A fundamental problem in researching the effectiveness of marketing mix variables, such as pricing strategy or advertising, is that of isolating them from others. This is compounded further when the effects of a variable can be indirect, or have a prolonged lag effect.
Cases in point are advertising's ability to create awareness, which might or might not lead to an immediate sale, and its lag effects. Consumers remember slogans long after campaigns have ended, and the effects of this on sales continue to intrigue researchers.
Thus, advertisers and marketers sustain their efforts in searching for ways in which returns to marketing investments generally, and communication capital in particular, can be enhanced.
This highlights the importance of establishing specific communication objectives for Websites, and for identifying measurable means of determining the success of Web ventures.
There is perhaps some solace to be gained from realizing that the Web is a lot more measurable than many other marketing communication efforts, with feedback being relatively quick, if not immediate.
The Web is characterized by ease of entry, relatively low set-up costs, globalness, time independence, and interactivity. As such, it represents a remarkable new opportunity for advertisers and marketers to communicate with new and existing markets in a very integrated way.
Many advertisers will use it to achieve hitherto undreamed of success; for others, it will be an opportunity lost and a damp squib. We hope that the process model for assessing Website efficiency will achieve more of the former condition.
From an academic perspective, the model can be used to develop research propositions concerning the maximization of Website efficiency, and using data from real Web sites, to test these propositions.
For the practitioner, the model provides a sequence of productivity measures which can be calibrated with relative ease. The challenges facing both parties, however, is to maximize the creativity that will justify advertising and marketing investments in a Web presence.
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