The case of Sony Corporation and its product, Connect, suggests that strategic planning and brand positioning should be a critical management activity and cannot logically be separated from the assessment of the opportunity. Brand positioning plays a crucial role in the retail sector used as a coordinated effort to adjust and balance its resources and produce programs of logical action. Since Sony’s marketing executives are faced with the necessity of utilizing scarce capabilities and resources in limited periods, allocation is a major problem. Effective allocation can only be achieved, however, through planned behavior. By enabling the conservation and allocation of human and physical resources, marketing planning provides the basic means for designing the marketing mix, implementing marketing programs, and establishing new marketing objectives. Although finance and production have long been planned, marketing activity has not. Often it has been performed rather haphazardly (Aaker, 2003). The emphasis on planning of marketing operations (which is new, and has been stimulated by the marketing management concept) is now widely applied.
To produce a product, a corporation like Sony has to think about its realization, i.e. it has to find the best way to sell the product and to make it attractive for the customers. The case of Connect and its positioning as consumer electronics shows inadequate strategy and a wrong choice of brand positing. So, Sony has to think about the brand of a product and the quality as well. The quality should correspond to the brand extension. The brand is the most important asset of any kind of business. For that reason, Sony has to think about the good marketing policy of your company depending on which products you produce can attract the attention of the buyers and gain a market share. At first, the corporation has to study a market as a whole and a certain segment particularly, and the demand of the customers as well (Aaker, 2003).
In general, marketing aims to build a brand in the mind of the customers. If the corporation will manage to create a powerful brand the corporation will get a strong marketing program. A branding program shall be aimed to differentiate your product from all the other ones even if they are similar. If Sony’s managers will not cope with it then advertising or sales promotion or another thing with public relations in common will not help to achieve such aim. There are different aims and different discussions regarding the fact of whether the brand extension is good or bad. In most cases, as many experts say and as the world practice says, the brand extension has a lot of good features. For sure certain risks exist with brand extension, for example, negative impact on the brand. But many companies are so eager on brand extensions that they ignore such risks and made research results (Dunne and Lusch 2007).
To revitalize the brand, the corporation should change its strategic approach in marketing and introduce new services related to Connect. Strategic planning will be a rational way of translating experience, research information, and thought into marketing action. It is a pragmatic, organized procedure for analyzing situations and meeting the future. Based on information about ends and means to determine various causal relationships, trends, and patterns of behavior, it is concerned with the selection of alternative strategies. Strategic planning should be an integrated, intelligent, rational process for guiding business change (Aaker, 2003).
One of the best ways for a brand to become stronger is to narrow its focus, to sell cheaper, and to dominate in a certain category, i.e. be the first brand in a new category. The crucial step to the success of the brand is its authenticity. For example, Coca-Cola, Visa, and so on were the leading brands in their categories. If you think that your brand can’t be the leading one in a certain segment, you have to try to create a category in which your brand will be a leader. The other important thing for a good brand is quality and particularly quality perception in the mind of the customers, like a good name or a high price, or a certain color of the product. So, to my mind, the brand extension is good certainly (Dunne and Lusch 2007). With a good marketing policy your company, even if it is small and unknown, can become famous thanks to the brand of the product it produces.
Connect should be positioned as a unique product available for middle and low-class consumers. New brand positioning will be concerned with predetermining courses of marketing action. It is based on both marketing intelligence and the assessment of opportunities since it deals with the future concerning both perspectives and operations. Marketing programming and marketing activities are its major objectives, which are achieved through organizational implementation. Two general approaches to marketing planning exist a deterministic or general formula approach, and a dynamic approach (Dunne and Lusch 2007). The former, a rather static approach, usually details the marketing planning procedure as follows: (1) determine objectives or goals; (2) set up a plan to achieve them; and (3) control the elements to make sure they conform to the plan. The sequence is goals, plans, and control. This approach ignores the realities of marketing situations. The dynamic approach stresses that retailers should plan for change. It underscores the fact that plans are not merely the results of objectives, but that plans affect objectives. The goals and objectives can be changed, as can the plans. Changes in market opportunities, for example, result in changes in company objectives and hence changes in marketing planning. In addition, a company might purposely set out to change its marketing plans in the sense of improving them (Aaker, 2003).
For Sony, brand positioning is goal-directed and achieves a more efficient expenditure of marketing resources. Strategic planning necessitates the classification of a company’s goal or objective, but recently there has been a change in the perception of planning. A company first specifies goals and then develops plans to carry them out, thus being able to achieve the goals. Goals thereby determine plans -plans are ways of reaching goals. Another dimension of the relationship between goals and plans stems from the fact that an organization does not have a single corporate goal; it has multiple goals. Thus, a decision that at first appears to be a compromise among conflicting goals creates a major goal. This goal is the weighted average of all corporate goals rather than a single goal. As the basic vehicle for matching ends with means or marketing resources with market opportunity, marketing planning becomes the mechanism through which a company is brought into line with the external environment.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the popular approaches used by private companies to reach potential buyers and improve their business. The case study depicts the failure of a private Chinese trading company located in Guangdong province. The inability to foreshadow changes, motivation and attitudes of employees leads to project failure and poor performance. The supplier company approaches customers in a largely passive and reactive manner, confident that it can select, acquire, understand, and readily retain them as desired (Dunne and Lusch 2007). Processes for performance measurement are rudimentary, and so is internal and external communication. It is known that some companies engage in evaluating customer needs, training staff to be more proactive with customers, and/or creating teams or assigning individuals to upgrade customer services. In addition, performance-based companies more frequently compensate sales and other staff at least partially on customer satisfaction scores. This type of business requires an effective and unique set of management tools to reach a customer and retain him. The paper aims to prove, analyze and evaluate CRM and the impact of these strategies on customer relations (Goodstein, 2001).
For Sony and its product Connect, CRM is important as it has a great impact on the profitability and effective performance of organizations. The importance of CRM is explained by the fact that many organizations have begun to develop global markets and have established face-to-face sales teams either directly, using their personnel, or indirectly, through contracted sales agents. In the modern environment, CRM and development influence profitability because the attention has shifted to a greater emphasis on the management of the whole system and its relationship with other systems (Dunne and Lusch 2007). In this situation, CRM can be seen as a mediator which helps to cope with different demands both within the production system itself and between that and other systems. As environments change, they pose new problems for managers of organizations. Thus, with the emphasis on CRM comes the realization that increasing operating efficiency. CRM influences profitability because it includes changing knowledge and technology, new values, new markets, and changes in the global distribution of wealth. New knowledge, for instance, can invalidate the existing knowledge of an entire industry. When environments become turbulent, complex, and resource constrained, the knowledge and skills that companies once possessed can become useless, and even a hindrance to change. CRM projects acquire new knowledge and technology and employ these assets in production quickly (Levy and Weitz, 2008).
The major goal of internal marketing is programming the marketing mix. It balances marketing resources and marketing inputs in terms of the communication mix, distribution mix, and product and service mix previously described. Internal marketing is, then, a process of devising or arranging the correct order in which various mixes should be initiated and completed, based on flexible application, evaluation, and revision. It bears on the sequence of marketing operations in which the outcome of preceding operations governs future ones. Since various Sony divisions or functions of business are highly interdependent, marketing activities are also interdependent, and since manufacture customer relations are intertwined, programming becomes a necessary activity Internal marketing helps retailers to determine and specify the tasks necessary to carry out marketing strategies, in proper sequence and relationships, dictating who will perform each task, how it will be done, the resources needed, and the time and target dates. It tries to allow for various eventualities and to map what might be done given each (Levy and Weitz, 2008). Similarly, the marketing mix is divided into subtasks (goods and service mix, distribution mix, and communications mix) that are further divided for programming purposes. For example, programming advertising includes media selection, the allocation of funds among media, and the timing, themes, layouts, and appeals of the ads (Goodstein, 2001).
For Sony and its product Connect, the importance of internal marketing and CRM is that markets are inherently concerned with temporal factors. Market potential and purchase decisions presuppose a specific period (Dunne and Lusch 2007). Marketing efficiency is measured based on sales or profits over time, and marketing programs are laid out in terms of a period — a quarter or a year. However, the time aspect may be considered in another way. In a retail environment, marketing planning rests on the sales forecast, which is a consideration of future events. As a result, planning is involved in the determination of expectations (Levy and Weitz, 2008). The question, what would happen if markets or competitors’ strategies change in a specific manner, is extremely important. Internal marketing must be closely related to budgets since they stress the profit and cost expectations of alternative marketing programs. Rooted in marketing plans, budgets become their financial expressions. Budgets are also used to control and implement plans (Goodstein, 2001).
Strategic planning requires sales projections for such periods as one, three, five, and ten years ahead. These projections predict customer and competitor reactions; attempt to gauge acceptance for new products; and highlight economic, social, demographic, technological, psychological, and political changes, all of which are difficult tasks to perform -nor can they be performed with the degree of precision available in other more concrete situations (Levy and Weitz, 2008). Information that provides a perspective for future operations is invaluable for corporate decision-making. One of the major characteristics of the adoption of the marketing philosophy is that plans and programs replace haphazard marketing methods. By providing the means for anticipating the firm’s future requirements along with an orderly, continuous, systematic, and sequential basis, marketing planning avoids crisis decisions and concentrates on integrated programs of action (Goodstein, 2001).
In sum, internal marketing and CRM are the prime responsibility of the top marketing executive. The very nature of critical day-to-day operations, the pressures of time, and the tendency to act rather than plan, frequently cause executives to neglect this function. Strategic planning provides retailers with a forward-looking view of the total enterprise. It is the basis for determining the fundamental strategies to be employed and the objectives, programs, and resources required. Strategic planning is to a business enterprise what thinking is to an individual. It supplies the rational means for achieving maximum market-striking power and results from the resources in hand. Marketing planning is closely related to problem-solving. CRM and internal marketing constitute an intentional, unified approach to the solution of various marketing problems. Marketing planning encompasses the perspective of the future, the types of objectives established, and the strategies and tactics to be employed.
- Aaker, D. (2003). Managing Brand Equity, New York: Free Press.
- Dunne, P. M., Lusch, R. F. (2007). Retailing. South-Western College Pub.
- Goodstein, L., Nolan, T., Pfeiffer, W. J. (2001). Applied Strategic Planning: How to Develop a Plan That Really Works. McGraw-Hill; 6 edition.
- Levy, M., Weitz, B. A. (2008). Retailing Management. McGraw-Hill/Irwin