Competition has gone global and the market and industry dynamics have necessitated the need for companies to make concerted efforts streamlined towards ensuring that high quality goods and services are offered in the market at competitive prices. This has resulted in the adoption and implementation of several tools and strategies geared towards the aforementioned goals attainment. The common ground is that most companies in this world of capitalism always want more. They want more profit, more shareholder value, and more market share, among others. The realizations of these objectives have been attained through the successful initiation, development and management of their marketing strategies in most instances. Indeed, the effective development and management of marketing has become a major priority for all organizations of all sizes in the different industries and markets.
The reasons for this are certainly clear; strategic marketing strategies are positively correlated with customer loyalty and profits. However, the efficient management of marketing can present challenges, especially in the case where managers are unable to accurately evaluate and assess their demand states and pricing strategies. One major limitation that has been presented in both academic and empirical literature is on how to deal with the multifaceted issue of products development, demand states and product pricing especially in competitive and turbulent markets.
There are eight demand states in marketing with each demand state giving a specific rise to pricing strategy. They include negative demand, non-existent demand, latent demand, declining demand and irregular demand. In addition to the above, the others are full demand, overfull demand and unwholesome demand.
Negative demand has been described as a worse situation than no demand. It involves a state in which consumers have a total dislike for a product and may extend to pay a price just to avoid it. According to Zornig (2006), “negative demand is a state in which all or most of the important segments of the potential market dislike the products and in fact, might conceivably pay a price to avoid it”. Non-existent demand is a situation in which the consumers are indifferent or uninterested in a product while latent demand is satiation in which many people share a strong desire for something that does not exist. Declining demand and irregular demands are demand states in which the demand level of a product is below the previous levels and the demand situation in which demand is influenced by other external factors such as seasons and capacity of a firm to supply the product respectively. According to Zornig (2006), “irregular demand is defined as a state in which the current timing pattern of demand is marked by seasonal or volatile fluctuations that depart from the timing pattern of supply.”
Full demand refers to a market situation in which consumers are purchasing all the products available in the market. “Full demand is a state in which the current level and timing of demand are equal to the desired level and timing of demand” (Zornig, 2006). Overfull demand on the other hand refers to a market situation in which demand has outpaced supply. The last demand state is unwholesome demand in which consumers demand goods that may have undesirable consequences. Kotler (1988) illustrates that “Classic examples of upselling efforts have revolved around the so-called vice products: cigarette and drugs.”
There are five core business processes in any business organization. These include Sales & Marketing, Accounting & Technology, Quality & Product/Service Delivery, Management, HR & Finance, and Product Development. Every organization needs sales and marketing because it identifies the customers, manages the relationships with the customers and delivers goods and services in exchange for funds. Accounting and technology are critical in handling cash and completing tax returns. Accounting operates on technology and as such the two remain together in an organization. Service delivery forms an important business process in the delivery of products or services in place of the cash collected. In the understanding that employees form the prized assists of an organization, Management, HR & Finance deals with their recruitment, retention and satisfaction and finances the activities of an organization. Last, product development deals with the aspects of product improvement and innovation.
According to Kotler (1996), “the purpose of a marketing information system is to bring together the various items of data into a coherent body of information.” It is therefore far much more than raw data. It seeks to provide firm foundations for methods of interpreting information that is presented to it. According to Kotler and Keller (2009), “a marketing information system is a continuing and interacting structure of people, equipment and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute pertinent, timely and accurate information for use by marketing decision-makers to improve their marketing planning, implementation, and control.” MIS is developed from internal reporting systems, marketing research systems, marketing intelligence systems and marketing models.
Core beliefs consist of general stable and constant values and opinions that are hard to change while secondary beliefs constitute those beliefs that consist of detailed variable and changeable rules. The core beliefs and values can also be described as stable beliefs that are passed on from parents to their children. They are reinforced in the course of life or business activities by social intuitions. The major difference between core belief and secondary belief is that secondary beliefs can easily be altered and are susceptible to change.
This forms the reason behind the abilities of marketers to manipulate the secondary beliefs and values of customers and reinforce a different belief. Whereas core beliefs have been demonstrated to be hard to change, in the context of marketing, it is possible that consumers’ core beliefs can be altered. However, this depends on a variety of factors that may have impacted the core beliefs of consumers. According to Kotler (1988), “sudden unexpected cultural phenomena could emerge to shift the core cultural values into secondary cultural values which marketers could use to identify the new emerging consumers’ interests and develop their products or services and promote them to such consumers accordingly”.
Decision-making processes have been a challenge to most marketing managers given the fact that decisions are best made using data. According to Kotler (1996), “managers are involved in a complex and diverse web of contacts that together act as an information system in that they converse with customers, competitors, colleagues, peers, secretaries, government officials, and so forth.” The number of activities that managers handle calls for the application of a database for marketing efforts. This is in view of the fact that marketing managers deal with a large number of people with specific and different requirements.
These include the data on the variety of product undersupply, their final destinations, customer demographics and specific product quantities delivered to the customers. The database would therefore provide the critical data in regard to customer details and the state of products supply. In conclusion, a database would make it easier in planning, organizing, coordinating, deciding and controlling the various aspects of managers’ roles.
The three main steps a company can take to reduce the defection rate include a definition and measure of the defection rate, distinguish causes of customer attrition and identify areas that can be managed better and estimate the value in profit losses when it loses a customer.
Customers have different ways of experiencing brands. Some of these ways include price, packaging, marketing and sales promotion. According to the BRANDZ model of brand strength, brand building involves a series of five sequential steps. The first step is to positively identify the reasons for the brand building. According to CiteMan Network (2006), “your brand promise is irrelevant if your customers do not believe it, your promise must be supported by reasons-to-believe because it is through this that you will automatically add substance to the promise and define specific expectations for the customer.” This step underlines the reasons why customers should believe in your brand. The second step is the identification of the customer’s touchpoints. The ultimate within this step is to have each touchpoint strongly reinforced and marketplace promises fulfilled.
The third step is the positive determination of the most influential touchpoint. This is because of the fact that not all touchpoints are created equal and some of them will play more profound roles in determining the overall customer experience (Burkow, 2009). The fourth step is the designing of the optimal experience. Glatstein (2007) succinctly describes this step by stating that “it is imperative to determine how to express each reason-to-believe at each key touchpoint; for example, how can you reinforce sporty performance (a reason-to-believe) in product design, at the dealership, and in marketing campaigns (the influential touchpoints)?” the last step is to align the organization to consistently deliver the optimal experience. This involves taking a holistic approach that seeks to identify people, processes and tools necessary for each touchpoint. Glatstein (2007) expounds on this last step of brand building by stating that
Look beyond employees that have direct contact with your customers. The impacts of behind-the-scenes employees are less obvious but no less important. Similarly, the impact of workflow processes and tools (i.e. technology systems) on the customer experience may be less intuitive but crucial to consistent delivery.
The ability to positively identify people, processes and tools that drive people’s experience gives you the power to maximize marketing experience.
Capabilities and philosophies that have been adopted by Proctor and Gamble in successful marketing include a concise and accurate definition of features of the product under promotion. This includes features that are easy to locate and understand within a product. This has demonstrated respect for customers’ time in selecting a product by being simple and direct. The second successful philosophy that has been widely applied by Proctor and Gamble in their successful marketing is the key advantages they have promoted in their products. This includes the underlining of key advantages their products present to their customers. This involves the application of phrases such as fewer calories”, “everyday low prices”, “longer lasting”, “less filling” and “fresh scent” that defines their products (Agnilar, 1967).
The third and fourth capabilities include image and offer. Proctor and Gamble have invested in the creation of an unrivaled image in their products that has given it a competitive advantage. In addition to the above, its market command has enabled it to initiate strong give-aways in terms of offers on its products. The last capability is the historical benefits the customers have been able to achieve from the products of Proctor and Gamble. This includes superior quality products that have been proven for years in the market.
It is understood that product pricing is not a number tag but comes as a result of a number of forms and functions. The marketplace has recorded a shift because of the internet. According to Kotler and Keller (2009) “Internet marketplaces are springing up literally by the hour, some markets specialize in particular product categories while, focus on helping buyers buy better while others are sponsored by supplier advertising in order to assist certain suppliers to sell more.” The internet has enabled customers to receive instant information on product prices from a large number of supplies. This has the spiraling effect of keeping the overall retailing prices low. In addition to the above, Arnold and Penard (2007) illustrates that “the internet is evolving and is having an impact on individuals as well as business to business interactions in areas such as purchasing options, comparisons, buying power and negotiations and the most significant impact is through online auctions, which are becoming more popular, especially with the growth of the internet.”
The definitions of product line cycles of depth, consistency, length and width expound on the product hierarchy. Product depth defines the number of variants offered of each product in the line. Consistency refers to the level of closeness of various related product lines while width defines the number of different product lines within the product hierarchy. Length on the other hand refers to the total number of items.
- Agnilar, F. (1967) Scanning The Business Environment, Macmillan, New York, p.47.
- Arnold, A. and Penard, T. (2007). Bargaining and Fixed Price Offers: How Online Intermediaries are Changing New Car Transactions.
- Burkow, S. (2009). The Five Core Business Success Factors. Web.
- CiteMan Network (2006). Reducing Customer Defection.
- Glatstein, S. (2007). 5 Steps to Brand Building: Touchpoints Are Key to Building a Strong Brand.
- Kinney, S. (2000). RiP Fixed Pricing: The Internet Is on Its Way to “Marketizing” Everything – price transparency online.
- Kotler, P (1996). The Major Tasks of Marketing Management. Journal of Marketing, vol 37, pp 42 – 49.
- Kotler, P. (1988) Marketing Management: Analysis Planning and Control, Prentice-Hall p. 102.
- Kotler, P. and Keller, K. L. (2009). Marketing Management. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
- Zornig, F. (2006). Demand State and Pricing Strategy.