We have selected Marks and Spencer Plc for the study purpose. Details regarding the company’s operation and history are in Appendix 1. When Steve Sharp joined as marketing director in 2004, after being hired by new Chief Executive Stuart Rose, he introduced a new promotional brand under the Your M&S banner, with a corresponding logo. This has now become the company’s main brand in its advertising, online presence and in-store merchandising.
In 2006 the Look Behind the Label marketing campaign was introduced. The aim of this campaign was to highlight to customers, particularly the upper middle class society, the various ethical and environmentally friendly aspects, of the production and sourcing methods engaged in by M;S (Retail Intelligence, 2006). This marketing campaign is evaluated in the current paper. Marks and Spencer under this campaign promoted that all their products meet the standards set by several environmentalist organizations such as RSPCA and Greenpeace. This applies to all their food based products as well as textile based products (M;S PLC Our Responsibility 2007).
The target audience of this marketing campaign is the upper-end customers of Marks and Spencer. Since, the concept is an awareness activity as well as a step towards building a competitive advantage, therefore, Marks ; Spencer is required to focus on two basic types of audiences. Type one is those who are aware and want their favourite brand to be a good corporate citizen and the other type is, the one who can be informed regarding importance of environmentalism.
The target audience include men and women of all ages alike. Therefore, the campaign is required to have a universal appeal. Initially, the campaign was launched in U.K only. However, this message can also be effectively delivered worldwide using the same thematic elements.
The three smart objectives of this campaign are
1. Position the company as a socially responsible corporate citizen.
2. Capitalize on current environmentalist wave.
3. Develop brand and consequently enhance sale by attracting ever growing number of ‘conscious consumers’.
While a company like Marks and Spencer has strong brand value and had win customers confidence, it is still important for the marketers to renew the brand concept in an innovative manner that not only strengthens the loyalty of existing customers but also would attract new customers who are strong believers in the cause of protecting environment, using safe ingredients and practices in manufacturing that do not harm consumers, manufacturers, Marks ; Spencer labourers in any way.
However, it is equally challenging for marketers to come up with a campaign in sync with past projects and campaigns. They aim was to make the campaign distinctive yet in tune with core values of the brand that have established in the consumer’s mind as a result of past campaigns.
3. Assessment of Mass Media
In the context of achieving these objectives we have to select media suitable for this venture and can be used jointly as marketing is always a collaborative effort. Following are a few of the commonly used media – newspaper, magazines, television, radio, outdoor media, cinema and internet.
Marketing communication modes are the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade and remind customer about their products and brands. These communication channels are equally advantageous for consumers because awareness regarding product offerings and there benefits is created (Kotler ; Keller 2006, p. 536).
Television: Advertising is paid form of message delivery done through television, print media or radio (Kotler ; Keller 2006, p. 536). Print Media: Print media is very effective in this age when magazines for young adults have strong power over creating perception and association in consumer’s mind. Sales promotion refers to short term incentives to customers to encourage trial or purchase (Kotler ; Armstrong 2004, p. 486). From time to time companies sponsor events, activities or programs to create brand related interactions (Kotler ; Keller 2006, p. 536). Public Relations are non-paid messages that a third party conveys it to target consumers of a brand. It can be newspapers or experienced customer’s word of mouth (Kotler ; Keller 2006, p.536). Direct marketing is a new age communication tool using email, mobile or telephones for marketing the product. to the target consumers (Kotler ; Keller 2006, p. 536).
Marketing impact can be greatly improved by using multiple marketing channels. Prospects will likely become buyers if they read about the company in the newspaper, attend a seminar, take home a brochure, and visit business website. We can further “stretch the marketing dollars” to reach target market in multiple channels, the higher the impact of the marketing message. This will have high impact and following is observed meticulously and is a time tested method.
The most cost-effective method of reaching new customers is by referrals from satisfied customers. A satisfied customer telling others about small business is more effective than any fancy ad campaign. Spend time to get customer referrals on a weekly basis.
4. Selection and Justification of two mass media forms
A critical part of your marketing plan is targeting the right customer. For a low-budget high-impact marketing plan to work, find customers who are easy to identify and affordable to reach.
Magazines: Amongst print publications, magazines are particularly used to advertise the campaign. It has been done so because the target is upper end customer. The magazines that might be used to place advertisements are PC World, Family Circle etc. These magazines are chosen on their universal appeal and on the fact that their readership is high-end consumer.
Television Channels: Television channels are used for advertisement as well. This medium is chosen because it cost-effectively reaches to a wider audience and most TVC’s that run during the prime time grab attention of the consumers plus a wide range of audience can be reached particularly at that time.
5. JUSTIFICATION FOR INTRA MEDIA DECISIONS
The above mentioned media forms that is television and print is used over other media forms because the organization intends to deliver message to the mass market cost effectively, as well as deliver a message that has universal appeal to it. The decision regarding which channels and publications will be used for this purpose are made on rating and viewer-ship in millions of the particular magazine or channel. The fact that the chosen media is read by high-end consumer or has the same characteristics as Marks and Spencer’s target audience is also the deciding factor.
6. MEDIA SCHEDULE BUDGET:
An annual marketing plan will assist you in figuring out what it is that you need to do, how to do it, and when to do it. This marketing plan should go hand-in-hand with your business plan and development.
The secret to creating a high-impact marketing plan is to optimize the limited budget. A one-time radio ad blitz, glossy brochure, or flash-enabled website will quickly erode the budget and derail the marketing plans. Use low-budget marketing to get message across to customers on a regular basis, and watch sales revenue grow. There are several reasons why a low-budget marketing plan is a must for small business in today’s advertising bloated society: · Expensive ad exposure does not necessarily translate to increased sales. Every marketing dollar spent should produce a good return in sales. The targeted customers need to hear the marketing messages at least 7 times to influence a buying decision. Using marketing & sales strategies outside the budget, does not allow to repeat the message often enough to make an impact. · Marketing impact can be greatly improved by using multiple marketing channels.
The five commonly used time tested, affordable and effective internet marketing plan are as follows – Firstly is Defining the customer, this is as important as defining product or naming a business. Secondly to Choose the targets, A coordinated effort across several sites and venues commonly frequented by your customers is the most effective marketing campaign. If you are seen in several places your visibility and retained message is much stronger. Thirdly to have a proper – Budget, While some folks think this should be the first step, realistically one can better create the budget for the marketing plan when you have a good idea of the costs involved. That can only be done once the targets are figured out. Fourth is to create an advertising account, and fifth is to track and monitor the advertisements in the internet.
A Budget is a plan that outlines an organization’s financial and operational goals. So a budget may be thought of as an action plan; planning a budget helps a business allocate resources, evaluate performance, and formulate plans. While planning a budget can occur at any time, for many businesses, planning a budget is an annual task, where the past year’s budget is reviewed and budget projections are made for the next three or even five years. The basic process of planning a budget involves listing the business’s fixed and variable costs on a monthly basis and then deciding on an allocation of funds to reflect the business’s goals. Planning a Budget plays an important role in determining your start up and operating costs. Cash Flow statements are to be prepared and got to have a clear idea about what and where he money is spend.
It is assumed that company’s annual turnover is £ 10 million and 2% of it is used for running this campaign, that is, £ 200,000.
Cash Revenues – Revenue from Product Sales, Revenue from Service Sales, Total of Cash Revenues. Cash Disbursements – Cash Payments to Trade Suppliers, Management Draws, Salaries and Wages Promotion Expense Paid, Professional Fees Paid, Rent/Mortgage payments Insurance Paid, Telecommunications Payments, Utilities Payments. Total of Cash Disbursements.
Reconciliation of Cash Flow, Opening cash balance, and add up the total cash revenues, Deduct the Total Cash Disbursements, and then finally is the Closing Cash Balance.
Model of Media Schedule for three months period based on the lean budget mentioned above; then the next step is to identify the target of media ad then prepare a schedule. Sample of a schedule for a company who has 2% revenue for media in their annual budget, this media schedule is for a period of three months.
When we have decided that the schedule is for three months next step is to check the return on investment, typically get the greatest returns during the launch and diminishing returns thereafter if the later returns still meet your minimum ROI requirements, and you have the budget, then you should continue the investment.
7. MEDIA SCHEDULE:
Following is a sample schedule for an idea of how a “media schedule” will look like
PC Magazine, Circ: 1 million, Target: General, Pub: 24x/yr
All 3 issues will contain a print ad of the campaign. These ads will appear on alternative months.
CRM, Circ: 103,000, Target: VARs, Pub: Weekly
This publication will contain half page or smaller weekly ads of the campaign as long as it runs.
Family Circle, Circ: 100,000, Target: Households
An internet ad on the website may appear for duration of 3 months.
BBC UK, All 4 channels
Viewer-ship: 6 million worldwide
The TVC’s will appear at prime time and the frequency of appearance can be 3-5 spots each day.
Total $ Cost
So the plan is to be finalized, budget is to be set, select the media finalise the target and then the system can be kept moving.
The success on any marketing campaign depends on the collective effort. As said earlier Marketing does not occur only once an outcome is conceptualized. Rather, marketing shares its seed with those of priority-setting, research, and development to conceptualize, produce, and disseminate quality products and services. Thus, inherently, marketing is a collaborative effort involving the Mark’s & Spencer’s policymakers, researchers, developers, knowledge transfer agents, and customers in the entire effort of creating and disseminating quality knowledge. In addition, this marketing includes planning and managing of the Marks & Spencer’s products and services for many differing customer groups.
At bottom, the Dissemination Program believes marketing is the responsibility of all players involved in the effort of generating ideas and moving these ideas into practice. Such a marketing philosophy means that any marketing strategy must include a process whereby all outcomes–from the moment they are a gleam in the eye onwards–are designed with “quality” in mind–that is, designed to be useful, usable, and accessible to the customer for whom they are meant. A good marketing strategy will include all the activities mentioned hereby : that is Preparation of mission statement and vision for the upcoming year , Discover and define your niche markets, Describe and identify your services , Develop and plan your marketing strategy, Explore and identify your competition, Create quantifiable marketing goals, Create a marketing calendar that contains a month-by-month schedule of marketing activities and events for the upcoming year, Learn how to monitor the results of your marketing efforts.
A planned, organized marketing campaign with rotation through a variety of targeted sites, directories and venues is not hard to coordinate, does not need to cost a great deal of money and can generate traffic and sales faster than search engine submissions alone. It takes a bit of research and a solid knowledge of target customer, but can easily plan and implement a simple marketing campaign in the space of a dedicated day.
Marketing function gets into intense scrutiny by the Senior Management. Marketing gets on trial when it fails to deliver what it is expected to. Part of the failure can be attributed to the marketer’s focus on the market rather than the customer. So customer focus always is the high impact region in marketing, main focus has to be on it. Marketing is all about winning the first or second position. Marketing is about satisfying the customer. The key to marketing effectiveness lies in defining goals rather than controlling the monetary aspect.
8. EVALUATING CAMPAIGN EFFECTIVENESS:
Ultimate objective of integrating marketing is to achieve a high impact campaign that creates awareness, knowledge, develop consumer preference and result in purchase (Kotler & Keller 2006, p. 583).
Communication-Effect: Concerning the effectiveness of communication as an awareness creating tool, it once again conveyed to customers that Marks & Spencer is a socially responsible organization. It got consumers and non-consumers to talk about the brand, increasing its mind and heart share. Thus, its objective to reinforce the product was achieved efficiently.
Sales-Effect: While main focus of every campaign remains to be that to increase sale. The sales output of before and after the campaign could be measured comparatively. Also, sales turnover of the stores where the campaign has been used can be compared to those where the campaign was not used. It can again provide with a view whether campaign has positive impact on sales or not.
Appendix – 1: About Marks & Spencer PLC.
Marks & Spencer Plc is a British retailer, with several branches outside of the UK. It is one of the most widely recognised chain stores in the UK and is the largest clothing retailer in the UK, as well as being a multi-billion pound food retailer. Most of its shops sell both of these categories. It also has a third line of business selling homewares such as bedlinen, but this is far smaller than the other two. Marks & Spencer is one of the UK’s leading retailers of clothing, foods, home-ware and financial services, serving 10 million customers a week in over 300 UK stores. The Group has a turnover in excess of £8 thousand million. Also, up until late 2002, the Company also traded in 30 countries worldwide. In 1998 it became the first British retailer to make a profit before tax of over £1 billion, As of 2007 it is growing again, and rapidly increasing profitability. The origin of Marks and Spencer was a chain of “Penny Bazaars”, founded in 1884 by a Russian-born Polish-Jewish immigrant, Michael Marks in Leeds with a loan of £5 from Issac Dewhirst, a wholesaler. The site of the first stall is marked with a green and gold commemorative clock in Leeds Kirkgate Market. One of the original Penny Bazaars – in the Grainger Market, Newcastle upon Tyne – remains open to this day, and is now the smallest Marks ; Spencer store in operation.
Marks’ first full store was opened in 1894 at Stretford Road, Hulme, in Manchester. Marks entered into a partnership with Thomas Spencer who was working as Dewhirst cashier. Dewhirst went into manufacturing and remains the biggest supplier to M&S. The official first Marks and Spencer store opened in 1904. Then when founders Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer passed away, the title of Chairman went to Marks’ son Simon Marks. Simon Marks started to work with his friend Israel Sieff and thanks to their joint efforts, Marks and Spencer grew to become a household name. Marks and Spencer became a Limited Company after adopting the revolutionary policy of buying directly from manufacturers. In 1926 the company then started selling textiles and in 1928 the St Michael Trade Mark was registered. In 1930 M&S opened a flagship store at Marble Arch, London. Then Café Bars were introduced in many stores. These provided cheap, hygienic and nutritious mass catering. This was a valuable resource during the war, making efficient use of scarce food. In 1931, a food department was introduced selling produce and canned goods. By 1956, all goods were sold under the St Michael label. In 1964, Simon Marks died after 56 years’ service to the Company, and Israel Sieff took over as Chairman. In 1974, Asian food was introduced into the stores. M;S opened up stores in continental Europe in 1975, then four years later in The Republic of Ireland. By 1999, Online Shopping was brought in, and the company grew with new sales of fashion clothing.
M;S made its reputation in the 20th century on a policy of only selling British-made goods. It entered into long term relationships with British manufacturers, and sold the goods under the “St Michael” brand (trademark registered in 1928), which was used for both clothes and food. It also accepted the return of unwanted goods, giving a full cash refund if the receipt was shown, no matter how long ago the product was purchased. It has now adopted a 90-day returns policy. The company put its main emphasis on quality, but for most of its history, it also had a reputation for offering fair value for money.
When Stuart Rose took charge of the business in 2004 he was appointed as Chief Executive but not Chairman. Paul Myners was appointed Chairman in 2004 and was replaced by Lord Burns, a prominent figure in the City and a former permanent secretary to the Treasury.
Kotler, P., Keller, K., 2006. Marketing Management, Prentice Hall, New Jersey
Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., 2004. Principles of Marketing, Prentice Hall, New Jersey
Retail Inteligence. 2006, M;S Launches ‘Look Behind The Label’. Retrieved May 18, 2007 from http://www.bemrosebooth.com/intelligence/retail_news_articles/2745/M_S_launches_new__Look_behind_the_label_campaign_and_unveils_plans_to_sell_Fairtrade_clothing.html
Marks ; Spencer. 2007. Our Responsibilities. Retrieved May 18, 2007 from: http://www.marksandspencer.com/gp/node/n/43452031?ie=UTF8;mnSBrand=core