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Managers face an endless challenge to create unique strategies that will enable them provide positional advantage in an effort to achieve superior financial or customer performance. A company’s pecuniary success largely depends upon prudent marketing efforts along with financial, operational, accounting and other business functions. Piercy (1992) identi¬es marketing as focusing on strategies concerning the critical decision of market de¬nition and market segmentation as well as the identi¬cation of potential bases for differentiation.
Sometimes, people ask why marketing is important in the financial success of a company. The answer to this question is, assume you have a product to offer with excellent features, best quality and amazing packaging but no one knows about your product? There will be no demand in the market for your it, the company will make no sale and eventually no profit. Here comes the importance of marketing. The most important function of marketing, along with others, is to create awareness about products/services and make loyal customers. Through marketing customers get an opportunity to know what you are offering them and you get the opportunity to convince them to buy your products/services.
The overall marketing umbrella covers advertising, public relations, promotions and sales. Marketing is a process by which a product or service is introduced and promoted to potential customers. Without marketing, your business may offer the best products or services in your industry, but none of your potential customers would know about it. Without marketing, sales may crash and companies may have to close. Production and distribution depend largely on marketing. Many people think that sales and marketing are basically the same. These two concepts are different in many aspects. Marketing covers advertising, promotions, public relations, and sales. It is the process of introducing and promoting the product or service into the market and encourages sales from the buying public. Sales refer to the act of buying or the actual transaction of customers purchasing the product or service.
Some important reasons why marketing is important include:
Getting the Word Out
For a business to succeed, the product or service it provides must be known to potential buyers. Unless your business is known in the community and communication with your customers is readily available, you have to use marketing strategies to create product or service awareness. Without marketing, your potential customers may never be aware of your business offerings and your business may not be given the opportunity to progress and succeed. Using marketing to promote your product, service and company provides your business with a chance of being discovered by prospective customers.
Once your product, service or company gets on the radar screen of your prospects, it increases your chances that consumers will make a purchase. As awareness becomes a reality, it is also the point where new customers start to spread the word, telling friends and family about this amazing new product they discovered. Your sales will steadily increase as the word spreads. Without employing marketing strategies, these sales may not have ever happened; without sales, a company cannot succeed.
The success of a company often rests on a solid reputation. Marketing builds brand name recognition or product recall with a company. When a company reaches the high expectations of the public, its reputation stands on firmer ground. As your reputation grows, the business expands and sales increase. The reputation of your company is built through active participation in community programs, effective communication (externally and internally) and quality products or services, which are created or supported by marketing efforts.
Marketing also fosters an environment in the marketplace for healthy competition. Marketing efforts increases awareness and gets the word out on pricing of products and services, which not only reaches the intended consumers, but also reaches other companies competing for the consumers’ business. As opposed to companies that have a monopoly on products and services that can charge almost any price, marketing helps keep pricing competitive for a business to try to win over consumers before its competition does. Without competition, well known companies would continue to sell while lesser known companies or new companies would stand little chance of ever becoming successful. Marketing facilitates the healthy competition that allows small businesses and new businesses to be successful, enter and grow in the marketplace. As there is high competition in the market and you are not the only one to offer that product, certain issues need to be considered, issues like; how is this product different from that of competitors? What do I have better to offer than my competitor? And why should a customer buy my product rather than my competitors’? All this is achieved through intelligent marketing campaign and is self-evident of the significance of marketing. It enables an organization to capture maximum market share, make a big brand name, make loyal customers and retain them.
Marketing Promotes Product Awareness to the Public
It has already been mentioned in the previous paragraph that getting the product or service recognized by the market is the primary goal of marketing. No business possibly ever thought of just letting the people find out about the business themselves, unless you have already established a reputation in the industry. But if you are a start-out or an average company, the only means to be made known is to advertise and promote. Your business may be spending quite a lot on advertising and promotional programs but the important thing at the end of the day is that product and company information is disseminated to the buying public, they get interested and purchase it and as a result increasing sales and revenue for the company.
Various types of marketing approaches can be utilized by an organization. All forms of marketing promotes product awareness to the market at large. Offline and online marketing make it possible for the people to be educated with the various products and services that they can take advantage of.
A company must invest in marketing so as not to miss the opportunity of being discovered by potential consumers. If expense is to be considered, there are cost-effective marketing techniques a company can embark on such as pay-per-click ads and blogging.
Marketing Helps Boost Product Sales
Apart from public awareness about a company’s products and services, marketing helps boost sales and revenue growth. Whatever your business is selling, it will generate sales once the public learns about your product through TV advertisements, radio commercials, newspaper ads, online ads, and other forms of marketing. The more people hear and see more of your product, the more likely it would be for them to want to try it. It’s this basic principle that makes firms spend millions on marketing activities.
If your company aims to increase the sales percentage and double the production, the marketing department must be able to come up with effective and strategic marketing plans.
Marketing Builds Company Reputation
In order to conquer the general market, marketers aim to create a brand name recognition or product recall. This is a technique for the consumers to easily associate the brand name with the images, logo, or caption that they hear and see in the advertisements.
For example, McDonalds is known for its arch design which attracts people and identifies the image as McDonalds. For some companies, building a reputation to the public may take time but there are those who easily attract the people.
With an established name in the industry, a business continues to grow and expand because more and more customers will purchase the products or take advantage of the services from a reputable company.
Marketing plays a very essential role in the success of a company. It educates people on the latest market trends, helps boost a company’s sales and profit, and develops company reputation. But marketers must be creative and wise enough to promote their products with the proper marketing tactics. Although marketing is important, if it is not conducted and researched well, the company might just be wasting on expenses and time on a failed marketing approach.
Hobb (2012) stated that; for entrepreneurs who aim to bring new and innovative products to market, the acquisition of customer and competitor information is an early activity that could bring about future opportunities. Hence, it could lead to a more effective organization of the founding process and, therefore to a higher probability of success. Therefore, through marketing, a can manager discover new opportunities for business expansion and growth.
The successful execution of such new opportunities brought to light through marketing depends essentially on the acquisition of information. Collecting information from customers and/or about potential competitors is necessary to derive practicable contingencies or strategic planning and to revise and adapt marketing plans.
Hobb (journal of strategic marketing ) quoting Gruber (2007) further points out the value of marketing planning for new venture development and highlights the role of information sources in developing marketing plans. As a result of information from customers, managers are able to revise previous plans and create a yardstick for new projects. Accurate information is neededto tailor the marketing mix to other potential customers. When information is collected through marketing, managers and executives are more able to fully realize the potential of the corresponding marketing activities. Acquiring customer and competitor information could in¬‚uence a new business’ adaptability and subsequently give more room to maneuver and adjust to the particular market environment.
One aspect of marketing that is indispensable in any firm and can assist managers with tools on how to better position their brand, out do competitors, improve productivity and increase profits / sales is market orientation.
Kohli and Jaworski (1990) defined market orientation as “the organization-wide generation of market intelligence, dissemination of the intelligence across departments and organization-wide responsiveness to it”
Wikipedia explained further by stating that, the marketing concept is a business philosophy, whereas the term market orientation refers to the actual implementation of the marketing concept. They added that “a market orientation appears to provide a unifying focus for the efforts and projects of individuals and departments within the organization.”
Furthermore, Cass, Vada, Ngo and Sharvti (jounal of strategic marketing) said Market orientation has the ability to enhance a ¬rm’s success. They further quoted Slater and Narver (1998) saying that at its core, market orientation places signi¬cant emphasis on the pro¬table creation and maintenance of superior customer value, and those supporting its impact endorse it as the conduit for staying close to customers as well as for its ability to enhance ¬rm performance.
Market orientation is a culture rather than an individual process. It’s the norms, mindsets, values and behaviours of employers; alongside the structure, systems and control of the organization. Marketing oriented businesses define their activities as service activities carried out towards the satisfaction of their customers. In other words they define their operation as a service business with customer service being the most important activity. They are driven by customer needs which are identified in their objectives. For instance, a car company might say ‘we’ll make your car in whatever colour you choose’.
A marketing orientated approach means a business reacts to what customers want. The decisions taken are based around information about customers’ needs and wants, rather than what the business thinks is right for the customer. Most successful businesses take a market-orientated approach. Most markets are moving towards a more market-orientated approach because customers have become more knowledgeable and require more variety and better quality. To compete, businesses need to be more sensitive to their customers’ needs; otherwise they will lose sales to competitors.
When to use it? Use market orientations when you want to understand, anticipate and satisfy your customer needs. You may already be operating somewhere in-between orientations. Companies can be anywhere on the spectrum as well as having different products at different orientations.
What does it achieve?
â€¢ A sense of what customers want
â€¢ Links customers’ needs to company capabilities
â€¢ Builds relationships
â€¢ Creates vision
â€¢ Greater internal marketing and communications
â€¢ Tracking and information systems for further research and evaluation
O’Cass, Ngo, and Siahtiri (2012) designed an empirical study to collect data from manufacturing ¬rms in Australia to show that market orientation improves productivity and market capability. According to them, Australia has been ranked 20th overall in the world’s most competitive economies according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 (Sala-i-Martin, 2011). In2011 Australia recorded a GDP of US$925 billion and GDP per capita of US$66.984.SMEs contribute signi¬cantly to economic growth, national development, innovation and employment in Australia (ONAO Audit Report, 2011). There are around 175,000 SMEs inAustralia, which operate in a broad range of industries, including the construction, ¬nance, insurance, wholesale and retail trade industries, and employ 28% of Australia’s workforce.
In the course the study, 300 responses from 500 Australian ¬rms, which constituted a 60% response rate in Australia were received. All participants who reported their positions indicated that they held the most senior marketing positions within their respective ¬rms. In the survey, 85% of the respondents agreed that general information about market participants (customers, competitors and suppliers) is of paramount importance to them. Since market orientation gets this job done, this proves its importance to an organization.
With so many messages bombarding the consumer in the marketplace today, it is now more difficult than ever to get your product noticed, so marketers have learned to be creative. Knowing what your clients’ expectations are, exceeding them, and building a reputation based on that is the key to success. Pay attention to your customers, and they will come back time and time again. Ignore them, and they will disappear faster than you can spend your marketing budget to try to bring them back.
There is the belief that the marketing staff is a burden on the company and they do not justify the money spent on them. However, the fact is that sincere marketing efforts never goes to waste. When you invest in good marketing related activities, you are sure to reap benefits. Well run marketing campaigns can help you earn good profits. Some people have misconceptions about the term marketing, they feel that it is an easy task and anyone can do it. They couldn’t be more wrong. As a manager, you have to get rid of this view point and employ professional marketers who will device your marketing strategy and help you execute it as well.
Although marketing is really important for the success of a business, the reality is that it can also be very expensive. A marketing budget can reach as much as 30 percent (sometimes more) of the annual sales. As a result of the huge expenditure marketing/marketing programs incur, it is paramount that it is done right. The tools and campaigns used to improve the success of a brand or re-position it must be researched into deeply, tried and tested to ensure that they would get the job done. A marketing program that gives a company the best chance in a market environment that is as competitive as it is today is a healthy mix of different forms of marketing, such as website development, public relations, print and broadcast advertising, design and printing for all print materials, trade shows and other special events.
PART 2: THE PERSUASIVE PAPER
Brief: The manager of Pico fruit juice (hypothetical name) company has decided to rebrand the drink (Pico juice) by changing the packaging because he feels the old packaging is not ‘flashy’ or ‘attractive’ enough. He believes it is a little bland. However, the product seems to be doing very well in the market and has achieved a lot of recognition. I think re-packaging the brand might spell disaster and it is therefore my job as a marketing consultant to warn him against it.
Muzellec and Lambkin (2006) defined rebranding as a change in an organizations’ self-identity and/or an attempt to change perceptions of the image among external stakeholders. Rebrand is a company image revision and it can assist a company in updating its message, appealing to new audiences or even signaling a complete change in direction. The reasons behind identity change are usually bad press, new target market, new product, merger, or aspiration to gain a competitive edge. However, these reasons do not apply to Pico fruit juice,
When considering rebranding, we should ask ourselves the crucial question- why? If we are not changing what the company stands for, if our customers like what we stand for now, and if they associate our current packaging with what the company stands for, then why should we rebrand? Why waste the time, money and the priceless brand equity we have tried to build up? We would be much better served creating some really effective marketing campaigns to increase the strength of our brand and increase its consumer base. According to consumer surveys done, our customers already like our product the way it is, therefore rebranding can change their preconceived perception of the product thereby making them lose interest. Rebranding could cause confusion among current customers, potential customers and other key players in the industry. This could lead to a loss in client base.
They (consumers) could also see it as being inconsistent and an inconsistent brand is an untrustworthy brand. Our packaging, colours, company name, and everything else that represents us should not be changed without an extremely good reason. Product rebrands are perceived to be a good way of invigorating a brand, but they sometimes end in failure. According to Datamonitor (2009), in the past three decades, there have been many examples of brands attempting to rebrand themselves, either through a new logo, labeling/packaging, formulation or other means of re-identification. While some have been successful and others less so, the companies behind these brands all have one aim: to re-ignite a passion in consumers for a brand which has lost some of its ‘magic’. Examples of companies/brands that tried to rebrand include:
â€¢ A recent rebranding effort that caused controversy was Kraft’s Australian savory spread brand Vegemite, which undertook a brand extension in 2009. The original name of the extension, Vegemite iSnack 2.0, was designed to appeal to younger consumers but caused widespread derision, so much so that it was almost immediately withdrawn and renamed Cheesybite instead.
â€¢ Tropicana packaging was completely overhauled in 2009 and the picture of an orange with a straw in it, which had featured on its label for decades, was removed and replaced with a picture of a glass of orange. After consumers derided the new packaging for looking too generic, the old style was brought back.
â€¢ Cadbury introduced Dairy Milk as a megabrand across many of its chocolate bars in 2003 as a way of implementing unity and brand strength. However, it has gradually lost its potency over the past two years. In 2007, Cadbury reintroduced the Wispa brand to market after it had been dropped in 2003 in favor of Dairy Milk Bubbly, while the packaging of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Caramel, known as Cadbury Caramel before 2003, has changed so that it resembles more its old style of imagery.
The decision to rebrand is very serious and it is much more than just a change of package or name. Although rebranding sometimes seems as a reasonable step it should not be taken without due consideration. Changing a product name or package is seemed sometimes as an easy task, but to make it work to the business advantage is a difficult one. A decision to rebrand a product is wrong if done just for the sake of doing it or because competitors did so. Rebranding should always have a clear purpose and should not be taken lightly, as it is a massive overhaul of brand images and identity. No rebrand is possible without adequate research, repositioning the image without studying consumer demographics and psychographics is dangerous and I don’t believe all these have been done yet, therefore, there is no reason to rush into a decision to change the package of Pico fruit drink.
It should be noted that change for the sake of change is risky, especially if the results of the transformation are uncertain as in this case. Therefore we should be trying to consider long-term strategies and aims, and then updating brand identity to fit the changing goals if and if only it is absolutely necessary. A change of identity which includes package should always be considered and well-planned. And it is also important to think about the end result of the change, including negative elements. Rapid and extensive changes are harmful in most of circumstances. Therefore the most effective and safe strategy is to evolve slowly by updating the current image to modernize an existing, well-trusted brand, in order to keep the established customer base
A change in name will not turn a company around, neither will it revitalize a dying product and as much as a rebranding can seem exciting at the time, there is a real risk that it is a waste of money and time. A brand is the sum total of an organization’s reputation. When building your brand, the look of the product (package) does matter. It is most times what captivates a costumer and makes him or her reach for your product on the shelf. Once they become used to the look of a particular product or brand, changing it can confuse or even make them lose interest thereby spelling disaster for the product. However, you should rebrand if:
Your target customer has changed.
Your product has changed.
Your competition has changed.
Or if you cannot answer these questions:
Do people no longer understand what you can offer
Do people understand what makes you different?
What is your client engagement? Do they spread your message and continue coming back for more?
Do people trust what you say, your products and your services?
Is there constant decrease in sales
Can your employees/clients articulate what your brand stands for
Are you are embarrassed to give away your business card either due to unattractiveness or to the fact that its rather plain compared to that of competitors?
Are all your communications are not consistent and in sync with the brand message and brand voice?
If we have doubts about the answers to the above questions, then we would need to rebrand urgently. However, these cases do not apply to Pico fruit drink, so I see no reason for us to spend so much time and money doing something that may very well backfire in the long run.
A reason we do not need to rebrand Pico fruit drink is because it has all the qualities of a good brand which according to Uche (2012) Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review (OMAN Chapter) Vol. 2, No.3; Oct. 2012 are:
1. Confirms Credibility: A good brand is a signature of credibility, a symbol of trust, an image of consistency. It must therefore always espouse and exhibit a credible personality, which strengthens and compensates its clienteles/consumers for their sustained loyalty (brand equity). So far, consumers seem to like Pico fruit drink. They seem to like its personality, its quality and what it stands for which is trust and responsibility. Responsibility to the environment by producing safe recyclable packages, responsibility to our customers by producing delicious, healthy and hygienic fruit drink and responsibility to the brand by ensuring it never falls below standard.
2. Attracts Potential opportunities: Any brand that lacks a sustained ability to attract and exploit potential opportunities is not a good one. Not just opportunities in terms of brand extension, but opportunities in terms of innovative marketing strategies and advertising mix like exploiting the social media to create buzz which Pico has done in the past and is still doing to attract attention, organizing promotional offers, giving discounts and so on. The existing clientele base of a brand must not only be maintained, but also expanded, through the exploitation of whatever opportunities are present in the market, especially in a competitive environment, where the life and continued existence of the entity or product, is dependent on its ability to maintain and expand its clientele base.
3. Delivers clear and precise information: The message delivered by a brand must at all times be concise, consistent, and clear, and must not be packaged in such a way that it confuses consumers. Pico as a brand has tried to avoid ambiguity in all its messages and promotion materials in order not to cause confusion among customers thereby damaging the brand. Since a brand is a statement or commitment to quality, improved value and service delivery, advertisements, jingles, and other interfaces with which a product or entity connects with clients and prospective clients should be consistent, concise, and must be coherent with the actual performance of the brand, if the brand is to be defined as good. Otherwise, the brand’s identity, franchise, awareness, equity, image, and recognition will be adversely affected. In this view also, there should be strong brand differentiation, to enable customers correctly identify their choice of brand, and this means that the logo, image, mark, and other items affiliated with a brand should be distinct, to dissuade confusions that sometimes arise from inability of customers to distinguish one brand’s image or logo (identity) from another. Failure in this regard can lead to a brand’s untimely demise.
4. Ability of the Brand to Procure, Protract, and Preserve a Relationships and a Titanic Clientele base: Following a pragmatic viewpoint, a good brand should be able to foster a cordial, mutual, and self-sustaining relationship with its clienteles, which is continually expanding. For a brand to be classified as being good it must exhibit an inherent aptitude and propensity to secure and conserve existing relationships, while striving to build new ones, through its commitment to connect and establish workable and healthy relationships with old clients from whom fresh and prospective clients are fetched, to swell the clientele base of the brand.
EXCELLENT BRAND MANAGEMENT PRCATICES EVERY BRAND SHOULD FOLLOW
Building a brand that enjoys patronage and respect requires the establishment of a scheme, which ensures longevity of the brand in the market. Simple guidelines like the ones below which are in no way exhaustive, should be initiated:
1. We should always make sure that at no point in the lifespan of a product/brand should we introduce ideas and market strategies that alter the name, logo, symbol, or other aspects of a brand that makes it unique and different from other brands in the same product category, unless there is an extremely good reason for doing this. The name, package or distinct logo of a brand is a symbol that is universal and understandable by consumers, who not only attach sentiments to the package or logo, but are quick to employ it as a reference point of satisfaction and quality. While positive changes in other aspects of a brand are recommended, even during mergers, utmost care must be taken to preserve the distinctive identity of a brand, as this is the brain behind successful brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Mobil, which have introduced various products, but still employ or affiliate their names to such products, to retain its clienteles.
2. In successfully managing a brand, a manager should always strive to generate and establish an indelible and positive impression of the brand in the mind of its consumers, especially where the market is characterized by competition. The brand equity of a product must be on the positive side, and this is attainable only when positive and indelible images of a brand is created in the mind of its patrons or customers; this is an undeniable formula for success in a competitive market, where consumers’ taste and choice varies.
3. Fulfilling the brand promise or contract is one practice that should never be neglected by a brand manager or owner, if a brand is to prosper and be sustained in any competitive market. A subconscious contract exists between a producer and the clients, to the effect that the brand must meet and surpass a mark of quality that is appreciable to its consumers, if the loyalty and patronage of the consumers is to be sustained. To this extent, if managers fail to meet or surpass the standard of quality that is obtainable and attained by competing brands in a market, especially when it fails to meet the expectation of consumers, a negative brand experience ensues, which could lead to the decline and possible death of the brand.
4. Giving adequate protection to a brand is an option that should be given adequate attention to by a manager and his team, if they want their product to do well in the market. A brand and its unique identity should not only be given legal protection in the form of copyright and patent cataloguing, which prevents dubious replication by fraudsters and even competition but should also be protected by maintaining an appreciable standard and quality, which should be jealously guarded and should never be compromised, immersed in scandal, or be allowed to tread the paths of deficient and mediocre products and brands.
5. In many cases, brand managers make the tragic mistake of rating and quantifying their brands and the charge of sustaining it as cost, rather than assets, and the outcome is unpleasant and detrimental to the development and sustainability of the brand. A brand is among the most prized asset of any entity, product, or producer; whatever is thus spent in advertising and marketing a brand should be treated as an investment, rather than as cost. Trying to quantify the effects of investing (advertising and marketing) in a brand may not be visible in the balance sheet, but in the long run, evaluation of state of affairs in the market will reveal the enviable function that the investments in the brand is yielding. Thus, investments made in the development, advertising, and marketing of a brand is not wasted, and should not be treated as cost, but as a high-yielding investment by brand managers.
6. Treating customers and other stakeholders with esteem is one practice that should not be neglected by brand managers, if the desire to establish a viable brand is to be achieved. In a corporate environment, good corporate governance should be observed, if the yearnings and aspirations of customers, patrons, and shareholders are to be met. This cannot be achieved in
the absence of a workforce that is not ade
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