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“Content Analysis of Top 1000 Turkish Company Web Sites: Marketing Mix Practices”

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Abstract

─ The usage of the Internet has offered new advanced business transactions and models for the world economy. Insufficient utilization of Web sites for marketing mix strategies in a developing country like Turkey, still depicts the need for further and detailed analyses to guide the companies and institutions for their efforts to improve marketing activities through the new medium which is becoming an inevitable neccesity for the new business models in the twenty first century. The aim of the study is to analyze the practices of marketing mix tools on Turkish web sites of the top 1000 companies presented in the survey reports by the Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI) 2010. This study reveals that the use of Internet in marketing mix strategies is inadequate and some companies do not utilize all opportunities due to the lack of effective corporate web sites.
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CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TOP 1000 TURKISH COMPANY WEB SITES:
MARKETING MIX PRACTICES
Aykan Candemir
EgeUniversity
EgeUniversity, Faculty of Business and Administrative Sciences, 35040, Bornova,
Izmir, Turkey
aykan.candemir@ege.edu.tr
Keti Ventura
EgeUniversity
EgeUniversity, Faculty of Business and Administrative Sciences, 35040, Bornova,
Izmir, Turkey
keti.ventura@ege.edu.tr
İpek Kazançoğlu
EgeUniversity
EgeUniversity, Faculty of Business and Administrative Sciences, 35040, Bornova,
Izmir, Turkey
ipek.savasci@ege.edu.tr
Abstract
The usage of the Internet has offered new advanced business transactions and
models for the world economy. Insufficient utilization of Web sites for marketing
mix strategies in a developing country like Turkey, still depicts the need for
further and detailed analyses to guide the companies and institutions for their
efforts to improve marketing activities through the new medium which is
becoming an inevitable neccesity for the new business models in the twenty first
century. The aim of the study is to analyze the practices of marketing mix tools on
Turkish web sites of the top 1000 companies presented in the survey reports by
the Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI) 2010. This study reveals that the use of
Internet in marketing mix strategies is inadequate and some companies do not
utilize all opportunities due to the lack of effective corporate web sites.
Key Words: Marketing Mix, Content Analysis, Web Sites
JEL Classification: M31
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1. INTRODUCTION
The Internet presents a fundamentally different environment for international
marketing and new paradigms will have to be developed to take account of
internationalization processes in an electronic age. This will require the launch of
a major new research initiative to improve our understanding of Internet-enabled
international marketing.
Quelch and Klein (1996) argue that the Internet will revolutionize the dynamics of
international commerce. The most important development, in this respect, has
been the explosion of international marketing activity on the Internet and the
associated emergence of the global information superhighway (Hamill, 1997:
300).
2. THE INTERNET AND THE MARKETING MIX
The Internet as a marketing medium has been rapidly gaining importance as
companies try to attract the target customers through their corporate web sites and
gain competitive advantage in recent years. In developing countries, such as
Turkey, traditional marketing mix elements are still used. It seems quite
reasonable that, Turkish companies will be enforced to use the web tool to gain
competitive advantage in global markets, integrated with the traditional marketing
tools.
2.1. The Internet Usage Profile of Turkish Companies
The survey report on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) made by
Turkish Statistical Institute notes that by January 2010, 90.9% of enterprises with
at least 10 persons employed used the Internet. This rate was 98.4% of enterprises
with 250 or more employees, while enterprises with 50-249 employees was 96.9%
and enterprises with 10-49 employees was 89.7%. 88.8% of enterprises had
Internet access by January 2009. Proportion of the enterprises that use computer
increased from 90.7% in 2009 to 92.3% in 2010. By January 2010, %90.9 of
enterprises used broadband connection to access the Internet. DSL (ADSL, etc.)
was most widely-used broadband connection type with 87.3% among all
enterprises. 78.1% of enterprises used the Internet for conducting banking and
financial services and 28.3% of that for training and education in January 2010.
By January 2010, 57.8% of enterprises with Internet access had website. 78.4% of
enterprises that have websites provided access to their product catalogues and
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price lists on their web sites, 33.5% of that provided a privacy policy statement, a
privacy seal or certification related to website safety and 28.1% of that presented
advertisement of open job positions or online job application on their websites in
January 2010. According to the survey results 15.0% of enterprises sent orders via
computer networks while 8.4% of enterprises received orders via computer
networks in 2009. 10.1% of enterprises uses digital signature and 21.9% of
enterprises has ICT security policy in January 2010 (TUIK, 2011).
According to the new Turkish Commercial Code (TCC) that will be in force after
mid 2012 every capital stock company has been obligated to create a website, and
if the company already has a website, to allocate a part thereof for information
society services. All data that is relevant to the company and in which
shareholders, minorities, creditors and stakeholders have interest, documents and
notices regarding General Assembly Meetings, financial statements and merger
and division balance sheets, audit reports, valuation reports, offers for exercising
pre-emptive right, announcements related to liquidation, announcements related to
action for cancellation and the other similar information should be published on
the website.
2.2. The Role of Internet in Reshaping of Marketing Mix
In 1960, Jerome McCarthy introduced the marketing mix - widely referred as the
4 Ps of Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Until now, it still plays an important
role in formulating and implementing marketing strategy. It is useful to reduce all
the variables in the marketing mix to four basic ones (Perreault et. al., 2011: 35-
37). Kent (1986) refers to the Four Ps of the marketing mix as “the holy
quadruplet…of the marketing faith…written in tablets of stone”. According to
Grönroos (1994) marketing in practice has to a large extent been turned into
managing this toolbox.
According to Heinen (1996) the Internet will be more than simply a marketplace
for conducting transactions; it is evolving into a new medium for communicating
and interacting with customers and thus will affect the roles that marketing
professionals play in their businesses. Thus, managers face two critical
challenges: first, to recognize the full potential of the marketspace and to choose
the best means to make money in this new arena (Rayport et. al., 1994: 145).
Conventional marketing mix is widely expected to simultaneously undergo
revisions and modifications in order to enable e-marketers to formulate more
effective strategies and plan more efficient tactics under circumstances posed in
the Internet (Yazdanifard et. al., 2009: 527).
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Kotler and Keller (2006) define a product as anything that can be offered to a
market to satisfy a want or need. Products that are marketed include physical
goods, services, experiences, events, persons, places, properties, organizations,
information, and ideas. The Internet has several implications on the product aspect
of the mix i.e. varying the core product, options for changing the extended
products, conducting research online, velocity of new product development and
velocity of new product diffusion (Chaffey et al. 2006: 217-222). Products,
therefore, become more and more individually tailored to the customers’ needs.
Some pure-play (online only) retailers offer products which are not available
through alternative outlets; thus successes have been claimed for a variety of
different types of product, both physical goods (e.g. books, CDs, wine, etc.) and
services (e.g. direct banking, insurance, travel, etc.). Others, such as supermarkets,
offer Internet shopping (the product) which embraces individual grocery items, all
of which are product offerings in their own right (Harridge-March, 2004: 302).
Price is the most flexible element compared to other three elements of the
marketing mix, since it can be changed quickly to adapt to the market's demand.
Till the Internet is used for communication and promotional activities, pricing
does not seem to be a major problem. But as soon as marketers start thinking of
selling through the Internet, they have to determine the answers to a number of
questions. The most critical of these questions is whether they should retain the
same price as in the physical world or to increase or decrease, which may to a
certain extent, depends on the change in the offering also (Verma et al. 2003:
137). For the price aspect of the mix, increased price transparency and its
implications on differential pricing, downward pressure on price (including
commoditisation), new pricing approaches (including dynamic pricing and
auctions) and alternative pricing structure or policies should be considered
(Chaffey et al. 2006: 231- 237).
The place element of the marketing mix refers to how the product is distributed to
customers. Typically, for offline channels, the aim of place is to maximise the
reach of distribution to achieve widespread availability of products while
minimising the costs of inventory, transport and storage. In an online context,
thanks to ease of navigating from one site to another through the humble
hyperlink, the scope of ‘Place’ is less clear (Chaffey et al. 2006: 231- 237). Allen
and Fjermestad (2001) argue that due to the size of its marketplace, the Internet
will have the most profound effect on place in the marketing mix. E-commerce
puts the purchase decision where a connection to the Internet exists. One of the
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biggest implications for marketing theory and practice is the shift from a non
virtual market-place to a market-space (Lockett and Blackman, 2001: 49).
Promotion is communicating information between the seller and potential buyer
or others in the channel to influence attitudes and behaviours (Perreault et. al.,
2011: 36). Promotion has been replaced with online communication. This mix is
vividly not comprehensive, adequate and vigour enough for planning Internet
marketing (Yazdanifard et. al., 2009: 531). The Internet can be used to review
new ways of applying each of elements of communications mix such as
advertising, sales promotions, public relations and direct marketing; assess how
the Internet can be used at different stages of the buying process; and assist in
different stages of customers relationship management from customer acquisition
to retention (Chaffey, 2006: 243 - 245).
3. THE STUDY
The study aims to analyze the practices of marketing mix tools on Turkish web
sites of the top 1000 companies presented in the survey reports by the Istanbul
Chamber of Industry (ICI) 2010. The other aim is to compare the web sites of top
1000 companies according to the major devisions within the context of
International Standard Industrial Classification of all economic activities ( ISIC ,
Rev.2). The companies from various industries are ranked depending on their net
production-based sales. Majority of the companies (98.5 %) are private-owned.
The gross value of production prices generated by first top 500 and second top
500 companies comprises consecutively 8.6 % and 0.9 % of GDP in 2009. The
classifications of the top 1000 companies are represented in Table 1. Due to the
lack of web sites and loading problems, particularly in case of a site being under
construction, totally 781 company web sites are analyzed.
Table 1: Classification of Top 1000 Companies by ISIC, Rev.2
N Valid
N
No web
sites/access
problems %
Mining and Quarrying 25 20 2.6
Manufacture of Food, Beverages and Tobacco 209 160 20.5
Textile, Wearing Apparel and Leather Industries 170 131 16.8
Manufacture of Wood and Wood Products 25 23 2.9
Manufacture of Paper and Paper Products; Printing and
Publishing
35 29 3.7
Manufacture of Chemicals and Chemical Petroleum, Coal,
Rubber and Plastic Products
145 108 13.8
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Manufacture of Non-Metallic Mineral Products 74 55 7.0
Basic Metal Industries 111 91 11.7
Manufacture of Fabricated Metal Products, Machinery and
Equipment, Professional and Scientific Measuring and
Controlling Equipment
103 82 10.5
Manufacture of Transport Equipment 75 60 7.7
Other Manufacturing Industries 8 6 0.8
Manufacture of Electricity 20 16 2.0
Total 1000 781 100
In the study, content analysis is used to analyze Turkish web sites of the top 1000
companies presented in the survey reports by the Istanbul Chamber of Industry
(ICI) 2010. Content analysis is a research technique for making replicable and
valid inferences from texts or other meaningful matter to the contexts of their use
in order to provide new insights and increase a researcher’s understanding of a
particular phenomena (Krippendorff, 2004:18) Within this context, a coding sheet
was developed. It consists of 4 broad categories of marketing mix elements shown
in Table 2.
Table 2 : Content Examined in Top 1000 Company Web Site
Content Categories
Product Product Categories, Product Specifications, Product Photos,Product
Campaign, Information About Product Guarantee, Information About
Product Insurance, Product Catalogue, Information About The
Company's Other Brands,Products Awards,Information About New
Product, Order Form
Price Price List, Price List in Foreign Currency, Payment Alternatives, Price
Campaign, Spot Price Campaign, Partner Financial Institutions (banks
etc.)
Place Access For Dealers, B2B Connect, Branch Office, Distributers,
Distribution Points
Promotion Social Responsibility Projects, Sponsorship Activities, Participatin in
Fairs and Exhibitions, T Ads, Video, Catalogue, News, Media Release,
Games, Press Bulletins, Sales Campaign, Photo Gallery, Contest, Gift
Items, Joint Sales Campaign, FAQ, References.
The coding instrument is originally prepared in Turkish and then translated into
English. The quality of the translation is examined by two native speaker
academicians. In the study university students were hired as coder and trained
about the definitions of the variables in three sessions. Finally, the coders were
asked to determine the presence of the variables in top 1000 companies. The
coding process is ended in November 2010. The authors have identified
components using the previous code sheets which are tested for instrument
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reliability (Liu et. al, 1997; Ghose, Wenyu, 1998; Perry, Bodkin, 2000; Cheung ve
Haung, 2002; Yeung, Lu, 2004; Usta, 2007; Virtsonis Harridge-March, 2008).
4. RESULTS
The results will be discussed in two parts. Statistics related to each marketing mix
elements are presented and followed by the overall Web site characteristics of
selected sectors which represent the majority of the companies in the reports (i.e.
Manufacture of Food, Beverages (160 companies), Textile, Wearing Apparel and
Leather sectors (131 companies), Manufacture of Chemicals and Chemical
Petroleum, Coal, Rubber and Plastic Products (108 companies), Basic Metal
sectors (91 companies), Manufacture of Fabricated Metal Products, Machinery
and Equipment, Professional and Scientific Measuring and Controlling Equipment
(82 companies)).
The results are summarized below and detailed analyses within each marketing
mix elements are presented in Table 3, Table 4, Table 5, Table 6. In Table 3, 11
components are included in product practices. Among the websites of the firms,
74.3 % provide information about product categories and 69% give product
specifications and 68.5 % displays products photos.
Table 3 : Findings Related To Product Practices
Yes No Yes Percentage To Total
Product Categories 580 132 74.3
Product Specifications 539 189 69
Product Photos 535 183 68.5
Product Catalogue 396 299 50.7
Information About The Company's Other
Brands
228 487 29.2
Products Awards 212 529 27.1
Information About New Product 193 520 24.7
Information About Product Guarantee 186 499 23.8
Product Campaign 94 654 12
Information About Product Insurance
(Transportation)
93 622 11.9
Order Form 74 693 9.5
In Table 4, the price practices on firm websites are shown with following
percentages in each category where information about price list has the highest
percentage with 11.9.
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Table 4 : Findings Related To Price Practices
Yes No Yes Percentage To Total
Price List 93 682 11.9
Partner Financial Institutions (Banks,
etc.)
57 709 7.3
Payment Alternatives 56 716 7.2
Price Campaign 54 717 6.9
Price List in Foreign Currency 35 743 4.5
Spot Price Campaign 15 760 1.9
The last element of the marketing mix is the place practices where branch office
has the highest percentage with 46.6%.
Table 5 : Findings Related To Place Practices
Yes No Yes Percentage To Total
Branch Offices 364 366 46.6
Distribution Points 209 498 26.8
Access For Dealers 144 619 18.4
Partner Distributors 98 645 12.5
B2B Access 79 685 10.1
Table 6 shows the promotion practices of the web sites. It’s shown that majority
of the companies (61.7 %) announce the news related to their operations and 44.6
% have a photo gallery application.
Table 6 : Findings Related To Promotion Practices
Yes No Yes Percentage To Total
News 482 250 61.7
Photo Gallery 348 324 44.6
Promotional Catalog 307 387 39.3
Media Relations 297 443 38
Social Responsibility Projects 250 470 32
Videos 226 522 28.9
References 192 524 24.6
Participation in Fairs and Exhibitions 149 594 19
Sales Campaigns 141 584 18.1
Sponsorship Activities 130 624 16.6
FAQ 127 639 16.3
TV Ads 119 648 15.2
Contest 103 655 13.2
Press Bulletin 78 685 10
Joint Sales Campaigns 57 675 7.3
Gift Items 31 743 4
Games 21 756 2.7
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Manufacture of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Sector
Majority of the companies in this sector offer their products to the final consumers
through retailers. Unilever, Philsa, Coca-cola, Efes Beer, Banvit, Sütaş, Tat
Canned Food, JTI Tobacco, Keskinoğlu, Ülker, Pınar, Yörsan and Şölen
Chocolate are some of the companies ranked in top 50 of this sector marketing
thousands of various types of products in retail market. Due to the nature of this
sector web practice of the companies offer more information related to marketing
mix elements. Product categories (73.1 %), product photos (68.8 %) and product
specifications (56.9 %) are frequently depicted. Within the price category,
frequently displayed components are partner financial institutions (8.1 %), price
list (7.5 %) and price campaigns (5.6 %). The reason for these low averages stem
from the number of products offered for sale and different pricing strategies of the
retailers. In the promotion category information about branch offices (49.4 %) and
distribution points (33.7 %) are the leading components followed by the access
options for the dealers (25 %). The reason for these is probably the requirement to
get in touch with the intermediaries used in distribution channels. 17 components
are included in the promotion category. The economic and marketing activities of
the companies forming the sector enforces companies to be more consumer-
oriented, thus informational and instructional videos (40 %), social responsibility
projects (33.1%) and TV ads (32 %) act as the most frequently displayed
components in the web sites.
Textile, Wearing Apparel and Leather Sector
Likewise the Manufacture of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Sector, this sector
involves some of Turkey’s most famous companies such as Sanko, Zorluteks,
Yeşim Textile, Hey Textile, Merinos Carpet, Hugo-Boss, Sarar, Altınyıldız,
Özdilek Textile, Tariş, Roteks and Desa Leather. Many companies in this sector
are subcontractors of famous global chain stores and also among the leading
exporters of Turkey. As these companies involve in global business operations,
they give information related to their products. Within the product practices,
product category (70.2 %), product photos (63.4 %) and product specifications
(56.4 %) are frequently displayed in their web sites. Due to being subcontractors
and exporters, the pricing strategies are based on negotiations among the
companies. So that, the information related to the prices are insufficient. For
instance, only 3.8 % of companies have price lists in various foreign currencies,
8.4 % of the companies present payment alternatives for purchases and 9.2 % of
companies have price campaigns.
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Branch offices (48.1 %), distribution points (26.7 %) and distributors (13 %) are
presented in their web sites within the distribution category. Due to the
international operations, finding new markets is supposed to be a critical strategy
for these companies. Thus, within the promotion practices news (48.1%),
promotional catalogue (47.3 %) and photo gallery (42 %) are mostly depicted.
Manufacture of Chemicals and Chemical Petroleum, Coal, Rubber and
Plastic Sector
This sector involves mostly industrial companies such as Tüpraş, Petkim, Abdi
İbrahim, Bayer, Novartis, Pfizer, Akdeniz Chemistry and Bak Packaging. B2B
operations enforce these companies to display their product categories (76.9 %),
product specifications (72.2 %) and product photos (70.4 %) via their web sites
for their business customers. Within the price practices partner financial
institutions (11.1 %), price list (9.3 %), price list in foreign currency and payment
alternatives (8.3 %) constitute the leading components. Among the place activities
on firm websites the leading categories are branch offices (52.8 %), distribution
points (51.9) and distributors (27.8 %).
In this sector, websites provide informational news (83.3 %), press bulletins
(52.3%) and photo gallery (48.1 %).The main reason for this is the dominance of
B2B operations.
Basic Metal Sector
Almost none of the companies in this sector offers their products to final
consumers. Ereğli Demir Çelik, İskenderun Demir Çelik, İzmir Demir Çelik,
Borusan Mannesmann, Kardemir are among the leading companies in this
category. In this sector, likewise Manufacture of Chemicals and Chemical
Petroleum, Coal, Rubber and Plastic Sector where the dominance of B2B
operations may obviously observed, companies display their product
specifications (84.6 %), product categories (82.4%) and product photos (74.7 %)
via their web sites for their business customers. The prominent price components
on firm websites are price list (11 %), partner financial institutions (6.6 %) and
price comparison (5.5%). Within the place category, information about branch
offices (45.1 %), distributors (23.1 %) and B2B access (13.2 %) are the major
components. Although the operations are on B2B basis, the low percentage of
companies using e-business infrastructure can be revealed from the analysis. The
promotion category includes information about company (62.6 %), photo gallery
(46.2 %) and promotional catalogs (48.4 %) as major components.
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Manufacture of Fabricated Metal Products, Machinery and Equipment,
Professional and Scientific Measuring and Controlling Equipment Sector
The companies in this sector are composed of both B2B and B2C companies such
as Arçelik, Vestel, Bocsh, Siemens, Indesit, Schneider, Nortel Networs Netaş,
Genpower, Kumtel, Viko, Alarko Carrier, Klimasan and Norm Cıvata.
Many companies in this sector have international trade relations, partnerships and
some of them are the subsidiaries of global companies. So, this situation results
with high web usage for marketing. This can be clearly be seen with high
percentages for the components related to product: product categories (92.7%),
product specifications (91.5 %) and product photos (86.6 %). Within the price
category price list (29.3 %), price campaign (13.4 %) and payment alternatives
(13.4 %) constitute the leading components. Frequently displayed components in
place category are information about branch offices (67.1 %), information about
distributers (51.2%) and access for dealers (26.8 %). Promotion category includes
information about company (75.6 %), photo gallery (63.4 %) and media relations
(48.8 %).
5. CONCLUSION
In this study Turkish web sites of the top 1000 companies are examined and
evaluated for the practices of marketing mix tools. The study appears as an
original and comprehensive study including this kind of a wide range of
companies from various sectors in Turkish economy. The development of Internet
usage in business and marketing operations is becoming a vital tool for gaining
competitive advantage in both domestic and global markets.
Noticable number of companies in the top 1000 list engage in international trade
relations and global business. Some of the companies are joint ventures while the
noticable number of foreign companies take part in the list. It was found that, the
web practices of the companies varies depending on their sectors and business
operations. The companies still see the Internet and the web as means for
informing their customers about their companies and products. The prices and
price related components are not clearly depicted on web pages. The companies
dealing with retail marketing activites tend to use the web to enhance their
customer relations. The B2B oriented companies do not utilize the web effectively
for their operations. The effective use of web sites should be increased as a
support for the competitiveness of the companies.
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The new Turkish Commercial Code that will be in force after mid 2012 and every
capital stock company will be obligated to have a website, so this study is
expected to provide a basis for further studies for the marketing practicioners of
the companies and act as a guide for managers in designing and effectively using
their web pages and Internet for their business and marketing strategies.
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Web Sites: A Longitudinal Study in Hong Kong”, Information & Management
Vol.41, No. 4, pp.483-495.
Conference Paper
Globalizing world trade is increasing and logistics is becoming more important in worldwide. This specialized companies which is increasing more in recent years in Turkey are struggling to give weigh to become one of the leading companies worldwide. In order to become a leader, businesses on topic need to use their web sites effectively and should have interesting contents for their customers. In this study, web sites of logistics companies will be evaluated in terms of their activities. For this purpose, on scope of this study, the logistic companies, which is, continue to exist in the logistics sector and being in top 11 in Turkey by their turnover will be evaluated. According to the results, it can be said that companies do not pay much attention to innovation, and the development of logistics in Turkey have major shortcoming. In line with the results obtained, some suggestions will be made to companies and researchers.
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