Marketing mix is a group of tools used by marketers to reach and satisfy the consumer’s needs as well as to stay ahead in the competitive business world. It is made up of four pieces namely the product, price, place and promotion (Churchill, Gilbert A., and Peter, Paul J. 1995). Kotler, Philip, and Armstrong, Gary (1993) define the 4 Ps of marketing as follows: Product is the objects or services that are mass produced or manufactured on a large scale for specific volume of units. Price is the amount that the consumer pays for a product and is based on market share, competition, product identity and customers perceived value. Place is the location where the product can be purchased and also includes distribution channels. Promotion involves communication used by the marketer to encourage the consumer to purchase.
Qualified use of the marketing mix can help the management of any business organization to evaluate their position and make the right decisions in ensuring that those organizations continue to meet the needs of their customers in the particular field. This paper examines how different companies have utilized the marketing mix to ensure that they remain competitive in the ever changing business environment.
Kodak film’s marketing mix involves how their products are developed up to delivery to the final customer or consumer. On the product, O’Donoghne, John (1999) posits that Kodak has introduced the new Kodak spotless printing solution version 2.0. It is also planning to launch four innovative desktop scanners. It has as well developed the world’s smallest 10x optical zoom digital camera. Kodak’s prices are inline with their current competition and thus customers are able to purchase its products. Kodak is set to increase prices for consumer and professional photographic papers and does not anticipate any drop in sales volumes. For place, Kodak films are available in their many sales outlets all over the world. Promotion for Kodak films is achieved through advertising in the mass media. It is also sponsors special events as a means of public relations. Promotion is also being done through films movies like the “pirates of the Caribbean: dead man’s chest with free tickets to the film being given to those who purchase a specific quantity of Kodak films. Tradeshows and exhibition participation is also contributing to the promotion of Kodak films. In place – Kodak has signed a contract with Med Assets Supply Chain Systems.
For Beny & Jerry’s ice cream new flavors of ice cream have been introduced a good example apple crumble as products. Brands made by linking products with emotions, images and values and thus the product have desirable features in the eyes of the customer. The products are distributed in most parts of the country i.e. US where the company is situated. Retail outlets are opened in many parts of the country so as to ensure availability at all times. Advertising is done to appeal to customers who are seen presently as being low on spending. The prices for products are competitive and in line with what competitors are offering. The company is also engaged in sponsorship of organization for instance, sponsorship to Tom Joyner Foundation a non-profit organization aiding students with school fees. Trade fairs are also organized in such ways that the products are displayed and sold to those who attend.
Long John Silvers
Long John Silvers is a group of restaurants specializing in seafood, fish and chips. It is the largest quick service seafood restaurant chain in United States of America. For place and distribution it has over 1200 units world wide meaning availability of the services within close proximity to where customers live/or are found. In March 2006 they started offering battered lobster bites. Promotion is achieved through advertising through banners, print and electronic media.
Satisfied customers are using word of mouth to spread the good news about the quality of long john silvers products. Prompt service recovery has also helped to boost business for Long John Silvers restaurants.
Six Flags Park
Six flags park is a hospitality company specializing in entertainment and amusement parks. The product here is the parks, theaters, restaurants and clubs. Location at places accessible by potential customers is of great essence. The park has been experiencing problems and intends to improve attendance and revenue collection. The aim is to change the parks from teen parks to family. Friendly parks also there are plans to partner with adjacent hotels offering meeting and event facilities. Then thorough marketing such as promotion of the new-faced parks should be done. It is to involve public relations and advertisement in print media as well as the electronic media.
Russel Stover Marketing
Russel Stover is a company founded in 1923 by Russel Stover. Currently the company owned by brothers Tom and Scotward is known for its manufacture and sale of boxed chocolates and candy. Currently they are the largest producers of chocolates in United States. To market their products first they produce high quality products. They have better packaging for their products and nice flavors. This follows an understanding that investing on quality product will always bear fruits with time (Robert, M 1995). To market these products good distribution channels have been developed. These include supermarkets, retail outlets, departmental stores, card, and gift shops. These are areas patronized by large numbers of people who are attracted to purchase these products. Advertising through both print and electronic media has been used. Merchandising in the said distribution channels such as retail outlets is done in very attractive manner. For example the innovative heart-shaped chocolate boxes have realized great sales volume particularly during the valentine season. Another way of promoting the company’s products is through presentations in “customer first” seminars. In such seminars the company representatives present the best products that they offer at the same time they learn on how to differentiate themselves from the competition. This is through developing best quality products for the customers.
The competition in high end chocolates experience need by Russel Stover will/can be offset by coming up with products of high quality with special features. For example, the company is planning to introduce bagged Halloween candy in the near future. For the cheaper chocolates the company can go into price competition by reducing its prices and increasing the distribution channels. Also more advertising is necessary in order to raise the sales volumes and offset the reduced margin due to lower prices.
Competitive advantage in an organization can be defined as situation where a business has an edge over competitors (organizations with similar businesses) (Lager, fed, 1994). A comparison between pairs of organization in similar business is discussed hereafter.
Wal-Mart is the largest retail company in the world. It boasts of several achievements over the other companies which have enabled it to gain a competitive edge over them. One is doing business on large economies of scale.
It has a higher market share when compared to a company like target. Through this the company makes more sales volumes hence higher profit margins when cost control is strictly implemented. Sourcing of merchandise from best suppliers also gives a company like Wal-Mart. It is also worth noting that Wal-Mart’s products may not provide competitive advantage compared to Target’s products. Target is more advanced in some ways than Wal-Mart. Although Target has smaller market share, it sells expensive items targeting high spenders (Business week,
July 15, 1996)
Campbell Soup Company and Progresso soup unit
Campbell Soup Company and Progresso soup unit owned by general mills are also compared in terms of competitive advantage. Progresso soup’s competitive advantages are seen in their smart tagging of their commodities. Wal-Mart at one time gave orders to its key suppliers to tag their products with tags which could be read electronically. Another one is using customer experience to device products that suit the customer’s needs. Progresso Soups Company has ready to serve soups while Campbell Soup Company has condensed soups. The market for ready to serve soups has gone up and this gives Progresso a competitive advantage relative to Campbell Soup Company. Campbell Soup Company’s competitive edge is based on taste of their products, nutrition and packaging. Campbell has also experienced notable growth in its international soups and senses segment. Continuous improvement of product and package quality is another competitive advantage for Campbell Soup Company. The two companies have gained in terms of cost savings and inventory control.
Kodak film and Fuji film
Kodak film and Fuji film are two companies in the photography business. Competitive advantage in this industry is achieved through product development speed, minimizing production costs for full scale manufacturing, sharper decision making on new chemical developments, avoidance of regulatory delays that add value to customer’s experience, constant replenishment of new products and services, mastering the time- to market. Another competitive edge is cost and the market differentiation (Robert, M 1995). Initially Kodak had good distribution network but in 1980’s Fuji came in with great efforts and Kodak claimed that Fuji was enjoying more from the Japanese market. Currently both the companies have good distribution networks world over. Fuji seems to have a higher competitive edge over Kodak when it comes to the digital market of the photography industry.
Levis Strauss is a jeans cloth manufacturer that has had problems marketing its current products. One of the major problems is that the veteran jeans company has ceased being perceived as trendy. Innovation and new product development has been at its lowest ebb. To emerge from the crisis the company can embark on improvement of the current product and later do a thorough promotion of the same. The first thing is to change the name of the product to change the image and perception created by the existing product. Another thing that can be done is to put movie star attachments on the product for example if it is teenager’s jean trouser a “Usher” attachment can be affixed on the trouser. Alternatively we can have trendy Levis Strauss blings that can be part of the clothing line. The bling could bear the company name or have initials of a movie star. New products should be designed to keep up with similar products by other companies that are currently popular i.e. what is fashionable and trendy. The product should be made to coincide with current trend in fashion cycles. The product should as well bear a monogram of the company. This is likely to give the customers the impression that the product is actually made by a reputable company. Additionally the company should design products targeting different age groups. Older people are more likely to be conservative while the young require dynamic products that are more expressive.
Once the product has been reinvented pricing should be done carefully. In pricing it is critical to consider the existing competition. The price should be slightly reduced below the existing market prices for the product or similar products. This is a tactical move meant to attract masses to buy and like the product. Then in future a strategic move should be to raise the prices slightly once a good customer base has been established. The pricing policy should take into consideration of customer’s perceived value for their money.
It is worth considering and re-inventing the existing distribution channels. Availing of the company’s new-face products to locations where the young generation people can access is very important. This involves opening of stores new colleges, churches, mosques, conference centers, entertainment and leisure venues. Information about the newly modified product should also be availed on the company’s website.
Lastly to increase the sales of the product promotion should be done aggressively. This should involve advertising in both the print and electronic media depicting the special features of the modified product. The company should also organize competitions for young people and give presents to the winners. Through such events the company can inform the public about the modified product. Another form of promotion is public relations by engaging in philanthropic activities such as building hospitals, sponsoring orphaned children’s homes and other youth activities like sports such as basketball, motor sports and so forth. The company should also use for free sample to customers who buy the product. The company should introduce sales incentives to the sales people. This will motivate them to reach more people to buy the products. The retailers should also be given trade discounts when they sell Levis Strauss products. This is where the traders are given some discounts on items they purchased from the wholesalers or the manufacturer. This encourages the trader to sell “first” Levis Strauss product before that of other companies.
The language used in promotion should be carefully selected to match with the targeted group it is the young generation then it should be friendly and convincing to them. Therefore my approach has been remarket the current item because the company ahs wasted many resources in coming up with it positioning it in the market.
Market mix is an important tool that allows business entities to meet customer’s needs as well as remain competitive in today’s business environment. Managers who understand the dynamics of this tool have provided their organizations with the much needed competitive edge. The tool can also be used to correct situations where sales for a particular product have dwindled. As observed above different organizations have utilized the market mix in various ways with similar results. On the other hand lack of understanding of this marketing tool can rob an organization of their competitiveness and at worst be the cause for downfall.
It is asserted in this paper that understanding and use of the market mix is important if an organization is to excel in the competitive business arena.
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