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Masaryk Uni versi t y

Facul t y of Economi cs and Admi ni st rat i on

DIPLOMA WORK

201
3

Anast asi a

STAVINSKA







Masaryk Uni versi t y

Facul t y of Economi cs and Admi ni st rat i on

Field of study:

Business Management


ANALYSIS OF THE INTE
RNET MARKETING
ACTIVITIES

Diploma work

Thesis
S
upervisor
:

Author
:

Ing.
Ji
ři

RICHTER

Anastasia

S
TAVINSKA

Brno, 201
3



Masaryk University

Faculty of Economics and Administration


Department of Corporate Economy


Academic year 2012/2013


ASSIGNMENT OF DIPLOMA THESIS


For:



Stavinska Anastasia


Field:



Business Management


Title:

Analysis of the Internet marketing activities



P r i n c i p l e s


o f t h e s

i s


w r i t i n g:


Objective of the thesis:

Primary objective is to analyze the Internet marketing strategies of international
retailer companies and to investigate modern trends of Internet marketing.
Secondary objective is to develop a comprehensive list of recommendations for the
companies expand
ing online.




Approach and methods used:


1.

Introduction
-

introduction to problems of the thesis and modern marketing.
Assignment of primary, secondary and partial objectives. Formulation of
hypothesis or research question. Summarizing of the expected cont
ribution of the
work.

2.

Theoretical part
-

literature review. Definition of terms, summarizing of general
modern marketing trends, techniques and strategies. Description of the methods
of questionnaire and statistical survey.


3.

Practical part
-

application of

described methods on a chosen sample of
businesses. Analysis of marketing strategies and marketing poli
cy. Summarizing
into synthetic

knowledge regarding described branch and environment.



Methodology: Literature review, analysis, synthesis, description,

comparison.




The extent of graphical works:


according to the supervisor's guidelines,
the assumption is about 10 charts and graphs


The thesis length without appendices:


60


70 pages




List of specialist literature:



LEE, K. a S. CARTER.
G
lobal marketing management
. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford
University Press, 2012. 592 s. ISBN

978
-
0
-
19
-
960970
-
3.



CHAFFEY, D.

Internet Marketing. Strategy, Implementation and Practice
. 4th ed.
Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2009. 693 s. ISBN

0
-
273
-
71740
-
5.



FARRIS, P.W. a N.T. BENDLE.
Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring
Marketing Performance
. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010.
432 s. ISBN

0
-
13
-
705829
-
2.



BLANCHARD, O.

Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media
Efforts
in Your Organization
. 1st ed. Indianapolis: Que, 2011. 350 s. ISBN

0
-
7897
-
4741
-
3.




MILLER, M.

The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide.

Indianapolis: Que, 2010. 618 s.
ISBN

0
-
7897
-
4100
-
8.



Diploma thesis supervisor:


Ing. Jiří Richter


Date of diploma
thesis assignment:

1/11/2012


Submission deadline for Diploma thesis and its entry in the IS MU is provided
in the valid Academic Calendar.




Department Head









Dean

In

Brno on 1/11/2012



Name and Surname
:

Anastasia

S
tavinska

Ti tl e of
the thesi s
:


Analysis of the Internet marketing activities

Department
:

Corporate Economy

Thesi s supervi sor
:

Ing.
Ji
ři

Richter

Year of defense
:


201
3

Abstract

This work

aims to investigate a
Primary objective is to analyze the Internet marketing
strategies
of international retailer companies and to investigate modern trends of
Internet marketing.

The thesis is split into theoretical and practical parts. This work
starts with a theoretical one, by giving an introduction to the topic and briefly
highlighting the modern concepts of marketing. The main theoretical part is about the
website being a mai
n tool of the online marketing promotion. For this, common
literature and available internet sources were used. The practical part includes the
assessment of the given sample of international retailor companies and an analysis of a
given single website wit
h following recommendation regarding its future marketing
activity online, which is based on the findings of the theory.

Keywords

Marketing, Internet, Online Marketing
, Website Analysis






Author’s
Statement

I hereby declare that I worked out the Diplom
a work
Analysis of the Internet marketing
activities

myself, under the supervision of

Ing.
Ji
ři Richter
, and that I stated in it all the
literary resources and other specialist sources used according to legislation, internal
regulations of Masaryk Universi
ty and internal management acts of Masaryk University
and the Faculty of Economics and Administration

Brno,
26.04
.2013



handwr i t t en si gnat ur e of t he aut hor






Acknowledgments

This thesis would not have been possible without help of many people. I would like to
express my gratitude to my supervisor
Ing.
Ji
ři Richter
, who offered invaluable
assistance and supervision
, whilst allowing me the room to work on my own
.

I would

also

l
ike to thank
my friends for great load of encouragement and countenance.

Above all, I would like to thank my
family

for their unconditional support, great patience
and care throughout the whole period of studies.







Content

ASSIGNMENT OF DIPLOM
A THESIS

................................
................................
............................

5

1

MARKETING

................................
................................
................................
............................

-

3
-

1.1

M
ODERN

CONCEPT

................................
................................
................................
...........................

-

3

-

1.1.1

Needs, wants and demands

................................
................................
................................
...

-

4
-

1.1.2

The market offering

................................
................................
................................
.................

-

5
-

1.1.3

Value, satisfaction and quality

................................
................................
............................

-

6
-

1.1.4

Exchange, transaction and relationships
................................
................................
........

-

6
-

1.1.5

Markets

................................
................................
................................
................................
..........

-

7
-

1.2

M
ARKETIN
G IN THE
I
NTERNET AGE

................................
................................
...............................

-

7

-

2

INTERNET

................................
................................
................................
................................

-

9
-

2.1

A

BRIEF ST
ORY OF THE
I
NTERNET

................................
................................
................................
..

-

9

-

2.2

N
O ONE IS HERE
,

EVERYONE IS ONLINE

................................
................................
.......................

-

10

-

3

MARKETING STRATEGIES
................................
................................
...............................

-

12
-

3.
1

G
ENERAL PRINCIPLES

................................
................................
................................
...................

-

12

-

3.1.1

Indirect approach

................................
................................
................................
..................

-

13
-

3.1.2

Differentiation

................................
................................
................................
.........................

-

13
-

3.
1.3

Concentration

................................
................................
................................
..........................

-

14
-

3.2

M
ARKETING MIX

................................
................................
................................
............................

-

14

-

4

WEBSITE AS A MAIN TO
OL OF ONLINE MARKETI
NG STRATEGY

......................

-

17
-

4.1

B
UILDING A SUCCESSFUL

WEBSITE

................................
................................
..............................

-

17

-

4.2

A
NALYZING A WEBSITE

................................
................................
................................
.................

-

20

-

4.2.1

First glance
................................
................................
................................
................................

-

20
-

4.2.2

Obtainable indicators

................................
................................
................................
...........

-

21
-

4.2.3

Statistics

................................
................................
................................
................................
.....

-

22
-

5

LIMITATIONS OF THE S
TUDY

................................
................................
........................

-

24
-

6

WEBSITES ASSESSMENT

................................
................................
................................
..

-

26
-

6.
1

S
AMPLE OVERVIEW

................................
................................
................................
.......................

-

26

-

6.2

P
ERSONAL EVALUATION

................................
................................
................................
...............

-

27

-

6.3

V
ISITORS PERCEPTION

................................
................................
................................
..................

-

29

-

7

BLOG’S ASSESSMENT

................................
................................
................................
........

-

36
-

7.1

O
VERVIEW

................................
................................
................................
................................
.....

-

36

-

7.2

S
TATISTI
CS

................................
................................
................................
................................
.....

-

38

-

7.3

M
ARKETING

................................
................................
................................
................................
...

-

40

-

7.4

F
UTURE STRATEGY

................................
................................
................................
........................

-

41

-


7.4.1

Gantt chart

................................
................................
................................
................................

-

43
-

8

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
THE COMPANIES’ EXPAN
DING ONLINE

..................

-

46
-

8.1

D
ESIGN AND USABILITY

................................
................................
................................
................

-

46

-

8.2

S
ALES AND DELIVERY

................................
................................
................................
....................

-

46

-

8.3

I
NFORMATION AND BRAND
ING

................................
................................
................................
....

-

47

-

8.4

I
NVESTMENTS AND RETUR
N

................................
................................
................................
.........

-

47

-




Introduction

Invention of
Internet
is considered to be a milestone in human history and the start of
the so
-
called Informational Age. It has changed everything, from the way of
communication to the way of conducting business.
Modern companies are willing to
expand online which rais
es the question of successful online marketing.

The

expected contribution of the work is the result of website investigation as a main
tool of online marketing, alongside discovering
the m
odern ways of marketing online
and
reveal
ing

methods of websites assessment.

The objectives of the thesis

Primary objective is to analyze the Internet marketing strategies of international retail
o
r
companies and to investigate modern trends of Internet marketing. Secondary objective
is to develop a

comprehensive list of recommendations for the
companie
s


expanding
online.



Methods of implementation

Theoretical part of the thesis is devoted to the literature review of marketing modern
concepts, Internet as the new emerging market and website being a

core tool of online
marketing strategy and promotion.

Practical part illustrates the analysis on a chosen sample of businesses
, summarized in
synthetic list of recommendations for the retailor companies expanding online.

Limitations

Initially there was
a risk of international companies’ unwillingness of revealing the
information about their performance online which actually became true.
It allowed
fulfilling the primary objective of the thesis only partially, substituting the analysis of
Internet marketi
ng strategies of international retailor companies by the analysis of
users’ perception of the website as the core item of the marketing strategy.













PART I





-

3
-

1

Marketing

This Chapter is aimed to serve as the general
introduction to this thesis, reviewing the
essence and modern concept of marketing and establishing the connection to online
marketing concepts.

1.1

Modern concept

“Marketing


a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups
obtain what they
need and want through creating and exchanging

products and
value with others


(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 6)

What

is

to understand under the term “Marketing”? Many wrongly consider it to be
solely sales and advertising.
Truth is
, s
ales are only the tip of the marketing iceberg a
nd
one of its numerous modern concepts
.

Marketing appeared as a respond to the need to provide more close control over the
sales management of the enterprises. Formation of marketing as a science started at
the
beginning of XX century as a subject in leading US
universities, making the main focus on
commerce and advertising. The result of practical implementation of marketing theory
was the creation of the marketing department in large enterprises to conduct
marketing
research and provide services.

The m
odern concept of marketing implies a wide range of functions, along with sales
and advertising, targeted on
a
deeper understanding of the cause and gaining of effective
result.
The chart of the core marketing
concepts
(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 6)
, shown below,
illustrates the way all the marketing concepts are interlinked between each other,
forming the closed circle
,
the general
concept of marketing
.

-

4
-


Figure
1
: "Core marketing concepts"

1.1.1

Needs, wants

and demands

“Human needs


a state of felt deprivation”

(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 8)

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs identifies 5 major groups of needs: psychological, safety
and security,

social, esteem

and self
-
actualization, prioritized

from low to high
, as
illustrated on the figure below
.
It is expected, that a human will first satisfy low
-
level
needs, as psychological, safety and social, before satisfying high
-
level needs a
s esteem
and self
-
actualization.
(N. Capon, 2007 p. 96)

When a

need it is not satisfied, it is usually eliminated. Therefore, a conclusion can be
made, that peop
le who have means to satisfy a need will do that, whereas

peo
ple who
don’t have the means will eliminate the need to fit to available resources.

Nevertheless, a choice is a result of complex interaction of cultural, social, personal and
psychological factors. Some of the factors can be influenced and this is what a

marketer
can use to develop and evaluate the product, establish its distribution and sales
promotion in a way to gain the strongest response from the target audience.


Needs, wants,
and demands

Marketing
offers
(products &
services)

Value and
satisfaction

Exchange,
transactions &
relationships

Markets

-

5
-


Figure
2
: "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs"


“Human
wants



th
e form that a human need takes as shaped by culture and
individual personality”

(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 8)

To gain sufficient results an organization should constantly ask a question “what makes
our customers behave the way the
y

do”?

People have
a
narrow amount of needs but
almost
an
unlimited amount of “wants” they expose. And the specific of “wants” is
evolving, under the influence of market expansion and appearance of more and more
objects arousing interest. Nevertheless, peo
ple have to choose products corresponding
to their financial abilities and balance the price


quality (or satisfaction) ratio. This is
where a “want” turns into demand.

“Demands


human wants that are backed by buying power”

(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 8)

Consumers can rank various consumption possibilities, determining their preferences
for getting the best bundle offered for the amount of money they have.

(Varian, 2010 p.
34)


1.1.2

The market
offering

People’s needs, wants and demands imply the existence of the offering to satisfy it.

“Market offer


some combination of products, services, information or experiences
offered to a market to satisfy a need or want”

(P.
Kotler, 2005 p. 9)

Self
-
actualization

Esteem

Social

Safety and security

Psychological

-

6
-

If to
look down on the theory of
m
icroeconomics, the market demand is dictated by the
market price o
f

the product or the bundle of products a consumer wants. Therefore, if
the price on the desired product goes up, demand goes down a
nd the other way round.
Market offering or supply is linked to demand inversely, meaning that supply will grow
with the growth of the price on the market
, whereas demand will decline
. The market
price is set in the equilibrium point between demand and supp
ly.

Not only products are considered as

marketing market offering
, also

services, activities
or benefits that are intangible and do not result in ownership of anything

can be
included
. So, not making a mistake of just selling a product or service, a market
er is
promoting a
complete
solution or experience for customers.

(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 9)

1.1.3

Value, satisfaction and quality

“Customer value


the customer’s assessment of the product’s overall capacity to
satisfy his or her nee
ds”

(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 10)

In other words, customers do not buy products; they are more interested in the solution
the product will bring to
an

existing problem.

For example, one trend in retail marketing
in grocery busin
ess is category management, implying the challenge to manufacturers to
prove to the retailers that brands add to the value of the category. I
f

to put it very
simple: the manufacturer makes potato crisps; the retailer merchandises salty snacks,
when the cus
tomer just buys lunch.
(G. Hooley, 2004 p. 24)


This leads

us to
the next point:
customer satisfaction


the personal opinion of the
product’s performance in comparison to the expectations. If the experience from the
produ
ct is below the stated expectations, a customer feels dissatisfaction and the other
way round. The perceiving of the product performance is very subjective, but if the
customer is satisfied, he is more likely to repeat the purchase and tell others about th
e
good experience.
(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 10)

1.1.4

Exchange, transaction and relationships

“Exchange


the act of obtaining a desired object from someone by offering
something in return”

(P. Kotler, 20
05 p. 10)

Marketing as a matter occurs when people satisfy their needs through the process of
exchanging a medium of exchange to the object of desire.

-

7
-

1.1.5

Markets

“Market


the set of all actual and potential buyers of a product or service”
(P. Kotler,
2005 p. 11)

This is the finalizing concept, bringing the circle together. From this point of view,
marketing is a working process on or with the market, the main target of which is to
satisfy customers’ needs a
nd wants.

If the entrepreneur paid enough attention to discovery and investigation of customers’
needs, dev
elopment of the product, settlement

of the appropriate price and
establishment of the stable distribution channels, the sales should conduct. Then w
here
is the main focus
?
The
definition of marketing
stated above

implies marketing’s
contribution to organization and its demands.

Modern successful companies have one common distinctive feature


they are very
customer
-
oriented and strongly committed to
marketing. It is essential, as even the very
best, innovative and quality product will not gain success if it is not bringing superior
value and high level of satisfaction to the customers. Therefore, customers are one of the
most important components of t
he marketing process


creating value and satisfaction
for the customers is considered to be the basis of modern marketing.

“Today, marketing must be understood not in the old sense of making a sale


‘telling
and selling’
-

but in the new sense of satisf
ying customer needs.”

(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 6)

1.2

Marketing in the Internet age

The technological development of the recent years have changed the ways of the
business conduction and facilitated the creation of the separate, online market. Internet
has become the interactive channel of business intercommunication partially
transferrin
g sales online. This rapid development of the new sphere has become a basis
for the new marketing direction development


online marketing.

It does not mean that enterprises should drop the old way of thinking and rush for the
implementation of the new te
chnologies to their business, it is more about combining
the best skills and practices of the past with the new ones.
With

Internet marketing,
comes a

globalization of the market, which allows easier coverage of the target audience;
due to the easiness of
using global network for the communication purposes, it allows to
-

8
-

significantly personalize the interaction with the customer

and last, but not
least

brings

a considerable cost reduction.

The following chapters will
more clo
sely inspect

online marketing,
its strategies and the
ways to implement them through a website.

Conclusion

Marketing is not just about sales or advertising, its modern concept implies a wide range
of functions, alongside with sales and advertising, targeted on a deeper understanding of

the cause and gaining of effective result. Main components of modern marketing concept
are needs, wants and demands, the market offering, value, satisfaction and quality,
exchange, transaction and relationship and the last, but not the least


markets. Th
e
technological development of the recent years has changed the way business is
conducted through globalization, and contributed to the creation of additional online
market.


-

9
-

2

Internet


I think in general it's clear that most bad things come from
misunderstanding, and
communication is generally the way to resolve misunderstandings, and the Web's a
form of communications, so it generally should be good.



Timothy Berners
-
Lee

The modern world is changing very quickly under the huge impact and incred
ible speed
of informational technologies development. This chapter will

briefly

reveal
the

history of
the
Internet and

generally
describe the ways Internet can be used for successful
marketing.

2.1

A brief story

of the
Internet

The Internet population is const
antly growing
.
In our western society it’s hard to
imagine a day without using the Internet
.
Trying

to give a definition to this widely used
term
is

a lot more difficult than assumed on the first glance.

My personal definition
would be: the Internet is

a w
orld
-
size network of interlinked
electronic devices
, forming
an arra
y of

digital information.
One of the biggest

advantage
s of the Internet
is

the

easy
accessible and manageable information of any kind, av
ailable 24 hours

and 7

days per
week.

Everything w
as different only around 60 years ago, when computers have just been
introduced to the public. It is considered to be a
milestone in human history and

the
start of
the
so
-
called Informational Age. However, it was still not cost efficient to transfer
the in
formation until the computers wer
e interlinked
. This changes when the

web

was
formed

in
1990s. Nowadays, web can be defined as:


(The)
Web can be considered to be a massive information system with
interconnected databases and remote applications providing
various services.”

(H.P.
Alesso, 2006 p. xvii)

Modern Internet is as much a collection of communities, as
it is

a collection of
technologies

and
its success is largely determin
ed by
satisfying

the n
eeds of the
communities and pushing technological progress further.
As a result, the Internet grew
above its research routes and now is including both


broad user community and
increased commercial activity. Development of the commercial products, impleme
nting
the Internet technology turned Internet almost to a “commodity” service, and
-

10
-

transformed into a mean of supporting online commercial services.
It is important to
point out that the popularization of the Internet among users was accelerated by rapid
a
doption of browsers and the WWW technology, allowing easier access to the
information online.
(B.M. Leiner, 2012)


The evolution of the ways of getting information caused a rapid decline of the
information costs. Moreover, it m
ade

it

possible for an ordinary user to have control
over the consumer products’ information and ability to create their own content.
Nowadays, i
t makes Internet to be a natural marketplace and
a sufficient

part of the
economics
.

“Internet is emerging bot
h as an extremely useful tool for business planning and also
as a part of a company’s marketing mix. As a planning tool, the Internet search and
resource sites can aid any discipline by opening a high
-
speed

gateway to the wealth
of information. In addition
, the Net is a vehicle for marketing research.


(J. Strauss,
1999 p. preface)

2.2

No one is here, everyone is online

According to internet portal
Statistic
Brain
1
, 53% of European population is using
Internet on the every
day basis, spending an average of 66 hours per month online.
It is
essential, as with

the rapid popularization of the Internet
many

day
-
to
-
day operations
got a lot simplified.
For example
-

the search and comparison of
products, tic
ket
purchase, hotel book
ing, etc
.

Together with the
rapid
development

and usage

of e
-
commerce, online marketing gives
an opportunity to better differentiate business and easily find target customers.
In
addition, a
vailability of behavioral patterns analysis systems allows conduc
tion of the
fairly accurate
and cheap
statistical studies.

As a matter of fact, online business is constantly evolving and improving, as well as
online marketing. The best illustration to the fact is the growing amount of companies
creating online presence

and mass media duplicating the paper content electronically.

Therefore, with a growing competition online, website becomes critical, as a main tool of
promotion. It has already became a lot more than just a brochure online


at least, it is



1

Statistic

Brain
: Internet Statistics,
http://www.statisticbrain.com/inte
rnet
-
statistics/

-

11
-

expected to be

interactive, provide up
-
to
-
date information and a hub of activities
extendable to social networks. And, as has been discussed in the previous chapter, it
should not just sell, it should correspond to customer’s needs and provide value and
satisfaction. It

brings us to the term Internet or online marketing:

“E
-
marketing is the term used for marketing activities, such as promotion or
customer relationship management, that is conducted over the Internet”
(G. Hooley,
2004 p. 491)

What to understand under
online marketing activities
?
M
odern technologies
, for
example,

provide a wide range of functionality and allow following the visitor from the
first time he or she sees the product, to the cart. It enables behavioral tracking and
analysis,

sensitive information collecting
,
and even
providing
personalized

service when
the customer returns

to the website. Real
-
time manageable data allows usage of
dynamic
visual and text content, while being worldwide accessible 24/7.

Conclusion

The modern world is changing under the significant impact of technology and commerce
needs to
follow the tendencies. Introduction of the computers has become a milestone of
human history, bringing technologies and communities together through globalization.
It was followed by the rapid development of Internet commerce due to the sufficient
reductio
n of information cost. Nowadays, Internet is considered to be more a commodity
service and already has become a part of modern economics. Marketing does not stay
behind the technological progress evolving with it, and together with Interned gives an
additi
onal opportunity to differentiate businesses and find new customers on the global
online market.


-

12
-

3

M
arketing strateg
ies

“Marketing strategy


the marketing logic by which the business unit hopes to
achieve its marketing objectives”
(P. Kotler, 2005 p. 595)

3.1

General principles

Any economic strategy is combining theoretical and practical aspects of e
ntity
functioning on the market
, taking prevailing tendencies as a basis.
Nevertheless,
m
arketing
strategies find their routes in

the military. There are five basic types.

(Paley,
2007 pp. 27
-
31)
:

Direct attack

A direct attack
implies using available resources to full extend and
in many business
situations results in exhausting budgets and
people. In the case of direct attack the
company may have little or none resources left for the further penetration to the market
.
Therefore, this tactics is useless towards
an
opponent who is strongly in the leading
position. Consequently, if there is not

strong differentiation of the product, price, place
and promotion on the market, success chances are approaching zero.

Indirect attack

According to Liddell Hart
1
, indirect attack is the most efficient approach due to
conserving the greatest amount of str
ength. When applied to business strategy, the main
focus is given to the undeveloped, neglected or just emerging segments of the market, as
initial point on market entry. Following the entry, market strategy is determined by
using the suitable marketing mi
x to create a competitive advantage. In this case, the
available resources are mobilized to fulfill the need in the segment

and create the long
-
term fruitful relationships with the customers.

Envelopment attack

This type of attack consists of two major sta
ges:

1.

Focus on a specific market (the same way as in indirect attack).




1

Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, usually known before his knighthood as Captain B. H. Liddell Hart, was an
English soldier, military historian and leading inter
-
war theorist. He is credited with greatly influencing
the developme
nt of armored warfare.
(2013)

-

13
-

2.

Identification of additional segments and development of suitable offer to
“envelope” the entire market.

Bypass attack

The core meaning of the bypass attack is the expansion of the areas

of interest to the
unrelated segments of the market. Thought it is deceiving the competitor, it may also
cause a negative effect of being spread and dispersing the main focus from any single
area.

Guerrilla attack

This strategy involves small,
and, on t
he first glance,
chaotic

attacks
with the aim
to lead
the opposing manager into making a strategic mistake. For example, selective price cuts,
promotional bursts, supply interference, etc. Mainly, it is used for a small company,
competing against a large c
orporation.

Having those principles in head,
it is possible to for
m

them into an actionable plan

(Paley, 2007 pp. 41
-
42)
:

3.1.1

Indirect approach

As discussed above, indirect approach strategy implies a company entering the
undeveloped segments of the market. The actions taken when using this approach
include creation of
un
certainty among the competitors,
-

so they have to
guess what
the
actual

stra
tegy really is; quickly filling up the gaps in the undeveloped segments by
targeted products or services; gaining access to the supply chain by add
-
on products or
services. All the actions should be sharp, fast and causing confusion for
the
competitor
s
.

3.1.2

D
ifferentiation

It is considered to be the most effective way to apply indirect approach by means of
differentiating the components of marketing mix. Differentiation should be considered
in such areas as customer service (including faster delivery, after pu
rchase follow
-
up,
packaging, management training, etc.) and intangibles as reliability, reputation, prestige

and

value. Even when the competitors’ products may seem identical, differentiation in
the areas stated above

will add up to the overall image of th
e product and the company

in general.

-

14
-

3.1.3

Concentration

Concentration is an important part of the marketing strategy, following up the indirect
approach and differentiation. Its success is determined by the ability to distract
competitor and seek out an oppor
tunity in

a

developing segment. But it is important to
take into consideration that concentration is effective only to extend one can
successfully differentiate from the competitor
s
.

3.2

Marketing mix

Taking

all that

in
to consideration
,
it’s time

to proceed t
o marketing mix, as a core
structure under development of the marketing strategy.
Marketing mix is usually
composed of so
-
called 4P components


Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Every of
the four primary components suggest strategy possibilities. For e
xample, it is extremely
helpful when comparing performance of the company to the competitors’ one to
determine is the chosen strategy is the most suitable one. The table below is providing a
guideline for creating a strategy out of a marketing mix.
(Paley, 2007 p. 51)

The basis, when working with the marketing mix, is to effectively determine the factors
that can possibly become a distinctive competitive advantage on the market.

For example, a company should select a feature of
an
offered product or service that a
competitor cannot match, put quality and service as a general priority and try to focus
on premium priced segment. Maintaining a market
-
driven orientation it is easier f
or the
company to establish long
-
lasting relationships with customers through timely
identifying and fulfilling their needs and wants.

Constant investigation of opportunities, which can contribute to the long
-
lasting goals
,
like, for example, new exportin
g situation, is a must. Timely investigation of the
opportunities may as well result in the identification of the emerging niche on the
market and lead to successful expansion.
(Paley, 2007 pp. 52
-
53)

“In the marketing
discipline, the Internet serves as a distribution channel,
communication medium and fertile ground for new products. It has also lowered
marketing costs and put tremendous downward price pressure on products sold
online”

(P. K
otler, 2005 p. 148)

-

15
-


Established and old
-
school marketing practices are not rejected with the technological
advancement
, they are being adopted
. Now they are being used

on a different scale, as
globalization has brought a lot more space for the activi
ties.


Product

Price

Promotion

Distribution

Quality

Features

Options

Style

Brand name

Packaging

Sizes

Services

Warranties

Returns

Versatility

Uniqueness

Utility

Reliability

Durability

Patent
protection

Guarantees

List price

Discounts

Allowances

Payment
period

Credit terms

Advertising:

-

Customer and
trade

Personal selling:

-

Incentives

-

Sales aids

-

Samples

-

Training

Sales promotion:

-

Demonstrations

-

Contests

-

Premiums

-

Coupons

-

Manuals

Telemarketing

Internet

Publicity

Channels:

-

Direct sales
force

-

Distribution

-

Dealer
s

Market coverage:

-

Warehouse
locations

-

Inventory
control
systems

-

Physical
transport


Table
1
: Creating strategies out of the marketing mix

Conclusion

Marketing strategies take their routes in military and differentiate into direct,

indirect,
envelopment, bypass and guerrilla attacks. Having those five basic military principles in
head, it is possible to combine them into an actionable plan.

For example, indirect
approach implies using an element of surprise towards the competitors c
onfusing them
with the taken actions while targeting the low
-
competitive or emerging segments of the
market. Strategy of differentiation infers excelling the competitor increasing reliability,
prestige and value. Concentration is about distracting a compet
itor to seek out an
-

16
-

opportunity in undeveloped segment. When determining a strategy marketing mix
elements should be taken into consideration


product, price, place and promotion.
Analysis of those basic components helps to determine a distinctive advanta
ge over the
competitor.


-

17
-

4

Website as a main tool of online marketing strategy

4.1

Building a successful website

“The number one myth is ‘Build it and they will come’
.” Richard Kauffman

As
alrea
dy
mentioned in

the previous chapters, the most important fact
of the
modern
Internet is that the
customer
is

in charge. In
this respect, a website should be

a
totally
customer oriented
platform used for

providing

a
no
-
pressure sales environment and
a
thoughtful choice making process.
The key to the websites’ success
lies in the
understanding of its customer and his or her
p
references.

“Characteristics of the best websites:

1.

Easy to use

2.

Meets visitor expectations

3.

Communicates visually”

(Wheeler, 2009 p. 153)

A good website is an effective sequel of the overall company’s marketing and PR policy
that is evolving with the company’s growth. Its success on the Internet is determined by
careful planning and strong goal targeting, including the mechanisms of goals
ac
hievement.
(Wheeler, 2009 pp. 188
-
189)



Initiate plan

Build groundwork

Launch project

Prepare content

Design and program

Develop database

Prototype and test

Launch

Monitor success

Figure
3
: "P
rocess: Onli
ne Branding Site"

-

18
-

If the website is being planned not “like everyone else has”, but based on the careful
examination of th
e business and its target audience
, the first step
has

to

be

determining

the
goals. Identification process starts from identifying current brand and PR problems
and proceeds to setting targets and milestones. A very important part of website
planning process is
the
conduction of the Internet marketing analysis, seeing usage
statist
ics and validating ROI
1

results of the old website or the competitors’ ones. The
outcomes of the analysis will help to determine the specifics of the demand on
businesses products or services online.

After reviewing status of assets and current standards,

a marketing concept of the
website should be created.

“Marketing concept is a philosophy that an organization should try to provide
products that satisfy customers’ needs through a coordinated set of activities that
also allows the organization to achiev
e its goals. Customer satisfaction is the major
focus of the marketing concept. To implement the marketing concept, an
organization strives to determine what buyers want and uses this information to
develop satisfying products.”

(O.C. Ferrell, 2006 p. 11)

Marketing concept is the key factor to determine the interaction tactics between
customer and the selling website, implying the conversion of
a random visitor to a

potential customer. Therefore, scrupulous development of t
he concept is crucial for high
efficiency and high ROI of the website.

Taking into consideration the fact that Internet users do not perceive open, touting
advertisement positively, marketing concept implies unobtrusive but understandable
promotion, as a
part of the content, design and overall idea of the website. The main
purpose of this
unostentatious

promotion is to give a visitor a clear understanding of the
object of advertisement in an indi
rect way, without graphical or
text
ual

overloading.

Having t
he concept and the overall image of the website in mind, a preliminary budget
and timeline should be created before the launch of the project.
A
gain, a
n important part
of the project launch is
the
definition of the
future
ROI measurements.
Main question
he
re is
how to classify and measure the return on the invested money



if the website is
not an e
-
co
mmerce type, no transactions will

be conducted through the Internet, and



1

ROI


Return on Investment

-

19
-

therefore gathering statistics about website efficiency is complicated. Nevertheless,

it is
possible to estimate ROI by comparing the current outcome of the website and its ability
to fulfill the set goals with the future results. Attention sh
ould be paid to the questions
“Have the sales increased?”, “I
s there any feedback from visitors?

and, the most
important one “I
s the increase in traffic followed by the increase of sales?”



One of the most important steps in improving your site's ranking in Google search
results is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information that includes r
elevant
keywords, used appropriately, that indicate the subject matter of your content.


(Google, 2012)

The best example of
good content is

daily

news. They should be updated frequently,
checked thoroughly and be timely. In add
ition, the text itself should be written according
to the KISS
1

principle



short and simple
.

The information should be classified and
structured
-
descriptions are best perceived in text, accompanied by illustrations if
needed, and numbers are more
understandable in tables or graphs.


Moreover, there are specific indicators used to evaluate the quality of the content as
perceived by the search engines, such as page headers relevance, stop words, words
density, outbound links, etc. Those indicators wi
ll be described in more details in the
Chapter 5 “Tools and methods of website analysis”.

The designing and programming process should start from the identification of the

interface and navigation styl
e as well, as definition of the website
system function
ality.
Functionality and design of the website form a harmonic and simple
tandem, creating

a
comfortable and intuitive interface.

There is an unofficial web
-
design rule concerning the navigation of the website


“The
Rule of Three Clicks”. It implies that

a visitor should be able to find

all

the necessary
information only in three mouse clicks through
out

the website. Though the rule is
unoffici
al, it gives a perfect image

about how simple and comprehensible the website
should be organized.

“The relation be
tween visual consistency and site identity is complex because visual
consistency is not a unitary construct. Visual consistency varies along multiple
dimensions or features such as logo, page layout, background, and color scheme.



1

KISS


keep it short and simple

-

20
-

Conceivably, individual fe
atures of sites could be used to make site identity judgment
in a number of ways. The notion considered here

is that multiple features are
considered in site identity judgments, but that some features, notably the logo, are
given more weight than other fea
tures.


(C.P.Haugtvedt, 2005 p. 290)

I will omit the part describing the technical aspects of the website development, even
though it is also a component of the success and is essential for the search engine
promotion, I
do not consider it to be relevant to this topic. Nevertheless, when the
website is finished and launched, the assessment of usage trends and reports comes in
hand to identify the frequency of content updates and functional advances and upgrades.

4.2

Analyzing
a website

4.2.1

First glance

When opening a new website, I asses it by 5 major characteristics


appearance, content,
functionality, website usability and, the least obvious, optimization. The appearance of
the website is the first thing giving a major

impression over its topic, main target and
general message it spreads.

In

my personal opinion, it should be neat, clean and comprehensible. Content of the
website is the mean of transferring information to the mass, its core value and reason of
visiting,

therefore, it should be kept short and simple, giving all the necessary meaning
in lesser amount of words. Functionality allows the visitor to navigate in a search of
needed content, so it should also be simple and clear, easily comprehensible for the fir
st
-
time visitor.

Usability shows the friendliness of the website to its visitors, meaning short
scrolling, fast
-
loading pages and browser compatibility. And the least obvious part,
optimization stands for perception of the website by search engines.

A rem
ark should be made here, that in the run for the search engine rankings, owners of
the websites may neglect the stated above characteristics and modify the website to
acquire high rank, but lower the possibility of first positive impression from the websit
e.
By saying so I mean adding hidden text, overloading content with keywords or adding
unnecessary big amount of external and internal links.

-

21
-

4.2.2

Obtainable

indicators

When analyzing the given website, the first look should be devoted to the history of the
we
bsite and its description, time of loading, authority and trustworthy in “the eyes” of
the search engines, amount of the indexed pages, amount of outer links to the website as
well as a
mount of the referrals from
social networks, etc.

All of those indicato
rs are
easily obtainable online and are widely

used for the assessment of
competitors’
websites.

One of the things to look at is
the
h
istory of the website
. It

starts from

careful choosing
and
obtaining the domain name. It is easy to check the date and th
e time of the creation,
as the general information about the domain is public and
easy
obtainable

through the
Internet.

Though speed of the modern Internet allows not
paying

attention to the overall “weight”
of the webpage, or graphics in particular, anymore, it is
however
still

important to pay
attention to the loading speed of the website.
For the estimation of the loading time I
have used the Internet connection provided o
n Vinarska Halls of Residence by “99 Voice
and Data Services”
1
; the Aneta system website
2

claims the speed of Internet to vary with
100Mbit

at most.

The other easy obtainable online indicator is the website ranking among the other
portals in the search re
sults. For example,
Google PR is one of the algorithms of page
ranking. Every page is being assigned a numbered indicator, showing the “importance”
of the webpage in comparison to others. The more links from other “authoritative”
resources the website has,

the better, the higher the PR ranking is. The number of the
assigned ranking can vary from 0 to 10, but the exact meaning and the algorithms of the
calculation is not spread by Google.

But not all of the pages of the website may be taken to the search en
gine index due to
various, sometimes not stated, reasons.
T
herefore, t
he amount of indexed pages

indicator

shows how many pages are taken into account by Google bots. It does not
reveal as much information as other indicators,
but
just might indicate the p
roblem with
search engine filtering pages with not unique content, for example
.




1

Information about the provider was obtained on the website
http://www.speedtest.net/

2

https://www.pks.muni.cz/pripojeni.php#english

-

22
-

Links and referrals are
also
connected to the “trustworthy” of the website


the more
links from big and frequently updated portals with unique information
, the better. This
in
cludes referrals from
social media websites,
such
as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,
Google+,
and LiveJournal. I
f the information on the w
ebsite goes

viral, it is

possible to
spot it through a

rapid

increase of
ext
ernal links and referrals
.

4.2.3

Statistics

When cr
eating a website, one can request a creation of the custom content management
system or chose the most suitable for the purposes of the webs
ite available online
systems, like WordPress, Drupal or
Joomla. Popular and user
-
friendly systems usually
provide
th
e owner of the website with

statistics that helps to evaluate performance.

In the case

an owner wants to use the external system f
or analysis, he or she can turn

to
online services
such
as Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a service provided by
Google

Inc.

t
o help website owners to measuring

sales and conversions,
to
tra
ck how
visitors see and use the

website,
or to see
where
did they come from and what
they

are

searching for. Due to the powerful reporting system, Googl
e Analytics gives a webmaster
the

ability to view info
rmation in the default mode or
customize
d

reports to get

only

the
information
the

webmaster needs.

The reporting system gives an insight of which parts of the website are performing well
and achieving the set goals, for providing the
best experience for the visitors. The new
feature that was introduced recently

allows tracking success of
social media promotion
as well, through monitoring the behavior of the visitors with social networks sharing
buttons. So, as it is clearly seen, Googl
e Analytics can provide some valuable insights to
the performance of the website and revealing its potential.

Conclusion

First step to the online promotion is building a successful website which is easy to
use,

which

meets
visitors’

expectations and commu
nicates visually. To do that
nine basic
steps should be taken: planning, conducting groundwork, launching the project,
developing databases, designing and programming, creating content, testing prototype,
launching the website and monitoring success. Every

visitor is assessing the website
according to his or her expectations and the overall satisfaction is determined by five
basic elements: appearance, content, functionality, usability and optimization. Users of
-

23
-

the website are not the only one assessing it
s performance, there are also rankings
provided by search engines based on the previously determined trustworthy of the
website. To statistically analyze performance of the website one can use already built it
the content management system statistics or re
fer to the outer services like Google
Analytics.



-

24
-

5

Limitations of the study

Primary objective of the thesis
, as stated in the official description, is “
to analyze the
Internet marketing strategies of international retailer companies and to investigate
mod
ern trends of Internet marketing

.
Initially there was a risk of international
companies’

unwillingness of revealing the
information about

their performance online
which
actually became true.

According to the methods stated in the description, I have crea
ted a questionnaire to
collect the statistical information needed for the analysis. But having no possibility to
use it for the initial purpose,
I have modified it in a way
,

that it targeted not

the
success

of the companies’ marketing strategy, but
the

use
rs’ perc
eption of the website as the
core item of the marketing strategy.
This information is less accurate but, a sufficient
sample of participants assumed, still a qualified indicator.

Also, poor availability of information about the given sample of
websites, forced me t
o
mainly focus and statistical analysis of the blog as a medium of the modern internet

and
its formulation

and creati
on of

an overall image of the international retailor companies
in the minds of potential clients.

In this case, along
side with the general investigation of the publically available
information about the websites of the international retailor companies, a research about
the popularity, availability and range of influence of a particular blog was conducted. I
consider it t
o be a reviewing of the small item under a magnifier to understand the trend
and be able

to model the overall tendency.




PART I
I


-

26
-

6

Websites assessment

Profiling

of the international retailor companies’ sample is
due to the just mentioned
limitations restricted

to

the publically available
and obtainable
information
1
.
Nevertheless, it gives an opportunity to have an insight on the general character
istics o
f
the websites.

6.1

Sample overview

Websites of eight top personal computers producers were taken as a sample for the
investigation. Market, separated between Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sony and
Toshiba is being watched closely, as the competition i
s tight.
The figure
2

below
illustrates the market share held by vendors in personal computer shipment. The data is
ranged from first quarter of 2010 to first quarter of 2013.


Figure
4
: "Global market share held by leading PC ven
dors"

As it is seen on the graphic, Hewlett
-
Packard is leading in the amount of personal
computer shipment if the first quarter of 2013, closely followed by Lenovo. The middle
place in the amount of shipment is taken by Dell and Acer, both facing slight de
cline in



1

Some of the information used in profiling was taken from
http://www.cy
-
pr.com/

2

Source:
http://www.statista.com/statistics/163767/global
-
market
-
share
-
of
-
pc
-
vendors/


0.00
2.00
4.00
6.00
8.00
10.00
12.00
14.00
16.00
18.00
20.00
Q1
2010
Q2
2010
Q3
2010
Q4
2010
Q1
2011
Q2
2011
Q3
2011
Q4
2011
Q1
2012
Q2
2012
Q3
2012
Q4
2012
Q1
2013
Acer
Asus
Dell
HP
Lenovo
Toshiba
-

27
-

the shipments. And the last place is shared by Toshiba and Asus, slowly increasing their
sales.

6.2

Personal evaluation

For the purpose of this thesis, an overview of major personal computer vendors’
websites was conducted.
For easier comprehension
and comparison, all the obtaine
d
information

was merged

in the table below
. The first glance assessment was done in five
steps; each of the characteristics was assigned
a numerical meaning composing
20% at
most.

To assess the appearance of the given websi
tes, attention

has been paid

to the
conformity of the colors used in t
he design (
distracting or annoying
)
; to the clarity of the
text, presence and variability of illustrative graphics and simplicity of the page overload.

The main indicators of good conte
nt are clarity, simplicity and up
-
to
-
datedness. As it ha
s

been already stated in the previous chapters, content should not be overloaded with
keywords, links or anything else distracting from the perception of the
relevant

information.
The
short
er
,
more
or
ganized,
more
updated and
more user
-
friendly
content
, the more points were granted
.

Maximum points for the functionality were given to fast and error
-
free websites, ac
ross
hyperlinks, contact forms and website internal search.

High scores for usability were assigned in case a website is simple, consistent and
prominent. Meaning not much time is required for getting to the desired information


fast scrolling, descriptive links, and sufficient local navigation. It is also importa
nt that
the website is
consistent

in

all the modern browsers and has a mobile or pad light
version.

Website gained search engine optimization high scores if it had plenty of content written
in HTML format, used descriptive links and successfully passed a
markup validation test
provided by W3C
1
.






1

The World Wide Web Consortium
-

http://validator.w3.org/

-

28
-


Ace
r

Appl
e

Asu
s

Dell

HP

Lenov
o

Sony

Toshib
a

First glance

Appearance

Pleasant
colors

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Text clarity

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Illustrative
graphics

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Total
, %

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

Content

Clarity and
organizatio
n

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Up
-
to
-
datedness

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Keyword
overloaded

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

Total
, %

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

Functionalit
y

Error
-
free

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Total
, %

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

Usability

Convenient
navigation

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Mobile
version

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Total
, %

10

10

10

20

10

20

10

0

SEO

W3C, errors

88

3

86

908

24

60

191

81

Descr. links

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

Total
, %

14

10

15

0

20

7

0

5

Total
, %

84

80

85

80

90

87

70

65

Obtainable indicators

Loading time

1.58s

1.19s

1.47s

2.53s

2.05
s

2.8s

1.69s

2.28s

Google Page Rank

7
/10

9/10

7/10

8/10

9/10

7/10

7/10

6/10

Webpages in index

8 530

142k

432k

1390
k

405k

4 930k

2070
0

20k

-

29
-

Table
2
: "Sample profile"

The table above illustrates
the assessment conducted by myself
, based on the 5 major
criteria.
As it was concluded in the theoretical part, one of the major focuses of the
marketing is customers’ satisfaction.
This is quite difficult to measure online. In order to
be able to do so,
I have conducted a sample survey with
sufficient amount of
responden
ts
.
The questionnaire can be found in the Appendix.
I think it is essential to
state
, that the questionnaire is not aimed to receive and capture a reaction on the
interface, making the poll just a measure of the usability, as for measuring that, one also
n
eeds assessment of the users’ ability to fulfill their tasks on the website.

6.3

Visitors perception

Before proceeding to the evaluation of the survey results, several words should be said
about the respondents’ profile. All of the respondents, who took part
in the survey, are
from 18 to 25 years old, both males and females, mainly international students studying
abroad.
Respondents were asked to visit websites one
-
at
-
a
-
time and choose the most
appropriate, according to their own opinion, adjective to characte
rize the website. There
were 24 adjectives listed, more than one were available to be chosen. List of the
adjectives was shuffled for every question to avoid “clicking through” responses. The list
was as follows:

“High
-
quality, business
-
like, messy, distra
cting, convenient, accessible, slow, consistent,
trustworthy, time
-
saving, useless, comprehensible, organized, appealing, clean, clear,
time
-
consuming, simple, frustrating, advanced, ordinary, effective and user
-
friendly”.

Offering a website to the public
is very much alike with offering a new product.
Nevertheless, it is a contribution to the branding of the company itself.
The

survey
supports the assumption

that the perception of the website can influence the purchasing
decision of a potential client.

As

illustrated on the figure below, respondents consider a website to be an influential
factor, what makes it a very important part of the marketing online.
28% of the
respondents said that visiting the website will influence their decision for sure and 40%
replied that it will most surely influence it.

-

30
-


Figure
5
: "May
visiting

retailor'

website influence your purchase decision?
"

The next interesting general thing to discover is the correspondence of the website to
the perception of the brand itself. In the modern world one may first go online to check
out the information about the product he or she is about to purchase, in this ca
se the
website may be supporting or contradicting to the already created perception of the
brand.

I wanted to find out if the websites of the international retailor companies correspond to
the initial brand image respondents already have. As the survey ha
s shown,

in general,

44% of the visitors were
almost sure the website image corresponds, whereas 32%
could not reply this question, as shown on the graphical illustration below.

8%

12%

12%

40%

28%

No, not at all
Probably not
I don't know
Probably yes
Yes, surely
-

31
-


Figure
6
: "
Does your perception of the website
correspond to your perception of the brand?
"

So, after figuring out the general tendency, there is one more important thing to pay
attention to. In the questionnaire, the respondents were given an option to fill in their
own opinion on the given website, i
f the bank of words was not enough to describe their
perception.
Omitting the response “Never used it”, given by one of the respondents to
every single offered website, some of the comments were revealing the attitude very
good.

11%

11%

30%

22%

26%

No, not at all
Probably not
I don't know
Probably yes
Yes, surely
-

32
-


Figure
7
: "Comparison of the websites' characteristics"

The figure above is the illustration to the results of the questionnaire on the attitude to
the websites. Though most of the websites share key characteristics, it gives an
opportunity to have an ins
ight on the most outstanding, as of the point of view of the
respondents, features and forms the general idea of the “ideal” website, again, according
to the respondents. So, the “ideal” website of the international retailor company should
be of the high q
uality, organized, simple and user
-
friendly, nevertheless it should be
effective, clear and business
-
like.

As for the individual characteristics, I
will give

a quick
summary on

the evaluation of
each of the websites.

Acer

website is considered to be simp
le, organized and user
-
friendly by majority of the
respondents’ votes. Nevertheless, several of them were not satisfied with the overall
simplicity. For example:

“It’s
comprehensive to a fault. Too many options presented. Its aesthetics are pleasing
but t
he overall layout and design doesn't exactly make it too easy to navigat
e”

Or:


The colors and the confusing outline make it seem really untrustworthy and cheap.
(Needs more strong colors like dark
-
blue).


0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
Accessible
Advanced
Appealing
Business-like
Clean
Clear
Comprehensive
Consistent
Convenient
Distracting
Effective
Frustrating
High quality
Messy
Ordinary
Organized
Simple
Slow
Time-consuming
Time-saving
Trustworthy
Usable
Useless
User-friendly
Acer
Apple
Asus
Dell
HP
Lenovo
Sony
Toshiba
-

33
-

Apple

website was considered to be of

high
-
quality

by the absolute majority of votes,
adding up with the positive comment:


Clean, clear and concise. Represe
nts the Apple design philosophy


Nevertheless, some of the comments were negatively describing the
design, reflecting on
the too big picture in the m
iddle and too small text in the menus.
E
very detail matters,
and taking into consideration the possibility of purchase decision change after visiting a
website, it makes it not the least matter to consider. One
issue that was mentioned was
the lack of a mu
lti
-
language landing page
:

“Considering h
igh Hispanic population and customers worldwide, Apple should
consider multi
-
languages upfront on home page rather than going region wise


As for the
Asus

website, the votes split between ordinary and organized char
acteristics,
supported by the good search of products and very well regional distribution network
praising comments.

Dell
’s main characteristic, according to the visitors was “effective”. The supporting
comment to that is:


A really clean and effective de
sign. No
-
nonsense

approach. Straight to business”

Hewlett
-
Packard

website is considered to be simple, visually appealing and functional.


All the important options made available and clear from the get
-
go. Easy to
navigate and the overall click
-
flow is fr
ee of hassles. You can easily land up where you
want to go.


Alongside with the positive perception of the website, there is a very strong
motive that
well organized and understandable website is too simplified and, therefore, boring.

Votes on the
Lenovo

website have split between distracting, ordinary and usable
features. The main reason of confusion was highlighted in the comments:


Good comparison of models, but no images of products

(to see how they look)”

Sony

website is considered to be well organiz
ed and called by the respondents to be
“one of the best
-
looking websites”
:


Pertinent information and links made easily available, visually pleas
ing and an
accessible interface”

-

34
-

Sony not only earned praise
for the pleasant and convenie
nt usability, but als
o for giving
the

abilit
y to compare different products:


“Has

photos of products from different sides and different color variations.


The most confusing website for the respondents was
one of
Toshiba
.

None of the
provided characteristics gained the majori
ty of the votes, allowing getting the main idea
of what respondents thought of it.


Meh. It

s all over the

place. Doesn't exactly scream ‘High End Computer
Manufacturer’.

I'd skip this one.


This is the perfect illustration of the website’s negative influ
ence on the respondent to
the extent of unwillingness to evaluate it. None of the comments left by the visitors were
positive, indicating that the overall impression of the website was negative. Another
testimony to illustrate it:


Inconsistent, when choos
ing product category (e
.
g. laptop) moves to other web
-
page
http://www.toshibadirect.com/. This is inconvenient if one would like to check
products in different divisions (e
.
g. home, business products, etc.)


The overall

conclusion about the results of the
poll

can be stated as follows
.
It is a well
-
known fact, that the brand is one of the most important things a company should invest
in. It works approximately the same as income from the deposit account in the bank,
with the only difference that a return fr
om the investment comes in the form of positive
long
-
term attitude of the customers. And if to take into consideration, that brand is
having a big influence on the purchasing behavior of the potential client, trust to the
brand is very important.

The resu
lt of the survey have given a short insight on the behavior of the website
visitors, that can be summarized, as positive impact of the website influences not only
the one
-
time purchase decision in most of cases, but also the overall image of the
company’s
brand.

Conclusion

Websites of the top 8 personal computers producers were taken for the investigation.
Due to the lack of information, investigation was conducted in two major steps: personal
evaluation according to the criteria discussed in theoretical p
art and survey conducted
-

35
-

among the potential users of those websites.
Respondents ranged from 18 to 25 years
old, both sexes, majority of international students studying abroad. The main conclusion
made according to the results of the survey stated that a
website is an influential factor
that can potentially change the purchase decision upon visiting.


-

36
-

7

Blog
’s assessment

According to the research of Technorati Media, consumers consider product description
and blogs to be the top factors in influencing their

purchase decision. In fact, the result of
the research concludes that blogs overviews tend to mean more for the potential
customers, that word of mouth from a friend. 28% of more than 1200 respondents
consider a positive review in a blog to be the decidin
g factor, leaving friends’
recommendation on the second place with 17% of votes.
(2013)

It suggests that customers tend to trust online testimonies of bloggers who have used
the product more, than to the information on the
official websites. It put blogs to the
very influential position and therefore, I offer focus and statistically analyze the blog, as
the medium of the modern internet.

7.1

Overview

For the purpose of investigation, I have selected a website “
Living in Brno | W
here to go
in Brno, clubs, pubs, restaurants, and any other places that you should take a look a
t it”.
It is a non
-
commercial
English language
blog with a sufficient potential, describing
places
foreign
students can visit in Brno.

It is a popular website
among the students of Vinarska Halls of Residence, giving an
exhaustive overview of the places of interest in Brno, currently promoted mainly
through the Facebook social network. The updates are posted regularly, including not
only the overview of the plac
es, but also the description of the events.

The owner of the website, Jomar Bustamante, has kindly given me a permission to look
into the websites’ statistics to evaluate its performance and suggest online marketing
strategy, if possible.


-

37
-


Figure
8
:"Living in Brno"

The website was created on September 2012 and is successfully functioning for eight
month, with the average of 275.5 views per month. It contains 29 posts, 2 pages,
summarized in 8 categories and marked with 54 t
ags. It is also accompanied with a
social network profile, created in September as well, for easier popularization among
students. So far, it has 435 likes, 5 people talking about it with the engagement rate of
1.1%.

Going back to the blog, its loading ti
me is
2.549s

of
82
7kb
1
, Google Page Rank is 0 out of
10 with 134 indexed pages
2
.

The website has pleasant colors; text is clear and very well illustrated by graphics. The
content is up
-
to
-
date, not overloaded by keywords, but not unique, what might affect

the
overall trustworthy of the blog. It has only 5 errors, according to W3C, what is an
indicator of a quality content management system.
The navigation is clear and
convenient, with the sufficient mobile version of the blog.




1

Information obtained from
http://www.webpagetest.org/result/130417_X3_RJV/

2

http://w
ww.google.ru/search?q=site%3Alivingbrno.wordpress.com&filter=0&ie=UTF
-
8&oe=UTF
-
8

-

38
-

7.2

Statistics


Figure
9
: "Visitors per month"

Visitors are the most important indicator of the website success.
As illustrated on the
figure above, the interest to the website was totally dependent on the holiday’s schedule,
which is easily explained by the overall theme and topic of the
blog and supported by
the search words used to find a website, as “living in Br
no”, “Two Faces”, “Mandarin
club”, “life in Brno” and “I love living in Brno”.

The next figure illustrates tendency of the website visiting per day. The numbers are
obtained by the sum of views per month divided by the amount of days. It is showing the
int
erest to the website at the particular day throughout the eight month of the website
existence.
The graphic is also reflecting the pattern of decreasing interest to the website
during the holidays, when students go home. In this case, it is indicating one
of the
specific features of target audience, that should be taken into consideration when
analyzing the website during summer month.


0
100
200
300
400
500
600
September
October
November
December
January
February
March
April
-

39
-


Figure
10
: "Average visitors per day"