By rolling their activities through simple instructions describing the business, organisations did not emphasise the importance of information in the past. However, information has gradually gained significance overtime, thus receiving management’s attention just like other resources within the firm. Information availability has helped organisations analyse market behaviour by comparing different historical data, as well as other market players in order to assist in devising strategic plans that can act as benchmark for penetrating the market. Clearly, pieces of information add significant value to any organisation if the management uses it to increase sales and profit. Advancement in technology in the 21st century has drastically altered the manner in which businesses operate (Bearden et al., 2011).
For instance, the internet has been active in assisting businesses to reach their customers with ease. Notably, the online platform has eliminated agents and ensured direct interaction with customers. In this process, organisations are able to receive and act based on customers’ feedback on their products and services. With high rates of dynamism in the marketing field, firms have been forced to alter their marketing strategies constantly in order to continue impressing and maintaining the loyalty of their clienteles.
Role of Information in Business
The aspect of globalisation has made businesses form a ‘global village;’ this has increased the rate of information exchange in many organisations. Information, just like other resources within a firm makes organisations register high sales and profit, keep records of sales, ratio analyses, cash flow and inventory flow. In addition, society uses information to confirm if an organisation adheres to law and fulfils the corporate social responsibilities.
Information in Business
With businesses operating in an uncertain future, decision theory identifies best alternatives that organisations can use. Clearly, information provides clear forecasting for organisations; therefore, it enables business to operate in cases of uncertainty. To make crucial decisions during the periods of uncertainty, managers have to rely on reliability of documented information in order to ensure continuity in business operations. Benchmarking and forecasting are crucial in determining the future of an organisation, hence there arises the need for strategic planning to outline measures of attaining strategic objectives amidst the uncertainty (Knight, 2012). The information about the company’s past is essential in defining its future.
For instance, past sales information can assist managers in determining their shares of the market, thus helping to increase sales if they are not satisfying. Investigations on previous performance help managers analyse the previous strategies that made the company report either unsatisfactory or satisfactory results. After vivid analyses, managers are able to recommend right paths or avoid bad routes. Managers have to comprehend the firm’s previous marketing performance to determine its capability to meet the needs of the customers. Rationality in decision-making is highly possible if the management board has adequate and relevant information on the company. Such pieces of information do not only have to be available and adequate, but also relevant and consistent in order to give clear path for businesses to follow in future.
Enhances Knowledge of the Organisation
Documented information helps new employees, as well as incoming managers to acquire knowledge of the organisation; it helps in successful orientation of employees in understanding processes, goals and culture of the organisation. Moreover, company information assists managers in understanding the bargaining power of competitors, suppliers and consumers in the marketplace. Managers have to communicate their companies’ past performance, such as the asset level to new entrants in order to comprehend the companies’ targets.
The digital era has made information storage and retrieval easier than before. For example, there are computer hardware and software designed to manage information of firms. These software designs enable sharing of files among persons within the organisation. Before the advent of computers, file system could lose vital documents containing information about organisations (Meyerson & Scarborough, 2008). In addition, files were hectic to manage, and stored information could be destroyed with time. These information systems are convenient, thus making it easy for managers to decide on the future of their firms, as they can use analytical software to guide them in various decisive options.
Role of Information in the Business Environment
A business environment comprises of external and internal actors. In the external environment, there are consumers, distributors, suppliers, government and competitors. These actors require information that represents the performance of a business, changes in policies, and changes in management. Without providing information to the external actors, there is likely to be disharmonious co-existence within the organisation with the stakeholders. Data, such as financial statements, is vital to consumers and suppliers to determine whether a company’s future is guaranteed or not. Such information affects stakeholders’ confidence with the firm. Financial institutions, however, require company’s information to develop legal engagement with the company.
For example, banks can only give companies loans if the financial statements reflect their capabilities to repay, and availability of security or other alternative for payment in case of default (Ryan & Jones, 2009). Such data must show the assets value, past loan repayment legacy, and proof for the existence of the legacy. Governmental bodies also require companies’ information to determine whether they are remitting the correct amount of tax, and establish if the firm is meeting the interest of society or not, like in environmental protection. This is a form of consumer and societal protection by the government, as it can arise due to ignorance.
Using online platforms, organisations can market themselves using information on their performance. Facebook marketing, mobile commerce, internet marketing, and Twitter are some of the popular platforms that organisations are currently using to market their services and products. The cost effective aspect of the internet marketing has made many businesses to use it. This marketing option requires from the company’s site to identify itself with different directories and search engines in order to create traffic to the site (Meyerson & Scarborough, 2008).
At the same time, a database containing customers’ email addresses helps in linking consumers with the company. This ensures constant updates on company’s products and services. For continuous dominance in terms of competitive advantage, a company has to buy the online ads. Information in the site must not only be fascinating to attract customers, but also be relevant, reliable and credible. Organised information that truly reflects the nature of a firm frequently attracts customers.
Impact of information on marketing strategy
Activities that a company engages in form the components of the organisation’s information. The company can use these pieces of information to entice consumers to purchase their products. Therefore, a company’s information must have evidence to convince customers fully to alter their purchasing behaviour. Such information presents the company’s strengths, thus linking them to the existing opportunities in the market in order to achieve competitive advantage over its competitors. Marketers have to have wealth of information on a product during the process of introduction in the market to the extinction period. This forms the product Life Cycle; it demands for the supply of accurate information to take the product through the cycle (Wind & Mahajan 2001).
In order to choose a right marketing strategy, firms have to evaluate and select the most appropriate strategies that are market oriented. To analyse the situations, market information that is available in the marketing department should be used. Markedly, the analysis assesses the experiences marketers get when they introduce the company’s products to customers. Evaluation also compares the current market trends to the marketing information that a firm possesses. Evaluation is significant in determining the benefits of introducing a new product into the market as it is or applying some modifications to align it with market needs. Decision on what is the best marketing strategy to use depends on marketing evaluation. To come to the right strategy, a firm has to acquire information on the past strategies in order to determine whether there is the need to either modify or replicate it.
Role of Information in Competitive Advantage
Organisations always target to gain competitive advantage in their fields and maintain sustainability. This process requires acquiring information about the competitors, their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses. At the same time, a company has to provide relevant information on its products or services to ensure sustainability in the market. Competitive advantage deals with varied components like effective operations, differentiation, innovation, and cost leadership. Companies like Apple and BMW have maintained differentiation strategy in their products, even though their prices are higher compared to their competitors.
Quality production and product differentiation have seen these companies to get customers even with relatively low prices of their competitors like Samsung and Toyota respectively. The Pepsi Company has applied the cost leadership strategy in which it cuts prices of its brands in order to compete with its main competitor, The Coca-Cola Company. These firms have done careful analysis of the market. Innovation can also give the firm a competitive advantage only if a thorough study on the company’s system is carried out to determine what to include or remove.
This is vital in ensuring that the company’s product design process remains above that of its competitors. Differentiation strategy involves producing unique products by blending existing products or creating new brands (Wind & Mahajan 2001). For proper product differentiation, a company has to assess or acquire information on the feasibility status of the expected brand. Further, the level of a company’s effectiveness in its operations determines whether it can stay ahead of its competitors or not. Notably, to develop an efficient internal system, employees must understand the production chain processes of the firm. This kind of efficiency also saves a lot of cost of operation.
Impact of information on consumer Behaviour
Emerging technological trends have changed consumer behaviours, as they tend to match with the current technology. In the past, customers used to visit physical stores to inquire about products or carry out purchases. This is not happening today. IT has greatly altered the ways people do their shopping. With the existence of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), consumers can send their purchase orders. Currently, the internet has made it possible for customers to do electronic shopping from any location at any time, and pay using electronic services like visa cards, master cards PayPal, etc.
For companies, the World Wide Web has revolutionised the market, as they only need to connect to the internet to meet their clients, highlight their products, and sell their products. In this marketing option, understanding consumer behaviour requires information that will outline the marketing plan in respect to email marketing, target market, and marketing strategy (Meyerson & Scarborough, 2008). Organisations have to have adequate information in order to understand the effect of IT on consumer behaviour, as it is a vital ingredient in designing a suitable marketing strategy.
Online Marketing Strategies
Online marketing strategies assist organisations in getting more customers, as well as increase the organisation’s branding. Marketers have to understand that with rapid dynamism, what is trendy today may not be trendy tomorrow; therefore, they have to be on the lookout for ensure that no new technology rises and goes unutilised. This aspect requires constant training of the workforce. With effective training programmes, employees become creative and are up-to-date on every change in technology, as well as consumer needs. In the online segment, marketers can use four key strategies to reach out to their customers.
Social Media Marketing
Marketers have been using social media sites to get the attention of customers and other people. The entry of social media has brought benefits that revolutionised operations in the world. This has been possible with the high rate at which businesses have been taking their services and products online in order to expand their market presence (Wind & Mahajan, 2001). Clearly, social media helps one to know the existence of products and services from organisations at cheaper cost than actual visits to business premises.
Social media sites encourage interaction and sharing of information with users. Twitter, for instance, provides a platform where companies can share links to their websites, as well as share short messages about them. The Twitter Company that has approximately 2,000 employees in offices around the world offers useful tools for organisations to encourage their employees to work towards achieving the strategic business goals and objectives (Wind & Mahajan, 2001). Employee motivation via social media occurs by including Twitter in the marketing objectives of an organisation. An organisation has to set out clear guidelines on social media usage in order to make employees’ engagement in social media beneficial to the firm.
In terms of motivation, both positive and negative reinforcements are helpful to employees. Therefore, users of this social media site develop personal level identification with the companies. Facebook is also another popular social media site; it provides a platform for describing the companies’ profile, photos, and videos. Here, readers or users can comment on the descriptions of a product to show their satisfaction or dissatisfaction (Trika, 2010). Companies can market their products effectively using this platform. Foursquare is a unique social media site that enables organisations to create pages that readers can use their electronic gadgets to check into locations. There are also Google+, You Tube, Pinterest, Delicious and Digg, and LinkedIn.
Branch is another recent social media site that focuses on in-depth conversation on the web. It is a product of the Twitter co-founders. According to the head of product, John Miller, Branch eliminates monologues that have been on the internet. The power of the internet is used to develop a discussion at home, hence removing blog posts and tweets, which have been common on the web (Wind & Mahajan, 2001). This social media site can reduce cost of holding physical meetings among corporate bodies since it will be possible to hold meetings from any location. Samsung is also on the verge of launching a social site to rival Facebook. The site dubbed “Samsung Facebook” will be available on internet-enabled devices like televisions and cameras. The availability of the site on various devices will significantly expand the social media services from different companies to other mobile podiums. The acceptance of its chat application and the ‘Family Story’ buoyed the Samsung Company towards developing the new site.
The internet marketing in 2013 is emphasising on advancement of mobile applications that are offering value to mobile users. The value will add information and new resources that clients may find useful. One of the trends in 2013 is an improvement on visualisation of data. Here, marketers make complex data visible and accessible to everyone and in a format that they can easily understand. The next trend is ‘inbound marketing’ that involves creation of content in order to attract customers to the websites.
Moreover, big brands are using game-design thinking to make users get fun when using their products. Platforms like BigDoor and Punch Tab that have been easy to use among customers can be more engaging than before if brands add fun to them (Wind & Mahajan 2001). Attribution modelling is the last trend; it entails consigning a value to the marketing activity thus resulting in a discussion. The market is witnessing continued evolution of attribution modelling. Mobile marketing is using personal mobile devices to conduct marketing activities. The numbers of people using this marketing mode are increasing at a high rate.
Marketers can also enhance their relationship with customers through e-mails. They can use emails to conduct individual marketing by sending ads, building loyalty, creating brand awareness, and soliciting for sales. Markets can send emails to inquire on new customers, increase customer relationship, and advertise products to consumers (Wind & Mahajan, 2001). This marketing option is cheap and fast, as a marketer can compose one email and send it to several customers at once. In addition, as opposed to other media, e-mail messages are highly likely to be read by receivers.
Another way of boosting a company’s image is by using blogs. Blogging involves publishing short web contents that contain information on company’s profile. Blogging messages help in marketing a company to consumers. Customers’ attempts to search for information related to the company on the internet directs them to the firms’ blog. Blogging enhances a company’s visibility to consumers, as well as among its competitors.
White Hat SEO Tactics
Use of Search Engine Optimisation is also an effective online strategy that focuses on people. SEO uses key words to advertise the popularity of the company. The traffic is obtained from editorial, natural, free, and organic listings that are available on the various search engines (Carmody, 2001). In SEO, data trends have been the key focus. Organisations desire to have many visitor clicks on their websites at all time. Trending data helps in decision-making since they give clear pictures of the occurrences.
Information remains important to organisations, and it gives firms competitive advantage in their respective fields. With this aspect, companies have developed new hardware and software to assist in storing companies’ data to increase credibility, reliability, and speed. Digital marketing ensures that a company’s information is intact, and even ensures that information reaches consumers in order to influence their purchasing behaviour. Current organisations are adopting modern marketing to remain relevant in the global, competitive and dynamic markets.
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