MG624 Strategic Marketing : Essay Fountain

Question:

Answering the following questions:

  1. To what extent should the different elements of the marketing mix be standardised or adapted for your chosen country. Give a full justification for your ideas
  2. Applying the Customer Based Brand Equity model, critically analyse how your client could build and manage a strong brand in this new market
  3. Applying the concept of integrated marketing communications (IMC) critically evaluate three effective marketing communication methods your client could incorporate within this market.
  4. Critically assess how your client could measure its marketing success in this market and how it could improve in the future

Adaptation and standardisation of marketing mix

Explain the general terms of adaptation and standardisation of the marketing mix with examples. Then demonstrate by way of critical analysis whether there is a need for your client to adapt its marketing mix according to customer specifications within different segments of the market or there is a need to offer standardised marketing mix across the different segments within the same market

CBBE Model

Explain how your client could build a strong brand by focussing on all the different components of the CBBE Model covering all of the following:

1. Who are you? Brand Salience (Identity)

2. What are you? Brand Performance and Brand Imagery (Meaning)

3. What about you? Consumer reactions (Responses)

4. What about you and me? Consumer Brand Resonance (Relationships)

Integrated communication mix and methods

Explain the meaning of IMC and its importance in the launch of the new product. Choose any three marketing communication methods that could be construed as most effective in reaching its target customers

Measurement of success

Explain some of the ways of measuring success eg. Sales targets, Market share, profitability, Returns on Investment etc. as well as ways it could improve in the future.

 

Answer:

Introduction 

The report reflects on the strategic marketing of a U.K. based company named ‘Marks and Spencer’. It is a multinational company with 1463 stores across 57 countries and it was founded in the year 1884. It has 1035 stores and it is one of the leading retailers in the U.K. as it attains a strong customer base. It offers products through Brick and Mortar and via online channels. It has an employee strength of more than 80000 and earns international revenue of £9366 Million (Marksandspencer, 2020). It offers a wide variety of products and it includes high-quality clothing, home products, and food products. Its key competitors include Debenhams, Macy’s, John Lewis, Next and Tesco (Craft, 2020).

Considering the report structure, the initial section focuses on the standardization of the marketing mix across different segments. The next section provides information based on the CBBE model to build a strong brand. The next part involves the suitable marketing communication method to reach the target market. The succeeding part includes the information based on various factors to measure the success in terms of sales target, market share, profitability, and return on investment. Additionally, it includes practical recommendations for further improvement. The key objective of the report is to improve the marketing of Marks and Spencer in the market.

 

Adaptation and standardization of the marketing mix 

Adaptation is an international marketing strategy for adjusting the elements of the marketing mix of a product to attract a large market share (Griffith et al., 2014). The marketers opt for this new approach to alter their activities to meet the customer’s needs and interests. It allows fulfilling the diverse needs of the customers in response to a brand (Akgün et al., 2014). The appropriate adaptation of the marketing mix offers an opportunity to the customers to personalize a product/service. It assists the company to connect more effectively with their customers. It minimizes the possibility of brand switching and aid in strengthening brand loyalty (Medium, 2014). It allows the company to earn a competitive advantage and minimize the intensity of competition in the market.

Example: McDonald’s is a globally recognized fast-food chain based in the United States. It is an international fast food brand as it also serves its customers in countries like the U.K., Norway, Japan, and India. In India, it has altered its marketing mix elements. Considering the Indian culture, it has focused on mainly vegetarian products, set affordable pricing, developed accessible outlets, and targeted small children by offering them a small gift with the meal. In India, it has excluded beef from its menu but included Salmon in outlets in Norway. Thus, McDonald’s sets a fine example of the adaptation of the marketing mix.

Standardization of the marketing mix involves the application of one marketing mix to sell products/services in a global market. It involves promoting a product across distinct culture and countries and enables to maintain uniform consistency in the marketing mix. In this marketing approach, products and marketing approaches are not modified and therefore it is an economical approach and saves the marketing cost of an enterprise (Tan & Sousa, n.d.). It states that the company opts for the same product, advertising, distribution channel, and other elements of the marketing mix in all the markets. It assists in developing a strong brand, achieving economies of scale and cutting additional cost to develop several marketing strategies across the different markets. However, the company is not able to satisfy the customer’s unique needs and it faces high competition from its rivals (engaged in standardization of product/service) (Liu et al., 2016).

Example: Coca Cola is a renowned multinational company and it is engaged in an adaptation marketing mix strategy. It relies on standard packaging, and distribution channels to reach its target market. It has enabled the company to cut costs and maintain a strong brand image. It has used advertising to suit the distinct culture of countries and it has maximized its profit. However, the company has involved high marketing efforts to opt for an appropriate marketing mix. Additionally, Apple is also a follower of the standardized marketing mix as it does not alter its products’ features and looks (Hovivian, 2019). This depicts that appropriate adaptation of the marketing mix allows yielding fine results in terms of customer satisfaction and financial earnings.

 

Suitable approach 

Marks and Spencer is a reputable company and it aims to develop a strong customer base in the United Kingdom as well as in the global market. It is an international brand and to raise a high number of satisfied customers it should opt for an adaptation marketing mix strategy. This is because customers aim to attain personalized products and services. This is because customer behavior needs and preferences highly differ from country to country. This will be understood by considering an example:

Marks & Spencer serves a high number of customers in India. The company should focus on more traditional clothing as it is a traditional country and customers mainly opt for pants and suits. In the price mix, it should charge reasonable pricing as it is a developing country. Under place mix, it should operate via Brick and Mortar and online channel as Indians show favorable response towards online purchasing in their buying behavior. It should opt for Facebook-based social media marketing as it attains a usage rate of 83.56% (Statcounter, 2020). Therefore, M&S should align with the economic, social, and cultural aspects of the market to gain fine results.

CBBE Model

CBBE is an acronym for the Customer-Based Brand Equity model and aid to build a strong brand identity (Pike & Bianchi, 2016). It is a pyramid divided into four levels and these are described below:

Level 1: Brand identity

It allows the business enterprise to distinguish itself from its competitors. M&S should opt for brand ambassador marketing as it will aid the company to improve brand recognition among the customers in U.K (Pike & Bianchi, 2016). In the presence of high identity, M&S Company will be able to attract high number new customers.

 

Level 2: Brand meaning

Brand performance covers product functionality, reliability, durability, price, and customer satisfaction. For effective brand performance, M&S should offer products that are suitable for multiple functions, high durability and reasonable pricing that aligns with the product quality (Pike & Bianchi, 2016). It will assist the company to retain old customers and gain the attention of new customers.

The brand imaginary is how the brand appears to the customers. M&S should adhere to its high product quality and it will assist the company to be perceived as a ‘Premium brand’ in the U.K. Additionally, M&S should lay high attention on fulfilling the social and psychological needs of the customers. It will give rise to positive word of mouth and an increased reputation in the market (Pike & Bianchi, 2016).

Level 3: Brand response

It emphasizes the customer’s feelings towards the brand. M&S should respond to the complaints, suggestions, positive and negative reviews to build a positive feeling about the brand on customer’s perception. Therefore, the customers will feel more connected with the brands and it will assist in developing a fine relationship among the two parties. It will also give rise to positive word of mouth and it will increase company’s goodwill in the market.

Level 4: Brand resonance

It focuses on building a strong relationship with the customer to raise a high number of loyal customers. Therefore, M&S should offer quality customer care services to its customers. Additionally, it should offer high-quality products to provide a lifetime experience to the end-users (Pike & Bianchi, 2016).

 

Integrated communication mix and methods

IMC refers to integrating the marketing methods of a brand to promote a product/service to the target market. It assists in raising sales, delivering a clear and consistent message and maximizing cost-effectiveness. This marketing approach is used to coordinate and develop an effective usage of marketing methods. Marks & Spencer should opt for the IMC approach to reach a wider audience in the United Kingdom.

There are multiple marketing methods for the product/service promotion and it includes advertising, public relation, digital marketing, sales promotion, personal selling and direct marketing. Marks & Spencer should consider suitable IMC tools to maximize benefits from marketing.

  1. Digital marketing refers to the promotion of a product/service via the internet, mobile apps and other digital media. M&S should rely on social media marketing as it has rising user strength and customer engagement rates. Among all the social media platforms, it should consider Facebook as it is a leading social media platform in the U.K. In the year 2020, it has a usage rate of 37.27% (Dea, 2020).
  2. Sales promotion is an effective tool to raise the sales of a product for a short span. It will assist the company to increase customer awareness about the product. The company should offer discounts, coupon codes and bonus points as a form of sales promotion marketing strategy. It is an economical approach and it offers fine results for a limited time (Jobber & Chadwick, 2012).
  3. Public relation is a form of marketing technique and it aims to develop and strengthen fine interpersonal relations with the customers. It is a highly beneficial approach to retain old customers and create new customers (Jobber & Chadwick, 2012).

As an IMC approach, M&S should provide information about discounts, coupons and bonus points on Facebook. It should share its new launch with loyal customers and strengthen relationships with the customers. It will allow the company to avail the maximum benefit of its brand marketing.

Measurement of success

There are multiple methods to measure the success of an organization in monetary terms. Below are the key methods to gain an understanding of these ways:

The sales target is the goal of the sales department to sell a specific number of units in a specified period. It enables the employees to maintain their focus on achieving their sales targets and increase the company’s profitability. It assists the management in planning strategies to achieve the sales target and move ahead (Heydari & Najafi, 2016).  Therefore, M&S should set challenging but achievable sales targets for its employees in the U.K.

Market share is the percentage of market share and portion held by a business enterprise. It is the percentage of total sales generated by the business entity in an industry (Jobber & Chadwick, 2012). It is calculated with the application of a formula and it is listed below:

  • Market Share = Total sales of the company/Total sales of the industry*100

Profitability is the financial gain earned by an enterprise. The company takes into account multiple factors to calculate the profitability of a financial year and it includes revenue, operating cost, and assets, liabilities, and shareholder’s equity. It is calculated with the help of several formulas and one among them is depicted below:

  • Gross Profit Margin = Gross Profit/Sales*100

Return on investment measures the profit and loss generated on an investment. M$S should lay an effort to achieve an annual ROI of around 15% (Sterling, 2014). It is calculated with the help of a simple formula.

  • Return on investment = Net profit/Investment*100

Recommendations 

  1. M&S should set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based) objectives based on sales target. Additionally, it should divide its sales target according to the number of a retail store in the U.K. It should reward its employees for achieving their sales target as it will develop a motivating force among the human resource to fulfill their given target
  2. It should lay continuous efforts in maintaining its product quality and brand promotion. It should offer 24*4 by support to its customers as it will assist in the early solution to their response and queries. Thus, both these tactics will aid in raising its market share in the U.K.
  3. It should focus more on minimizing the labor cost as it will directly raise its profitability.

Conclusion 

The report summarizes the marketing of a leading retailer named Marks and Spencer. From the above discussion, it is acknowledged that M&S is an international company engaged in multiple product lines. It is analyzed that a standardized marketing mix strategy refers to adopting one marketing mix approach to sell product/service in a diverse market. On the other hand, an adaptation of the marketing mix involves altering the elements of a marketing mix based on the geographic segment. M&S should opt for adaptation of the marketing mix as it is a significant approach to raise a high number of satisfied customers in a distinct market. It will opt for digital marketing, sales promotion and public relation to avail the full utilization of IMC. Considering the CBBE model, it is recognized it is an effective model and it will assist the company to develop a strong brand image. Additionally, it is assessed that the company should lay high attention on sales targets, market share, profitability and ROI as these are the effective ways to measure success. It is recommended that M&S should lay regular attention on these factors to minimize any form of error and avail the desired result.  

 

Bibliography

Akgün, A.E., Keskin, H. & Ayar, H., 2014. Standardization and adaptation of international marketing mix activities: A case study. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 150.

Craft, 2020. Marks & Spencer competitors. [Online] Available at: https://craft.co/marks-spencer/competitors [Accessed 4 February 2020].

Dea, S., 2020. Leading social networks by share of website visits* in the United Kingdom (UK) as of January 2020. [Online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/280295/market-share-held-by-the-leading-social-networks-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/ [Accessed 4 January 2020].

Griffith, D.A., Lee, H.S., Yeo, C.S. & Calantone, R., 2014. Marketing process adaptation. International Marketing Review.

Heydari, J. & Najafi, J., 2016. Coordinating inventory decisions in a two-echelon supply chain through the target sales rebate contract. International Journal of Inventory Research, 3(1), pp.49-69.

Hovivian, F., 2019. Globalization: Apple’s One-Size-Fits-All Approach. [Online] Available at: https://www.brandquarterly.com/globalization-apples-one-size-fits-approach [Accessed 4 January 2020].

Jobber, D. & Chadwick, F., 2012. Principles and practice of marketing. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Liu, S., Perry, P., Moore, C. & Warnaby, G., 2016. The standardization-localization dilemma of brand communications for luxury fashion retailers’ internationalization into Chin. Journal of Business Research, 69(1), pp.357-64.

Marksandspencer, 2020. KEY FACTS. [Online] Available at: https://corporate.marksandspencer.com/investors/key-facts [Accessed 4 February 2020].

Medium, 2014. What is Adaptive Marketing? And Should you Start Adapting? [Online] Available at: https://medium.com/@AED_in/what-is-adaptive-marketing-and-should-you-start-adapting-cbe60b69a683 [Accessed 4 February 2020].

Pike, S. & Bianchi, C., 2016. Destination brand equity for Australia: testing a model of CBBE in short-haul and long-haul markets. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 40(1), pp.114-34.

Statcounter, 2020. Social Media Stats in India – January 2020. [Online] Available at: https://gs.statcounter.com/social-media-stats/all/india [Accessed 4 February 2020].

Sterling, R.R., 2014. TheThe theory of the measurement of enterprise income. In The Development of Accounting. Routledge.

Tan, Q. & Sousa, C.M., n.d. International marketing standardization. Management international review, 53(5).

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