Introduction to Concept of Marketing and Overview of different Processes
Marketing is an integral process in many firms and organizations because it ensures continuous demand for product or services from the market as well as effective stock and portfolio management by firms. This process comprises four essential elements including strategic marketing analysis, marketing mix planning, implementation, and control (Kent et al., 2020). Production as well as marketing of commodities and services is the essential economic processes or activities in numerous societies. Firms have to ensure that they meet these basic functions to guarantee the satisfaction of their commitments to stakeholders, owners, clients, and the society. Firms help to create an economic benefit known as utility that helps to satisfy the wants and needs of clients by providing them with the required goods or services. The primary kinds of utility include, form, time, place, and ownership utility.
Strategic marketing analysis helps to obtain comprehensive understanding of different market segments. Most organizations execute marketing programs to promote their profitability objectives after determining the needs and cohorts to target. Market niches could be divided into smaller subcategories with special needs or requirements (Kent et al., 2020). Most organizations focus on the larger market cohorts where they direct their mass marketing activities and pay less attention to the smaller niches. This challenge has influenced the emergence of some firms that focuses on a particular niche and specializes in fulfilling its needs. A large number of firms have adopted the approach of specializing in one segment, which enables them to adapt their product or service offerings as well as individualized communication for each client (Smith & Wheeler, 2002). This aspect has also influenced the emergence of a situation where various industrial companies such as aircraft manufacturers have only a few major clients. The emergence of database marketing has made it increasingly possible to provide individualized customer services. These systems enable the identification of the attributes, and preferences of clients through their transaction history records that are maintained within the firm’s databases. Positioning is a crucial step in the development of a marketing strategy because it ensures the communication of a message that creates a clear company or brand image to investors, clients, and competitors.
After developing a strategy, the firm must determine the marketing mix plans or tactics that would help it in the realization of its strategic goals. It would be imperative to develop comprehensive tactical marketing mix plans that cover the product, price, place, and promotion dimensions (Kent et al., 2020). This approach would help to develop robust strategies that would be used for a specific area of customer needs. Marketing mix involves product development, which involves determining the features and designs that are desired in the market. Another component of marketing mix is packaging and branding that helps to distinguish a product line from those of other competitors. Pricing is also a crucial aspect of marketing mix plans that is determined by evaluating the quality or performance level of a product or service offering. It involves the determination of a market value that reflects the level of quality. Place is also an essential aspect of marketing mix and is commonly associated with the manufacturing site, distribution channels, and collection points. Product promotion involves the use of multiple approaches for communicating and influencing the purchase decision of clients.
During the marketing implementation phase, the organization should ensure effective coordination of the different elements of promotion mix to avoid sending of confusing messages to clients. The integration of different marketing elements would help the firm to utilize its resources effectively (Hooley, Greenley, Cadogan, & Fahy, 2005). To increase the chances for success of marketing implementation, firms should specialize in managing one promotion process and hire different agencies that have specialized in the development of advertising, product promotion, and publicity ideas (Kent et al., 2020). This aspect would increase the effectiveness of the allocation of promotion expenditures as the variations in promotion tools become increasingly explicit. Continuous marketing evaluation and control is essential because of the constant changes and dynamics in the market places that could require the revision of strategies and approaches.
Marketing is an essential process because it provides crucial inputs based on customer preferences. However, the production function of a firm is the primary determinant of the actual output as well as the kind of utility realized. Marketing helps to turn regular individuals into potential clients because it focuses on the identification of specific needs in the marketplace and identification of effective approaches that would help organizations to realize profitability by meeting such product or service requirements. This aspect enables them to develop adequate offerings that would help to turn prospective buyers into regular clients (Palmer, 2012). Marketing managers have numerous responsibilities because of the wide range of activities as well as processes required to generate the clients and number of buyers that the organization requires. Marketing involves continuous exposure to ads and personal selling leads. The concept of exchange is an essential theme in marketing that is supported by numerous modern definitions of marketing as a process involving the creation and resolution of exchange relationships that occur between individuals or social groups. The parties involved exchange commodities, services, or other symbols of value with the potential of meeting their specific needs. In many instances of trade, the exchanges occur between tangible goods or services for money.
The broader concept of marketing includes numerous organizational functions and is based on the assumption that marketing will observe the broader corporate strategy as well as the ethical practices required in meeting the organization or society interests. Basically, firms begin the process through the identification and analysis of consumer segments that helps in focusing the production and marketing activities. Another fundamental concept involved in marketing is the “right” principle, holding that the goal of advertisement or marketing initiatives is to ensure the delivery of the right products, services, or ideas to the right individuals at the right time, location, and cost (Palmer, 2012). Marketing activities help in the creation of crucial data that would be crucial for future initiatives or organizations to determine the trends or changes in the needs and wants of clients. It would also help in the development of robust strategies to ensure that such initiatives are directed at accomplishing the organizational, stakeholder, or social goals. The primary focus of marketing is to please the clients by offering them value and products that can be easily distinguished from the offerings of other competitors.
Marketing Functions in Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer (M&S) is a giant British retailer that specializes in the sale of clothes, gifts, home furnishings, and foods. The firm operates under the St. Michael trademark in the UK, Europe, America, and Far East (Alon, 2016). Since its inception, M&S has always emphasized value and low prices as its marketing and development strategy. For many years of operation, the firm has observed its mission of offering clients with high quality and value in the products and services. Some of the strategies that the firm has employed over the past to help in the realization of its mission include the development of long-term connection with suppliers, the provision of value and utility through focused merchandise selection at low costs (Alon, 2016). The firm has also made numerous efforts for supporting the local industry such as the organization of promotion activities from within and the use of a specific brand name for most of its product and service categories.
The primary divisions in M&S include Food and General merchandise where the firm has been working to realize growth by securing its position as the leader in international and multi-channel retailing (M&S building marketing capabilities. 2019). The firm has received various accolades in recognition of its efforts for improving and building its marketing capabilities. The marketing initiatives and plans of the firm have mainly been moderated by various external forces such as inflation, recessions, and price pressure to increase the discount levels, which affects productivity and performance. Some of the strategies that the firm implemented to address such challenges include the empowerment of their food marketing and leadership teams to ensure that increasingly influence and control the strategic direction of the venture. It was suggested that brand learning would be an adequate approach for enabling the firm to improve the functional performance of its marketing strategies in the short-term. It was also advanced as an adequate approach for equipping the marketing teams with adequate skills and information for leading customer-centred approaches for the organization in the long-term. M&S marketing objective is the delivery of profitable growth in its functions and divisions in a price-driven market through the improvement of marketing capabilities across different customer experiences.
The creation of a common approach for marketing and the use of new capabilities in M&S has been a crucial approach for re-energizing and galvanizing its marketing community. The marketing teams aim at driving the firm to a continuous status of growth and market dominance and the firm has equipped them with adequate resources as well as tools for improving their performance (M&S building marketing capabilities. 2019). The firm has witnessed tremendous changes since the implementation of customer-centred approaches during the essential processes of planning and improving the quality of experiences for clients. Improved marketing capabilities of the firm have influenced the creation of a motivated and high-performing marketing team that has helped in the realization of superior business outcomes and goals.
Critical analysis of key marketing functions in Marks & Spencer
M&S has maintained a straightforward philosophy for numerous years, which involves the provision of high quality products using a recognized brand name. The firm has also focused on providing its offering at an affordable price and the use of multiple approaches for advertising including the word of mouth (Smith & Wheeler, 2002). However, the marketing philosophy of the firm has come under increased scrutiny over the past years as the firm has started witnessing variations in its competitive stance (Alon, 2016). The firm made a move for developing a marketing department, which represented a departure from its tradition that focused on production or manufacturing. The traditional models of the firm had enabled it to realize tremendous growth in most of its business segments including the retail market, undergarment, men’s suits, and food markets. The continuous growth of market shares enabled M&S to be recognized as the leading retailer in the U.K. towards the end of the 20th century (Alon, 2016).
However, the firm witnessed a tremendous drop in the value of its stocks over the same period, which surprised numerous investors and business spectators. After conducting a review, the firm declared that some of the sources of this issue were deteriorating confidence among clients as well as significant reduction in the sales and value of the firm. This deterioration was the effect of a shortfall in the projected sales, stagnated and reducing growth of international markets, and the purchase of one of its major stores (Alon, 2016). Also, the firm suffered from recessionary business environment in Europe and Asia, where this crisis had significantly reduced global profitability. These challenges were compounded by increased intensification of local and international competition among specialty retailers as well as mega merchandisers, for example Wal-Mart.
Business analysts and stakeholders were convinced that the significant reduction in the performance and stock value of M&S compared to other British retailers was the result of numerous internal and external factors (Alon, 2016). The management was blamed for insufficient merchandising, inventory control, and slow responsiveness to changing conditions within the competitive contexts. They were also criticized for failing to address concerns about the colours, sizes, and shape of their clothes. The firm was criticized for having a lousy retailing climate as well as unglamorous stores with overpriced commodities, and personal services. The core values of the firm including quality, affordability, and services have been increasingly scrutinized and criticized by competitors who claim to offer better values. M&S has been witnessing constant challenges in all business segments of operation (Alon, 2016). The firm has been witnessing challenges in ensuring that their marketing plans are reactive or proactive to the changes and trends in their industry to ensure the acceleration of competition. This aspect has resulted in disparities as well as significant reduction in the profitability and market share of the firm. Therefore, it would be imperative to ensure that brand learning incorporates critical evaluation of the market conditions and redesigning of promotion strategies according to the observed trends and future projections.
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