Marketing is the basis on which organizations establish, create and maintain a profitable Brand. However, as noted by (CIM 2009), marketing is a complex, and business manager that understand it well, steer their organization on the top as compared to competitor. This statement suggests the importance of marketing to an organization. This paper is dedicated to understanding marketing process as carried out in organizations. Argos, one of the leading convenient stores in UK is used as the case study
1.1 Explain the various elements of the marketing process
According to American marketing associations, marketing refers to the process of planning and implementing conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of product and services with the aim of satisfying customer needs (Kotler, P., et al 2008). Marketing is also defined as the effort of establishing profitable customer relationship.
Marketing is a process that involves several elements. The following are various elements
Organizations mission and vision– this provides direction for the whole organization. They dictate where there organization wants to be in future and what it is doing to be there. Vision and mission provided the starting point of marketing activities. All marketing goal and activities must support organization mission and vision
Departmental goals-in order to ensure corporate goal are achieved, they are broken down in to functional/department / units goals such as marketing, finances etc. The resulting goals are known as departmental Goals. The goals set for marketing function are therefore important in marketing activities
Once marketing known what is expected of it, marketing audits is conducted. Marketing audits is basically environmental scanning both internal and external environment. The main of marketing audits is to identify action of competitors, customers needs, unexploited opportunity, threats organization strength over competitor as well as it weakness (CIM 2009)
The marketing audits provided an organization with better understanding of the market. This help it set marketing objectives and goals as well as develop marketing strategies relating to pricing, distribution, promotion and products. According to kolter and Armstrong (1997), marketing strategies also involves segmentation, targeting, positioning and differentiation
Once marketing strategies and goals are developed, preparing marketing budget follows. The marketing budget give forecasted figure relating to cost of different marketing activities and function such as promotion and advertisement, salary for marketing staffs, cost of preparing promotional materials etc.
Control and evaluation is the final elements of marketing activities. These are done to ensure the implementation of marketing plan and budget is done accordingly.
1.2 Evaluate the benefits and costs of a marketing orientation for a selected organisation
According to Riley (2015), marketing orientation is a philosophy that aim at identifying the customer needs and respond in order to satisfy them. In this approach everything is done with customer needs in minds. Organizations conduct a lot of marketing research in order to understand their customer needs. Once customers’ needs are fully understood, the marketing organizations then embark on production process where products or services to meet customers’ needs are developed (Kolter et a l 2008). This approach goes beyond understanding customer to understanding competitors and what they have to offers. The approach also focus on long-term solution to customer needs, it focus on continuous search of way to add value to existing products or services so as to improve customer experience
This approach can benefit Argos in several ways.
Since this approach aim at understanding and satisfying customer needs, Argos can gain more loyal customer. Loyal customer may meet high customer retention for Argos which in turn leads to relatively stable and high revenue. Additionally, this approach can have positive impacts on Argos reputation as customer always talk good of company they are loyal to. Furthermore, this would help Argos reach message about it products to larger population without the need for advertisement since word of mouth already does that.
However, this approach is not without its own cost. To better understand the customer needs well, Argos has to spend a lot of money and time to conduct market research. The cost of market research can also be further increased by the fact that customer need and wants keep on changing from time to time. Additionally, satisfying customer needs mean increased investment in facilities and technology to provide services and product of high quality, timely and as per diverse need of customer. All this cost may result to increased product cost which push price high or reduce the profit margins for the organization (CIM 2009).
2.1 Show macro and micro environmental factors which influence marketing decisions
Marketing decision and activities in Argos are not done in vacuum. There are a lot of factors that affect it marketing decision and activities. Kolter and Armstrong (2006) have classified these factors into two category namely micro and macro. Micros are internal factors while macros are those in the external world.
Argos marketing decision is affected by several of external factors. These factors include legal factors, economical factors, social and demographic factors and technological factors. Argos is required to be transparent when dealing with it customer. The company is under legal obligation to provide customer with all necessary information and not to deceive customer. The company is also under several other legal obligations including not engaging in unfair practice and competition among others. Economical factors are also important in all the marketing decision of Argos. Economical events such as recession, boom etc affects customer purchasing power which Argos need to take into consideration when making marketing decision. For instance during boom and recession time, the customer power is improved. This mean an opportunity to sell more and such marking decision such as increased promotional and advertisement budget can work for the company. To maximise it return Argos has observed and responded to social and demographic trend among the community. The stores offer products that meets attract both gender and different category. Technological advancement has also affected the marketing decision of Argos. Due to customer preferences of convenient shopping through internet and phone, Argos has responded by enabling online shopping as well as Text based shopping
The marketing decision at Argos is also affected by micro factors. The customer Argos target continues to demand for quality products at lower prices and prompt delivery of services. This leaves Argos with no options rather keep on looking for new way to cut unit cost and deliver services at the fastest speed as possible. To cut the unit cost Argos has resulted to buying in bulks from supplier and also store a lot of product in warehouse so as to reduce space cost.
2.2 Propose segmentation criteria to be used for products in different markets
Segmentation refers to dividing the market in different group with each group having some common feature. Segmentation can be done using different criteria but Kolter and Armstrong (1997), provide the most easy and comprehensive segmentation criteria according to them, segmentation can be done on four criteria namely demographic (based on demographic characteristic such as age, gender ethnicity, income , education race among other), geographic(dividing market in region e.g. by state , national, region or area), Psychographic segmentation (i.e. dividing marketing according to customer social class personality and lifestyles) and Behaviour segmentation (i.e. dividing market according to identifiable behaviour of customers). All of these segmentation criteria can be applied by Argos in marketing it different products. In it health and beauty products category, Argos can segment the market using gender. Since women are known to be the heavy consumer of health and beauty product, the store can choose to carry only those female oriented product to cut on space cost.
2.3 Choose a targeting strategy for a selected product/service
Targeting refers to choosing a market segment to services and making marketing decision that resonates well with the segment. In Argos case, the Toshiba C50D-B-120 AMD E-Series which cost £175 has a lot of features that appear to younger generation and more probably the students. It is even more affordable making it suitable for students who have limited sources of income. Targeting college and university student with this laptop would therefore make economical sense as it would not only appeal to them but they would also be able to pay for it price.
Given the facts that most of students would be at home by 7 o’clock in the evening, this product would be marketed through this time. TV and Radio Airtime corresponding to program mostly watched and listen to by youth would be hired to advertise the product
2.4 Demonstrate how buyer behaviour affects marketing activities in different buying situation
According to Singh (2011), an organization can only be successful if it understand it consumer behaviour and respond appropriately. Consumer behaviours therefore greatly influence the decision of marketer. According to Kolter (2005), there are four type of buying behaviour. Each type of behaviours does have impact and influence of the marketing activities of the organizations concerned. Kolter classifies marketing behaviour as
Complex buying behaviours-This kind of behaviour occurs when there is high level of consumer involvement and the available alternative are very different from each other. In this scenario, the consumers actively look out for information about the benefits as well as feature of products and how the same will help solve the problem. Argos needs to identify products that trigger these behaviours and provide as much information as possible to consumer. For instance, in the purchase of home furniture, the customers are highly involved and the purchase is infrequent one meaning that customer may lack prior experience in using the product. Customer therefore bases their purchase decision not on experience but on available.
In some case there are those product that requires low level of involvement and are more their purchase is frequent in nature. For instance in case of food stuffs customer just need to walks and pick his favourite go pay for it. In such a scenario the customer do not need a lot of information when making purchase decision. Convenience and experiences is all they needs.
Another type of buying behaviour is variety seeking behaviours. In this scenario consumers shift from one brand to another not necessary because they dislike or were dissatisfied with previous product but it is because they get satisfaction by trying as many brand as possible (Kolter 2005).in this case Argos should ensure those products that trigger these behaviour are available in variety to give customer an opportunity to test them.
Dissonance –reduction is the next type of buying behaviour as per Kolter (2005). In this case the buy is highly involved in the process of buying but there is very little difference between the alternative brands. In such scenario, the marketer tries as much they can to entice customer buy their product by offer discounts, coupon, reward and running other form of sale promotion campaign.
2.5 Propose new positioning for a selected product/service
Positioning is a very important aspect of marketing. It refers to the process used by marketer to create a perception about a certain products or the whole organization (Allenby, n. D).Argos as whole has already position itself as the one stop shop for convenient shopping. It can however reposition itself by investing and looking out of new way to faster delivery of services. For instances, by Using remote controlled drones using GPS technology to deliver light items bought by customers online or through text can help further strengthen its position as convenient store that care about customers’ time. Equally, the organizations can further cemented it positions as convenient stored by enabling same day delivery of all product bought through online platform such as eBay by investing and strengthening it shuttle services
3.1 Explain how products are developed to sustain competitive advantage
Every product goes through what is known as product life cycles. The maturity stage of any product is of key importance as it determines the future of the products. At this stage organization can decide to maintain it in the product in it by sustaining it competitive advantage or remove it from the products line. There are several strategies than an organization can use to sustain the competitiveness of a given products. Take Russell Hobbs toaster for example, one of the toaster brand carried by Argos stores. Russell Hobbs has been known as make of quality toaster. The competitive advantage of their toaster lays on it quality and affordable rate as well as its ability to produce different size of breads. To sustain it competitive advantages, Rosell Hobbs has continuously continued to upgrade the feature of their toaster including increasing toasting rate saving user time. Additionally, to sustain the product competitive advantage, the company continue to engage in comprehensive promotion and marketing campaign for it products. Although Argos do not manufacture product itself, it can help it supplier (manufacturer) with information that can help sustain their competitive advantages. For instance, it can give manufacturer like Rosell Hobbs information relating to customer preferences when it come to features such as colour, size, shape , capability etc. By doing so, the manufacturer will not only be able to produces competitive products but Argos wills also benefits as quality products that meet it customer needs taste and preferences will be available in it store.
3.2 Explain how distribution is arranged to provide customer convenience
Distribution also plays a very important role in the marketing process of Argos and other organizations. As noted by Bamiduro (2000) distribution channel used by an organization can be a source of it competitive advantages if well designed. Given that Argos aim is to position itself as the most convenient store there are several distribution strategies that can enable it to achieve it objectives. Store location is of key importance in achieving this. To ensure convenience of shopping, Argos has established branches in almost every neighbourhood of it target customer. Customer need not to travel mile to access a store, with this regard Argos aim to establish a store that are easily accessible by customer. Internet shopping and text based shopping as well as ability makes reserve for a product has also contributed to Argos objectives of being the most convenient stores. The home delivery services has also enable the store to gain a competitive edge over it competitor of convenient shopping
3.3 Explain how prices are set to reflect an organisation’s objectives and market conditions
Price is defined as the monetary value attached to a product’s (Musonera and Ndagijimana no date). Price is a very important aspect of the marketing mix. The organization objectives as well as the prevailing condition are two of the key factors that determine the prices charge for product and services. The marketing condition such as demand for the products or economic condition determine what prices of product, for instance, during summer season, Argos can increase the demand for those product used during the season due to high demand. Equally, during recession time Argos is known for lowering prices of it products to caution it sale revenue and level against decreasing consumer purchase power. During boom season, Argos can comfortably increase price for it products as consumer purchase power also improved.
The organization objectives also dictate the prices set for the products of the organization. Argos marketing objectives are increased sales and gaining market shares. To increase the sales at all time the stores lower and increase it prices to reflect the prevailing consumer purchasing power as affected by economical consideration. To achieve its objective of increased market shares Argos use penetration pricing strategies where it charge lower prices for it product as compared to its products to entice more customer to frequent it stores.
3.4 Illustrate how promotional activity is integrated to achieve marketing objectives
Organization marketing objectives can only be achieved by creating awareness about the company offering. Promotion which is one of the 4 P’s of marketing play a very vital role in creating awareness (Mack 2015). To achieve Argos marketing objectives of increasing sales revenue and market share, well thought out promotion activities are needed. To increase the market share, Argos needs to reach to new customer and create awareness about it products. This can only be achieved by engaging in promotional activities such as advertising in TV and radio as well as in creasing online presence. building a reputable brand is also important in recruiting new customer Public relation activities is thus important for Argos. To increase its sales Argos also needs to engage in a lot of promotion activities which contain information such as new offering new discount, new promotional campaign etc.
3.5 Analyse the additional elements of the extended marketing mix
Marketing mix is a term that has been used to describe the four variable of marketing process commonly known as 4 P’s of marketing. It has been argued that the success of any marketing campaign or activity depends on how well organization makes decision relating to these four variables (Kolter and Armstrong 2006). These 4 P’s include products, price, promotion and place. To succeed an organization need a product that satisfy the customer needs, the price of that product should be competitive enough for customer to affordable and organization make profit from it. The product should also be easily accessible to customer so place of selling the products are important. Finally, customer can only know about the products if manufacturer communicate to them promotional is therefore unavoidable. However according to chartered institute of marketing mix is more that the fours P’sand it includes other 3 P’s namely people, process and physical evidences (CIM 2009).
People play a very important role in achievement of organization marketing objectives, as argued by CIM (2009), any person that comes into contact with customers create an impression that can have either positive or negative effects on the products. CIM argues that customers find it hard to differentiate the interaction with people and products and as that they treat organization staffs as part of the products. If they dislike the employees they thus dislike the product and there are high changes they won’t buy the product. If however they are impressed by sales person or another staffs they come into contact with during the process of buying, they will definitely buy the products. It is therefore important for organization like Argos to ensure that their staffs are not only the right one for the jobs but also possess the rights skills, attitude and knowledge if the marketing objective is to be achieved.
The process of delivering product or services is also very important in the marketing process (CIM, 2009). According to CIM, the process as well as the behaviours of employees in the process of providing services to customer plays a very important role in customer satisfaction. Customers are more concerned about the effectiveness and efficiency of the system. Issues such as waiting time, informational provided, helpfulness of staffs etc is very essential in determining customer satisfaction level. CIM (2009) argues that the system established in organization to serve customer should not be done for the effectiveness of organization operation but should also focus on customer needs.
The final P of marketing process is the physical evidences. Normally, services are only experienced after delivery. This mean that customer risk their hard earned money to buy services that they don’t know whether will satisfy their needs or not. As a result majority of customer may become unwilling to risk their money. Providing physical evidences help customer especially those who fear risk an opportunity for them to experience the service or get assurance before they purchase it (CIM 2009). Physical evidences is provided in several ways includes using testimonial, case studies, etc. According to CIM (2009), physical evidences can be very useful in turning non-consumer to consumers of organizations services and it is therefore an important element of marketing process that must always be taken into consideration.
4.1 Plan marketing mixes for two different segments in consumer markets
Marketing mixes refer to combination of the four P’s of marketing which are products, price, promotion and place. Segments refer to different group of the market with different characteristic. As a marketing manager of Argos I would use the following marketing mix for the two product identified below to market to two different segment
The Russell Hobbs 21450 2 Slice Toaster – Stainless Steel which cost just £17.99, would be marketed to small family with low income. The toaster would be marketed as high quality at an affordable price which is more durable than normal toaster. Additionally it ability to produce different size of product should help market it as an ideal for small family looking for value for their money. Although these toaster would be carried in all Argos stores, the stores at located near low income neighbourhood would carry more of the stock. Price should be maintaining at a level lower than that of competitor and other high end toaster. Promotional would be done mainly through TV television.
For the Samsung 48 inch LCD TV, the product would be marketed to younger men between the ages of 25-30 with high income. A premium prices would be charged for this product to make the consumer feels or enjoys the status associated with highly priced products. The product would be available for purchases through the stores but online shopping would be emphasis more with free home delivery to further reinforce the status of the buyers. Promotional of these products would be done through TV that target high end citizen as well as reputable prints. The promotional message would emphasis more on the status of buying the product. Phrases like “a TV for sophisticated man” would be used.
4.2 Illustrate differences in marketing products and services to businesses rather than consumers
Marketing products or services to a business or what is normally known as B2b is different form marketing the same to consumers. It might be seem pretty similar since it involves selling a product or services to people. But in essence the two are differences. The difference between the two is mainly based on the process of making purchasing decision. As commented by Bly (2015), in B2B marketing, logic is the basis of decision making while in B2C, emotional play a bigger role in purchase decision. According to Bly (2015), in B2B marketing the buyer purchases a product mainly because he needs it. Unlike in the case of B2C where a lot of factor such peer influence, attraction etc influence the purchase decision. This mean that in case of B2B marketing , the buyer is always on look out of information on the available products and how they can help him solve the problem or be more profitable. According to lake (2015), in case of B2B marketing there is multiple influences on the purchase decision. Before a purchase decision is reached, the buyer consult with a lot of experts unlike when buying a pair of shoes. No need to consult. Business buyer are also sophisticate and they may even be more knowledgeable about the product they want that the seller. For instance, a system analysts maybe more knowledgeable about mainframe computer than the seller (Bly 2015). This means that personal seller of product and services meant for B2B client must be equally knowledgeable about the products.
4.3 The benefits Argos may reap by expanding globally.
Argo is a reputable brand in UK and it can leverage on its reputation to expand internationally. There are some benefits that Argos would enjoy by expanding globally.
One the benefits would be more customers to serve than the local market. Expanding into other emerging economies such as china, and African would not only provide the company with a larger marker for it product but also present it with opportunity to earn high profits.
Expanding globally will also enable Argos benefits from a large pool of talented potential worker. As we all know, the success of any company dependent on it human resource. Expanding globally give Argos the opportunity to strength the ability and strength of it workforces.
Argos would also enjoy increased economies of scales. As it expand globally the more products it will sell and the high the cost of selling one unit of product. This will resulted to increased profit margin. Economies of scales also will give the company the changes to gain competitive edge through pricing as it will become possible to lower the cost of product with would be much in line with the company mission of offering value for money.
Expanding internationally is however a process that need careful planning and consideration. There are a lot of factors that Argos needs to take into account before expanding globally. These factors includes
- Cultural differences – Individual across the globe share different culture. Argos will need to investigate the culture of the market it plans to enter so as to align itself with that culture. Failure to do so would result to failure in the attempt to be successful in global market.
- Political and legal consideration. Each country has its own and unique legislation and legal requirement including those relation to registration, taxation, employment etc. The legal and political environment of the global marker Argos decided to enter must be fully evaluated to consider whether they will hinder or promoted the success of the company in that particular market
- social and demographic characteristic – consumer in different market differ in their social and demographic characteristic some market may have older generation as compared to youth while other may have youth generation that is more that older generation. Other may be male dominated while other may be female dominated market. Argos should understand the social and demographic characteristic of the global market. this would help the company in deciding the range of product to carry init store
- Consumption behaviour in different market. Consumer does not always behave in the same. Consumer behaviour may differ according to market. For instance they may differ on time of shopping, factor they take into consideration before they make purchase decision etc. It is therefore, paramount for Argos to investigate the consumption behaviour in global market so as to respond appropriately
- Understanding economical factors of different market is paramount. Argos should only invest in global markets that are economically viable. It should consider raising economies such as china
Marketing is a very important aspect of managing business organization. As evidence presented in this paper shows, marketing is the basis by which an organization is able to identify it customer base and serve it to a satisfactory level. Evidence presented on the paper also shows that marketing is not an ad hoc activity, it is a process that involves careful planning and execution of plan developed. The success of any brand greatly depends on the marketing activities. It is therefore important for organizations like Argos to invest heavily in it marketing activities for continued growth and expansion both in local and international marketing.