Dave Chaffey’s Internet Marketing Mambo Jambo


Dave Chaffey is one of the first internet marketing ‘gurus’ that I read. I remember buying his books and reading them carefully. I thought, at the time, that I was reading high-quality reflections. Having spent a lot of time in academia, Chaffey fulfilled my eagerness to have an ‘intellectual’ approach to internet marketing. With time, however, I lost the admiration. I spend more time on youtube these days – rarely do I read an internet marketing related book. In this article I want to explain why…

Dave Chaffey´s “Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice”

“Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice” is, probably, the most complete of Chaffey’s contributions to internet marketing. In it he tries to translate all of marketing’s traditional concerns to internet marketing. In other words, he tries to explain how to understand internet marketing through marketing’s lenses. A lot could be said about the book but here is the argument in a nutshell:

Part 1 relates the use of the Internet to traditional marketing theories and concepts, and questions the validity of existing models given the differences between the Internet and other media.

Chapter 1 An introduction to Internet marketing introduces using the Internet as part of customer-centric, multi-channel marketing; it also reviews the relationship between Internet marketing, e-marketing, e-commerce and e-business, and the benefits the Internet can bring to adopters, outlines differences from other media and briefly introduces the technology.

Chapter 2 The Internet micro-environment reviews how the Internet changes the immediate environment of an organisation, including marketplace and channel structure. It describes the type of environmental analysis needed to support Internet strategy by examining how customers, competitors and intermediaries and the interplay between them can be evaluated.

Chapter 3 The Internet macro-environment reviews the impact of social, technological, economic, political and legal environmental influences on Internet strategy and its implementation.

Part 2 describes the emerging models for developing strategy and provides examples of the approaches companies have used to integrate the Internet into their marketing strategy.

Chapter 4 Internet marketing strategy considers how the Internet strategy can be aligned with business and marketing strategies and describes a generic strategic approach with phases of situation review, goal setting, strategy formulation and resource allocation and monitoring.

Chapter 5 The Internet and the marketing mix assesses how the different elements of the marketing mix can be varied in the online environment as part of strategy formulation.

Chapter 6 Relationship marketing using the Internet details the strategies and tactics for using the Internet to build and sustain ‘one-to-one’ relationships with customers.

Part 3 of the book explains practical approaches to implementing an Internet marketing strategy. Techniques for communicating with customers, building relationships and facilitating electronic commerce are all reviewed in some detail. Knowledge of these practical techniques is essential for undergraduates on work placements involving a web site and for marketing managers who are dealing with suppliers such as design agencies.

Chapter 7 Delivering the online customer experience explains how an online presence is developed to support branding and customer service quality objectives. The stages, including analysis of customer needs, design of the site structure and layout, and creating the site, are covered together with key techniques such as user-centred design, usability and accessibility design.

Chapter 8 Interactive marketing communications describes the novel characteristics of new media, and then goes on to review different online and offline promotion techniques necessary to build traffic to a web site and for other promotion objectives. Among the techniques covered are banner advertising, affiliate networks, promotion in search engines and directories, co-branding and sponsorship, e-mail, loyalty techniques and PR.

Chapter 9 Maintaining and monitoring the online presence defines a process for successful updating of a site and online and offline methods for assessing the effectiveness of the site in delivering business and marketing benefits.

Chapter 10 Business-to-consumer Internet marketing examines models of marketing to consumers, and provides case studies of how retail businesses are tackling such marketing.

Chapter 11 Business-to-business Internet marketing examines the different area of marketing to other businesses, and provides many examples of how companies are achieving this to support international marketing. It also discusses the different stages of the buying decision such as supplier search, product evaluation and selection, purchase, post-purchase customer service, and evaluation and feedback.

Verdict: Beyond the Mambo Jambo?

Are Chaffey’s reflections on internet marketing useful? They are. They really are. His main concern is this one: how to read internet marketing through marketing’s core concerns. This is a huge task and one to which Chaffey’s as done a huge service. He writes without any ‘theoretical template’ in mind. He describes what the main ‘descriptive’ concerns of the discipline of marketing are and provides an internet marketing answer to these conceptual problems.

Well done Dave!

However, when one reads his contributions, one is sometimes confused with all the mambo jambo and the language and terms that are used. One wonders whether university geeks like Chaffey ever had to be in charge of SEO or adwords or any other internet marketing tool. Or if they ever spent the time to understand how marketing Ps relate to real-world businesses. I find it problematic to discuss products, prices and the rest of the Ps without having real knowledge of how they relate to businesses.

In sum, if you want to understand more about internet marketing you should definitely read this book. But read everything carefully until Chapter 4. Beyond chapter 4 – and even until chapter 4 to some extent – just use Chaffey’s contributions as helpful guides for broad conversations. Use Chaffey when you want to sound smart.

Overall the questions this book raises and then answers are full of generalizations. It should be considered a starting point for a conversation. In order to understand more you need to go to youtube or buy courses of people that are actually working with different digital marketing tools. You should definitely move beyond Chaffey’s internet marketing mambo jambo…