Sustainable Internet Marketing Technical Framework (SIMTF)

The SIMTF describes 9 components required to establish and maintain a sustainable technical platform for Internet Marketing

SIMTF Objectives
The objective of the SIMTF is to specify the required elements for an Internet Web site which can continuously monitor and adjust to the market developments. Establishing the environment to identify changes promptly and providing the flexibility to adjust all implemented elements accordingly are the key challenges of sustainable IM. The elements of the SIMTF have to precisely perform this identification and adjustment of the overall system fully or partially automated. The SIMTF is deducted from the Sustainable Internet Marketing Concept (SIMC), which describes the environment, objectives and processes of Internet marketing (AAT Internet Marketing, 2006).

As framework has been just developed recently the full concept a state of maturity has to be reached by further aligning the elements to the required functionality and existing terminology.

9 SIMTF Elements
The SIMTF consists of 9 systems which describe the elements required for sustainable IM. Each system provides at least one business value as illustrated within the SIMC. The systems are not understood as tools for analysis but as integrated learning engines. The Site Usage Information System [SIMTF-S4] for example describes the functionality to adjust the Web site navigation structure according to utilization patterns; another example is the Online Pricing Information System [SIMTF-S8] which optimizes the product and services illustration.

1. Link and Banner Placement System

The objective of the link and banner placement system [AAT-SIMTF-S1] is primarily to create awareness [AAT-O1] for products, services or whole brands. The strategy is to provide the technical environment that enables the distribution of specific links and banner on demand. The system network integrates all relevant channels as search-engines (Seda, 2004), directories and partner Web sites.
SIMTF-S1 has several quality aspects which determine the effectiveness of the system; examples are illustration type, location quality or timing. The system is mainly used for campaign implementations. The maturity of the system is determined by its level of automation to optimize the marketing activities.

The key-functions of the SIMTF-S1 are the banner and link specification, the campaign specification, the partner generation and the partner evaluation. Information maintained by the system is channel and meta-information to illustrate links and banners within the network.

2. Product and Services Positioning Information System

The product and services positioning information system [AAT-SIMTF-S2] is required to evaluate the level of awareness [AAT-O1] which can be leveraged via the Internet. SIMTF-S2 provides information about the positioning of specific products and services as well as the overall Web site within the Internet. The information system finally joins channels and target group specifications.
Examples of quality characteristics of this system are the degree of channel details, the possibility of development tracking, and the impact and time sensitivity analysis. The system is mainly used for search engine optimization and for the general evaluation of the Web presence (performance monitoring). The data maintained can be utilized to automatically optimize advertisement strategies (SIMTF-S1).

The key-functions of the SIMTF-S2 are the channel analysis, target-group analysis, development-tracking and quality analysis. The system manages information about channel utilization schemes and the positioning within those channels.

3. User Origination and Profile Information System

The objective of the user origination and profile information system [AAT-SIMTF-S3] is to provide the data source to analyze the awareness structure of the products and services. The SIMTF-S3 provides information about existing and potential customers, partners and multipliers using the IM elements. Within this system, origination data (Bayne, 2000) is matched with profile information. This information is used to analyze the clustered target group and to customize the products and services as well as the overall IM strategies.
Quality aspects are the level of detail and the integration with the other elements of the SIMTF. User origination and profile information can be automatically translated into optimizing the on- and off-site marketing activities or the scope of the illustration and distribution system.

The key functionalities of the SIMTF-S3 are the user origination identification and the user profile analysis. The SIMTF-S3 maintains information about user behavior, user characteristics and user navigation.

4. Site Usage Information System
The primary objective of the site usage information system [AAT-SIMTF-S4] is to provide a data source to analyze how attractive [AAT-O2] the Web site is for potential customers. The SIMTF-S4 provides information about the Web site�s elements usage by existing and potential customers. It is used for product/services and Web design analysis. Additionally a combination with the information from SIMTF-S3 provides an interesting insight on the different Web site components� appeal on the different user cluster. The quality of this system is determined by the complexity of data which can be stored and the possible analysis which can be performed with this element. The site usage information can be automatically utilized in adjusting the navigation structure favoring specific products or services.

The key functionality of the SIMTF-S4 is the utilization analysis and the generation of a link-structure according to the utilization schemes. The core data is traffic information matched to identifiers of the Web site�s elements.

5. Information Management and Distribution System
The objective of the information management and distribution system [AAT-SIMTF-S5] is to create awareness [AAT-O1] and attraction [AAT-O2]. The SIMTF-S5 provides the technical environment to manage and illustrate information on- and off-site. The system includes a professional content management system (CMS) as well as possibilities to distribute the content via a set of data-distribution formats (e.g. XML).
The CMS has to provide supporting functionality to create attractive (content and design) information. The system has to be highly integrated with the other systems of the SIMTF.

The key functionalities of the SIMTF-S5 are the content creation, content illustration and content distribution. The illustration and distribution of information are continuously optimized according to utilization statistics that focus on the Internet marketing strategy. The system maintains the core information of the Web site and meta-data to structure and distribute the content.

6. Customer and Partner Interaction System

The customer and partner interaction system [AAT-SIMTF-S6] is a major element to continuously remain attractive [AAT-O2] for potential and existing customers, partners and multipliers even after the first visit or purchase. Additionally the system provides a platform to promote its own and other specific products and services. SIMTF-S6 provides the technical environment to enable B2B, B2C or C2C interaction and has to be integrated comprehensively with SIMTF-S5. The customer and partner interaction leverages the opportunities of the Internet of establishing a brand and network as well as a community (Hanson, 2000). While the significance of a brand is broadly elaborated, a virtual network or community allows to identify customer�s and partner�s needs, to steer product and services feedback, to lower support and maintenance costs and to secure new customer within their purchase decision (Cox and Koelzer, 2003).

The key functionalities of the SIMTF-S6 are the discussion management, newsletter management, FAQ management and feedback management. The system has to be designed to maintain and develop itself, e.g. to generate FAQ-pages automatically from helpdesk requests or structure the discussion platform upon the existing discussion threads. The system provides customer, partner and multiplier data as well as specific meta-data for the described functionalities.

7. Transaction Support System
The objective of the transaction support system [AAT-SIMTF-S7] is to enable potential customers and business partners to perform transactions [AAT-O3] on the Web site. The SIMTF-S7 provides the technical environment to support the whole transaction process including registrations, operations, payments and deliveries. Transactions highly determine the usability of a Web site (Roberts, 2002); they have to be comprehensible, effective, efficient and secure.

The key functionalities of the SIMTF-S7 are the transaction operation and the transaction supervision. The support of operative activities by automatic processes has to continuously adjust to the tracked performance of the activities. The system includes customer and partner data as well as transaction and source information.

8. Online Pricing Information System
The online pricing information system [AAT-SIMTF-S8] is a back office system required to analyze the market situation. The system establishes the information base to identify the right pricing strategy to insure an optimum of transactions [AAT-O3]. The SIMTF-S8 provides the technical functionalities to assess pricing information about the products and services within the Internet environment. The pricing information refers to all equivalent or comparable products and services in consideration of the whole service package (add-ons, shipping, warranties, and other benefits).

The key functionalities of the AAT-SIMTF-S8 are the price and the scenario analysis. The system has to be able to adjust the pricing and bundling of products and services on the Web site according to the performed analysis. The more data that are maintained by the system are pricing information, channel query logic and service package specifications.

9. Affiliation and Advertisement System
The objective of the affiliation and advertisement system [AAT-SIMTF-S9] is to generate (a) more awareness for the Web site [AAT-O1: Awareness] and (b) additionally revenues via the Web site [AAT-O3: Transaction]. The SIMTF-S9 provides the technical instruments to integrate affiliate and alternative advertisement elements seemingly within the existing environment. The system can (a) manage the established affiliate marketing programs (e.g. integrate Google AdSense or Amazon partner programs) and (b) initiate an own affiliate/advertising concept that provides all technical requirements to manage the own external advertising network.

The efficiency of this SIMTF-S9 depends on the simplicity with which attractive external affiliate marketing systems (or partner programs) can be managed and on the flexibility to enable selected advertisers to connect to the provided advertisement platform.

The key functionalities of the SIMTF-S9 are the advertisement management and the affiliate management. The SIMTF-S9 has to independently adjust the advertising activities according to the performance of specific key performance indicators. The system maintains the data required to identify the accounts for the partner programs and the partner program specific source code. The system has to store details about advertisers and their advertisement activities.