Marketing Project Essay
Question 1: Define marketing and outline the steps in the marketing process.
Answer: Though most people are wholly aware of the concept of marketing and have experienced the glamour and whiz that marketers create, few possess the knowledge of the definition of marketing in orthodox terms. According to most marketing gurus, marketing is a set of activities designed to coordinate and promote a product or service through brand image and perception (Marketing power, 2009).
Building a perception and value about a certain product through marketing techniques such as segmentation, positioning and using creativity are the characteristics of marketing. Marketing is not a single activity and is perhaps one of the most important ones of an organization relying on consumer goods for its profits. For example, the marketing activities of Pepsi have a greater budget than the production budget; these statistics are not only amazing but they give the average man an idea of how important marketing is, as an activity to firms selling consumer goods.
The process of marketing is a set of steps defined linearly however is followed in a fashion best described as inter-linked. Each activity fuels the outcomes of the previous activity and thus one may move back and forth the ladder in order to reach a favorable goal. The marketing process is categorized as:
1. Understanding the mission/vision of the organization Being the driving force of the company, the long-term mission of the company also is the guide that maneuvers the marketing objectives and policies that marketers have to adhere to in their research. There are several instances of the
2. Evaluate the strengths of the organization through a marketing/internal audit. Strengths and weaknesses should be identified through audit to be aware of competitors’ possible actions against one. Anticipating their moves based on company knowledge and market research is an important tactic that enables company’s to build and modify their own marketing structure. Sometimes companies have been successful not because they had exceptional marketing programs, but because they were able to come up with revolutionary services based on the evaluation of their competitors.
3. Know your customer
The customer is the main entity without which the purpose of production, marketing and all other activities is lost. Thus, marketers need to know their customers in depth – their demographics, psychic and patterns in their purchasing habits.
4. Develop a set of marketing goals and objectives
Every marketing program is made to achieve certain things – these are the goals and objectives. These should be defined beforehand with great care so that the purpose of the marketing program can be justified.
5. Design affordable and mass appeal promotion strategies
Costs incurred in marketing campaigns can be huge and thus should be scrutinized. Marketing campaigns have to be as low in costs as possible and yet should focus on a large segment of the target market following the different forms of marketing – print, television, radio and other forms of marketing including web marketing depending on the product or service (Buerstatte, 2004).
6. Develop a marketing plan
A marketing plan is a comprehensive program with detailed listings of the marketing approach, mission, goals and objectives as well as the instruments that will be used for the marketing of products. The concept of the marketing plan is also documented in this deliverable.
7. Performance Evaluation
Evaluation step-by-step of the progress of the activities and processes in the marketing stages is necessary. This identifies whether the marketing phases are integrated with each
Question 2: Describe the elements of a customer driven marketing strategy and mix and the forces that influence it.
Answer: Customer is the king, is a well-known saying both amongst marketers and nonmarketers. People understand the importance of the customer in the marketing cycle. Thus marketing strategies and campaigns should be focused and directed towards the consumers (Donaldson, 2008).
The mix for a customer oriented marketing strategy constitutes of a proper segmentation concept, product positioning, appropriate target marketing and product differentiation. Though these are itself broad concepts, the focus is to identify the consumer profile, dissect it into various components and use it to base the positioning, differentiation and target market strategies.
For example, Mountain Dew targets youngsters and people willing to go wild and have an overdose of crazy fun. Understanding this as the general profile of its consumer, its advertisements are all framed on this theme where people are shown performing crazy stunts. The product has been differentiated on the basis of the consumer market, its target market is a narrower bunch of “very silly” people and its advertisements are geared towards a particular segment of the consumer population.
Considering the above facts, it becomes important to understand the factors that affect a consumer marketing strategy. Since consumers have varying tastes in terms of the dispersion with respect to age, income and other demographical factors, it is necessary for marketers to use their “sixth sense” in developing consumer oriented strategies if they want personal and organizational success (Donaldson, 2008).
A customer driven marketing strategy should be influenced by the following factors:
Fashion: What was once hot is today the most outdated and laughed upon outfit. Such is the pattern of fashion and changing preferences among the consumer market. Nothing stays forever and marketers understand this better than anyone else. Constant innovation and market research is necessary to make changes to successful consumer oriented marketing concepts in order for them to retain their wins.
Demographics: Without information about demographics, marketers would be similar to persons finding needles in a pile of hay. It would be a very impossible task to find the right customer and all marketing budgets would go astray. Thus using published national reports and self research organizations find out about the demographical nature of the market and bring out their products accompanied by appropriate marketing strategies (Etzel, Walker & Stanton, 2000).
Psychology and Buying Behavior: A youngster buying a razor is very much different from a middle aged man buying the same. Marketers assume that the youngster is in the process of evaluating razors and thus would pay more to attract him than attract a middle aged man. This is because middle aged people roughly follow a systematic and constant buying pattern while youngsters tend to go out of the way more than once in a while to give a new product a try or two to satisfy their curiosities.
Question 3: Describe the environmental forces that affect the company’s ability to service its customers.
Answer. Apart from the internal micro environmental factors that cause failure, there are six major macro environmental factors that can cause problems for organizations in serving their customers fully. The internal environment of an organization is affected by suppliers, marketing intermediaries and creative solutions providers (the ad designers) (Czerwonka, 2008). When we discuss the ability of a firm to meet its customers’ requirements and demands, we have to understand the concept of quality as well. Quality is defined as the extent to which user requirements match the designed product. This is however a very vague definition which cannot be taken into full confidence in a consumer market scenario. For example, a tyre may be built to the consumers’ requirements and yet it may not be durable enough to “satisfy” the customers’ needs (Donaldson, 2008).
When discussing the six major micro environmental forces that hamper organizations from reaching out to their customers fully, it should be remembered that it is the quality of service that is generally affected in most cases. Quantity is generally affected only when a demand exists in surplus for a certain product or service for various reasons. The six factors are as follows:
- Social & Cultural
- Technological (Etzel, Walker & Stanton, 2000)
Socio and cultural factors are understandably a factor that inhibits firms in matching the expectations of their customers. The Coca Cola advertisement failure in the Gulf where the advertiser failed to recognize the linguistic difference in between English and Arabic (Arabic is read from right to left) was a great learning lesson for marketers.
Demographical changes as a result of globalization and rapid growth rates have led to newer segments in the market who have customized needs. For example, the tele-worker was not heard of 20 years ago. And today, tele-working is amongst the fastest growing professions across the globe – this has created a demand-supply gap which firms have yet to meet by offering customized products. Thus marketing departments have to understand the changing demographics and then accordingly plan for newer innovations, products and services.
Financial situations have always been core limiting factors. Right from the problems of funding to liquidity and credit issues, firms are faced with expansion and payback dilemmas if the environment is very unstable and economically not viable. Examples include shaky economic conditions in Kenya and Philippines leading to several companies maintaining their status quo and not going for innovative ideas so as to conserve their profits.
Political instability and turmoil are national level circumstances which can only be avoided once they occur. Predictions in this regard are hardly accurate and something to be depended upon given the pace at which situations submerge. However, political forces result in the greatest deterioration of inventories and lost sales for firms (Czerwonka, 2008).
Some of the inherent values of a culture with respect to the region, geography, tradition or music cannot be eliminated. For example, the town where Elvis Presley was born may not like to have a CD shop where Elvis’ songs are not available. The failure to realize such natural elements of a culture or sub-culture are failures on part of the marketers, who are entrusted with the responsibilities of screening out their target markets efficiently. It is therefore imperative to procure the smallest of information regarding natural elements that exist and position products and services in an accordingly appropriate manner.
Customer demands are the main fulfillment necessity of the producers and the firm tries its best to achieve the target to get away all the technological factors of the product and meet consumer demands. These are the major reasons why growing firms are unable to reach out to their customers on time and in the desired quantities. Machinery and automation are the main reasons why companies have been able to progress over years and yet still are striving hard to achieve.
Question 4: Outline the steps in the marketing research process.
Answer: The activities which are linked and their process is aimed as extracting the information the general population keeps about the product or on a specific segment of the consumers said to be marketing research. Marketing research is not specific to new product launches only. In fact, marketing research can be applied and is used in a variety of situations including: launching a new variant of an existing product, trying to identify a product non-existent in the market and launching a new product (Donaldson, 2008). Even apart from the other factors, marketers use marketing research to gain knowledge about their consumer’s tastes and changing habits to effect changes into their existing products in order to stay one step ahead of competition. The stages in the marketing research process are as follows:
1. Identification of the research problem
The basic problem, which is occurring, should be actually identified. Poor marketers fail to realize the difference and end up in identifying the symptom as the research problem. Thus all their research is continued on the symptoms and the actual reason is ignored. For example, P&G may face a decline in the sales of pampers and may want to know the reason behind it. The research problem should be identified and the factors which are the reasons for the decline of the sales should be identified. Similarly, the research carried out should focus on the root problems and the root problems are tried to be virtually eliminated.
2. Developing the approach for the marketing research
This is the step taken in the need of the formation of an approach of studding. These are made keeping into view the mission and existing policies of the company. Many companies have a pre- defined marketing research approach t that involve many practices with a deemed nature and consider them to be the best and not to revolve their policies.
3. Developing the plan for the marketing research
After sorting the research problem and the approach have been planned, the next step is to draft a comprehensive research plan and outlining the instruments used in the research along with the details for the target market, the sampling considerations, assumptions and the other factors which play an important role in shaping the results of the research.
4. Field Data gathering
Using the research plan and the research instruments, the data is then captured from the targeted area of the consumption of the product therefore; honesty, accuracy and politeness with an expectation of a high no-response rate are the demands of this job which should be administered to loyal and honest professionals.
5. Data Filtering, Statistical Analysis
The data collected will not be entirely free from errors, biases and extreme answers. The data will have to be filtered out and then be used for screening and statistical analysis purposes. Software’s such as SPSS will help in analyzing quantitative data but qualitative shall depend upon organizational measures (Etzel, Walker, Walker & Stanton, 2000).
6. Reporting and Conclusions
After the analysis has been performed and completed, appropriate conclusions and actions have to be taken on the outcomes of the results. For example, if analysis shows that about 90% population is not interested in adapting the new flavor of the product then its outcome shall be that the product’s launch shall be cancelled. These conclusions can only be made if the samples selected reflect the target market proportionately and if the research methodology was carried out accurately and honestly.
Question 5: Describe the adoption and diffusion process for new product.
Answer. Purchasing of an entirely new product and get used to the functions of it is not a very fast process. People consume time for changing their life styles according to the new innovations. As television which was invented about 50 years ago but still till 1980’s it was not popular among humans as their was a problem of adaption of the new machine, the financial resources were not sufficient or the perception of the product was also a major issue for its adaption by the general public (Czerwonka, 2004). Each product adoption goes through the following processes:
Advertisements are one of the main sources of giving awareness to the people about the product which is going to be launched in the market before hand. The people keep in view the invention and then make their minds. Awareness which is created after the launch of the product only creates destructions for the consumer adaption.
The next step is of giving the knowledge about the product. As the consumer has the product but is unaware of its functions then the product is useless for him therefore, a code of instruction is given for directing the consumers. Mobile phones are a good example of knowledge as it carries a complete booklet of instructions.
The consumer before forming their decision about purchasing the product evaluates it. the areas are of its uses, the knowledge given, past purchases, perception manner and the word-of-mouth counts a lot in the evaluation and thus it is very important to gain customers.
The evaluation period finishes in the practical trial phase and then the actual usage of the product comes into the eyes of the consumer and he then realizes the value of the product and gives his opinion about it.
If the adoption is favorable and the customer is ready to adapt the product then the product will under go several measures.
6. After Purchase Evaluation
The consumer opinion is not always the same throughout its usage. During the start maybe the customer finds it attractive and it is easy for adjusting but as soon as the product is continuously used the customer finds the product very fragile and cheap and then a narrow opinion about the product can be formed.
Diffusion is the name given to the process where innovative products and changes to existing products are being dealt with. Cell phones which are nowadays the talk of day – every new cell phone is accompanied with mass marketing and advertising campaigns. Diffusion is the level of acceptance that a product achieves into the consumers buying basket. The major elements concerned with diffusion are:
4. Social System (Association, 1996)
The margin in-between adoption and diffusion is very thin (Ryuji Furukawa, August 2001). Adoption and diffusion can both be for new and innovative products and they can be considered as two hands of a body which is known as marketing success. The categories of the target market that adopt a product can be divided into:
- Innovators: This is smallest section of target marketing but is fully aware section. The consumers in this segment are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative products and are all amongst the first to line up outside a shop as soon as a product arrives in the market.
- Early Adopters: These are larger than the innovators yet smaller than the early majority, this segment of the market is composed of people who were not amongst the very early buyers’ list. Even though among their circle of people they were the first to adapt the product.
- Early Majority: The biggest section of the market that adopts the product when a small segment of the market has tested it. They rely on reviews and the peer discussions greatly to decide on their purchase decisions regarding the product.
- Late Majority: Described often by marketers as the sleeping segment of the population, they buy a product when it has crossed its entrance and operational marketing programs. For example, I am aware of some people who even today are purchasing the PlayStation 2 for the first time in their lives!
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