Marketing Tactics and Consumer Behaviour: Positioning Strategy for University of Derby

Consumer Behaviour and Marketing strategy

Marketing strategy is one of the biggest factors influencing the business of any organisations. Unfortunately, many organisations in the past could not fully recognise the importance of marketing and they implemented this task as a general rather than involving the entire organisation. Several organisations were doing research in marketing strategies and consumer behaviour but practices were limited. With the passage of time development in this particular area was increased and many organisations worked to design an entire organisation which serves consumer and makes good relations by valuing them. In this regards, all the departments including engineering, production, human resources, finance, marketing, and other departments served with a focus on consumer satisfaction.

Evaluation of Segmentation, Targeting and positioning

Segmentation

Segmentation is sometimes referred to a mature market strategy. Marketing management is an essential task based on analysis, planning, coordination, implementation, services, control of price, product distribution and promotions to facilitate the beneficial exchange between the targeted markets to meet the objectives of an organisation. The selection and implementation of systematic approach can influence the customer behaviours and help the organisation to compete with the rivals in their business. The benefits of the strategic marketing are significant that all the organisations are now practising the research-based approaches to raising their business. According to literature market segmentation is generally divided into four strategies. The tasks of a market segment are presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Tasks in a market segment

Undifferentiated Marketing Approach

Undifferentiated Marketing Strategy belongs to that class of the segmentation which expresses little diversity between market segments. This class may be segmented for the achievement of secondary goals of the organisation.

Concentrated Marketing Approach

Concentrated marketing strategy represents one of the segments which are developed by the appropriate marketing mix and directed exclusively by utilising the organisational resources and marketing efforts. This could establish a competitive advantage for the organisation. However it is also true that some drawbacks are also associated with this kind of segmented strategy such as narrow and limited market targeting.

Differentiated marketing Approach

Differentiated marketing Strategy belongs to that segmented class which is developed by the organisations for multiple market segmentation. In such case, more than one market  segments are chosen and marketing mixes are prepared for all the segments on an individual

basis. The decision of organisations is generally based on four factors; (1): Corporate objectives, (2): Resources, (3): Competitive environment and (4): Alternative approached of marketing.

Customized Marketing Approach

Customised marketing is a kind of diverse marketing strategy which is established by separate marketing mix for the satisfaction of customers on an individual basis.

Marketing managers face several decisions while dealing with segments evaluation. For segment evaluation three factors are important and need to be considered; (1): size and significance of each segment, (2): Attractiveness of the segment structures and (3): The resources and objective of the organisation. Taking about the segment size, it differs from one organisation to another. In case of large organisations, their more concern is with large segments focusing on the large/potential sales volumes and usually neglects the small segments. While in case of small organisations, they focus on small segments and avoid the large segments due to limited resources and issues to face the large/stronger competitors. Similarly, the attractiveness of segment structure means its ability to make a profit. Sometimes it happens that an organisation is large and growing but makes less profit just because of competitors. In this regards several models have been developed and published in the literature which investigated the effectiveness of the segment. One of these models (five force) was suggested by the Michael Porters in 1979. According to this model there are five principles which could affect the profitability of segment; (1): Competitors in the industry and risk of segment rivalry, (2): threats of new entrants and mobility, (3): the threat of substitute services or products, (4): Buyers and their supremacy, and (5): Suppliers and their supremacy.

The segments are analysed in terms of size, growth and attractiveness and then examined individually against the objectives and resources of the organisation. In this regards, marketers estimate the compatibility level between the segments and organisation for a long run of business. These segments are investigated particularly time to time and may be any of these segments be dismissed due to the facts that it failed to move organisation effectively towards the set objectives. For the cases where these segments are in good agreement, even then it is of great interest to consider whether the organisation is capable in terms of competition, resources, skills and commitment to achieve their goals. Without this set, entry of a segment is likely to be of less

strategic values. There are five patterns of market coverage; (1): single segment concentration, (2): selective specialisation, (3): product/service specialisation, (4): market specialisation and (5): full market coverage. The basic assumption about the segment is that these should be chosen on an individual basis but it disregards the synergies between different market segments. For example, a market consist of multiple segments could lead to the development of super segments.

According to some researchers segmentation approaches are classified as follows.

Benefit Segmentation Approach

This segment works under the belief that the true existence of the market segments is based on the benefits which customers seek consuming the given product or service. This approach evaluates the consumer values and perceptions about the product or service of various brands existing in the market. Toothpaste market is one of the examples which is based on the benefit segment.

Psychographic Segment Approach

This segment divides the markets based on the difference in consumers lifestyles and follows a post hoc model. According to this approach consumers are initially asked different questions regarding their lifestyles and then grouped according to meet their satisfaction level. This is based on the facts that more you know about the consumer more you can understand their needs and priorities.

Person-Situation Segment Approach

Sometimes markets are divided based on situations in combination with personal differences in consumers. One of the examples of the person-situation segments is clothing and footwear. In such cases, consumer sex, age, occasions, weather and choices are taken into accounts. According to an expert it was stated that if the product with the unique selling propositions is not targeted properly for the specific people it is an exceptional case relatively than the practical rule.

Geo-demographic Segmentation

This segment classifies the households of a market by considering focus on neighbourhood geography based on proper addressing and mapping of the neighbourhood where people live and shop. This is a unique property of this segment which is missing in the previously discussed segments.

Targeting

Targeting is a demanding challenge for the management and creates a sense of individual behavioural response towards the customers or groups. Questions always arise whether a company should serve all those who are willing to buy their product or services with the same potential or they should have a focus on targeted groups/subgroups in the market. The target market strategy is selected based on some steps. These include the decision of creating niches in the product market, knowledge of consumers/organisations in each niche, evaluating the target market substitutes and selecting a suitable targeting market strategy. It is the duty of  management to identify all the possible niches and analyse the marketing strategy will best fit to obtain the beneficial results.

Niche Markets

There are five criteria which are useful in the evaluation of worth fullness of any niche scheme. These include; (1): Customer response towards the marketing program strategy, (2): Feasibility of the plan to identify the customers of different groups, (3): Organisation focus and ability to develop marketing program for each targeted segment, (4): Worth of segments in terms of revenue generation and cost sustainability and (5): Adequate stability of the segment over time which may provide enough time to the company to reach the desired performance. An effective niche strategy can make an organisation jump from the emerging scale to a larger scaled organisation doing business more than average profit.

With all these effectiveness there could be a drawback of decisiveness for the organisations especially the small brands. Davidson in 1987 provided three questions for clarification whether a brand is market niche or not. The first question stated that is the niche/segment is really recognised by the distributors or customer, second being is the niche

product has unique characteristics and attract the consumers or group of consumers. The third question stated that product or provided services are premium priced with a significant profit margin. While the real niche in the literature shows the following aspects such as potential profit, offers a scope to organisation towards competitors and good potential for growth.

Targeting is becoming a difficult task for the marketers who wish to spend their budgets precisely. Several methods are in practice nowadays such as socio-demographic classified marketing but their existing foundations are shifting day by day and new ways of marketing classifications are introducing. Organisations need to target exactly with right strategy knowing that the potential buyers of their products are. This is creating a sense of thinking that old strategies need to put aside and work over the new approaches is required.

Positioning and Repositioning

Positioning is one of the biggest challenges in the marketing field. Two of these challenges is intangibility and inseparability. The former leads to uncertainty of customers. The positioning or destining the market is based on experience. In some cases natural market segment is one of the preferred segment for marketing positioning. Organisation in this segment has three options; (1): Position itself in the centre to attract all the groups, (2): Position itself in the largest market segment and (3): developing several brands and position in different segments. Market segment techniques, positioning and mapping represent early stages of methodologies including cluster analysis which became popular for identification of strategic groups. Some analysis is useful for the development of marketing strategies and is applied to relate market segments, product, buyers, competitors and buyers behaviours.

Cluster analysis tends to minimise the information on a complete set of objects (n) as well as the subgroups. This technique is based on the classification of data and sometimes use is limited as assumptions have to be considered which can influence the clusters. However, the advantage includes use of strategic marketing for buyers, product and competitors application.

Discriminant analysis is a technique which is based on the terms, purchase of a product or service and determining the qualities of first-time customers for prediction of business repetition.

This analysis is extensively used in market segments, diffusion and adoption of new products and consumer behaviour studies.

Multidimensional scaling is a technique which is based on initially getting information and relates it to similarities or dissimilarities of a set of objects, service, buyers and competitors. This kind of strategy has been applied in the area of product or service position, market segmentation, product development modelling and buyer’s behaviour and researching to determine the better market mix combinations.

Correspondence analysis is considered as visual techniques for representation of tabular data into a graphical form. Since everyone cannot understand easily the significance of data in a table so this technique provides a better way to understand what actually is happening. This technique is also useful for identification of market segment, positioning of product or services against competitors and knowing about the non-respondent to their business.

Mass customisation is an ability to which organisations can respond quickly and profitably towards the changes needed by the individual customers. It is essential to highlight that companies long-term business are based on economies of scope rather than economies of scale. The significance of this technique is that it successfully brings the product or services to the market with an appropriate strategy. In this case, customers become a catalyst for the growth of the organisation and it values the customers in all aspects.

The objective of the positioning strategy is to build a good image in mind of consumers so they may attract towards the organisation and its services. There are several position strategies out of which five are mentioned in this assignment; (1): Positioning by Attribute, (2): Positioning by Use or Application, (3): Positioning by Product User, (4): Positioning by Product Class and (5): Positioning by Competitors. It is also true that repositioning is a danger for the company in many aspects such as customer behaviour and purchasing power, brand recognition issue, change of strategies and sudden reduction in business which may influence the whole structure of the organisation.

Positioning Strategies for the University of Derby

The University of Derby is a reputed university located in a thriving multicultural city Derby and offering industry-relevant degree programmes which emphasise to develop professional skills along with studies. No doubt, this university is renowned for technology, innovation, and providing the skilled and educated manpower to industries and other sectors. It’s an exciting place to learn and experience university life, providing students with many opportunities to gain real-world experience through placements and internships. They have mentioned three ambitious strategies on their web which states that; (1): To inspire the learners through an outstanding teaching and learning environment (2): To innovate through sector leading flexible and dynamic delivery methods and curricula and (3): To impact significantly on the economic and social well-being of our region and its place in the global economy.

For continuous recognition this university needs to follow positioning strategy which  may rank it well among the competitors. One of the best ways for the positioning in the market is to develop the Attributed Positioning strategy which may provide an attribute to the educational features (quality education, low/reasonable fee, learning and professional development) and students benefits (as student, scholarships, training and job prospects at the university during study and after graduation. In this way, the university may also position in the market for the  new technologies or new courses held for future students. In this regards university can develop more than one attributes of their educational services such as quality educator, ethic developers and best trainers etc and can occupy good space in the market among the competitors. Similarly the position of use or application may enhance the growth of the university. Continuous advertising of the educational system and benefits will help the university to maintain its position in the market. This is the way that newcomers of that time will have updated news of university and courses of their interest. Introducing the new technologies and courses may attract the students and on comparison with other universities, the University of Derby could have an advantage. Since positioning by the competitors is essential as this is one of the big challenges of present time for this university. Therefore its management is necessary and strategy needs to develop which may convince the students about the unique infrastructure and educational system of the university as compared with other universities.

Marketing Tactics for University of Derby

As discussed earlier, the positioning of the university need some essential strategies similarly some marketing tactics are needed for the growth of the university. Generally there are seven marketing tactics which are known as 7ps marketing mix. These include price, place, promotion, people, process, physical evidence and final product. Since these are associated with the marketing strategies and adopted by the various organisations regardless of their product or services. In this assignment, some of these Ps, already mentioned in marketing strategies with different scenarios. In case of the University of Derby the following 7Ps will be expressed in different ways depending on the education sector.

Price

In education sectors, price (fee) of the course varies from university to university based on their staff, educational and other benefits. Sometimes it is much high that only a few students can join that university even though the university is renowned because of its education system. In such cases, these students compromise with standards of education and join their competitive universities. For the University of Derby it would be a good tactic to maintain its level in the competitive environment by adopting a proper price strategy. They should make a comparison of their educational benefits, teachers and fees of courses offered. In this way they can have an idea of their competitive universities and adjust/reduce their fees in terms of partial scholarships. This would break the cost barrier and more students join the university. It is a common practice in the world that consumers have a perception of high-quality product or service with low price. Therefore, several models have been investigated based on perceptions and customer behaviours. An innovative expression of optimal pricing was mentioned by the Krämer (2015) that the pricing strategy should consider the satisfaction level of customers to pay and their effects in terms of loyalty.

Place

Since the University of Derby is located in the multicultural city which is full of industries this could benefit university to make good relations with industries and students.

Therefore university can have an advantage over other universities by using appropriate marketing strategy highlighting the significance of these things.

Promotions

Survey reports of several organizations showed that the sale of the specific products increases during the promotional period because consumers are attracted to promotional prices. Similarly for a university adopting this tactic in terms of generating scholarships or reduction in fee may bring a positive change and many needy as well as normal students will be able to join which ultimately rank up the university name and growth with a good repute. Some of the researchers mentioned that promotional prices always boost the business activities (Neslin et al. 1985; Aggarwal and Vaidyanathan 2003).

People

Highlighting the teaching staff with their qualification and professional skills will increase the chances of University of Derby against the competitors. Students on seeing the highly profiled teachers definitely want to join the university as these professionals are the role models for youngsters. For this case it would be necessary to manage/update their profiles and advertise them properly. In general business the highly trained and professional manufacturing staff is a symbol of product quality.

Process and Physical Evidence

In terms of the education process could be student selection process and physical evidence could be the proof associated with this process. In this case, the university should develop a process which would be fair for the entire student in selecting them and providing them proof of that selection. Similarly for the newcomer students it would be good to represent old students as an example and mention their success after the completion of course. Quality of education and acceptance of students in industries and different areas is a proof for newcomers. This can give a boost to the university intake as every newcomer will be attracted by the physical evidence.

Product (Education)

Since business growth is based on the quality of product and if it has good quality then consumers are attracted toward it. Similarly, if the standard of education is high and clear to everyone then there is no doubt that the results will be beneficial. University needs to develop clear objectives related to educational benefits, training, learning outcomes, ethics, grooming and future prospects. This will help the university in positioning it among the competitors.

Conclusion

From the study it was concluded that marketing strategy has a great impact on the business and with the passage of time several improved strategies have been practised by the organisations. In this regards segmentation is introduced in various forms for various functions. These segments are considered as advanced and mature marketing strategies. Some of these segments are designed to achieve primary goals whereas some of them are for secondary goals. These are analysed in terms of growth, size and attractiveness, compatibility, defensive power and time effective business. The limited business or non-effectiveness of segments towards business results in their cancellation and adaptation of new segments. The study concluded that targeting is one of the major challenges and gives an idea of niche markets, knowledge about consumer behaviour and target market substitutes. Similarly, positioning is based on several strategies need to fulfil carefully. This can build a good image of the organisation in consumers’ minds. On the other hand, repositioning could bring many risks for the organisations. The University of Derby needs to develop positioning strategies for recognition and face the competitors. Several strategies are available and some of them have been suggested for the university. Similarly several tactics have been studied and proposed for the University of Derby which may help in marketing and positioning of this university. These tactics are found as an essential requirement for the business and regardless of their products or service.

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