A case study of Commonwealth Bank Australia.
Every organization needs to be keenly focused towards the importance of promotional and marketing strategies. These strategies help an organization to utilize the existing skills of the employees of the organization to develop a creative approach towards the sales and servicing to the customers. In fact, promotion and marketing are the brainstorm plan that an organization includes in its strategies. Here lies the importance of designing and developing a marketing and promotional plan that will lead to the success of the organization. Identifying the best opportunity available for the organization and focusing in the right direction is what a successful strategy meant for (Thorat, Kishor & Meghe, 2013). Promotional activities require understanding the target consumers to connect with them. Having a well planned and thought-out marketing plan provides a feasible solution to connect with the clients.
The final stage of marketing is developing a suitable marketing mix. The paper is based on evaluation of the best marketing mix for the service providing organization, Commonwealth Bank. Theoretical approach towards the importance of marketing and the various ways by which marketing can be improved will be made. A detail analysis of the marketing variables popularly known as the 8Ps of marketing will be done (Skarmeas, Leonidou & Saridakis, 2014). Importance of carrying out corporate social responsibilities and the role played by the social media in the contemporary marketing scenario will also be highlighted. Various strategic issues faced by the bank will be analyzed and based on that certain recommendations will be proposed for improving the marketing strategy of the service sector organization (Pérez & Del Bosque, 2012).
Importance of branding and positioning:
Positioning a product or service in the market where the product is operating is the most crucial approach that should be undertaken by an organization. As opined by Vijat, (2015), creating a brand help an organization to stand out from the crowd or the existing competitors. An effective brand positioning should answer the query of the consumer that how and why the particular organization is better than the rest. It has been stated by Ribeiro, (2015), that if the product or service of an organization is different from the rest, it must be known to the consumers. As argued by Mengting and Zhang, (2015), if the promised service is not provided by the company then it will definitely upset the expectation of the consumers.
However, contemporary situation has made it really tough to ensure the position of a brand due to intense competitions and availability of various substitutions. CBA has to focus greatly on the creation of a brand image in the market because it is only by this means that the organization can be differentiated from other banks of Australia.
Identification of marketing mix:
Marketing mix is the most crucial thing that an organization has to take in account at the time marketing a product. Evolved from the 4Ps of marketing, it has been evolved to 7 or 8n Ps of marketing. It is expected that the organizations while planning their marketing strategies should focus on these mentioned variables of marketing mix (Brejning, 2012). It is to be mentioned here that the marketing mix is prepared depending on customer characteristics, product attributes, types of organization, competition, marketing environmental forces, characteristics of intermediaries and other such factors (Deffner, Metaxas & Arvanitidis, 2013). The 8Ps of marketing can be described here in connection with the selected organization, Commonwealth bank Australia.
8Ps of marketing:
Product: It is the exact product or the service that is offered by the organization or company. In case of CBA, the products have been mentioned earlier. These are insurance, bank accounts and other services that falls under the service of the banks.
Prices: Price is the factor that decides the purchase decision of the consumer. As pointed out by Ali, Ilyas and Rehman, (2016), that today’s consumers are much focused in their choice and are smart buyers. With the availability of information handy, it has become much convenient for the consumers to select from a wide range of product, comparing it with the others. Thus, the most eligible and recognized product in terms of price is usually selected by the consumer at the time of purchasing. In case of CBA, since it is a bank no such factor related to pricing is of utter importance. However, in charging the bank rates for the loans can be made to a negotiated level.
Promotion: In the age of globalization and utter competition, it is the promotional activities that are helping an organization to differentiate it from the others. Thus, it is expected that every organization must take great initiative towards the promotional activities of the product or service. Promotional activities are both traditional and new (Korir, 2013). Traditional activities are those that belong to the activities of advertisements in television, hoarding or other such media. The advancement of the new media and the social networks has changed the scenario of marketing. More and more companies are focusing on this medium due to its cheap accessibility and far reaching effect. Thus, the importance of these media cannot be neglected (Skarmeas & Leonidou, 2013).
In case CBA, the organization is deficit towards using the new and the digital media. It is expected that the management of the organization must focus on this new media for the sake of fighting with the competitors.
Place of distribution: The area or region of operation of a particular firm or organization is called the place of distribution. At the time of planning the marketing strategy, it is expected to get complete knowledge of the places of distribution where the consumers of the organizations are present. The decisions and activities help to make the products or services available at a particular market for the target customers (Dutta, 2012). When this is achieved, it helps in targeting the consumers well and the success rate of the advertising campaign increases.
For CBA, the organization operates in major parts of Australia particularly in Sydney. Thus, the place of distribution for the organization is the metropolitan cities of Australia.
Partnership: Partnership calls for any kind of merging or collaboration of a company with other company or companies. This step is usually taken by an organization to increase their market domination or market share in the region of operation. As suggested by Larsen, Wagner and Hartmann, (2015), a merger or acquisition is indeed helpful for those organizations who find it difficult to operate in a highly competitive market.
For the sake of payment clearing, the bank has partnership with AUD and NZD. The partnership also helps in other functions such as providing credit facilities, corporate, retail and migrant referrals as well.
People: By the means of people in the marketing mix, the consumers of the organizations. These are the target people of the organization (Berg & Bjrner, 2014). All the marketing activities must be focused on these people. Thus, it is important to identify these people.
For a bank, the people are the existing persons who have their accounts in the bank. Again, it can be said that the focused group of people who are the main target of the bank for engaging them as the account holder or for any other purpose are the people of the bank. The main group of people is those belonging to the service sector of the country.
Processes: It is the way of carrying out the promotional activities. This is called process because the approach made to attract people is a continuous process that is done by the means of promotion and advertisements (Martínez & del Bosque, 2013).
All the advertising activities or the promotional techniques used by the company fall under the process.
Physical evidence: It is important because in case of a service sector, the consumers stay directly in contact with the service provider. If the ambiance of the place is not suitable for the consumers, then a negative image is created among the consumers. In case of a bank, the expectation of the consumers increases much higher than any other sectors of service (Dinnie, 2015). Thus, it can be said that the ambiance of the bank must be very pleasing. There should be adequate number of security guards and other protective measures to be highlighted in the procedure of the operation of the bank.
Role played by social media:
The new media environment has changed the marketing scenario dramatically. Traditional media are losing grip. People are more reliable towards digital media. This has made the marketers to re-evaluate their marketing strategies. The social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter are gaining importance day by day. There are about 7 million active Facebook users and the numbers are increasing (Williams et al., 2013). Thus, any kind of promotiona1 activities carried on this media will be much successful if focus towards the target group is kept cautiously.
It is expected that the bank should focus on this new and digital media rather than restricting its promotional activities in the traditional means (Chou, 2014). The organization must create page in Facebook and update each happening and operation in the social network sites.
Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on marketing:
Public relations increases credibility, resulting in word of mouth, low cost or no cost, combat effectively with negative perception. For service sector, word of mouth is the most important tool of promotion. This can be achieved if the organization focuses on carrying out corporate social responsibilities in the market of their operation (Navickas et al., 2014). There are various ways of conducting the CSR activities such as bringing out Annual reports of the company with correct and useful information, by event sponsorship in major programs where it is expected that the reached and the success of promotion will be achieved. Other means of promotion are by giving elaborative business articles by the means of Press releases, conference, and feature articles (Kim & Moon, 2016).
The above mentioned activities are highly useful for the organization. it is also recommended that if the CBA adopt these methods then the bank can be more recognized among the people in the region of Australia.
External environment analysis of Commonwealth Bank:
Services provided by the bank include financial services in almost every sector of market such as retail or institutional sector, superannuation, investment and broking services and even insurance. The service organization is Australia’s multinational bank. The external analysis where the bank operates can be analyzed by the means of PESTLE analysis:
Australia is a federal government. It one of the commonwealth nations of the world.
Australia is one of the largest mixed economies. GDP of the country id $AUD 1.62 trillion. Australian economy is mainly dominated by the service sector representing 68% of total GDP.
78% of the population belongs to the mid-aged group. Both men and women are service oriented working individuals (Delcourt et al., 2013).
Technological advancement is easily visible in the kind of work they do. Inventions and discoveries are achieved at a regular basis. People are much addicted towards technology.
The country is environmentally very rich with the availability of a number of resources.
Marketing strategies of Commonwealth Bank:
Marketing approaches made by the organization is very traditional and are not at all focused towards using the new media or the digital media for the sake of publishing their services. Recent approaches have been made towards sending personal messages by the means of mails or personal messages. However, these strategies cannot be long lived because the market situation is changing and more and more competitors are entering in the market. The organization is more focused towards words of mouth publicity due to their services provided to the account holders and other clients. The management team of the organization is highly active in terms planning their strategic roles looking into the various instances of marketing and other criteria. However, these strategies are to be modified depending upon the contemporary situation.
Contemporary issues faced by Commonwealth Bank:
The bank is facing problems in funding and creation of more number of customers for the bank. The only way to improve the situation of a bank is to attract more numbers of customers who can bring financial help to the organization. The marketing world is changing. In order to keep pace with the competitors of the market, it is expected to keep up with various innovative and creative marketing approaches. In case of issues and problems faced by the organization, most of it is related to the promotional criteria of the organization.
This promotional approach is becoming a vital issue to fight against the competitors. It has been pointed out by the managing head of the bank that if certain steps are not taken then it will not be far away that the bank would become a toast. It has been opined by Gounaris and Boukis, (2013) that it is only by the means of innovative and creative approaches that more customers can be drawn towards the organization.
Commonwealth Bank operates both as a service and product provider and has been operating in the market of Australia with much prosperity. However, due to intense market pressure, the bank has to focus on building a better marketing strategy to grab more consumers. Certain recommendations can be made in this respect:
- Identifying the products and services: The organization deals with all kinds of banking services and also sells insurances. Thus, it is recommended to focus on better schemes and offers that would differentiate the products offered by the organization.
- Managing existing products: For services, customers are likely to prefer to deal with the producers directly. So focusing in managing the products is indeed required. In case modification of the existing products is also required in terms of ascetic, quality and quantity.
- Promote by the means of non-verbal communication: In case of a service sector mainly a bank, word of mouth becomes very useful tool for the organization. This is only possible when the consumers using the service are fully satisfied. However, the importance of non-verbal communication cannot be denied. Thus, it is expected that the organization must focus on other means of advertisements such as hoarding and on the place promotion by posters or kiosks.
- Loyalty programs: Interaction between the management and the employees helps to build the relationship between them more rigid. It must not be forgotten that staffs are internal customers and building a good relationship with them is equally important as done with the external customers. Satisfied and committed employees lead to long term success of the organization.
- Technological approach: The organization has to focus on the technological approaches. There are no doubts that most of the working of the bank is based on technology. ATM designs are made in a way that it becomes more acceptable to the consumers.
- Privacy: The business done with the bank has to be kept private. Although there is no deficit from the side of the organization towards keeping things private, but layout to protect the pin has to be focused. Again, telephone calls to be kept private. All these activities will automatically increase the confidence of the consumers towards the organization.
- After marketing programs: Even after marketing the programs, it is expected that the organizations must focus on certain other things as well to retain more customers. Offering better and distinct offers from the competitors existing in the market is indeed important.
- Innovative marketing ideas: The success behind buzz marketing and viral marketing cannot be denied. For the success of rapid promotional activities, it is recommended that the organization must focus on these kinds of marketing as well.
An effective marketing strategy can serve as a progress map for an organization and help in developing the entire business. It is expected that every organization must identify the coherent aspect of marketing their products and use their resources very carefully. Valuing the shareholders, managing the reputational risk and utilizing the impact of new media marketing are the important things to be addressed at the time of carrying out the promotional and marketing plan of a particular organization.
The strategies and the issues faced by the bank have been recognized. By the means of proper promotional activities, the firm can achieve much success in the market and can compete with the competitors of the market. Focus must be made towards customer satisfaction and marketing activities using the new and digital media. These activities are bound to produce fruitful outcomes for the organization.
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