The Internet is a tool used by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people across the globe every day for a variety of activities from sending e-mail to making purchases to researching stock market trends to finding out why their puppy has hiccups.
It is used on desktop computers, laptops, iPads, video game systems, televisions and smartphones. People connect to it with dial-up modems, broadband connections (cable and DSL modems), and Wi-Fi (wireless Internet access via radio waves). Eight-year-olds are using the Internet in school for educational tasks and 80 year olds are using it to research their family trees.
A Global Reach
With regard to coverage area, the Internet has almost entirely blanketed the globe to the point where airlines like Delta, American and United are even offering wireless access to passengers on intercontinental flights and in international airspace.
The only places you might not be able to get high speed Internet access would be on top of Mount Everest or at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Not literally, of course, but it seems like only the most remote places are excluded from the Internet’s reach.
No matter who is using the Internet, what they are connecting to it with, where they are connecting from, and why they are connected — the Internet has become an integral part of the daily lives of a large portion of the world’s population, almost to the point where some people exhibit signs commonly associated with withdrawal from addictive drugs when they cannot access the Internet.
We are dependent upon it and take it for granted, but how big is it? An even more compelling question is how does the unparalleled reach of the Internet impact a company’s online marketplace?
A Giant Footprint
The Internet is huge. Gigantic. Enormous. It truly is the “galactic network” envisioned in the early 1960s by MIT’s J.C.R. Licklider when he penned a series of memos theorizing the concept of an interconnected cluster of computers through which people in a variety of locations could communicate with each other and share information and access programs.
The Internet as we know it today wasn’t established until the early 1990s, so it has grown into a global connectivity juggernaut in just a couple of decades.
Online marketers are able to reach audiences that are exponentially larger than those they reached using methods such as cold-calling, mass mail campaigns, television advertisements, billboards and hand-distributed flyers.
Geographically restricted companies don’t need to rely on the potential prospects within their physical boundaries or local word-of-mouth referrals to drum up business because they can reach people on the other side of the planet, and do so in ways that seem almost effortless compared with former marketing tactics.
The sky truly is the limit when it comes to marketing strategies and campaigns in modern society, because there are literally no borders or boundaries for companies when it comes to marketing their brand, products, and services. Wherever the Internet can reach, a company can be there, also.