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Direct to Consumer Brand Discovery

  Online Marketing Whitepaper

Online Marketing Whitepaper


The Imperfect World of Quantifying Website Traffic

Online Advertising Lingo

Necessities for Every Company with a Website

Paid Advertising

Leveraging the True Power of the Internet

Bootstrap Marketing Online


A Dated Introduction to Online Marketing*

*Note: This is the original version of a whitepaper that was authored in 2001 by iCondotta's founder and principal consultant, Stephan Aarstol. It's a useful primer, but dated - pre-Wikipedia (2001), pre-Google AdWords PPC (2002), way pre-YouTube (2005), you get the picture...

Online Market Research

If you don’t know your target markets point of view, you do not have a legitimate foundation for any other marketing element. You can’t possibly know how to market to them, how they will receive a product or service idea, or how you can improve your current offerings. Any company not doing sufficient market research is at a huge disadvantage. In the past, this disadvantage may have partially been due to a lack of financial resources. Not anymore. The Internet has leveled the playing field, and today every company should reassess their use of the powerful marketing research tools available to them.

One of the most popular business uses of the Internet is secondary market research. It has never been easier to check out your competition or target market. As the Internet matures and continues to organize into like-minded web communities, the opportunities to utilize the web for primary research are becoming more and more attractive.

The ease with which the Internet enables the collection of information has had a dramatic effect on both the speed and costs involved in many forms of market research, especially the administration of surveys. Expensive and time consuming survey administration that has traditionally been done by phone, direct mail, or face to face solicitation, can now be accomplished in much less time and at a lower expense using website and email solicitation. What historically took several weeks can now be accomplished in days or even hours.

Access to this kind of rapid, inexpensive feedback has significant implications for all businesses. Businesses that had a difficult time justifying a large cash outlay for necessary marketing research are now finding it within their budget constraints. The compressed timeframe afforded by email and Internet survey administration means that customers can now efficiently be incorporated into the decision process of your business. Have an idea? Discuss it with your internal team Monday, bounce it off your target market Tuesday, and then make a decision before the end of the week.

If you have a website with significant traffic or a large enough email list that is also representative of your target market, then administration of a survey requires very little expense thanks to inexpensive web survey application service providers like Zoomerang. If you don’t have the necessary audience, simply approach a popular site that attracts an audience representative of your target market and ask them to handle the administration of your survey.

Some useful surveys to consider include:

  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Idea testing for potential business opportunities
  • Testing the effectiveness of advertising creative before a paid placementssessing the awareness, attitude, and usage of a brand or product
  • Concept testing to determine product or service attributes to bundle
  • Pricing sensitivity surveys for a new or existing product or service
  • Product or service evaluation
  • Solicitation of product or service suggestions from your target audience
  • Web site evaluation
  • Web site visitor profiling

Of course, survey administration is only one part of a three-part process. First, a savvy market research person needs to create unbiased questions. Without unbiased questions, the results are fairly worthless and perhaps even counterproductive. Then, once the survey results have been collected, adequate analysis needs to be done. Nonetheless, the administration component has traditionally been the most expensive and time consuming part. Not anymore.

In addition to surveys, the proliferation of topic focused web communities has also facilitated the process of recruiting participants for focus groups and other market research initiatives.

>> Creating an Email Discussion Group

Authored in 2001 by Stephan Aarstol
while Director of Business Development