Value of the Internet as a Promotional Tool

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While we will examine the impacts of internet advertising on advertising agencies and clients, it is important to consider the evolution of advertising and more specifically the inventions that helped shape its foundation. The printing press, the radio, the television and most recently the Internet are all types of media that are used to inform, educate, persuade, and communicate.

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The printing press provided the information with words on paper possible, mainly advertisements in newspapers and magazines. Selling material had to be created, and advertising agencies were born.

Radio also became a commercial medium. For the first time, advertising could be heard, not just seen. Soap operas, music, and serial adventures populated the new medium, and sales of products advertised on the air soared.

Television changed everything. Print and radio had to take a back seat because, for the first time, commercials were broadcast with sight, sound and motion. The invention of the television brought commercial advertising to an entirely new level. It quickly became the preferred media choice for advertisers. Cable television was the next great innovation, offering a greater variety of channels with more specific program offerings

Prior to the 1990s advertising agencies were operating with relatively strong profit margins based largely on all three of the core mediums (print, radio, and television). However, the implementation of the internet changed the entire approach to advertising and the profit margin. Since the evolution of the Internet, there has been a new communication tool provided for people all around the world to access a huge amount of resources and data from any geographical location. The internet also allows a more strategic direct and targeted approach to advertising. Also, the internet has become advertisers "low-cost playground" for example email campaigns are less expensive to produce than traditional print campaigns.

Advertising agencies are being challenged on the way things have been done in their industry. As a result, they need to re-address their techniques, services and agency structure. They are finding it necessary to increase their service offerings to clients, as well as invest in building and sustaining valuable client relationships to secure client loyalty.

1.1 Thesis Statement

This study will focus on the use of the internet in the advertising industry and looks closer at whether internet-based advertising experiences are influencing client expectations of the service role offered by an advertising agency. The internet can help advertising agencies build client loyalty and maintain the chemistry which helps build that loyalty. Without there being a clear understanding between clients and agencies this can create a problem with the agency-client relationship which can impact the company in the long term, hence negatively influencing profits and relationships among agencies and clients.

The scope of this study will focus on the effective use of the internet as a promotional tool in business to business setting and how the internet impacts the perceptions and expectations of agency-client relationships. It will also address the benefits of using the Internet as a promotional tool. With the internet and the new technology it has brought with it, this has introduced a new method of interactive advertising into the agency-client relationship. That being said, traditional advertising agencies are being forced to change their methods and strategies to keep up with the needs of their clients. This study will focus on a recent period which will show why advertising agencies have changed in the past 20 years.

The internet has forced advertising to adapt to the internet in today's world because the internet is something that is forever changing with the media outlet and methods that can be used for agencies also changing customer habits.

The research of this thesis will be conducted on a sample selected from China. The target population for this research will feature two groups; the advertising agencies from the tourism industry, and the various tourism companies from various parts of China. Despite being situated in this industry, most of these industries do not make great efforts to improve their internet advertising techniques. This is why not all companies which employ this tool experience the benefits. Thus this research needs to identify the difference in perception. The reason the tourism industry has been chosen as a source for the target population of this research is that it is an industry that features consumers with a very high demand for quality. Not all advertising agencies are situated in an industry of tourism. However, the results of this research can be generalized to other industries as it will have identified the reasons behind the difference in perception of the value of the internet as a promotional tool.

1.3 Purpose

The purpose of this thesis is to identify the differences between agency and client perceptions of the value of the internet as a promotional tool. It can be beneficial to both agencies and clients, and this thesis will show those benefits also the new kind of platforms that have been used in today's society to make things more efficient and cheap for both agencies and clients.

The thesis will also give a description of how the internet can be properly employed to enhance the growth of the customer base of a company. The mode in which the internet is used as a promotional tool matters as it is what will determine whether it will lead to positive results or not.

Lastly, it will seek to identify the benefits which a company may enjoy once the promotional tool is used appropriately.

1.2 Research Objectives

1. To identify the differences between agency and client perceptions of the value of the Internet as a promotional tool

2. To assess how the Internet be used as a promotional tool to enhance the customer base of a company

3. To evaluate the benefits of using the internet as a promotional tool

2.0 Literature Review

The internet is a term used to describe a group of worldwide information resources (Meeker, 1998). Unfortunately, there are mixed results when it comes to the how people view the value of the internet as a promotional tool. Some tend to view internet promotion as an essential part of advertising. Others tend to view its value as low, and thus unnecessary. According to Goyal & Sharma (2013), the use of sophisticated and advanced technology, such as the internet, is of value to a company as it supports growth, especially in the travel industry. These authors further argue that internet advertising is important especially since the tourists of today have a tendency of demanding high-quality services, information, and products (Goyal & Sharma, 2013). Therefore, the best and cheap way to offer all these to them is through internet advertising which provides all the required information about their destination.

Iosim, Iancu, Orboi & Popescu (2015), on the other hand, argue that the internet is simply another means of communication, just like newspapers and the television. Here, the authors emphasize on the importance of effective communication. Hence, they do not see the value of internet marketing since if used incorrectly, it cannot guarantee effective communication. However, they also acknowledge that when used correctly, the speed of the internet can promote a faster and easier service delivery (Iosim, Iancu, Orboi & Popescu, 2015).

Considering the varying views on the value of the internet as a promotional tool, it is clear that the perceptions of advertising agencies and clients can indeed be quite different. It is already known that both parties accept the use of the internet as a promotional tool; however some tend to think that it is not of so much value, while others think that it is very important. Furthermore, some scholars tend to link its value to the mode in which it is employed; if not used appropriately, it will not lead to any benefits for the company.

2.1 Adoption of the Internet as a Promotional Tool

As a new communication tool, the internet provides people with information from anywhere in the world. It is mostly referred to as the net, which is a worldwide network of computers and users (Shiva, 1997). The net supports a collection of information resources (Hoffman, Novak and Chatterjee, 1997) which people can get easily. According to Hoffman (1997) with the introduction of the Internet this created a new market for the world; a global online marketplace. In time and the changes which came with the internet such as a global communication infrastructure( Cae, 2000) this created a new advertising channel for advertising agencies and advertisers to make full use of the opportunity at hand. These agencies can now target their promotional messages to consumers more cost-effectively.

2.2 Influence of the Internet on Advertising Agencies

If Advertising agencies want to provide internet advertising services to its clients there has to be some extension or modification of the roles within the agency. Providing Internet services can have an impact on departments within advertising agencies, with a demand of internet advertising agencies will have to change aspects of the company internally also improving their knowledge, technical skill, staff, and facilities. The traditional approach these advertising agencies take will have to be more modernized to become better in future when it comes to market demands for internet application in advertising and promotion.

3.0 Methodology

From the literature reviewed, it has become clear that no group is against the use of the internet as a promotional tool. The gap in the literature is, however, noted by how it is unclear whether the advertising agencies and clients consider it as a valuable tool or not. Another gap is noted when considering the link between value perception and mode of employment of the promotional tool.

For this reason, the qualitative exploratory research method will be used. This is because there will be a need to conduct an analysis on a study sample so as to collect data based on their responses, and hence analyze them in an attempt to answer the research questions. This methodology allows the study population to respond in their own words.

Different types of data collection methods will be applied to this study population;

First, surveys will be conducted to help in collecting information about the sample population, including their responses with regards to the research questions.

Second, face to face interviews will be conducted. This will feature the use of prepared questions addressed to the management of at least ten advertisement agencies in China.

Third, questionnaires will be prepared for distribution to another ten advertisement agencies. The distribution will be done online, through their email addresses. These agencies will feature those who cannot be reached easily.

3.1 Qualitative Exploratory Data Gathering Approach

First, Survey Research method will be used to collect the data in this section; survey research is one of the most important and commonly used research methods for collecting primary data (Assail, 1993).

Using the Survey method will be useful in this approach because it can help get a descriptive analysis on clients and agencies perceptions of the value of the Internet as a tool for promoting. When using the survey research method, it increases researchers ability to...

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