Identifying Organization Preferences of Internet Marketing Channels using Hybrid Fuzzy MCDM Theories

Identifying Organization Preferences of Internet Marketing Channels using Hybrid Fuzzy MCDM Theories

Gaurav Khatwani (Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak, India) and Praveen Ranjan Srivastava (Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak, India)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/JECO.2015100102
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The evaluation of different Internet marketing channels from the perspective of organizations is important to gain understanding of managerial preferences and assist in decision-making. Few studies have examined multi-channel customer management. However, the evaluation of different Internet marketing channels in the context of organizations remains a challenge. This study focuses on identifying organizational preferences in marketing products for different Internet marketing channels. The authors have used a hybrid MCDM approach in their study. The study involves four steps of computation: calculating the relative importance of factors that are critical for different organizations in marketing their products on the Internet using fuzzy extension of DEMATEL, calculating priorities of users for each channel using fuzzy extension of AHP, reaching consensus achievement using ordinal consensus improvement approach through geometric ordinal consensus index (GOCI), and ranking different Internet marketing channel using TOPSIS. The approach is illustrated through a case study.
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1. Introduction

The Media plays an important role in delivering messages from senders to receivers through channels. Multiple channels not only offer enormous richness and access to markets but also exclusively add value to customer purchasing process. The Internet enables the organization, evaluation, effective and efficient identification of product information (Cook & Coupey, 1998; Kiang et al., 2000; Peterson & Merino, 2003) and delivery of customized information to consumers. It has been observed that consumers go through five stages in the buying process, namely, need recognition, pre-purchase, evaluation of alternatives, purchase and post-purchase (Bettman, 1979; David, 2001). The model of pre-purchase information search (Crotts, 1999) proposed that individuals may search for products using internal information and external information. The individual switches to external information search channels if he/she is unable to find obtain information from past experience. This research extends the study (Crotts, 1999) to describe external information search channels from the perspective of e-commerce users. Internet channels typically include a) personal (advice from friends or relatives using social media channels), b) marketer-dominated (brochure on emails, online advertisements, or media), c) neutral (discussion forums, information blogs in-tended for public viewing), and d) experiential sources (online demo of products through review websites) (Crotts, 1999). The information search channels can be referred to as Internet marketing channels from the perspective of organizations. In the pre-purchase stage, consumers attempt to gather information regarding the attributes of the products they would like to purchase (Payne et al., 1993).

There have been attempts to solve managerial issues related to marketing by extracting rules from database (Elalfi et al., 2004) and network traffic analysis for website optimization (B. Chang & Tsai, 2009) but channel selection for marketing still remains a major managerial decision making concern. Further, some recent research have failed to develop a structured decision making model for e-commerce marketing (Cheng et al., 2014; Ke & Sun, 2014; Malta et al., 2014; L. Wang et al., 2014). Therefore, it has become critical for marketers to market products based on product, market and consumer’s personal factors that can fully utilize the potential of Internet marketing channels. Further, there is no existing literature that contributes in this direction. This study can help firms in developing products and services that serve the managerial requirements for marketing products online and allocating efforts across different channels.

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. The theoretic description of the Internet marketing channels, group decision making theories and MCDM methods are presented in Section 2. In section 3 the evaluation framework is presented with stepwise discussion of the proposed method. The real world case study is presented in Section 4 with sensitivity analysis. Further, the study concludes with results and conclusion and future research in section 5 and 6.

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