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The Analysis Of Pz Cussons Website Marketing Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 2718 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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E-commerce has the capacity to improve existing businesses and also expand operational efficiency. However, in the wake of fierce competition, businesses are forced to be at their best as competitors are just a click away. (Xia Yang et al 2003)

The limitless potentials of the internet in today’s world have revolutionized the way business is done all over the globe thus making the world a global village. The thrust of this paper critically overviews the web site of PZ Cussons as a communication medium; in line with e-business management theory, the paper discusses issues bordering on advertising and branding.

PZ was founded in 1879 by George Paterson and George Zochonis in which they set up a trading post in Sierra Leone. By 1899, they opened their first branch office in Nigeria (http://www.pzcussons.com/pzc/about/ourhistory/). The company has recorded remarkable achievements since then. The company majors on manufacturing leading brands of household items from soaps to milk.

With the emergence of the World Wide Web, PZ Cussons is poised to take its business to the next level by taking advantage of technology. Needless to say that with the advent of e-business PZ Cussons should do even better.

In today’s world, it would be difficult to extricate a company’s success from its website as this can either attract customers or repel them depending on customer relationship techniques employed by the web designer. The consistent growth in technological advancement and inventive initiatives has made tremendous impact and also made e-advertising interactive, exciting, and affordable to businesses.

This paper analyses the website of PZ Cussons in relation to its competitors and highlights how PZ Cussons can benefit from vast potentials of the internet in advertising and promotion as well as building a better brand.


Research has shown that much of what is expected from a website is largely dependent on the consumer. Lu and Yeung 1998 suggests that human to computer interface design factors are applicable to commercial web applications. However, the nature of the business and the way the business is done has to be taken into consideration when developing a web site.

Putting together and responding to consumer feedbacks are an important part of communication activities when attempting to convert a first time buyer to a potential customer, as such fostering an online relationship. (Berthon et al 1996)

In a bid to explore empirical studies and dimensions created basically for research on advertising, past works have attempted to forecast consumers’ behaviour towards internet advertising. It has been observed that culture or beliefs play a more pivotal role in consumer’s purchase intention rather than other factors like creativity, market size or internet usage. (Yang 2003). With the advent of e-commerce, PZ Cussons have taken up the initiative to advertise its company on the web, however, a lot of issues regarding the website would be discussed in the course of this paper.

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The process of ensuring that a site visitor becomes a customer and is retained is actually a proactive approach that can be stimulated by interactive features on the site (Geissler 2001). For most businesses, the home page in itself is an advertisement (Singh and Dalal 1999). The appearance of a home page can either engage a customer to go further or make the customer go elsewhere. It is imperative for the company or web designer to make the site as interactive as possible to enable businesses gain higher customer retention. Even as advert placement on web sites has become a normal occurrence in e-business world, it is noteworthy to comprehend internet advertising and understand consumer reactions or behaviours to advert placement on the internet. It is a well known fact that those who are optimistic about advertising are likely to be convinced by advertising (Mehta 2000). If a web site is very effective, it would always encourage first time visitors to the site to make a future purchase of goods or services offered for sale.

Since its origin in early 1990s, the structure of internet advertising has progressed from banner ads, spam emails, interstitials, superstitials, site sponsorships, and involuntary browser relocations (Yang 2003). Adverts online have consistently come under criticism (Bulik 2000b) and have been often considered as unnecessary and imprecise (Hwang and Kranhold, 2000). It has been argued that there is no inter-relation between advertising and corresponding results such as sales or profits (O’Connell, 2001).

Some Benefits of Online Advertising

The power of the internet cannot be overemphasised as its reach is global at a fast pace.

Online advertising has identified new means of passing personalized messages to be conveyed to specific customers.

Most people these days would rather spend more time online than read a conventional newspaper. As such, businesses are more likely to create a greater awareness from online advertisement.

It has the capacity to properly segment customer base as well as measure the impact or effectiveness of an advert.

Online advert gives the customer the opportunity of choice based on their knowledge of a company’s product or services.

Website Effectiveness

Although a lot of work has been done in the overall area of e-business (Hoffman & Novak, 2000; Kauffman & Walden, 2001) however, to further drive down the issues with PZ Cussons web site, we would take a look at Nathan Heinz and Quing Hu’s web site measurement effectiveness technique to help analyse their internet advertising application.

They classified web site measurement effectiveness technique into three categories which are; the interactivity metrics, the information metrics and the service metrics. (Heinz and Hu 2006)

Interactivity involves a platform in which customer feedback is encouraged for optimum performance. It also includes the availability of search engines on the web site as well as live chat or blogs in order to get the customer’s candid opinion on products or services. It also maintains a data base for registered customers. Zhu and Kraemer (2002).

Information involves true and precise information on the web site at a particular time. This refers to continuously updating clients with reliable information on goods or services offered for sale. For example the cost of product or services and updating photos of new stock etc. It also encompasses the concept of simplicity of information passed across and gives detailed analysis of product uniqueness and relevance. This, if communicated effectively would go a long way in retaining first time customers. Kim et al (2002); Barnes and Vidgen (2003).

Service involves maintaining good customer care operations as well as responding to customer query or issues. It also involves timely processing of online orders and security of online transactions on a web site. It also involves intermediating with social networking sites like face book to maintain an online community for excellent customer service. Barnes and Vidgen (2003); Rust and Lemon (2001).

Analysis Based on Theory

When we closely observe the PZ Cussons web site based on these three classes of efficiency measurement, we can see that interactivity level is very low. Site navigation and interactivity are significant factors of system quality for web buyer satisfaction (McKinney et al 2002). There is the absence of chat rooms to encourage customer interactions of feedback on brands. Though there is a search engine in place it is however limited to the site instead of expanding search capability to other search engines such as goggle.

On the information metrics, it has been observed that PZ Cussons does not update its web site quite often to notify customers of changes made to products or upcoming events. Liu and Arnett (2000) highlight information provision as a major factor in the success of e-business web sites. PZ Cussons produces a wide variety of brands and with competitors such as Proctor and Gamble and Nestle, a lot needs to be done in terms of quality of information and timeliness of delivery.

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The service metrics on PZ Cussons web site shows very customer biased attributes as the is the absence of an online register, no avenue for customer registration online so no opportunity for feedback on customer queries on brands, there is also no opportunity for placing online orders so the issue of timeliness of orders does not even arise. Quite clearly, PZ Cussons has been able to develop their brand name over the years but are yet to tap into the vast potentials of the web for a greater market share.


A brand has been viewed as a promise made by a company to its customers and not a name or statement (Sterne 1999). Given the emergence of the World Wide Web and the revolution in the way business is being done across the globe, it would be expected that the perception of brands would come under a new dimension (Rowley 2004). Also, Ward and Lee (2000) suggest that an effective online presence is pivotal to a brand’s online success.

A brand’s website has the capacity to create an impression on the consumer (Muller and Chandon 2003). From the graphics and pictures to texts on a web page can either attract or put off potential buyers. Chiang, I-Ping (2008) also suggests that brand awareness can be used together with specific consumer requirements and consumer behaviours to better position online brands.

Most small and large businesses across the globe today can boast of an online presence. However, creating an online presence is hardly enough as Porter (2001) suggest that creating an online presence at a point in time was a competitive advantage but today a web site requires more competitive and distinctive features in order to achieve competitive advantage.

The elements of a web site can be classified in different contexts depending on the products or services being marketed on the web site. For instance a car manufacturer’s website cannot be designed in the same pattern as a fast food website. World brands seek to identify with values that are common to many communities such as safety, style and status and service, which can be classified in different ways in diverse national contexts (Rowley 2004). However, for the purpose of the analysis of PZ Cussons website we would analyse the following elements: Logo, Graphics, Colour, Texts, Currency and news (Rowley 2004).


A logo presents a graphic language and discipline for the clear, consistent reflection of a company’s visual identity (Henrion and Parkin 1967). Although the PZ Cussons brand name has built a reputation for itself in Africa, Asia and Europe over the years, it has done very little to project its logo. Its red, blue and white logo remains in it simplest form. Some of its leading brands like “Venus” have become more popular than PZ Cussons as a result of its inconspicuous logo. The logo represents a company’s corporate visual identity through official corporate symbol (Balmer 1995). It is believed that a company corporate identity transcends mere symbols and signs but relates more to issues like corporate culture.


This refers to visual logos, pictures and other images that may depict a brand’s values on a website (Rowley 2004). There are not too many graphics on the PZ Cussons web site, the pictures are not holistic and does not reflect the charisma of the company. Also, the Web Content Accessibility Guideline reveals that the PZ Cussons website is using (WCAG WAI) 1.0 (1999) which is an outdated version.


The PZ Cussons website makes use of a white background with red and blue colours. This is a very common colour combination as millions of websites use this same colour combination. This does not give any uniqueness to the company web page.


Text addresses the tone of voice, and determines whether a message is intellectual, understandable and necessary (Rowley 2004). Text typifies the brand’s individuality; it is the brands vocal cords. The words that are written carry the brand’s message and the font determines the approach of communication. The PZ Cussons website uses the “Calibri body” font, and a text size “11”. This is considered to be quite small and depicts timidity. The words on the home page are too much and should have been more of pictures and less words.


This refers to allowing visitors to the site access to current news and information relating to products and happenings in the industry. The PZ Cussons web site however, is not being constantly updated. On the PZ Cussons front page, there is a column for “latest news”, but the news in question are actually stale. A lot needs to be done in that regard.


PZ Cussons has come a long way since its inception without doubt, with its acquisition of major companies and continued expansion but yet to tap into the vast prospect ability of the World Wide Web.

A web advert can be for both infotainment and promotional activities (Diaz et al. 1996); however, PZ Cussons seem to only have tapped from using the web as an informative medium thus relegating the latter. PZ Cussons in a bid to further expand the global reach of its company can take advantage of the web and promote its leading household brand to continents like America and Australia, this must however be done with some of the following recommendations.

PZ Cussons must realise that its website is its corporate identity to the world and a representation of its corporate image as such should take advantage of that medium to make it web site more interactive with site visitors. It can incorporate the use of live chats and blogs to gather customer feedback on its brands. It can also adopt the concept of an online register to enable it maintain a database of customers online.

PZ Cussons must come to terms with the realities of digitization and begin to open up marketing and sale of its brands online. With the emergence of e-market places, grocery shopping can be done by the click of the mouse. There must also be consistent updates on product offers, special sales and product information and ensure maximum customer satisfaction.

With the advent of social networking sites like face book and twitter, PZ Cussons must build an online community for its customers who can share brand experiences with friends and further expand their network.

It is often difficult to distinguish between online and offline branding. However, online branding comes with a lot pros and cons as such it will be reminiscent to highlight the plausibility of online branding and its effect on businesses with an online presence.

PZ Cussons operates as a promoter for leading other brands which are distributed through an organised distributive channel. The online presence merely transmits brand messages and houses information. PZ Cussons would need to take advantage of their online presence build a dynamic approach to marketing its brands online.


PZ Cussons has to come to terms with the cutting edge of technology. It must parallel its real world brand dominance with that of its online branding experience and as well deliver its promise to customers.

PZ Cussons must use their online presence to create awareness for its brands and encourage customer rapport. There is a huge difference between businesses that do not use online channel in marketing their goods and service and those that use the online channel. PZ Cussons must take advantage of both online and offline channels to expand their reach.

Given the publicity the internet generates, PZ Cussons can benefit from cost savings spent on television and print media adverts by channelling funds to a single and cheaper advertising channel.


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