For any business transaction in the modern age, the internet has been that ubiquitous presence that will determine the success and connectivity of that project with the rest of the business world. As a communication tool it virtually has no rival in terms of coverage and potential for penetrating the business marketing models.
There is no serious businessman who believes that technology will not be a competitive advantage in the future. The internet is merely a manifestation of those realities. As the technology develops and new enhancements are added, there will be a debate about how marketers need to make the best use of it. Will the internet be an ally of old face to face negotiations or will it completely overtake them and make them obsolete.
The internet now dictates many of the customer relationship models that most businesses use. Customer service has been a beneficiary of internet development in as much as it has enabled businesses to link directly to their target consumers in a fast and efficient manner. It has also opened up the avenue for the customers to communicate back with their own ideas or grievances depending on the situation they find themselves in. The distribution channels between retailers and manufacturers have also not escaped this phenomenon to the extent that each chain of communication is now linked by internet based services.
The internet has the unique ability to bring together a wide variety of stake holders in the market onto the table. For instance a search engine such as Google provides the basis for individual affiliates to run marketing programs in conjunction with conduit industries such as affiliate management programs. This then feed back to retailers and manufacturers. Furthermore these relationships are not rigid in structure or hierarchical. This means that those on a lower scale can go directly to the manufacturer and are no longer trapped into strict convention. The internet is in this instance a liberating force.
The internet aims to be a democratic instrument in as much as it offers the possibility for people in ordinary situations to access vast amounts of information within the privacy of their homes. This has implications for the behavior of firms involved in business marketing. They can no longer simply assume that they are the custodians of information by right and will not be faced with questioning eyes from their consumers. Rather the opposite is now true. Any mergers, company failures and examples of good practice are promptly reported on the internet and find their way into the browsers of ordinary people.
This will then affect the ability of the big firms to control the market. A viral campaign is now able to derail a whole business marketing strategy. This is not to say that the internet has not created opportunities for business marketing. By democratizing commercial interaction, it has allowed the big companies to explore previously untapped resources and markets. The internet is not only a place to check up on the companies. It is also a place where the companies can check up on ordinary people.