Digital Divide and Marketing

Growing up in the information age I have had access too, seen the development of, and utilized the Internet, mobile phones, email, social media, tablets, laptops and many many more ICT’s (Miniwatts Marketing Group, 2012). This age filled with knowledge workers and therefore, is a time where there is constant access and a genuine need for information and communication (Flew, 2008). This information and communication is facilitated by ICT’s which people are using all around us at any given time. In fact I cant even remember a time without these technologies or even image what I would do without them, which makes it particularly difficult to think that out there on the other side of the world there are places with people who don’t even know these technology exists. This is known as the digital divide.

The digital divide can be defined as “the inequality in access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the inequality in the ability to derive benefit from ICTs both between and within countries” (White, 2010). In simpler words this means that the digital divide is the difference in the ability and amount of information that people with ICT’s can access, compared to those that do not have, or have limited access to ICT’s (International Telecommunication Union, 2001). The digital divide is generally a result of a difference in race, gender, education, income, disability, opinion, culture, age and location (Atkinson & Black, 2007). Location is possibly one of the major contributing factors, or at least the most discussed factor, of the digital divide, thus making this a global issue.

The digital divide between developed countries and under developed countries can be seen within the research from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) (International Telecommunication Union, 2001). The ITU found that those within developed countries have 63 times more access to a personal computer (per 100 people), 24965 times more international Internet bandwidth (per person) and 42 times more access to the Internet (per 100 people), then those in under developed countries (White, 2010). As a result of this difference in ICT access, developing countries have become information rich and more highly educated, while developing countries have become information poor and therefore are less educated and economically disadvantaged (Miniwatts Marketing Group, 2012). While the digital divide between developed and under developed countries is obvious, and commonly discussed, it is also occurring within different areas of a country. For example those living in the city and metropolitan areas of Australia typically have a greater access to ICT’s and the Internet, then those within small country towns or rural areas, of Australia (Atkinson & Black, 2007).

While the digital divide gap is currently very evident within society, and is seen as an important issue, it has been predicted that the gap will begin to shrink (White, 2010). This prediction has been made due to the uptake and diffusion rates of mobile phones, and their access to the Internet, within society and particularly within developing countries (White, 2010). This rate of diffusion can be seen in the graph below.



So by now you can clearly see that the digital divide has a direct impact on society, but how does this impact marketing.  Firstly the digital divide is impacting marketing due to the difference in ICT capabilities amongst different people within the same target market (The World Bank Group, 2012). As a result of the difference in ICT capabilities, it make it challenging for marketers to effectively target the whole market, using ICT’s, as each member of the market may need to be targeted in a different way (The World Bank Group, 2012). However, as stated before this gap is predicted to shrink due to the development of mobile phones and Internet access; therefore, this provides an opportunity for marketers. As a result of the increase in the diffusion of mobile phones, a standard platform for what medium consumers are using and searching for information has been provided (Eyevine, 2009). Therefore, this means that marketers must utilize mobile phones, and ensure their marketing efforts work on a mobile phone devices. In addition to this they also need to find new and effective ways to use mobile phones as a marketing tool.

In conclusion the issue of the gap the digital divide has created, between the information rich and the information poor, proves to be an issue for society and a challenge for marketers. As a marketer there is not a lot you can do other then look at trends and try and determine what is going to be the most effective method for marketing in the future. It could be mobile phone marketing, that is the next big thing, but then again something new might come along or mobile phones may not diffuse into the under developed countries as well as it has been predicted. So as to how the gap in digital divide will impact the future of marketing, no one really knows so I guess we will all have to wait and see.


Atkinson, J. & Black, R. (2007). Addressing the Digital Divide in Rural Australia. Retrieved from

Eyevine. (2009). Mobile Marvels. Retrieved from

Flew, T. (2008). New Media: an introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press

International Telecommunication Union. (2001). Overview. Retrieved from

Miniwatts Marketing Group. (2012). The Digital Divide ICT. Retrieved from

The World Bank Group. (2012). Module 2: Making ICT More Accessible and Affordable in Rural Areas. Retrieved from

White, S. (2010). The Global Digital Divide and Inbound Marketing. Retrieved from


Additional Resources

Lendenmann, K. W. (2012). Bridging the Digital Divide – Two Underlying Facts will reshape the digital marketing landscape. Retrieved from

Lendenmann, K. W. (2012). Bridging the Digital Divide. Retrieved from

Radovanovic, D. (2011). Digital Divide and Social Media.  Retrieved from


Podcast transcript: Information Communication Technology in Marketing

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Hi I’m Katelyn Jackson and this is Information Communication Technology in Marketing

Information communication technologies, which is also known as ICT, refers to technologies that provide people with information and facilitates effective communication (Kanvaria, 2012).  Originally ICT was only seen as another term for IT, however, over time it has transformed and now also incorporates the idea of unified communication, which is communicating in real time (Murray, 2011). ICT is also said to be the integration of computers, telecommunications, middleware and data systems, which support store and transmit communication between systems (Oshunloye, 2009).

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There are several different types of ICT, used in society today, which are involved in storing, retrieving, manipulating, transmitting and receiving information electronically in a digital form (Riley, 2012). These technologies range form things involving data storage devices to personal computers to Internet and mobile networks and even this podcast (Oshunloye, 2009). An examples of ICT that is particularly having a major impact on society are instant messaging software and devices, which allows people to over come distance and communicate in real time (Oshunloye, 2009). This digital technology is facilitated by several other ICT’s, including Internet and mobile networks and computing and mobile devices (Oshunloye, 2009). The Internet is another ICT that is particularly important and prominent in society today as it allows people to access information and provides platforms to enable communication at any time (Rao, 2001). There are many many more ICT’s in society today and there will no doubt be more to come, as this is an area that is under constant development and is growing and changing at a rapid pace as new technologies are being invented (Kanvaria, 2012). However it is important to note that while each of these new individual ICT technologies are important and are changing the way society is communicating, the greater importance of ICT lies less on these technologies in themselves and more on its ability to create greater access to communication and information (Rouse, 2005).

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Over the past few years’ information communication technologies are increasingly being adopted and are spreading rapidly through society (Morshid, 2009). This spread and uptake in ICT is largely due to the Internet and mobile devices (Morshid, 2009).  Both of these ICT’s are spreading through society as governments have put in place initiatives to expand access to the Internet, broadband, and mobile networks, as well as placing a heavy reliance on these technologies as effective communication and information systems (Ogunsola, 2005). Therefore the use, uptake and reliance upon these technologies has increased as the majority of first world countries and developing countries, have access to or are gaining access to these ICTs (Morshid, 2009). Therefore with such a high usage and adoption rate of these ICT’s there is, or shouldn’t be, any surprise that marketers are using ICT’s in their marketing plans and campaigns.

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ICT are having a huge impact in all aspects of the marketing profession from market research all the way to promotion and consumer interaction.  Several ICT’s are being used by marketers in the market research stage. This includes the use of the Internet, to gain valuable information on consumers and competitors, as well as various computer programs that allow marketers to analyse data that has been collected (Leenders & Mark, 2003).  Marketers also use large computer storage systems to store information on their customers in their database (Ryan, 2011).  ICT’s are also evident in the distribution stage due to the development of the Internet and digital devices such as computers and mobile phones (Oshunloye, 2009). These ICT’s allow consumers to shop online from any location at any time, thus eliminating geographical distance and time (Oshunloye, 2009).  The area of marketing that ICT’s are possibly having the most impact on is promotion. ICT’s have provided so many new mediums for marketers to advertise on, ranging from Internet banner ads, to instant messaging through SMS and social media sites (Ryan, 2011). However, not only is ICT’s providing marketers with new platform to advertise on, but they are changing the style of campaigns that are being created as more and more campaigns are using ICT’s to create interactive experiences, much like the Coke ‘Unlock the 007 in you’ campaign did (Brown, 2012). This campaign uses several ICT’s such as digitalized vending machines, computer devices, audio and visual systems and YouTube, just to name a few (Brown, 2012). In addition to this markets are finding new ways to manage consumer interaction through the use of social media sites.

Information communication technologies are having a significant impact on the marketing profession. With new ICT’s being constantly developed the landscape of marketing will continue to change, as marketing evolves when technology evolves (Brady, Brookes, Fellenz, 2006). While this may be very exciting for marketers and presents them with new opportunities it also raises a challenge of determining which ICT’s will actually prove to be beneficial and effective.

This has been “Information Communication Technologies in Marketing.” To see a transcript for this podcast go to Thanks for listening.

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Brady, M., Brookes, A. & Fellenz, M. R. (2006). The history of the IT in contemporary marketing practices (CMP): The challenge and opportunities for reframing the ICT dimension within the CMP framework. Retrieved from$3Dpdf&sa=X&scisig=AAGBfm0_yZ7HM3ELyLIXaYSoSgJOa2gmeQ&oi=scholarr&ei=pGWcULDWBY6ciAe0woDABw&ved=0CB8QgAMoADAA

Brown, E. (2012). Coke zero ad to ‘Unlock the 007 in you’ goes viral. Retrieved from

Kanvaria, V. (2012). Information technology Web 2.0 Tools for evaluation. Retrieved from

Leenders, B. W. & Mark, A. A. M, (2003). The effectiveness of different mechanisms for integrating marketing and R&D. The Journal of Product Innovation Management, 19(4). 305-317. Retrieved from

Morshid, S.A. (2009). Measuring the information Society. Retrieved from

Murray, J. (2011). Cloud network architecture and ICT. Retrieved from

Ogunsola, l. A. (2005). Information and communication technologies and the effects of globalization: twenty-first century “digital slavery” for developing countries – Myth or reality?. Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, 6(1). Retrieved from

Oshunloye, A. O. (2009). ICT in Marketing: A study of the use of internet and mobile phones in five selected companies in Dublin. Retrieved from$file/PDF%20-%20THESIS%20-%20ICT%20IN%20MARKETING.pdf

Rao, P. M. (2001). The ICT revolution, internationalization of technological activity and the emerging economies: implication for global marketing. International Business Review, 10(5), 571-596. Retrieved from

Riley, J. (2012). ICT – What is it?. Retrieved from

Rouse, M. (2005). ICT (information and communications technology – or technologies). Retrieved from

Ryan, V. (2011). Why information communication technology is a vital marketing tool. Retrieved from

Gamification in Marketing

Gamification is the process that applies game design thinking and mechanics to non-game applications, in order to make them more fun and engaging (Gamification Research Network, 2011). This is typically applied to non-game applications to encourage interaction and get users to adopt these non-game applications or influence how they are used (Gamification Research Network, 2011).   This process of gamification involves identifying what makes a game compelling by identifying things that are important to users, typically rewards, achievements and status, and then use these techniques to motivate consumers and change their behavior (Gamification Research Network, 2011). Gamification is also particularly compelling and attractive to consumers as it taps into people’s natural desire to compete and play which results in more engagement (Steele, 2012).

Gamification has become a particularly hot topic in the marketing industry as of late (Himes, 2012). The main reason is due to its potential to redefine customer and product relationships, as well as getting consumers involved in experiences that help build stronger relationships and loyalty with brands (Walter, 2012). In addition to this gamification has also been known to influence user behavior and aid in delivering messages (Walter, 2012). While only recently gamification has become a big in the marketing world, it has been used in marketing for quiet some time, through frequent flyer programs. As most people would know, the objective of these programs is to gain points, which consumers can then use to receive a gift or prize. The use of frequent flyer programs, as a type gamification in marketing, is very popular, as it seems like every brand you come in contact with has some type of loyalty card or program, however, marketers are now expanding the ways in which they are using gamification to attract consumers in more exciting and different ways.

One of the most significant and well-known examples of gamification in marketing is through the use of Foursquare. Foursquare is a social network site as well as mobile phone application, which allows users to ‘check in’ at different locations, such as a store or restaurant (Snider, 2012). As an incentive to ‘check in’ at these locations users receive badges, points or other special offers which can be cashed in for rewards (Guest, 2012). These rewards can include things such as a free coffee for checking into a location a certain amount of times. Not only does Foursquare aid in gaining customer loyalty, through the use of rewards and challenges, but it also is used to spread word of mouth about companies through social networking (Guest, 2012). It is though social networking that consumer share information with their friends and other users. Not only does Foursquare allow consumer interaction but it also provides a platform where consumers are able to compete against each other (McCann, 2011). This aspect of competition drives people to continue to use the application, which increases their interaction with various companies and thus aiding in building brand loyalty. It is through the use of Foursquare that businesses have been able to reach new customers and build a deeper connection with their loyal customers (Giovannoni, 2012). Foursquare is a great tool for companies to use in marketing and has been used by a number of companies ranging from small to large.

Ninemsn has also incorporated the use of gamification into its marketing plan in an effort to increase user engagement with their site (CB, 2012). During the Olympics this year, Ninemsn brought a challenge to the online Olympic community with their new social gaming platform, which was dedicated to the 2012 London Olympics (CB, 2012). This campaign lasted eight weeks and offered consumers the chance to win a weekly cash prize of $1000 and a major prize of $10,000 at the end of the competition. In addition to this, badges and cash prizes where awarded to the most social and engaged Olympic fans on the site (CB, 2012). Visitors of the website were able to receive points by sharing Olympic content, watching videos, commenting on images and articles as well as for completing trivia challenges (CB, 2012). In order to take part in this campaign users are required to log into the site through their accounts on various social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Windows Live (CB, 2012). Once logged in, users could keep track of their status and points via the live leader board (CB, 2012). Due to the use of this gamification application, Ninemsn not only increase consumer engagement on the site and generated more loyalty amongst its user base, but it also allowed them to learn more about their consumers, which intern enabled them to market their users better through the permission-based social data gained throughout the games (CB, 2012).

As using gamification in marketing can offer many benefits for companies, there is no surprise that it has been predicted to grow from $242 million to a $2.8 billion business by 2016 (Snider, 2012). Therefore we can expect to see more gamification incorporated in marketing campaigns in the future, however, only for as long as these games remain fun to consumers.


CB. (2012). Ninemsn launches ‘The Social Games’ – new London Olympics social gaming community featuring catch-up TV alerts services and prizes. Retrieved from

Gamification Research Network. (2011). A Review of gamification by design. Retrieved from

Giovannoni, M. (2012). The Gamification of Digital Marketing, retrieved from

Guest. (2012). More customers with Foursquare marketing. Retrieved form

Himes, P. (2012). Gamification works: why I couldn’t resist gamified marketing strategy. Retrieved from

McCann. (2011). Recent articles. Retrieved from

Snider, M. (2012). Businesses use gaming principles in marketing, retrieved from

Steele, D. (2012). How to use gamification to reward customers and engage prospects. Retrieved from

Walter, E. (2012). Gamification: Adding stickiness to your campaigns, Retrieved from

Additional references

Bunchball. (2012). Gamification software for employee and customer engagement. Retrieved from

Davey, N. (2012). Best practices and examples for successful gamification. Retrieved from

Hemley, D. (2012). 26 elements of a gamification marketing strategy. Retrieved from

Kleinberg, A. (2012). Brands that failed with gamification. Retrieved from

Marketing. (2012). Top 10 gamification executions. Retrieved from

Salyer, P. (2012). Real-world rewards through gamification. Retrieved from