In the recent years, it is not had to see how the emergence of internet had changes the business landscape beyond recognition. After a few years since the popularization of the internet, the rules, the conventional wisdom or theories on how to compete effectively in the competitive marketplace has been changing fast (Edelman, 2010). Today, it is no longer the financially strong, well-equipped and long-established companies that can dominate a particular industry, but rather, knowledge, flexibility and speed are becoming more important in shaping the competitive edge for a company (Robert-Demontrond, 2011). In this report, the applications of the many digital marketing concepts and strategies will be demonstrated using a real life company. The company chosen is Psyche, as it is a relatively small player in the fashion and apparel industry. This paper aims to illustrate how the smaller players can utilize and leverage on digital marketing to grow fast and even beat the larger players in a competitive business environment.
Founded by Steve Cochrane, Psyche is a small fashion retailer that is growing fast since its incorporation in 1982. It is a multi-winning departmental stores and website in UK. The company is becoming a more and more popular entrepreneurial retailer in the recent years in UK. The products of the company range from contemporary arts, footwear, apparels for men, women, children, gifts, accessories and other fashionable products. Currently, the company is deriving most of its revenue from its departmental stores. The company is slowly growing into e-commerce, whereby at this current stage, a small percentage of the revenue is derived from the corporate web portal. The company is still a relatively new and small player in the online fashion industry. In this case study, Psyche is selected for applications of several digital marketing strategies because the company is found not to fully leverage or utilize the advantages delivered by the digital marketing tools and concepts.
The internet delivers vast opportunities for Psyche to gain marketing intelligence. In many cases, internet offers the opportunities to obtain useful information with minimal costs. It is a useful medium to understand the very recent changes, preferences and taste of the marketplace. By fully utilizing the internet, Psyche can make more accurate decisions, be more responsive to the market changes as well as to understand the true customers needs and demands in greater depth. In the long run, all these means Psyche can enhance customers’ satisfaction and loyalty. In the following paragraphs, the several possible tools or concepts that can be applied by Psyche to perform research online are discussed.
Keyword search. Firstly, by using the many keyword research tools available (for example, such as the Solobis Keyword Search Software), Psyche can understand the potential demand in a particular market segment. The more frequent a key word is searched by the users on the internet, the more potential on the keywords as a brilliant business idea (Yi-Shun et. al., 2003). This can be useful for Psyche to identify the market potential, the market trends as well as the specific perceptions of customers on a certain issues.
Google Analytics. Through Google Analytics, Psyche can even perform more useful marketing research. Data can be collected, manipulated and plotted into meaningful charts to ease the decision making process of management. All these can be done for free. Besides, the relative success or effective of the corporate website of Psyche can also be analyzed. The certain keywords that sound more compelling to lure customers to spend more, to purchase online as well as the subscribe for Psyche newsletter can also be identified.
Forum research. While it can be financially and time taxing for Psyche to visit the many customers and perform random research on the marketplace, Psyche can easily spent the time to understand consumers’ behaviors, their mindsets, as well as their desires by looking at those members complains, ideas, wishes in the many forum on fashion or lifestyle. All these can be highly valuable, before Psyche decided to launch a new marketing campaigns, products or services to the customers.
It is found that Pscyhe had already an online web portal at http://www.psyche.co.uk/. However, after investigating the website, it is found that the website is not designed to leverage as much as possible on the opportunities offered by having a highly powerful online portal. Several improvements may be required.
Hypnotic writing to enhance conversion of site visitors into buyers. It is observed that the copy writing skills for the contents in Psyche’s website is not up to the standard. The materials provided in the website do not have sufficient influence over the decision making process of the users (Fan et. al., 2010). Thus, better copy writing should be used. For example, the writing can be written to concentrate on the customers, use of more emotionally invoking words or phrases as well as to use hypnotic wordings to guide the customers on how they can be benefited by the services provided by Psyche.
Sign up for newsletters. There is no compelling reasons give to the customers on why they should sign up for the newsletters that will be provided for free by Psyche. This is a crucial weakness as if those customers cannot be persuaded to sign up for the newsletters; the subsequent digital marketing campaign cannot be effectively carried out (Fan et. al., 2010). Not only is that, Psyche will lose out a lot of opportunity costs as if people never subscribe to the newsletter, it is impossible for them to know how attractive or beneficial that newsletters can be, which may make them to forward to their friends as well.
Deriving more revenue from advertising. To enhance the revenue for Psyche, the company can rent out spaces for their partners to advertise on the website. For example, allocating spaces for rent to hair grooming, make up, or slimming services can one day be an important sources of revenue for Psyche.
In order to enhance the company brand name or to enlarge the marketing communication channels to the end users, Psyche should create affiliate program for people that interested to market its products. Effectively, Psyche can use other people time to market its products. This means that Psyche able to leverage on others’ people network to reach a larger base of customers, in a more trustworthy manner (Kierzkowski et. al., 2002).
In other to ensure that people can easily found Psyche when they are searching for keywords such as ‘fashion’, ‘lifestyle’ or others, it is important for Psyche to utilize strategies for search engine optimization, so that search engine users, can easily discover Psyche as well as its website from the many search engine, such as Google, Yahoo or MSN (Farrar, 2010). This is important as when people searching for a fashion related topic, but Psyche does not appear as the top ten on the list, but when the competitors of Psyche do, Psyche can easily lose out in the arena if digital or internet marketing (Bughin et. al., 2009). It is found that the contents in Psyche is not optimized for search engine, as the articles are not written in a manner to optimize for keywords such as ‘fashion’, ‘style’ or ‘apparels’. Thus, it is important for Psyche to include more professionally written article discussing fashion, and then to link those topics to forums, other popular websites, or in the blogs of those who love fashion and design, so that the ‘spider’ from search engine such as Google can locate the website of Psyche when they are searching for information related to fashions.
While search engine optimization is free (but take longer time to see the effect), Psyche can also rely on search engine marketing to market its website, products, or services to users of search engine through SEM mechanism such as pay per click (PPC) program. Although to employ SEM can be sometimes costly for the advertising company, the efforts may well worth the efforts if the reputation as well as popularity of the website is picking up. For this, the marketing campaign associated with SEM can be done in a smaller scale first, to understand if that is really effective and reaping real results (i.e., those users that click on the link are easily converted into customers). If it is proven that the SEM can bring more benefits to the company, then it is possible for Psyche launch the marketing campaigns relying on SEM in larger scale. Such a strategy can surely lessen the financial risks faced by Psyche, and able to ensure that money spent on marketing is well worth the efforts.
Social Media marketing is becoming more and more important as people are getting more engaged in social media network in daily life today. People simply love to keep in touch with their friends and family members, and thus surfing on social media network frequently. Besides, people tend to trust materials or information they obtained from social media network, such as Facebook and Twitter, particularly on those items that are introduced by their close friends (Mastacan et. al., 2009). The power of word of mouth is highly powerful in the context of social media network. Thus, it is important that Psyche should rely on social media network, or involved more heavily in forum to reach the potential customers and audience (Rajan et. al., 2011). It is noticed that Psyche does have an account with Facebook, but that account is design badly (i.e., not utilizing the benefits offered by social media network). In the following paragraphs, the possible improvement to existing usage of social media network is discussed.
Put specially designed video about fashion on Facebook, and make it shared by as many people as possible. Psyche should upload more meaningful video on how fashion can change the life of others. Psyche can choose to do it indirectly, as the company can talk about how first impression is very important in business, and then only slowly direct the audience to Psyche products. The well designed video should be subtle, able to influence the subconscious of the audience without them even noticing it. This is critical because people can get highly defensive when the marketing communication messages are delivered in a too direct manner. Besides, video is important because people tend to watch video or glancing through pictures instead of reading each and every word on a website (Mastacan et. al., 2009).
Write meaningful articles in the account, and then ensure it is liked by others. Currently, there is no obvious efforts used by Psyche to drive traffics to the website (be it the main web portal of Psyche or the Facebook account page of Psyche). Psyche should understand that traffic is very important to the profitability of the company in digital or online marketing, as if more people get to know the corporate web portal, more site visitors can be converted into real customers for the firm, or to sign up for the newsletter provided for Psyche (which can be important for Psyche when the company intends to launch subsequent marketing campaigns). Thus, Psyche should write more interesting, critical and creative articles that can impress the public (Farrar, 2009), so that these articles are recommended by the public to their other friends. This can drive a lot of traffic to Psyche website.
Put a clear link so that people can link to the main web portal of Psyche after visiting Psyche account in Facebook. It is noticed that for people who visited Psyche website, it is not easy to locate a link to the corporate main web portal. This may cause people to simply close the window after 5 seconds of time not able to locate where to click to read more about Psyche products or services (Farrar, 2009).
Put funny materials on Facebook account to lure the readers to find bookmark the url of Psyche or to ‘like’ Psyche. This is yet another important traffic driving technique. When people feel entertained, they are more likely to share the entertaining piece of video or materials with others.
It is found that Psyche does have newsletter subscription services in the website. However, that is no sufficient. Besides relying on users registering for Psyche newsletter from its website, Psyche can purchase Leeds from third parties. In each of the email or newsletter sent to the readers, the content must be attractive, useful and potentially required by the readers in the later days. This will encourage them to save a copy of those newsletters, for future references, or to simply forward to their friends (Shukla, 2010). It could also be better to give away free e-book or e-magazine, which is nicely designed, colorful, informative and entertaining to be delivered for free to the public. This can surely enhance the brand name or reputation of Psyche, as well as to show how serious or sincere Psyche is in servicing the target market. Besides, on and off, coupon discount voucher can be provided in these e-books so that when people print it out, they may enjoy certain discount or benefits when buying Psyche products. The efforts for email marketing must be performed in a consistently manner, so that people can gradually get more familiar and comfortable with Psyche. When people get more familiar with Psyche, they may perceive that the risk to purchase from Psyche is lower (Rajan et. al., 2011), and hence, more motivated to shop online from Psyche web portal.
Blogging can be very important because proper ways of promoting a company through blogs can surely enhance or influence people opinions on the company. For this, Psyche can negotiate with those famous blogger to cover their stories in the blogs, so that Psyche can tap into existing large segment of market, using the network already established by the bloggers. This can again drive traffic to Psyche main website, and provided the website of Psyche is well designed, more site visitors can bring more revenue to the company, assuming the conversion rate of site visitors remain constant.
There are many ways to utilize the advantages offered by digital marketing, and depending on the creativity of the management team in Psyche, they can make significant differences if these new platform of digital as well as online marketing are properly used. In this section, a series of recommended actions that should be followed by Psyche will be suggested (based on the options discussed above).
The very first step for Psyche to correct is to revamp the corporate website, or to launch a series of very serious changes to the web portal. This is because if the website is not attractive, perform poorly in converting the site visitors to real customers, or simply not able to entice the site visitors to sign up for free e-magazines, e-books or newsletter, it is highly likely that the digital marketing of Psyche can be just wasting efforts (O’Cass et. al., 2010). Thus, the website must be tested rigorously and being paid very serious attention by the senior management in Psyche. For this, the many ways to perform research online can be employed. Firstly, research through keyword research, survey on forum, or even by referring to the results obtained from Google Analytics should be performed. It is important that the ketwors, title and the marketing communications messages in the Psyche main corporate website be changed, altered, improved, optimized so that the conversation rate can be increased to a high level. This will determine the effectiveness of the other programs in the later stages. Besides, the video, pictures as well as the contents in the website should be managed by a professional and full time team of digital marketers (Bottles et. al., 2011). Continuous improvement as well as frequent update on the website so that it stays relevant on the fast changing marketplace is the key to success. Apart from that, frequent feedback from customers must also be absorbed and investigated. The customers’ feedback can be highly important in the design of the web portal as well as how the value offerings to the marketplace can be structured (Poddar et. al., 2009). All these will be useful to generate or produce valuable and highly powerful online sales stores for Psyche.
When the website is designed to the best possible conversation ratio, as well as being optimized for search engines, then the next task is to concentrate fully on driving traffics to the website (Violino, 2011). To drive traffic, digital media can be used, and internet marketing concepts can also be highly important to be applied. In order to drive traffics, Psyche can employ bloggers, write more fun, entertaining, informative articles, upload useful and impressive video as well as to use the concepts of email marketing to target the customers. As argued in the article above, it is important to provide information for free to the mass public, particularly useful and entertaining information, so that they may form a habits to keeping records on the newsletter delivered by psyche, or may induced to forward the nicely designed e-books or e-magazines to the friends or family members. All these will surely help a lot in sricing traffics to the Psyche main web portal.
In short, it is shown from this case study that there are many ways on which the many concepts, strategies, platform and tools of digital marketing can be used by even a smaller firm to compete effectively and successfully with the larger competitors. In the information era, the rises of internet, as well as the digitalization of information have been changing the marketing rules and principles in the competitive business environment. Overall, the traditional channels to reach the targeted audience have been changing fast. Those who slow to adapt to the new competitive landscape will surely lose out. Knowledge on how to get the best and leverage on the new platform will determine how a firm can compete in the every turbulent industry environment (Gronlund, 2010). It is not unreasonable to say that the know-how and knowledge possess by a firm related to digital marketing will make a difference in terms of corporate performance in the future.
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