Summary

1 This chapter has examined B2B use of Internet technologies from a marketing perspective. In doing so it has considered the online trading environment, online markets, trading partnerships and digital marketing strategies.

2 B2B trading is affected by the environmental trading situation. Many aspects of the online trading situation are different from the offline trading environment.

3 The trading situation needs to be analysed in order to develop understanding of the actions taking place. Online environmental analysis includes consideration of macro, micro and internal elements and how they might affect the online trading environment.

4 Commercial exchanges in B2B markets explore the potential and importance of the electronic market in terms of growth and dispersion of use of Internet technologies across different industrial sectors.

5 The growth in electronic markets has led to organisations increasingly making greater use of Internet technologies moving beyond aiming to achieve marketing communication objectives towards developing sales activities and investigating ways to develop international markets.

6 Organisational use of the Internet can lead to the development of customer-facing and supplier-facing web-based applications, which will serve different objectives and functions.

7 The sales process in B2B markets is changing and the methods of communication and the actual process of buying are changing (the buy class has a significant impact on the extent to which transactions are completely automated). Organisations are increasingly investing in e-procurement systems. Streamlining of the purchasing function is becoming more of a strategic issue as it is providing the opportunity to create differential advantage. B2B markets tend to have fewer customers placing larger orders (especially in industrial and government markets). Adoption of Internet technologies represents opportunities to streamline purchasing and sales operations and in doing so enables an organisation to make significant cost savings. Furthermore, there are also opportunities to create additional value and competitive advantage through the redesign of established offline practices.

8 Digital marketing strategies are not always integrated into a business's wider planning activities. However, this is becoming more important as organisations increasingly integrate Internet technologies into the buying and selling activities.

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