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E-marketing is a technique that involves creation of networking channels with clients and customers so as to communicate and deliver the valuable messages about the entity and building long term relationship with them. This helps in maintaining as well as increasing the profitability of business by ensuring that the marketing targets and deliverables are achieved. The present report is based on Oxfam which is a confederation comprising of 20 independent charitable organisations headquartered in England, United Kingdom. This report includes the major factors and challenges that influence the selection of e-Marketing media and tools. Also, it gains an insight into the issues faced by practitioners that affect the implementation of e-Marketing strategies. Along with that, various approaches to analyse the target audience and online customer journey is discussed.
a) Major factors and challenges that influence the selection of e-Marketing media and tools
Oxfam is a global movement started by millions of people who possess a common thought that in a world which is rich in resources, poverty is not inescapable. The behaviour of all the employees that are working as a part of this organisation is aligned towards a single objective that is aimed at global eradication of poverty. Oxfam equips e-marketing in its operations to raise funds for humanitarian work carried out by the team. The selection of appropriate media and tools for the execution of marketing plan is necessary so as to encourage people who volunteer to contribute towards the organisation. Various e-marketing tools are Interactive digital television (IDTV), Internet Protocol television (IPTV), digital radio, mobile devices, Wireless application protocol (WAP), Word Press Blog, Tweeterfeed, Pixetell, Youtube, Metricaly, Google+, RSS feed, Instagram, Facebook etc. The factors that influence the selection of e-marketing media are ascertained and explained below:-
Objectives of Campaign:
Over time, Oxfam have been introducing many humanitarian, development and work campaigns and programmes like ACTÚA, WE-Care, Stand As One campaign, Click for Karma etc. (Past campaigns and successes, 2018). The objectives of all these campaigns vary from each other and thus, the e-marketing tool that is used by Oxfam to promote the campaign also differs accordingly so as to gain maximum attention of people.
After the Haiti Scandal that Oxfam is accused to be involved in, more than 1,000 direct debits to the charity were cancelled within a week and also, several high-profile ambassadors and celebrity patrons for Oxfam, including Minnie Driver, withdrew their support for the entity (Timeline: Oxfam sexual exploitation scandal in Haiti, 2018). Along with that, government funding of the charity was also cut off. Since then, there have been funding issues and the organisation uses only those e-marketing tools that are economical for them to effectively communicate their messages along with maintaining the cost.
While selecting the e-marketing media for communicating the belief of Oxfam, company keeps in consideration the audience that they want to target. Organisation targets those individuals or group from where they can receive the support in terms of funds or volunteering for assisting in eradication of global poverty. These target group for Oxfam are individuals, businesses or trade dealers, trade associations, industrialists, public and financial institutions, professionals etc.
Message conveyed or Appeal: Oxfam makes use of e-marketing media and tools to effectively communicate the values and beliefs of the company in relation to humanitarian work and upliftment of people. Also, social media tools and company's websites are used by company to appeal to government and audience for contributing funds towards the social cause that company is working for.
The selection of suitable e-marketing tools also depends upon the duration of time within which the results are desired by Oxfam. For instance, Oxfam works to eradicate poverty across the globe and thus, it needs funds and volunteers at all the times. So, company employs tools such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, website marketing etc. to receive funds instantly.
b) Issues faced by practitioners which are central to the implementation of e-Marketing strategies and tools
Oxfam is an organisation with 5000 paid staff, over 22,000 volunteers operating with more than 1000 partner organisations in 94 countries around the world (Oxfam: Challenges for a complex charity, 2018). While equipping various types of tools to increase the operational efficiency of Oxfam, practitioners face a numbers of issues. Some of these are explained below:-
Inadequate Funds: For eradication of poverty and ensuring quality living standards for people, Oxfam need huge funds. For this, they need assistance from government, financial institutions, celebrity patrons and volunteers. Over years, Oxfam has been raising funds through commercial activities such as charity shops and Oxjam Music Festival (How Oxfam is Using Engaging Marketing to Change the World, 2018). But these have not really been successful for generating funds for operations. Oxfam is continuously trying to combat problems of society like social injustice, poverty, gender inequality. For this, it need funds to make use of e-marketing tools so that they can appeal to people and business organisation to contribute a large amount for the efficient functioning and operations of enterprise. But, after the Haiti Scandal gained attention of people, fund raising has really become difficult for company as many people who had been funding to Oxfam since years, have opt out from contributing to company after the company being allegedly accused (Timeline: Oxfam sexual exploitation scandal in Haiti, 2018).
Selection of Audience:
This is a major concern for Oxfam as in a world where everyone is constantly active on social media and other e-marketing platforms, it is essential that company selects and implements any e-marketing tool effectively. It is to be done keeping in consideration the cost and target audience. Often, practitioners face issues relating to implementing the e-marketing tool. This happens because Oxfam has to analyse the target audience which would be most effective and easy to reach for raising funds as it has to be done in a way that it serves the purpose along with being cost effective. Even if the practitioner finds a larger and profitable segment that is readily contributing funds, it is often fragmented as very expensive to reach.
Connectivity concerns: Cloud has now become central to most of the operations being conducted by volunteers of Oxfam. As the volunteers of Oxfam mainly works in disaster prone areas, it is likely that there would be connectivity issues or no connections at all there which would hamper the implementation of e-marketing tools at the specified location.
Oxfam has to spend money in this area but clearly perceives it to be worthwhile to ensure that systems are as secure as possible. Oxfam has a security manager that ensures security of data shared over cloud at all the times. Company carries out numerous security checks including penetration testing and audits on staff and systems and uses security software and tools like McAfee and Websense.
c) Approaches and techniques to analyse and evaluate target audiences and the online customer journey
It is essential for Oxfam to ascertain and analyse the target audience in order to gain maximum funds and provide services that aim at upliftment of poor people and eliminating social injustice (Chapleo, 2015). In relation to this, Oxfam applies a Marketing Model that involves 5 stages to determine the target audience for its efficient working:-
Acknowledgement of a specific target audience:
The first step undertaken by Oxfam is ascertainment of target audience that they wish to reach. Although it is believed that business generally targets the world, it is imperative to realise that an objective is achieved only if practitioner identifies the right people so as to build networking with them by aid of e-marketing tools. Equipping e-marketing media is as important as ensuring that it communicates to the right people who can contribute towards the funding of Oxfam. Deciding the right target set of individuals, business organisations, trade unions, professionals etc. is essential as this indicates that entity possess sufficient funds to carry out humanitarian work and eradicate poverty across the globe.
Determining the criteria to identify the people that business wants to reach:
An audience can be sorted any number of ways based on infinite number of criteria. But the right audience is unique to every company. Thus, the next step taken by Oxfam is identification of factors that can assist in creating an effective networking channel between the needs of company in relation to funding and the possible prospects (Wilshaw and et. al., 2015). These criteria range from age, gender, geographical location to any other factor that may deem fit to the marketing practitioner of Oxfam as per the current market scenario. The criteria are important for company to determine whether the beliefs, opinions and values of charity match with those of the probable prospects for funding and volunteering. The major objective behind this step is to remove the people who are not probable to contribute for the humanitarian work conducted by Oxfam. With such people out of the target audience, company can now focus upon communicating the marketing message or appeal through effective e-marketing tools to those who are most suitable and willing to offer funds or volunteering service required by company.
Identification of requirements of prospects:
One of the biggest challenges faced by marketing practitioners in Oxfam is their closeness with the charity as this makes it impossible for them to understand the perspective of the individuals that they are targeting. It is required by the marketing practitioner of Oxfam to think from the point of view of people and then communicate the message and vision of company clearly to the audience. By viewing the operations of company through the eyes of target individuals and groups, company can determine the potential weaknesses, areas of potential misuse or misunderstanding and even those things that people may at times find offensive. Also, this enables the company to analyse and understand the information that needs to be communicated by aid of e-marketing tools so as to influence a large number of people to contribute towards the charity. Taking this step ensures the creation of effective marketing messages and campaigns that fully address the concerns of people.
Identifying suitable channels to build communication with prospects:
The next step in this series is the identification of effective channels to communicate the message or appeal of Oxfam to prospects. An effective marketing tool cannot be uniform for life long and thus business adopts methods and techniques that are suitable as per the current scenario (Valos and et. al., 2016). Also, Oxfam realises the importance of engaging e-marketing tools in its operations to effectively communicate the vision and mission of company along with an appeal for raising funds and asking for volunteers to support the company in the campaign. These e-marketing tools can be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, company's website, online transfers and other media (Oxfam is Using Engaging Marketing to Change the World, 2018).
Measurement of results:
Defining the target audience for the effective functioning of Oxfam is just a prima-facie stage, yet the most important step is to analyse if the criteria decided to select the target audience was correct or not. It’s not uncommon for marketing practitioners to experience that a very small proportion of the audience actually targeted really responded to the company by contributing to the funding of Oxfam or volunteering to assist the entity in its operations (Sargeant and Jay, 2014). Also, depending upon the type of e-marketing tool used, the feedback can vary accordingly. Oxfam believes in taking the feedback positively so as to inculcate any change that is needed to gain more effective results in terms of funds or volunteers the next time in future.
d) E-Marketing concepts and the relevance of these to businesses
E-marketing concept involves those strategies and techniques which make use of online ways to reach the selected range of individuals or more commonly known as target audience. There are millions of Internet users that daily access different websites using a variety of tools like computers, laptops, tablet and smart or android phone devices and consequently, the number of internet users are increasing rapidly (Powers, 2014). Thus, every business is required to equip e-marketing media in its operations. Internet is the most powerful tool that can put any business in the list of market leaders companies. There are many free as well as economical e-marketing media and tools on internet to promote the operations of an entity. Oxfam engage in e-marketing to build networking with individuals, businesses, associations, professionals and other unions who are willing to volunteer in humanitarian work or contribute towards the funding of organisation. By this, Oxfam can communicate the beliefs, operations, vision and mission of charity to people so as to gain their trust in entity as well as be able to achieve their desired result.
Internet provides “24/7” service to its users which aids Oxfam to build and make customers relationships worldwide and communicate corporate message or appeal to them instantly so as to receive quick response in terms of funds or volunteering (Dlodlo and Dhurup, 2013). The cost of spreading the appeal of Oxfam by the aid of e-marketing tools such as social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin and Google plus allow free advertising and promotion of charity on global level easily. By this, Oxfam can cut its cost and utilise those funds for maintaining the standard of living of people, reducing social injustice, promote women empowerment and eradicate poverty across the globe.
However, at the same time, there is an uncertainty as to whether using free e-marketing media would be feasible and yield results. Oxfam being a charity can not aim the global audience wholly as not every person is willing to volunteer or contribute for the humanitarian work performed by entity. Thus, equipping free e-marketing media and tools may cut down the cost of marketing the beliefs and performance of Oxfam but it would not be effective in reaching the desired audience for collecting funds or gathering support for assisting in the programmes, campaigns or other works led by the charity (Sheikh, 2015).
From the above report, it can be concluded that E-marketing is an effective marketing technique adopted by practitioner of an organisation to reach the target audience and communicate the message of company to a wide base of people. Also, it is analysed that maintaining healthy relationships with target audience helps in getting the support from right people at the right time and delivering the purpose for which entity functions. Furthermore, it can be observed that there are various factors that influence the selection of e-Marketing media and tools in business. Along with this, it can be said that Marketing Model helps an entity to identify the target audience and tap the advantage of building communication with them.
Books and Journals
Chapleo, C., 2015. Brand ‘infrastructure’in nonprofit organizations: Challenges to successful brand building?. Journal of Marketing Communications. 21(3). pp.199-209.
Constantinides, E., 2014. Foundations of social media marketing. Procedia-Social and behavioral sciences. 148. pp.40-57.
Dlodlo, N. and Dhurup, M., 2013. Drivers of e-marketing adoption among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and variations with age of business owners. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. 4(14). p.53.
Powers, M., 2014. The structural organization of NGO publicity work: Explaining divergent publicity strategies at humanitarian and human rights organizations. International journal of communication. 8. p.18.
Sargeant, A. and Jay, E., 2014. Fundraising management: analysis, planning and practice. Routledge.
Sheikh, S., 2015. Analyzing the Role of Marketing for Fundraising and Improved Performance across Charities in United Kingdom.
Valos, M. J. and et. al., 2016. Exploring the integration of social media within integrated marketing communication frameworks: Perspectives of services marketers. Marketing Intelligence & Planning. 34(1). pp.19-40.
Wilshaw, R. and et. al., 2015. In Work But Trapped in Poverty: A summary of five studies conducted by Oxfam, with updates on progress along the road to a living wage.
How Oxfam is Using Engaging Marketing to Change the World. 2018. [Online]. Available Through: <https://insights.newscred.com/oxfam-charity-marketing/>
Oxfam: Challenges for a complex charity. 2018. [Online]. Available Through: <https://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-management/management/business-studies/oxfam-challenges-complex-charity#>
Past campaigns and successes. 2018. [Online]. Available Through: <https://www.oxfam.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/past-campaigns-and-successes>
Timeline: Oxfam sexual exploitation scandal in Haiti. 2018. [Online]. Available Through: <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/15/timeline-oxfam-sexual-exploitation-scandal-in-haiti>