The company that this work will focus on is Samsung which is a global brand dealing with consumer electronics. For the limitation of time only Samsung Computer Gadget division’s marketing strategy will be discussed. Marketing mix is an important aspect of marketing strategy hence this work will start by describing marketing mix briefly.
Marketing mix is a business tool used in marketing by organisations. Marketing mix is crucial while determining product or brand’s reach in market. Marketing mix is known as 4Ps. These 4ps are Price, Product, Promotion and Place. In case of service marketing there are 7ps or 8ps to address diversified nature of the service.
The four elements of the Marketing Mix are illustrated in this diargram: product, price, place and promotion
Figure : Marketing Mix
In marketing mix not one component is more than the other rather each of the four element supports each other. For a successful business, companies modify elements of the 4Ps ton establish the brand’s image and creates USP ( Unique Selling Point) that helps them to stand out from its competitors. Marketing mix will be justified as successful if it resonates marketing department targets (Shapiro, 2004).
An exclusive brand of Samsung gadget for example intelligent whiteboard for universities uses top of the market specs but it costs significantly higher. These type of products can only be bought in specific places and normally is marketed through customer sales assistants who can guide the client to understand the product. There are also cheaper range for the common market that can be bought in from retails shops or supermarkets. These devices are various Samsung tablet products.
For Samsung gadgets most of its customers are either business or working class professionals (Baker,2007). So while Samsung designs a gadget they have to look for what these segment wants. Many of its products characteristics are shaped by market research.
From the market research and analysis of the collected data will lead to development of a successful marketing mix for a company(Chen,2008) . For example recently Samsung has developed tablet devices for school children with support for schools too. This product was launched as market research showed there is a gap in the market for such products.
With technological advancement now the computer market is changing rapidly, so is the consumer preference. That means limited product life cycle of which the company must take care. Ideally marketing mix is applied in all the stages of product life cycle. Characteristics of a product can be modified to extend the longevity of the product.
3Ps of Marketing Communication:
An organisations marketing communication strategy are represented by 3Ps: Push, Pull and Profile.
Push strategy: This strategy promotes products to retailers or wholesalers in order to force the product line down the distribution line.
Pull strategy: This strategy is the opposite to push strategy where communication reaches to consumer or end user first with an aim to attract the retailer wholesaler channel to purchase the product line.
Profile Strategy: In order to satisfy an organisations promotional goals profile strategy is used. This strategy mostly aims towards satisfying stakeholder needs.
Use of communication strategies:
Main focus of push strategy is to use minimal or no advertising to get the product to the buyers. This strategy acquires customers by personal sale (Wind, 2009). One of the places can be tradeshows where products are shown to interested business. In trade shows distributors get to know about product line up of a company with their business expertise they work on which product will suit them better and which product they want to represent.
Features of push strategies:
• In case of low brand loyalty product categorization.
• In situations where there are many substitutes available in the market.
• Comparatively innovative products to be marketed.
• Purchase of the product is mostly impulse.
• Consumer has prior knowledge of this product and has reasonable knowledge about the product.
Push strategy for Samsung works in different phases of the year. Last year in 2012 Samsung showcased some of its prime products to the distributors. Samsung tablet with S-pen was among the top list of products that people businesses wanted to buy.
Using pull strategy marketing efforts are made to attract end users or customers. Lot of promotions are used, customers are given offers to buy the product at a better rate. Campaigns includes contests, free samples, social activities etc. In pull strategy if organisation add advertisement with the campaign then the whole costing becomes significantly higher.
Features of Pull strategy;
• The product demand as high
• Product line can be differentiate from other products on the basis of real or emotional features.
• Brand loyal consumers are the first line of customer who shows higher involvement in product purchase.
• Associated brand loyalty is higher.
• Often consumers make decisions of brand choice before even they are in store.
Samsung released first of its kind ‘Phablets’ in 2012. These were mobile devices with tablet computer’s capacity. In an attempt to enter the niche market Samsung advertised the product with enough time in hand. Used extensive promotional techniques so that consumers feel they need one of those devices.
For the organisations interest it is vital to keep up good relationship with its various stakeholders. Using profile strategy awareness, perception, attitude and reputation of a company is build. Tools used are
• Public relations
• Corporate advertising
In cases of international market, nature of the foreign market is often determinant of the extent to which push, pull and profile strategy can be used. To overcome repetition in activities and better market reach different marketing strategy is adopted in each different markets. Some of these markets are highly fragmented whereas some of them are concentrated.
For Samsung profile strategy is useful before they meet with public and other stakeholders.
Implications of these Strategies:
A pull strategy among the three requires higher spending on advertisement and promotional activities to build upon consumer demand for a product. If the strategy works well then consumers will contact retailers for the product(Moorman,2011). The retailers will contact distributor who will then communicate back to manufacturers who will manufacture and stock the product.
A push marketing strategy uses company’s existing sales forces and trade promotional activities to create market demand for a product. Here the producer promotes their product to distribution channel. Distributer promotes the product to retailers and then from retailers product reaches to consumers.
Key steps included for the organisation:
• Determine general marketing objectives.
• Formulate appropriate push/pull strategy (which can be done by identifying marketing communications, appropriate channel management)
• Spread marketing massage to all communication partners.
• Output evaluation.
Critical Analysis of Marketing Strategies:
Having only one strategy for marketing communication often limits the company’s reach. For a successful product portfolio it is common practice among companies to use both push and pull strategies to create a strong buzz in market. To create a satisfactory marketing mix which will lure customers to buy a selected range of product needs well-structured marketing strategies. Consumers react to one of these marketing strategies which again depends on what stage they are in their decision making process. Pull marketing tactic will work well with bargain hunters but it won’t work for socially aware consumers. These type of consumer will respond to push marketing strategy. In order to launch a new product mixing up strategies ensures consumers can’t resist the products. For stakeholder communication using pipeline of products will help those concerned that their invested money is in safe hands.
Use of Statistical and Quantitative Data in decision making:
Statistics has significant value in decision making. Statistics has some mathematical model and tools that can predict probability of sales, profit, market positioning etc. Quantitative data are discrete numerical values. Quantitative analysis helps any business to gather vital information about their products. Question is how exactly this data helps decision making process. When marketing a new product Samsung need to workout how much of the units they can sell in a particular given timeframe. They can make an educated guess on how many units they can actually shift. There are other useful calculation too. For example in profile strategy they need to present similar data to the stake holders who will then try to justify their investment in the company. Quarterly profit, operating revenue, cash capital, costing are some of the key things that every large scale organisation needs and these quantitative data is generated by using statistical tools.
Purpose of Promotion in marketing mix is to generate consciousness among consumers or generate general interest followed by desire to purchase the product. Promotional tools can also be used to reshape brand’s image and sustain market share.
To achieve competitive advantage Samsung positions itself away from its opponents. Innovation led products are often first of its kind that Samsung brings (Bonoma, 2005). ‘Mobile with Pico projector’, ‘Phablet’, ‘Flexible display screen’ etc are some of the innovation that Samsung brought in the market that made their identity discrete among others. Samsung is now working on range of new Galaxy products, before launching there will be significant promotional activities to raise market awareness.
Samsung’s marketing promotion uses a blend of both above-the-line and below-the-line approach. Samsung’s above the line promotions include:
Paid for advertisement: Paid for advertisements in daily newspapers, consumer magazines are common for Samsung.
Media advertisement: TV and radio advertising particularly in festive seasons when consumers don’t bother to spend extra money.
These varied types of media can reach to wide audience and these are costly to broadcast or publish. Contrast to it’s often difficult to measure success of adverts.
Samsung also uses other ‘ambient marketing’ where extensive outdoor advertising is used. Normally these can be found in T-sides, using billboards, public transport and boards near key business places.
Samsung also works closely with corporate clients as well as governments to develop products for them. Samsung products govt. clients include Canada, Australia and UK Royal family. Samsung working closely with schools in US to create smart learning environments using latest technology.
Below-the-line promotions are great tool to reach to consumers directly and communicate with them. Some of the techniques used by Samsung are:
E-mail Communication: Samsung communicates with its registered consumers frequently to let them know what products are currently are in the market and how they are going to be benefitted by having them.
Generate public excitement by sponsoring various events, professional gatherings these helps Samsung to place their products in front of their target customers.
In the UK, Samsung uses media advertisement in undergrounds where professionals commute regularly. Seeing these images for a significant period of time will slowly create desire among these people.
High quality point of sale materials in relevant retailers like PC World, Argos etc stores where customers will go for impulse buy.
Now with rapid growth of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram companies like Samsung can use those sites to connect with consumers via online promotional activities. People can click ‘like’ on Samsung’s facebook page later on which will be shown to other people’s home page where they can like the product too. As per recent research one person’s click can reach up to another 150 people.
Application of Internet and Information Technology
Internet have great potential to spread information to a large number of people about a company and its products. Not only people can know about the products but also can communicate via a general channel. This communication helps to build relationship between consumer and the brand. Once brand image is strong company don’t have to look back as there will be many occurrences of repeat buy.
Using internet technology company can display their product in relevant sites with purchase options. Consumers can evaluate and compare products from retailers to make a correct judgement and have less post purchase dissonance effect. Samsung as a well reputed company has strong relation with online retailers who will promote their product in various occasions.
Internet based marketing is similar to traditional marketing where the marketer needs to have a well-designed marketing plan which will require to adopt different marketing strategies which will be gained from research groups data as well as current data.
Advertisement is another essential aspect of marketing. Advertisement comprises the process in which companies communicate with customers using different media tools. Internet ads can provide a company extra edge. Most of the people uses social networking sites. If well placed social adverts can reach to wider consumer sector.
In case of professionals and gadget lovers they are continuously searching through retailer sites for best deals, best price, best value etc. That’s why e-markting is such an important tool for a global company like Samsung. Online advertising helps to provide multimedia rich contents with expense significantly less than TV. Online brochures, reports, rich blend of text and image helps to tell a consumer what are it’s USPs.
Moreover, internet communication is blazing fast and is pretty much available 24×7. Availability of contents and ability to provide interactive content allows customers to scrutinize the product from 360 degree angle. This interactivity gives Samsung competitive advantage by featuring key features of a product.
Email campaign is another effective tool. People who are registered with Samsung they get periodic updates about the products that are going to be released soon. This helps the company to direct
Consumer electronics are one of the valuable e-commerce activities. Online presence of a company will allow them to have business to business communication as well as business to consumer communication and transaction. Both are important for a global brand. Using automated retailing system and global positioning system not only company website can tell customers where they can find the product but also they can be guided to the nearest stores.
By using electronic portals consumers can avail other service and knowledge about products from the same platform. With Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content can be moved to higher rank in search engines so if a prospective buyer is looking for a tablet device and if he search in search engine with the keyword it will link to top 10 sites. By SEO, Samsung puts them in higher ranks so that consumers can visit their page first.
We can see from the above discussions that Samsung uses right blend of marketing mix to reach to wider range of customers. With varied promotion activities generated by market research they eventually captures their target market. Samsung also uses internet platform to increase consumer awareness, brand creation and to reach to wide range of markets which is beneficiary for their business success.
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