According to Boon and Kurtz (1999, p12) there have been four eras in the history of
marketing: the production era, the sales era, the marketing era, and the relationship era.
Up to the mid 1920s, production was the main focus of business with the view that a good
quality product would sell itself. From then till the early 1950s the emphasis changed to
focus on effective sales forces to find customers. Personal selling and advertising was seen
as the way to convince customers to buy. Later, increased competition encouraged the need
for marketing to play a part in the full life cycle of products from the planning through to sales,
distribution, and servicing. In the 1990s relationships with customers and suppliers became
Today, some people still equate marketing with selling while others think marketing is only to
do with advertising. For others marketing involves both of those areas and more.
Web Advertisements and Information Pages
Web advertisements are typically one or two pages long and represent the Web’s version of
traditional print advertisements (Smith, 1999b) Information pages provide an online brochure
for products and services. More recent developments have taken the form of interactive
sites using multimedia, including animated graphics and streaming video.
With the huge uptake of web sites on the internet, search engines have become essential.
Even with the most awesome web site in place, a business cannot expect to relate to
customers unless those people can find their business.
Marketers have also been quick to discover that “most people look at only the first 20 listings
returned by a search engine. And even the most advanced search engine can profile only a
fraction of the Internet.” (Duggan & Deveney, 2000). As a result, marketing efforts are made
to improve the position of sites on key search engines. More recently companies have been
buying the rights to key words on search engines in order to appear earlier on the result list
than their competitors (Mack, 2000).
Along with improving the ability of search engine
A development that is the next step, beyond information pages and brochures, is the
development of on-line shops. Allowing customers to not only view the product or service
but also to order it includes more of the marketing process. Travel tickets, books and even
cars or houses can be purchased on-line. On-line shops offer the customer the convenience
of 24 hour, 7 day per week access rather than the normal 9-5 business hours (Smith, 1999b).
More and more companies are making use of on-line shops. In the year 2000 it is expected
that 24 percent of U.S. companies will be selling products over the Internet (Abrahamson,