Commercial approach to its marketing strategies

Assessing the effectiveness of Oxfam's Internet marketing and how it appeals to the youth, it can be said that whilst the site has a fresh and contemporary image, which separates them from traditional notions of the organisation, and charities in general, it fails to engage and involve the youth, giving the user a fairly one-dimensional experience. The result is that it may fail to attract the youth to return to the site. Although the site may not be very engaging it does however successfully integrate its various activities, which are geared towards the youth market.

For instance, the 'Make Trade Fair' campaign and the 'International Youth Parliament' are well channelled via the use of the Internet. Mediating the campaign through the Internet allows the youth to interact actively and provide instant feedback, which could not otherwise have been possible for example, if direct marketing methods were used. The Internet can be accessed by the youth at any time and at any place provided an Internet connection is available.

Furthermore, the promoting of youth orientated activates on the Internet, such as trail adventures, mountain climbing and stewarding at Glastonbury, positively reflect upon the target youth market. In this sense, the use of the Internet is successful in attracting the target youth market to become involved with Oxfam. However what Oxfam fail to do in using the Internet is make their site engaging. This can reduce the time a user in particular the youth would spend on browsing the site.

What this means is that Oxfam risk the chance of youth users not coming across their activities, thus resulting in a lack of youth participation and the loss of a potential member for Oxfam. However what the Internet does do for Oxfam is that it builds and reinforces Oxfam's Brand. The way this may reflect upon the youth is that the brand may be perceived as being a real driving force on eliminating the ills of the world, and linking this with the youth promotes Oxfam's image and appeal. Thus having the overall affect of intriguing the youth in wanting to become a member of Oxfam.

The use of text messages by Oxfam in the Glastonbury festival, proved to be an effective use of new media. This medium had the benefits of precise and instant targeting for the desired target market. This new media marketing strategy proved effective in helping to engage and involve the youth in Oxfam's activities on the day. This further helped to enhance trust in Oxfam, and helped Oxfam to project a 'youthful' image. Oxfam have used Digital TV to promote their company as advertising via terrestrial or mainstream TV proves to be expensive for the company.

Using digital TV gives Oxfam the opportunity to target a fragmented market, making segmentation more effective. The majority of Oxfam's promotion is done via the Discovery Channel. The Discovery Channel, at a glance, conceptualises its audience as 'knowledge seekers', who are predominantly male and fall into the age category of 25-45+. From this it would seem that the use of digital TV in specific the Discovery Channel, does not allow Oxfam to target the youth market.

This is because channels such as the Discovery Channel can seem dull and lack appeal, which is not enough to appeal to the youth market. In saying this, Oxfam however integrates well the use of Digital TV and the internet, in which after each broadcasted advert, Oxfam's internet website is refereed to creating and reinforcing Oxfam's other uses of new media and information points. The above evaluation highlights that Oxfam's attempt in attracting the youth market lacks consistency and real conviction, regarding the use of new media.

Taking this into consideration as well as Oxfam's 2004 to 2007 marketing strategy, which is shown in appendix 2, . It is therefore recommended that Oxfam consider the recommendations that are provided in the following section of the report. Oxfam are under immense pressure to operate commercially, in order to raise awareness and appeal to the newly emerging youth market. The charity market is increasingly competitive, whereby charities such as Comic Relief and Christian Aid are also attempting to focus their marketing activities on appealing to the youth.

If charities such as Oxfam are to differentiate from competitors and fight off competition for attracting youth campaigners, volunteers and fundraisers, they need to exploit the growing importance of electronic media, and incorporate new media strategies in to their marketing activities, which offer cost-effective ways of engaging with the target youth market, enhance the scope of customer service provided, and provide opportunities for cross-selling (Harris 7 Dennis, 2002), retention and acquisition.

References

Websites 

http://www.oxfam.co.uk/about_us/history/index.htm (accessed 9th January 2004)

http://www.oxfam.co.uk (accessed 3rd January 2004)

http://comicrelief.com (accessed 5th January 2004)

http://christianaid.co.uk (accessed 9th January 2004) http://society.guardian.co.uk/internet/story/0,8150,575193,00.html (accessed 11th November 2003)

http://fish.co.uk (accessed 18th January 2004)

http://www.oxfam.co.uk/about_us/downloads/strategic_plan04-07.pdf (accessed 26th January 2003) 

www.cin.co.uk (accessed 25th January 2004)