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Digital Marketing Assignment: Impact Of E-Marketing On AIA International Ltd

Question

Task:
Prepare a well-researched digital marketing assignment addressing the impacts of e-marketing of online technologies facilitate or limit the Business of insurance firm in AIA International Ltd.

Answer

Introduction
As per Sheikh, Shahzadand Ishaq (2017), it is stated herein digital marketing assignment that e-marketing refers to the process by which the planning, execution, promotion, distribution and pricing of the commodities and services takes place in an environment that is networked and computerised. The medium of e-marketing is the World Wide Web and the Internet. Through this medium the transactions take place and it facilitates meeting the consumers’ demands. E-marketing is impacting all the business sectors and insurance industry is not an exception here. The business models and approach of various sectors have been altered with the advancement in technology. The sales and marketing approach has changed from its traditional style. As stated by Saura, Palos-Sánchezand Cerdá Suárez (2017), digital marketing fosters greater efficiency, optimum utilisation of human resources and reaching beyond the geographical limitations. Digital marketing has not only minimised the risks but also opened gateways for new opportunities. In this research proposal the impact of e-marketing on the Business of insurance firm in AIA International Ltd will be analysed, considering its positive and negative impact. The recent pandemic has also increased the need for connecting online. The physical presence and interaction have always been important to the insurance agents for establishing a connection with the customers or clients. However, the advent of technology has disrupted the traditional business model in the insurance industry. The insurance agents use specific digital technologies, which facilitate sales and marketing performance enhancement and business expansion beyond offline activities (Rangaswamy et al, 2020). The digital marketing has also brought digital customer review which eases the process of marketing.

Evolution
Digital marketing has huge potentials of facilitating business in today’s competitive and fast changing world. With the help of digital marketing, the concept of sales and marketing has changed completely. A huge global audience could be reached using digital marketing in no time. This form of marketing is measurable as well as cost effective. Unlike the traditional form of marketing, in digital marketing more potential customers are reached out in lesser time and that too at a lesser cost. The marketers and business organisations are able to know their audience, their preferences and needs through the digital space (Kannan, 2017). This facilitates the businesses to build brand loyalty by changing their approach to a more customer centric one.

In this era of digital transformation and marketing, the skills and expertise required for management of a business has changed entirely. Digital marketing has modified the operational structure of businesses including the selling of the products or services, the building and maintenance of customer relationships and the business management. The technological advancements are fostering the growth of companies and their businesses. The internet is the biggest platform that facilitates digital marketing (Balaand Verma, 2018). Besides, mobile communications is another medium, which promotes digital marketing. However, the lack of sufficient knowledge in digital marketing has been holding back companies from adopting it at a large scale and reaping its benefits. The insurance industry has huge scope for developing its business by adopting digital marketing and transforming its industry to improve its overall performance.

Through digital marketing, more value could be added to the insurance business. This would enhance the customer interactions and relationships, improve the brand loyalty and increase the profit earnings of the insurance companies. The companies would be able to develop a value proposition that is unique when they know their customers and their demands well. In the pre-digital marketing phase, the product knowledge had to be derived by the customers by physically visiting the stores (De Pelsmacker, Van Tilburgand Holthof, 2018). However, today with the help of digital platform, the customers can not only know about one product, but also compare the description and prices of similar products. They can further refer to the user feedbacks available online to get a fair idea of the product’s quality and use value. This expands their choice set and facilitates informed decision-making. Though in most of the cases, digital marketing has replaced traditional marketing, the latter is continues to play a significant role in many industries or specific companies while are yet to embrace the digital technology in marketing. In the insurance industry, the customers prefer a combination of in-person services along with digital marketing as the former helps in building stronger customer relationships. The business operations of the insurance industry of Hong Kong would be altered through adopting of digital marketing. This is because the relationship between the customers and the insurance agents as well as their interpersonal behaviour would be changed.

As per He and Harris (2020), the importance and need of digital marketing has increased during and after Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. The insurance industry has felt the need of going digital in terms of marketing because this could save their business from a downfall during the lockdown. The industry had to change their working pattern due to the pandemic. They started working remotely and optimizing the operations through digitalisation. Covid-19 has been a challenge, which the insurance industry has to deal with. In the insurance industry, digital marketing cannot totally replace traditional marketing, as the physical presence is important in this sector. The warmth of human interaction, the building of chemistry with new clients and maintaining good and strong customer relations is important for the business of the insurance industry. Thus, keeping the technology in mind, the insurance industry has to develop a mixed model where digitalisation will enhance the business without hampering the customer relationships and bonding with the brand (Valenducand Vendramin, 2017). The problem to be dealt in this research proposal is that how would the modern day insurers attain success in the digital world.

The research is based on digital marketing which is relevant and significant in the current global market. As suggested by Donthuand Gustafsson (2020), the global pandemic, Covid-19 has made the world realise the need of going online because during the Lockdown most of the economic activities that were limited to offline mode, were ceased. This affected those businesses adversely. Though the insurance industry has always been valuing the offline marketing and physical interaction between clients and insurance agents, the pandemic and social distancing hampered this aspect of the insurance business. In such a situation, the insurance companies like AIA tried embracing digital marketing in order to continue with their business operations. This research is important as it will evaluate whether the shift to digital platform has brought them the desired business outcome or has it reduced the trust of their customers in them.

Considering the Covid situation, the digital marketing is such a blessing and gift of technology which has helped the insurance companies to reach out to their potential customers (Bohnert, Fritzsche and Gregor, 2019). The industry has been able to retain its operations without physical interaction during the pandemic, which has saved time and money. As digital marketing is new for the insurance industry, it requires in-depth research and further studies. The ways, in which the virtual interaction has replaced the physical interaction with customers, the effect of this change on business performance and the significance, everything needs thorough research. Therefore, this research topic is a significant one. The digital transformation will also change the operational procedures like technical support, customer support, employee training, etc. The insurers in Hong Kong, especially AIA group has adapted to the changing global scenario during the pandemic and shifted to the digital platform for their marketing and other operations (AIA, 2021). The impact of this channel marketing or digital marketing strategy on the business of AIA will be evaluated in the research. The study will highlight the prospect of growth of the insurance business under the innovative structure and digitalisation. The digital marketing is a new approach which would make the traditional business models fall out of existence.

AIA International Ltd.
AIA is the largest pan-Asian life insurance group which is publicly listed. The AIA group has expanded their insurance business into eighteen markets across the Asia-Pacific region (AIA, 2021). The company strives to attain the position of the pre-eminent life insurance provider in the world. They aim at bringing about social and economic development, through which they want to serve the society, their customers and shareholders. In the year 2020, the Marketing Excellence Awards was rewarded to AIA Hong Kong for their innovations and brilliant performance in mobile marketing, digital marketing and integrated marketing during Covid-19 pandemic.

Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework in digital marketing 1

Literature Review
Digital Marketing

As stated by De Pelsmacker, Van Tilburg and Holthof (2018), digital marketing refers to the process by which the companies promote and their sell their commodities and services by utilising the online platform. The online tactics of marketing are implemented for reaching out to more customers in lesser time. The search marketing, social media marketing and email marketing are some of the common ways of digital marketing. In simple words, digital marketing is just an advanced version of marketing. The business environment is affected by this change in marketing approach from traditional to digital.

Environment: Customer Interaction, Customer Behaviour, Two-sided market & Social Media
As per Kaur (2017), the business environment and its factors are impacted by digital marketing. The interaction between the customers and the company as well as interaction among customers change due to digital marketing. The customers are brought closer to the brands and they can directly get in touch with the companies for their needs and queries. The brands utilise the digital marketing platform to create greater brand awareness. The customer behaviour changes due to digital marketing. The customers start expecting customised products, consistent quality and a better-personalised experience. The customers are free to hop across brands and brand loyalty is a difficult thing to guarantee in this era of digital marketing. The customers value the post purchase experience and service provided by the brands as much as they value quality of products. A two-sided market is created by digital marketing, which is almost like a two-sided network (Patro et al, 2020). Through this form of marketing, the customers as well as the suppliers are able to reap the benefits of networking. In a two-sided market, the sellers as well as the buyers come across each other to exchange the commodities or services. The buyers share their bids and the sellers offer their rate for sale. This interaction between the buyer and the seller takes places through an intermediary, which is the digital platform. According to Dwivedi et al (2020), social media is one of the greatest channels for digital marketing. Social media facilitates brand awareness and increases the visibility of the brand. The companies that have a professional and strong presence on social media are able to reach a greater target audience. This brings the company more leads. The brands can convert their potential customers to loyal ones.

Company: Market Research & Service Development
As opined by Tulung and Ramdani (2018), market research by a company facilitates development of better digital marketing approaches and strategies. Through market research, the company, AIA International Ltd. can get access to valuable data and information, which they can use for improving their business performance. The market research will enable the company to gather information related to the preferences and needs of the customers. As AIA International Limited is an insurance company, they need idea about the customers’ spending pattern and saving interests. Market research provides an insight into the expenditure habits of the customers and their financial profiles, which facilitates better decision making. As suggested by Sahni, Wheeler and Chintagunta (2018), the companies can reach out to their customers utilising the digital platform. Through email marketing, website and social media marketing, the companies can reach out to their target customers. AIA International Ltd. can improve its services by knowing the exact insurance requirements of the customers, which would attract them to buy the insurance.

Outcomes: Customer Satisfaction, Customer Retention, Business Growth & Brand Value
As stated by El-Adly (2019), customer satisfaction refers to the happiness of the customers on using a product or service. The customer satisfaction can be measured through surveys of consumers or customer ratings. These feedbacks of the customers help the company to improve their business performance and enhance their commodities or services. With the help of digital platform, the customers can easily share their opinions regarding services and commodities. This information is useful to the company providing the commodities or services, to other companies and to the customers. As per Ascarza et al (2018) customer retention is the capability of a company to retain their customers. The company’s customer retention is high when they can hold on their customers over a period of time. The customers return repeatedly to buy the commodities or use the services of the company when the retention is high. According to Sharma, Sharma and Chaudhary (2020), digital marketing facilitates business growth. Through the application of digital marketing, the companies are able to bring a steady flow of customers. The first step of digital marketing is getting the targeted traffic of audience. In the next stages, these people are converted into sales and leads. The business of AIA International Ltd can grow using the digital marketing tools. The company can apply the strategies and techniques that would attract more people towards the insurance company’s services. Their aim is to attract more traffic and convert them to sales. As per Merz, Zarantonello and Grappi (2018), brand value is also enhanced through digital marketing. Through digital marketing, the companies are able to make their customers remember and associate with their brand. The aim of branding is to create more loyal customers who would stick to the brand in the long run. Through the use of different digital platforms, the digital marketing facilitates introducing a particular brand to the leads. Digital marketing can establish the first significant step towards identifying leads, developing connections with customers and creating brand value for them.

Evidence & Explanation
The literature review section presented in this digital marketing assignment reviews adequate literary sources for gaining the insight into the subject matter. The secondary sources like the articles that have been referred to for finding the definitions and theories based on digital marketing act as evidence in this study. With reference to the conceptual framework, it can be concluded that there are certain direct and indirect impacts of digital marketing. For instance, digital marketing directly affects the approach that AIA International Ltd had towards their market research. The service development of the company can also be facilitated through digital marketing. The indirect impact of digital marketing is on the business environment. The business environment comprises factors like customer interactions, customer behaviour, two-sided market and social media. These are mainly the independent factors or variables in this study. These factors have an effect on the outcome of the business. The impact of digital marketing is noticed on the customer retention, the increase in customer satisfaction, the improvement in business growth and enhancement of brand value. Therefore, it can be concluded that the business environment is affected directly by digital marketing, which then changes the outcome of the business as well as the business environment.

References
AIA, 2021. About AIA. Available at http://www.aia.com.hk/en/about-aia.html [Accessed 6 April 21]

Ascarza, E., Neslin, S.A., Netzer, O., Anderson, Z., Fader, P.S., Gupta, S., Hardie, B.G., Lemmens, A., Libai, B., Neal, D. and Provost, F., 2018. In pursuit of enhanced customer retention management: Review, key issues, and future directions. Digital marketing assignment Customer Needs and Solutions, 5(1), pp.65-81.

Bala, M. and Verma, D., 2018. A critical review of digital marketing. M. Bala, D. Verma (2018). A Critical Review of Digital Marketing. International Journal of Management, IT & Engineering, 8(10), pp.321-339.

Bohnert, A., Fritzsche, A. and Gregor, S., 2019. Digital agendas in the insurance industry: the importance of comprehensive approaches. The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance-Issues and Practice, 44(1), pp.1-19.

De Pelsmacker, P., Van Tilburg, S. and Holthof, C., 2018. Digital marketing strategies, online reviews and hotel performance. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 72, pp.47-55.

Donthu, N. and Gustafsson, A., 2020. Effects of COVID-19 on business and research. Journal of business research, 117, p.284.

Dwivedi, Y.K., Ismagilova, E., Hughes, D.L., Carlson, J., Filieri, R., Jacobson, J., Jain, V., Karjaluoto, H., Kefi, H., Krishen, A.S. and Kumar, V., 2020. Setting the future of digital and social media marketing research: Perspectives and research propositions. International Journal of Information Management, p.102168.

El-Adly, M.I., 2019. Modelling the relationship between hotel perceived value, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 50, pp.322-332.

Hays, D.G. and McKibben, W.B., 2021. Promoting rigorous research: Generalizability and qualitative research. Journal of Counseling & Development, 99(2), pp.178-188.

He, H. and Harris, L., 2020. The impact of Covid-19 pandemic on corporate social responsibility and marketing philosophy. Journal of Business Research, 116, pp.176-182.

Kannan, P.K., 2017. Digital marketing: A framework, review and research agenda. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(1), pp.22-45.

Kaur, G., 2017. The importance of digital marketing in the tourism industry. International Journal of Research-Granthaalayah, 5(6), pp.72-77.

Merz, M.A., Zarantonello, L. and Grappi, S., 2018. How valuable are your customers in the brand value co-creation process? The development of a Customer Co-Creation Value (CCCV) scale. Journal of Business Research, 82, pp.79-89.

Patro, G.K., Chakraborty, A., Ganguly, N. and Gummadi, K., 2020, April. Incremental fairness in two-sided market platforms: on smoothly updating recommendations. In Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (Vol. 34, No. 01, pp. 181-188).

Pizarro, O., Friedman, A., Bryson, M., Williams, S.B. and Madin, J., 2017. A simple, fast, and repeatable survey method for underwater visual 3D benthic mapping and monitoring. Ecology and Evolution, 7(6), pp.1770-1782.

Rangaswamy, A., Moch, N., Felten, C., van Bruggen, G., Wieringa, J.E. and Wirtz, J., 2020. The role of marketing in digital business platforms. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 51, pp.72-90.

Sahni, N.S., Wheeler, S.C. and Chintagunta, P., 2018. Personalization in email marketing: The role of noninformative advertising content. Marketing Science, 37(2), pp.236-258.

Saura, J.R., Palos-Sánchez, P. and Cerdá Suárez, L.M., 2017. Understanding the digital marketing environment with KPIs and web analytics. Future Internet, 9(4), p.76.

Sharma, A., Sharma, S. and Chaudhary, M., 2020. Are small travel agencies ready for digital marketing? Views of travel agency managers. Tourism Management, 79, p.104078.

Sheikh, A.A., Shahzad, A. and Ishaq, A.K., 2017. The growth of e-marketing in business-to-business industry and its effect on the performance of businesses in Pakistan: Marketing success. International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Sciences, 6(2), pp.178-214.

Snyder, H., 2019. Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines. Digital marketing assignment Journal of Business Research, 104, pp.333-339.

Tulung, J.E. and Ramdani, D., 2018. Independence, size and performance of the board: An emerging market research. Corporate Ownership & Control, 15(2).

Valenduc, G. and Vendramin, P., 2017. Digitalisation, between disruption and evolution. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 23(2), pp.121-134.

Zhang, X., Kuchinke, L., Woud, M.L., Velten, J. and Margraf, J., 2017. Survey method matters: Online/offline questionnaires and face-to-face or telephone interviews differ. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, pp.172-180.

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