Thursday, 3 December 2009

Assignment 4 – Reading and Reviewing

Assignment 4 – Reading and Reviewing



The Birth of Internet Marketing Communications – Dan Steinbock

This book is largely a descriptive book about Internet Marketing and is a good source of information on the history of the Internet within the context of marketing communications. It is 328 pages. Steinbock is an academic researcher and provides many observations based on real life insights and interviews with companies where he focuses on some of the key financial issues. The information is comprehensive and I think provides a good reference source.


Branding and Internet marketing in the age of digital media – Sylvia M. Chan-Olmsted

This is short journal article (4 pages) comparing two academic books – Steinbock’s The Birth of Internet Marketing Communications and Todreas’s Value creation and branding in television’s digital age. It summarizes both books and tries to distinguish between the two media. It is purely the author’s view and interpretation of these books based on their reading, observations, experience and thoughts.


The Birth of Internet Marketing Communications – Dan Steinbock

Steinbock is an experienced academic researcher and consultant and in this book he looks at in some detail what he describes as ‘From the Marketplace to Marketspace’. His book is focused on the USA and is a comprehensive reference source based on his real life insights and interviews. It is a history of the Internet within the context of marketing communication. He takes us through in considerable detail the history from the 1950’s to today. He builds on his experience as a ‘virtual professor’ and looks how the market place moves from a fixed location (Marketplace) to a global marketplace (Marketspace) – the World Wide Web. He describes in detail the challenges of this from the issues of location to the financial profitability where he compares the early days of television to advertising on the Internet - both faced difficulty in making money. It provides a summary of his work on Internet-related issues of competitive strategy, marketing management, valuation and industrial economics. He also describes how important the Internet is for technology and business marketing.

Steinbock describes “the disappearance of distance” and the “global reach”. Whilst we think of the global web, when it comes to product development of the buying of goods and services, these tend to be local. Most people in the UK buy their Amazon books in the UK and not Amazon US or Amazon HK. This is not only for convenience, cost effective delivery, but there may be tax or regulatory issues.

Branding and Internet marketing in the age of digital media – Sylvia M. Chan-Olmsted

This journal article compares two academic research pieces - Steinbock’s The Birth of Internet Marketing Communications and Todreas’s Value creation and branding in television’s digital age. It summaries both of the books and tries to draw out some themes - comparing and contrasting the two. Chan-Olmsted gives us a good picture o the Internet as a new medium that is changing the nature of the media marketplace. She discusses the importance of telecommunication and digital technologies and talks about the changing commercial aspects of the mass media

These were very interesting pieces. It really made me start to think about how technology, business and the World Wide Web interconnect with design. We have certainly seen how the Internet has grown and developed and we all now accept this as part of our life. This has had a huge impact on our society.

Under 40’s access all their daily news from the web, most of which is free and not from paid newspapers. This is being hotly debated in media circles as newspaper circulation collapses - down nearly 30% with some newspapers having gone out of business – and the concept of ‘paywalls’ being considered by some and being implemented by others. Some newspapers require payment to access the news – the Financial Times is entirely behind an online paywall and their iPhone app is restricted to only 10 stories per month without a separate subscription. Even some of the local newspapers in the UK are moving in this direction. Rupert Murdoch (Chairman of News Corp) is in a fierce row with Google about removing the links to his newspapers via Google as a result of his agreement with Microsoft and their search engine Bing.

This brings into sharp focus the whole debate about free access to the World Web Web. Today if you have a computer and a communication link, then you can access a whole free world of the Internet. Both Steinbock and Chan-Olsted fail to tackle this issue. It could be argued this is now part of the evolution of the web, but it is a debate that will not go away as the early source of funding development was through advertising. We see this in particular through the social networking sites – Facebook and Twitter, which rely on advertising revenue. As we are now in a difficult economic climate, advertising revenue is falling away and the loss of revenue is challenging many companies. It is interesting to compare this with the early development of television as Steinbock discusses

Interestingly, advertising agencies have also expressed concerns over the profitability of the new media, both in the 1950’s when television became a mass marketing vehicle and in the 1990’s when the Internet emerged as a new kind of advertising channel’

We are even seeing the check-in desk at airports disappear as people check-in online and print their only boarding passes at home. This development pushes the cost and the responsibility on to the individual and helps the airline to manage its cost base more effectively. This may even influence the future design of airports – are large check-in desks/areas required? This is only possible as a result of low cost access to computers by a significant number of the population and high-speed communication lines – the arrival of broadband has been revolutionary.

Superbrands” (Cave 2009) discusses the Virgin Group and its brand. It charts the development of the brand and looks at the diverse areas it covers from trains and planes to multimedia and mobile phones. The group have been hugely successfully in embracing new technology and have now the status of being one of the most trusted names world- wide. As Cave comments:

“In line with its digital content, Virgin Media has been creative in the use of online advertising to drive consumer perceptions and brand awareness.

The business made its first foray into in-game advertising with the appearance of posters in online games. It also sponsored the web drama ‘Sam King’ which integrated into the plot key messages about its Mobile Broadband and V Festival Sponsorship”

Virgin has used advertising very effectively and intelligently to develop its brand and brand values. Virgin has from its beginning adhered to brand values associated with fun, value for money, quality, innovation and brilliant customer service. It was interesting to read about the development of the seatback televisions in economy class and also the full flat bed in business class – tipping points for the industry and the market place. It is truly where technology, innovation, brand and design all come together.


Steinbock and Chan-Olmsted’s work and research is very focussed on the US with little reference to the UK market. However, in order to understand the development of the UK market, it has been extremely helpful to gain a clearer understanding of the development of the Internet and the marketing in the age of digital media. The Cave article clearly articulates how Virgin has used this advertising very effectively to develop the brand, its clients and a diverse range of businesses where a core value has been on innovation. This is in contrast to the challenges faced by the newspaper. Further research into customer buying behaviours would be interesting to pursue.



1) Balk, A. (26th October 2099). ‘ A Graphic History of Newspaper Circulation Over the Last Two Decades’. Available:

2) Cave, A. (27th November 2009). ‘A Special Report About Superbrands.

Daily Telegraph Newspaper.

3) Chan – Olmsted, S.M (2002) Journal Tile: ‘Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media’,

Volume: 46, Issue 4. Article Title: Branding and Internet Marketing in the Age of Digital Media

4) Steinbock, D (2000). ‘The Birth of Internet Marketing Communication’. Quorum Books.

Below are Mind Maps of my thought process:

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