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This report will cover a one year marketing plan for the Sports Direct branch located at Uxbridge using academic marketing concepts and frameworks. Recommendations will be made for Sports Direct’s marketing in Uxbridge and its implementation and current marketing strategy will be critically analysed.
The current marketing plan does not concentrate on online selling and advertising within Brunel University and exclusive one year contracts with it. It will be recommended that the store focus on advertising through online/offline mediums for Brunel university students and create ties with the university for the sale of sports equipment. This will increase sales through online selling as well as increase the advertising strength of the store. Primary and secondary data has been collected to support these recommendations.
The Sports Direct store in Uxbridge was set up during the year 2008 when JJB Sports plc closed its doors (http://www.uxbridgegazette.co.uk, 2010). This has been a strategic move from the marketing executives at Sports Direct since Uxbridge is home to Brunel University. This university has approximately 15000 students and has a fantastic record of achievement in sport on both a competitive and non-competitive level.
Brunel has produced many famous sporting heros including Audley Harrison, Kelly Sotherton, James Cracknell and most recently GB sprinter Montell Douglas (http://www.brunel.ac.uk/, 2010). Brunel also ranks 32nd in the BUCS league table (http://www.bucs.org.uk/, 2010). Essentially, considering the huge student population at Brunel and its focus on sport, the store is located well.
There is thus, a direct focus on the target customers for ‘sporting goods’, ‘sports apparel’ and ‘footwear’. However, restructuring the current marketing plan is essential since many students at Brunel University do not see the brand ‘Sports Direct’ in the form of posters, events, online media, sponsorship, etc on campus (Brunel Survey, 2010)
According the definition by the American Marketing Association (AMA, 2009), marketing is defined as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Another definition of marketing by the Chartered Institute of Marketing is “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” (CIM, 2009) Also, the following definition would be apt if we were to define marketing based on monetary success and increase in share value of the company – “the management process that seeks to maximise returns to shareholders by developing relationships with valued customers and creating a competitive advantage.”(Stanley and Ryans, 2009). Strategic marketing has been defined as “Marketing that is designed to make the future position of a company stronger”. (Longman Business English Dictionary, 2010)
Product, Promotions, Price and process: Retailing 3rd party brands along with in house brands. Good profits from 3rd party brands but directly selling own brands giving greater margins and more competitive pricing and promotions. The competitive pricing and promotions can not only be associated to direct selling but also the optimal operational processes in place. Group operating costs increased 1.4% to £431.0m (2009: £425.0m). Retail division operating costs were well controlled and increased by only 3.3% in the Year, despite an increase in floor space of 5.2% and a rise in sales of just under 11%. (Sports Direct International Plc Annual report 2010, p.6)
Currently, Sports Direct is satisfying customer’s needs by selling competitively priced sports, clothing and outdoor products through brick and mortar stores all over the UK and through online selling on sportsdirect.com. Customers are mostly satisfied based on the primary data collected. The store is aimed at the sporting youth and sports fashion conscious customers located in and around Uxbridge. This includes university/school students and residents interested in sporting goods and apparel.
Suppliers and bargaining strength: Sports Direct has an excellent bargaining advantage due to its large chain of stores. This will bring buying costs down due to bulk purchasing since a producer’s average cost per unit will fall as its level of output is increased. “Economies of scale” is a long run concept and refers to reductions in unit cost as the size of a facility and the usage levels of other inputs increase (Arthur and Sheffrin, 2003). Additionally, since the company directly sells its own brands as well, the company is its own supplier for a set range of products giving an additional advantage.
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