer in defining brand characteristics. Opportunities for adding value to brand

Supply-side thinking

Demand-side thinking

Customer pull becomes more important

Customer as a target

Customer as a partner

Customer has more input into products and services required

Segmentation

Communities

Aggregations of like-minded consumers rather than arbitrarily defined target segments

Source: After Kiani (199B)

A short introduction to Internet technology

Marketers require a basic understanding of Internet technology in order to discuss the implementation of e-marketing with suppliers such as digital marketing agencies and with the internal IT team. In the final section of this chapter we provide a brief introduction to the technology, with which many readers will already be familiar. The Internet has existed since the late 1960s when a limited number of computers were connected for military and research purposes in the United States to form the ARPAnet.

Why then has the Internet only recently been widely adopted for business purposes? The recent dramatic growth in the use of the Internet has occurred because of the development of the World Wide Web. This became a commercial proposition in 1993 after development of the original concept by Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist working at CERN in Switzerland in 1989. The World Wide Web changed the Internet from a diffi-cult-to-use tool for academics and technicians to an easy-to-use tool for finding information for businesses and consumers. The World Wide Web is an interlinked

Internet

The physical network that links computers across the globe. It consists of the infrastructure of network servers and communication links between them that are used to hold and transport the vast amount of information on the Internet.

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is a medium for publishing information and providing services on the Internet. It is accessed through web browsers, which display site content on different web pages. The content making up web sites is stored on web servers.

Web servers

Web servers are used to store the web pages accessed by web browsers. They may also contain databases of customer or product information, which can be queried and retrieved using a browser.

Web browsers

Browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer provide an easy method of accessing and viewing information stored as HTML web documents on different web servers.

Uniform (universal) resource locator (URL)

A web address used to locate a web page on a web server.

Client-server

The client-server architecture consists of client computers such as PCs sharing resources such as a database stored on a more powerful server computer.

Internet service provider (ISP)

A provider enabling home or business users a connection to access the Internet. They can also host web-based applications.

Backbones

High-speed communications links used to enable Internet communications across a country and internationally.

Static web page

A page on the web server that is invariant.

publishing medium for displaying graphic and text information. This information is stored on web server computers and then accessed by users who run web browser programs such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari or Mozilla Firefox which display the information and allow users to select links to access other web sites.

Promoting web site addresses is important to marketing communications. The technical name for web addresses is uniform or universal resource locators (URLs). URLs can be thought of as a standard method of addressing similar to postal codes that make it straightforward to find the name of a site.

Web addresses are structured in a standard way as follows:

http://www.domain-name.extension/filename.html

The domain name refers to the name of the web server and is usually selected to be the same as the name of the company, and the extension will indicate its type. The extension is also commonly known as the global top-level domain (gTLD). Note that gTLDs are currently under discussion and there are proposals for adding new types such as .store and .firm. Common gTLDs are:

• .com represents an international or American company such as www.travelocity.com.

• .co.uk represents a company based in the UK such as www.thomascook.co.uk.

• .ac.uk is a UK-based university (e.g.www.derby.ac.uk).

• .org.uk and .org are not-for-profit organisations (e.g. www.greenpeace.org).

• .net is a network provider such as www.demon.net.

The 'filename.html' part of the web address refers to an individual web page, for example 'products.html' for a web page summarising a company's products. When a web address is typed in without a filename, for example www.bt.com, the browser automatically assumes the user is looking for the home page, which by convention is referred to as index.html. When creating sites, it is therefore vital to name the home page index.html (or an equivalent). The file index.html can also be placed in sub-directories to ease access to information. For example, to access a support page a customer would type www.bt.com/support rather than www.bt.com/support/index.htm. In offline communications sub-directories are publicised as part of a company's URL strategy (see Chapter 8).

How does the Internet work?

The Internet enables communication between millions of connected computers worldwide. Information is transmitted from client PCs whose users request services from server computers that hold information and host business applications that deliver the services in response to requests. Thus, the Internet is a large-scale client-server system. The client PCs within homes and businesses are connected to the Internet via local Internet service providers (ISPs) which, in turn, are linked to larger ISPs with connection to the major national and international infrastructure or backbones.

Infrastructure components of the Internet

Figure 1.14 shows the process by which web browsers communicate with web servers. A request from the client PC is executed when the user types in a web address, clicks on a hyperlink or fills in an online form such as a search. This request is then sent to the ISP and routed across the Internet to the destination server. The server then returns the requested web page if it is a static (fixed) web page, or if it requires reference to a database,

Dynamic web page

A page that is created in real time, often with reference to a database query, in response to a user request.

Transaction log file

A web server file that records all page requests.

Log file analyser

Software to summarise and report the information in the transaction log file.

such as a request for product information, it will pass the query on to a database server and will then return this to the customer as a dynamically created web page. Information on all file requests such as images and pages is stored in a transaction log file which records the page requested, the time it was made and the source of the enquiry. This information can be analysed using a log file analyser along with different browser-based web analytics techniques to assess the success of the web site as explained in Chapter 9.

http 'send' communication

User requests page

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