Effective marketing practices
Marketing is the art of making prospective consumers and customers to be interested in your goods and or services (Kotler, 2006). The definition above implies that marketing includes doing research, promotion, advertisement and distribution of the services and goods for sale. Marketing in general implies the process of doing all that is necessary in bringing potential clients and the products for sale together.
A market plan can be described as the evaluation of the currently available market area in relation to the way the business plans to spend its available resources in the future. A market plan also includes customers and set up how to sell services and goods to them. The main purpose of a market plan is to aid the business in achieving its objectives and growth potential. To guarantee profit making, coming up with and expanding a market plan is one of the most crucial steps to be taken. Marketing deals with every portion of the operation of the business. This involves actions that are engineered to come up with the needs of customers. The activities that lead to customer satisfaction in balance with profit making include and are not limited to analyzing and researching the market, developing the product and customer service.
Business management in relation to effective marketing practices describes methods of high level business organization and operation. Organization of the business has two main important aspects. The first is the coming up with areas of responsibility in the shape of organization chart from management downwards and denotes their duties and responsibilities. The other main aspect is the expansion and development of workers and qualified personnel (Keller & Kotler, 2009).
Planning in relation to business management has entails three main aspects. The first one is to institute a wide policy to channel production to a success. This entails the buying of equipment and material required for the success of the business. Next is to implement the laid down policies in the respective departments within the business organization and lastly to establish high working standards in each and every department. Trend deals with guidance by the personnel in authority. With this in mind, there is a difference between top management and administrative management. The former is administration and operation based while the latter is concerned with the implementation of policies. Control entails the employment of reports and books to contrast performance with the well come up with working standards (Sterne, 2001.)
Strategic management gains its origin from the language of the Greeks. Its original meaning in this language is the art of a general. The individual who implements strategies is the general who is the commandant of the army (Sutton, Klein & Zyman, 2003). To guarantee success within the company, the use of strategy is paramount and should be applied such that any task and decision within the company is strategy based. Successful employment of strategy in the success of a business however depends on some other underlying factors which include reflection, attention, understanding and attention (Sterne, 2001). In the bid to describe marketing practices in real life situations, the Coca-Cola Company will be used as a case study.
Background information (The Coca-Cola Company)
Over thirty years ago the environment of the soft drink industry was taken over by the Coca-Cola Company. As from the 1960s, the Coca-Cola Company’s dominance has been put to test by Pepsi-Cola. This made the competitive environment to be well advertised and intensive. The battle for supremacy between the two cola companies began and both of them became known as the main marketing companies globally. Each of them has considerably worked hard to ensure the introduction of a variety of products in the consumer market. The competition between the two companies has seen the use of celebrities to advertise these products and this has over the years been brought to a new level. In the process of trying to be outstanding in this market, the Coca-Cola Company even changed the formula for the production of coke. All these progress in the carbonated soft drink industry (CSD) arose as a result of employment of strategy in marketing. Another factor that has led to the consumer product development as far as soft drinks are concerned is the competition that Pepsi-Cola brought in a market that was well dominated by Coca-Cola. Apart from transforming the competitive environment into a whole new level, the two companies have converted the new environment to their own benefit.
For a business to make reasonable profits, one needs to develop a marketing plan. Because the profits come from the consumer or customer, one should be able to identify their needs and wants then strive towards satisfying them by giving quality services while making profits. To achieve this, research and analysis of the market is vital coupled with product development, promotions and publicity. Social marketing has been given more consideration recently due to managers of big companies realizing that it is the best way to increase the profits from making more sales. Social marketing in simple terms is the selling of ideas. This definition gives a simple understanding of it but it is not holistic. Hence, social marketing is the formation implementation and management of programs meant to bring social change in the targeted market.
In 1886 Coca-Cola was still a small company that was still struggling, but today that is history. This company was able to grow because it integrated some very important aspects in business. Market research was vital in its venturing the market place. This was meant to recognize the needs of the customers and their wants so that they can satisfy them with the aim of making profits for themselves while providing quality products. This was purely on selfish grounds but the consumer was satisfied and the company made its profit, making both to gain. The consumer needs are constantly changing affected by so many influences. So the market research should be aimed at identifying the target consumers, their needs and potential competitors. The coca cola company capitalized on this and when they saw an opportunity, they bounced on it immediately. There was prohibition of alcohol in Atlanta, which was the opportunity that was to catapult the company to its very prestigious status today. They did research on coffee, which was in the confines of law, and came up with a very tasty drink that really satisfied the needs of the public. This was the initial product that marked the debut a very invigorating drink that will come to be liked the world over. Market research can be very time consuming and costly but one needs to ensure that the information is timely, comprehensive and made very accessible for it to be useful.
Originality is a big virtue in business and market venturing, and one needs to be original in order to penetrate the market and take it over. The coca cola company was very original coming up with a product that has never been produced in the market. Though there were other coffee products in the market, none of them was in the range of the product coca cola came up with, hence the penetration of the market that successfully. Usually in the market products are identified by their names, color and trademark. Other characteristics that help in product identification may include shape, packaging and labeling. The ingredients in the product are very important in product identification; hence any product should be composed of the best quality ingredients. There may be weakness of the product but one should strive to create a demand that will make the weakness almost unnoticeable or that overrides them. The coca cola company has done this very well. The weakness of the product is that it is very easy for a person to get addicted to the drink. But the market popularity they have gained makes this weakness almost unnoticeable.
Market identification is also important. Size of the market and the number of competitors should be known for better penetration, share command and the potential customer identification. A great market share is achieved when the marketing is customer oriented than when it is product oriented. The customers should be grouped according to social and geographic location which helps in the preparation of a focused plan.
In any market setting there is competition, direct or indirect. Competition is very vital in product and service improvement. Competition should be known for any successful business. Learning about the competition, who and how strong they are, helps a businessman to learn more about how to manage his business better. The similarities and differences with competitors are determined and strengths and weakness are compared. It is true that you should keep your enemies closer to you in the sense that you should know every move they make so that one will be able to outshine them and emerge successful if always ahead by one step. This will also help in making better operations and marketing techniques for everyone in the market tries to outshine the other hence better services and products in the market (Kotler, 1997). One should also work with other companies in the market not necessarily competitors, to form partnerships and associations to promote their products. Coca cola formed association with FIFA, NBA and Nascar which boosted their sales a lot. They also used endorsement from music stars and since people have an attachment to music, it made the company very popular amongst people in all classes.
Pricing of a product determines the rate at which it sales and the profits that are to be made but this is determined by the cost of production largely. The cost helps in determining the margins desired but it is restricted by the retail price in the market, in most cases of the competition. Pricing of a product is determined by internal factors like cost of production and the goals of the company and external factors that are related to the market situation and nature of competition available.
Profit is the major drive to doing business all over the world. Profit is the amount of money that remains after all cost of production and other non-production costs have been deducted from the gross revenue. Profits allow for additional investment and returned back to the business for capital equipment purchase and sustain growth of the company.
A promotional mix is important for it is the program for marketing strategies put in place or actions. This usually takes long because of the seasonal factors that influence the demand of consumers on the product which must be taken into account, usually one year or more. The weakness in the product should be improved and one should ensure that they are not exploited by the competition to tarnish the product while making sure that all the strengths are known and capitalized through promotions and advertisements. A good medium that will reach as many consumers as possible is the best option and the messages on the advertisement should emphasize on the strengths that you want the potential consumers to pay attention to (Hisrich, 2000). Coca cola has done this very well and if anyone be it a consumer or an employee, be asked to the strengths of the company, he will readily pour them out, but if asked of the weaknesses, he may never have the words, though it doesn’t mean that there are no weaknesses in the product.
Advertising targets an audience that is known and the right media for reaching them is used since it is known. In most cases several media are used to reach as many consumers as they can be reached but some will work while others may not. The best options are used in advertising and should be reviewed from time to time because of the dynamic nature of the market. The consumers should be educated so that they are informed about the product and celebrities are used to enhance the awareness creation of the product to the consumers. Both low season and high season advertisement should be done. Coca cola has done this very successfully and they have spent a lot of money in brand recognition. They painted their logo very well and used endorsement very well in this course. They used music hall stars in the 1890’s like Hilda Clark and Paula Abdul who had an endorsement in the 1880’s and 90’s for Diet Coke. They made sure their product was unmistakable. Coca-Cola held a contest to create a unique bottle that the user would be able to recognize in the dark and the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute Indiana won with their contour bottle design, (http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com).
Customer service communicates to the customer a lot about you and your product. It contribute to the image of the company and in marketing campaign, good customer service is the most critical aspect. Most of those customers that return are the satisfied ones and they bring along with them their friends and family. Trademarks and logos should be printed on the products so that this portrays a good image of the product to the customers. Hence consistency is key to strengthen the company’s image compared to that of the competitors. Coke has done this very well and has maintained consistency of the products. It is also important not to grow the company for the sake of the growth of the company but focus is on the product and the making people happy. A humanistic image should be conveyed and selflessness is key in making people have faith in the product and the company.
In conclusion, effective marketing practices requires intensive market research to allow for market penetration as can be seen from the coca cola example given, originality and quality concept are key to coming up with a good product and establishing it in the market and advertising should be used to bring awareness of the product to consumers. These are the primary aspects of effective market practices that one should not do without. Other aspects are also important and they include being clarity with the product to avoid mistakes, maintaining consistency in the quality of the product, striving to make consumers happy with the aim of growing the company but avoid developing the company for the sake of its own development and trying to show the consumer that you are not selfish, while you mean it, but being humanistic and concerned about the consumer and their wellbeing. Product improvement can be achieved in a market where there is competition and this should be encouraged.
In summary, marketing practices that are documented have clearly been put into practice before as seen in the case study of the Coca-cola and or the Pepsi-Cola Company. These two companies are the best examples of marketing practices put into application and in their bid to outdo each other in the available market share, they have been used as an example a number of times and other companies have also used a lot of lessons from them.
The two companies have included into the market other forms of marketing practices which hadn’t been exploited before but has proved to be highly effective. This includes the use celebrities in advertising their products and services. In the process they have brought celebrity advertising to a whole new level and other upcoming soft drink industries have followed suit.
They have also used giving back to the society as a way of attracting more customers and clients by sponsoring major sporting events and making their brand to be trusted by a lot of people for a long time.
It is thus recommended that examples be borrowed from them as far as effective marketing practices are concerned.
Hisrich, R. D. (2000). Marketing. (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Barron’s Educational Series
Keller, K.L., & Kotler, P. (2009). Marketing Management 13th Ed. Pearson/Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Kotler, P. (2006). Principles of Marketing, 3rd ed., London: Prentice Hall.
Kotler, P. (1997). Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation, and Control, 9th ed., London: Prentice Hall International.
Sterne, J. (2001.) World Wide Web marketing: integrating the Web into your marketing strategy, 3rd ed., New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Sutton, D., Klein, T., & Zyman, S. (2003). Enterprise Marketing Management: The New Science of Marketing, New York: John Wiley and Sons.
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