1.0 IntroductionDespite the current economic turmoil and world trade imbalances, it is actually the right time for organizations to draw a closer relationship with members of the public for success of their business endeavors. However, most firms happen to make interesting budgetary decisions during such tough economic times, the first causality in scaling down budgets is the communications and marketing departments. This measure drastically affects the firms’ public relations due to lack of public image in print or electronic media. Consequently, it is difficult for any organization to determine the outcomes of electronic and media ad outcomes.
Contrary to this, digital advertising based on website has emerged as a potential tool, where firms can control, placement page, sizes and content of an ad piece, an aspect that misses in free media (Fairly 2009). 1.1 The challenges/ObjectivesWhen Internet technology was launched, most firms envisioned it as a new avenue for increasing efficiencies and reduction of costs. None anticipated that the technology will in the long run alter consumer expectations and behavior permanently. At first most firms initiated web technologies to champion company needs.
However, consumers complicated the scenario by embracing the new technologies, making their demands and preferences crucial elements that currently drive marketing transformations across the globe (Hislop 2009). Secondly, web-enabled technologies have reversed global marketing environment. Customers’ expectations and behavior have changed in accordance with the changing technologies. For this reason, Coles supermarket chain has initiated website marketing strategies with real world capabilities to meet these challenges. The major challenge for Coles shift to digital/internet marketing via websites is how to target the right audience. For example the supermarket’s customers are basically individuals, therefore business magazine ads were found to be unsuitable for them (Coles Supermarkets 2008). To counter the current challenges, most food chain enterprises have shifted to Smart Marketing strategies.
Smart marketing is not just a product of an idea but must originate from analysis of the market and design of a marketing plan (See Appendix 6 & 7). Traditionally, Consumer Insight practices analyzed consumer buying patterns through assumptions that they are driven by opinions, actions, attitude and culture. Current situation is alarming to traditional marketing insights due to the changing trends in buyer behavior, as more consumers turn to online shopping (Digmind, 2009). According to survey by Gartner group, web users will influence about 30% of online purchases in 2011 compared to the current 9%.
The survey claims that internet tools like Web 2.0 have rapidly transformed consumer behavior, placing marketing concepts and training of marketing professionals in an awkward balance. By early 2009, research by New Communication Research group revealed that 57% decisions by marketers were influenced by social networks. This paper will examine how Cole’s Supermarket Online strategy navigated around these challenges (Digmind, 2009). In designing an online strategy based on the website, it is vital to understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
This is considered as the baseline for any successful website marketing campaign framework (see Appendix 12 & 15). SEO still remains an enigma to most organizations despite its mainstream acceptance and increased recognition (Fairly 2009). Definition of SEO spells out its functions, optimizing a website is to initiate changes in text and coding by availing keywords and the website’s theme to search engines for easier recognition (Appendix 3).
The objective is to drive more targeted traffic towards the website. This is achieved through listings of the keywords in the organic or natural search results except for paid listings. Currently, 70% of households at least engage in any form of local product searches on daily basis (see Appendix 14). Secondly, consumers now conduct online research for particular products and the credibility or public image before visiting a store to make purchases (Fairly 2009).