Throughout the course of this report, the internet marketing activities of Hollister Co. will be critically assessed. The strengths and weaknesses of the company’s brand will be evaluated in terms of its e-marketing and the different types of digital media that are available to the organisation will be identified. The brand’s social media presence and utilisation will be assessed and recommendations will be made regarding ways in which its internet marketing capability can be improved.

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Hollister Co. uses a range of digital media to market the clothing that it sells, including a mobile phone application (Hollister Co.), Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, a website, an online mailing list (Hollister Co.) and Youtube video advertisements (Hollister Co., 2012). The fact that it is keeping up with the latest technology is a strength of its brand, as it keeps it contemporary and up-to-date. The U.S. is a major market for Hollister and eighty-seven percent of American smart phone users use their phones to surf the web (Choney, 2011). Forty-three percent use their phones to download applications (Brenner, 2013), meaning that Hollister’s decision to utilise this platform for digital marketing is helping the organisation to remain in touch with the ways in which the population is accessing information.

According to Islam, Islam and Mazumder in ‘Mobile Application and Its Global Impact’, mobile phone applications are now extremely powerful marketing tools and cannot be ignored (2010). Bellman, Potter, Treleaven-Hassard, Robinson and Varan state that this is due to the fact that the high degree of user interactivity that is involved in these applications has an overwhelmingly positive effect upon customers’ views of a brand. Studies indicate that applications increase interest in both brands and specific products, demonstrating the importance of Hollister Co.’s decision to opt to use this form of digital marketing and the impact that it is liable to be having (2011).

Research published in the UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Research indicates that Hollister Co. has also made the right move by concentrating on marketing via Facebook. Some companies have increased the number of people who visit their websites by up to a fifth by utilising this platform (Pradiptarini, 2011). This demonstrates its power as a promotional tool and indicates that if the organisation had not set up a Facebook page, it might have been left behind by other companies that adopted this approach.

The decision to use Twitter as a marketing tool was also a good move by Holister Co. In ‘Narrative Study of Emotion Marketing: The Uses Of Twitter At @Hijup’, Athia cites research that demonstrates that this platform is useful for helping to develop emotional connections with customers, which encourages them to purchase products. Emotion-driven brands have been demonstrated to do better than those that work based upon other factors (Athia, 2013). By tapping into the feelings of companies via this method, Hollister Co. is improving its marketing strategy and making itself a more profitable business by securing more sales.

Another strength of Hollister Co.’s approach to digital marketing is the fact that the company runs its own channel on YouTube. This has provided it with a means of centralizing its product videos, making them easy for interested individuals to find. It is easy to monitor the success of YouTube videos’ ability to reach a large audience by looking at the amount of views that they have (Gresham). Hollister Co. has some videos on its channel that possess under two hundred views despite the fact that considerable effort appears to have gone into producing them (Hollister Co., 2012). This implies that a weakness of the brand in terms of is e-marketing is its inability to consistently produce YouTube videos that are capable of gaining the interest of internet users.

There are only three video on Hollister Co.’s YouTube channel that have been particularly successful out of a total of one hundred and four (2012), suggesting that the organization is capable of creating engaging YouTube content but simply fails to do so on a regular basis. It would benefit from attempting to improve in this area. Having such unpopular videos associated with such a large company detracts from its image as opposed to improving it.

Hollister Co.’s decision to use Instagram as a marketing platform will be likely to draw in customers, as this platform is good for displaying products and enabling surfers to engage in ‘mobile window shopping’. It allows customers to view potential purposes prior to buying. The site is also useful for creating anticipation about forthcoming products (The Network Journal, 2012). It is therefore an effective means of keeping the public’s attention and encouraging them to browse items that there is a possibility that they might opt to buy.

The company’s decision to market its products via Pinterest was also a wise move, as research suggests that this site is very popular amongst women (Hahn, 2012). Hollister Co. sells female as well as male clothes so this could help the organization to promote its goods to female customers. Pinterest users generally spend a greater amount of time on Pinterest than they spend upon the other social networking platforms that they use (Hahn, 2012), meaning that it is an especially effective site to use in order to promote a product or brand. The more time people spend on it, the more they will be likely to soak up the message that Hollister Co.’s page is trying to put across.

There is evidence that social media helps businesses to expand their markets to customers who would have otherwise been unreachable (Pradiptarini, 2011). Therefore by utilising these platforms, Holister Co. is maximising the number of people who could potentially purchase its products. It is advertising to a new audience and conveying brand information to demographics that might not otherwise have been possible to communicate with.

According to Drury in ‘Social Media: Should Marketers Engage and How Can it Be Done Effectively?’, social media is an especially powerful promotional tool due to the fact that people who are advertised to via social networking sites do not feel as if they are having adverts forced upon them that they did not want to see. This is because the entire function of social media is for people to convey information to one another (Drury, 2008). This means that Holister Co. have succeeded in choosing an option for a non-intrusive form of advertising, which is a strength of the organisation’s digital marketing technique.

Trusov, Bodapati and Bucklin emphasize the importance of making use of social media for marketing purposes. They suggest that influential users of these sites can spread the word about products, creating a snowball effect (Bodapati, Bucklin and Trusov). This supports the idea that Holister Co. made a good decision by utilising this platform. Social media not only possess the potential to reach new customers but also mean that the possibility exists for an advertising campaign to be transmitted over the internet by surfers who like the promotional material that they see.

In Internet Direct Mail, Bly and Feit state that internet mailing lists are an effective means of promoting a product on account of the fact that they are significantly cheaper to use than marketing campaigns that involve sending physical material to potential customers. This is due to the fact that no money needs to be spent upon printing the promotional material. This method is also more effective than sending leaflets, fliers and other promotional material via snail mail due to the fact that videos and audio can be incorporated into the emails (Bly and Feit 2001). Research conducted by Oh, Teo and Xu indicates that people are more likely to take notice of advertising material that contains multimedia than they are to take notice of promotional material that just contains text. Video clips were deemed to be particularly effective (2009). It can therefore be said Holister Co. are employing an effective technique by utilising this means of marketing.

According to Fariborzi and Zahedifard in ‘E-Mail Marketing: Advantages, Disadvantages and Improving Techniques’, mass mailing of this type possesses the highest return on investment of any marketing technique (2012). This means that Holister Co. are utilising a profitable means of gaining new customers by employing it. Additional advantages include the fact that it is easy to create advertising material to be sent via email, it is quick and efficient and the results are easy to measure. It also allows potential customers to be targeted with customized advertisements depending on their characteristics, for example a certain type of promotional material might help to secure sales from older individuals, whereas another type might appeal to men more than it does to women (Fariborzi and Zahedifard, 2012). It appears that Hollister Co. is taking advantage of a powerful advertising tool that is relatively cheap to use and capable of achieving the desires results.

A weakness of Hollister Co.’s digital marketing strategy is the fact that the company’s website contains a large banner taking up roughly a fifth of the screen that informs browsers that cookies will be collected from them if they browse the site. The button to close this banner is grey and the background is black, meaning that it does not immediately stand out. The banner conceals important sections of an advertisement that encourages customers to communicate information related to Hollister Co. promotional material via Twitter (Hollister Co.). It is possible that this will result in surfers failing to see these sections and consequently failing to follow Hollister’s invitation to share information about the advert using social media. This will lessen the effectiveness of the promotional banner. Having such a large section of the site conveying a message that is in no way related to the product might also confuse potential customers and cause them to shun Hollister Co.’s website in favour of the sites of rival clothing companies.

The main page of Hollister Co.’s site displays an image depicting scantily clad men and women having fun on the beach whilst wearing clothes that have been designed by the company (Hollister Co.). This is an effective piece of digital marketing, as it creates an association between sex, enjoyment and the products that are being sold. Research cited by Ifezue in ‘What Makes an Effective Advertising for a Man or a Woman?’ suggests that content that is suggestive of sex is good for gaining the attention of potential customers, enhancing persuasive power and improving brand image (2010).

In conclusion, Hollister Co.’s digital marketing strategies possess a multitude of different strengths. They make good use of mass emailing, utilise all of the most popular social media platforms and include a website that prominently displays links to other digital media related to the brand. However the website is obstructed by the banner stating that cookies are collected on the site and steps could be taken to include content that will gain more views on the organisation’s YouTube page. These measures could be implemented in order to ensure that the marketing capability of the company is improved. They would consequently increase the level to which the organisation is able to secure new customers. It is also recommendable for Hollister Co. to keep abreast of any future developments in the social media world, as the internet is rapidly changing and it is easy for companies to be left behind. Hollister Co’.’s use of the internet for marketing purposes is currently well orchestrated but there is room for improvement.

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