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Developing Business Strategies

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Question:

In various organizations, marketing is given a different level of importance in the organizational structure and hierarchy. Why do you think this difference occurs, and why do you think that the level of importance of marketing should always be higher, discuss with examples?
 
 

Answer:

Marketing in simple words is to deliver customer satisfaction in order to earn profit. In this context certain objectives needs to be followed. Firstly it is important to satisfy the needs of a group of customers better than the competition and that is the reason various organizations employ different marketing strategies in its structure and hierarchy to achieve competitive advantage against competitors. Secondly to grow the business a firm must catch up with the changes in the environment, for example, changes in customer needs,  competition and also changes in the company’s  skills and abilities. It must also consider the opportunities and threats arising from such changes and take up tactical actions that will minimalize these conditions. (Belch,2004)

There are certain activities  followed by various organizations to set up a proper marketing division and orientation. The first step in this process is to identify the customer demands that the company can satisfy, secondly a product needs to be designed which can satisfy those demands better than other existing products. Thirdly, comes the important role of promotion and communication through advertising channels and media in order to motivate purchase, fourthly a perfect price needs to be set which on one hand is affordable by the consumers and on the other satisfies the company’s profits. Lastly the distribution channels needs to be at place so that these products are delivered to the places of the consumers. In order to execute the above mentioned actions market orientation is of vital use for companies in which they focus in collecting continuous information about consumer needs and competitors capabilities and share this information among various departments thereby using this information to create value for consumers. Relationship Marketing is used today to develop effective communication by linking an organization with its appropriate set of consumers , employees, suppliers and other partners for long term benefit.  Marketing a product or service has been a very easy process due to the various technologies in place, where one can learn about and track customers through databases, connecting with customers in a group or one - in - one through social media, distribution of products has become more easy and effective through online portals and so on. (Booms, 1981).

 

Digitalization is the next step in marketing even bigger than internet. With advances in technology, great consumer power and increase in competition has forced various companies to bring up new ideas and innovations in order to build strategic advantage over others. The start of this process is to make the companies understand not just about the technology but what changes can the digital engagement bring to the business. Every organization must have their respective digital strategy and develop models to deliver such strategies. Such a strategy must go beyond any marketing department, it must enable continuous engagement with customers, suppliers, employees and investors. The process must continue through innovation and development of the business models. (Chaffey, 2012)

It is evident from the above discussion that marketing is an important aspect in any business as it allows a company to prosper by boosting the sales of products and services. Hence every organization incorporates various marketing strategies in their organization structures to foster business development. In our study we will discuss in detail the organization structure of the marketing department and the importance of marketing in various sectors like Fmcg, hotels, insurance companies with relevant examples. (Kurtz,1998).

The organizational structure of the marketing department in any company depends on various components. Small companies may have one or two marketing employees whereas  larger organizations have dozens of marketing employees and staff. Overall, putting a complete structure in place helps marketing employees and other employees of the company to understand what is their role  in the marketing department. The structure and hierarchy of the marketing department lies in the following order. The order ranges from a Vice - President to a Marketing Manager then a Marketing Researcher, Public Relations and finally to the Creative Services department. The person who is in charge of the entire marketing department is called the Vice President of marketing and is involved in creating and planning the marketing strategies of a company and its products and services. He is the person who bridges the gap between the upper management and other employees of any organization. The next in position is the marketing manager or a marketing director as it is relevant to most companies. His work is to execute the marketing strategy formulated by the President, which involves creating effective messages, choosing the right website advertising or print advertising techniques, carrying out appropriate marketing campaigns to reach out to the target audience. The manager reports to the Vice President and manages other employees and in product based companies having different product lines, there can be multiple managers for each product line. The position of market researchers are optional to a company, some of them appoints it to keep a record of their target customers and competitors. The researchers use tools like the focus groups or the census to gather information which in turn is used by the manager for the purpose of analysis  and for creation of messages. Smaller companies hire a third party researcher to collect information rather than a full time staff, which is being kept by large companies. (Singh,2004).The employees handling public relations focuses on  advertising which is unpaid like submitting press releases to the media which will attract the attention to the company. Public Relations employees include those media spokespersons who are responsible for conducting interviews with the members of the media or prepare the executives of the company who gets interviewed by the media. Finally the creative services team consists of the graphic and the web designers who helps in portraying the company image and brand in front of  public eye. This team may help the manager in creating any layout and design to portray the   image  of the company that the Vice President and Manager has decided for their business. (Aaker,2001)

 

The organization structure and hierarchy varies and with it the involvement of marketing techniques also differs but the level of marketing remains higher in almost every organization of an average size. We can now discuss about the marketing strategies implemented by the fast moving consumer goods sector by giving a good example of MARICO Industries and its growth in the FMCG sector. The Indian FMCG sector is characterized by an established distribution network, which poses a stiff competition between the organized and unorganized sector. The main segments can be classified into personal care, household care and packaged foods and beverages. There can be several product lines for a particular organization hence the structure depends from companies to companies where separate managers are appointed for different product lines. Some of the chief characteristics of such an industry are giving importance to brand building, which suggests that the creation of a strong brand is important for any FMCG company as the name of the brand sells the products in high capacities. A relatively high amount of money is spend by companies to promote and develop these brands in which the creative agencies are highly involved. A good understanding of the customers needs helps these players to create and offer different products. Some brands create a customer loyalty by providing good quality products for a long period of time whereas others create a brand value by offering innovative products and through strong advertising and sales promotion strategies. Another important factor for their success lies in their distribution networks which is of high acclaimed value. The strength of the distribution network allows a brand to grow and the key elements include the C&F agents, whole sellers and retailers. These intermediaries ensure the presence of the brand in every corner of the subcontinent by providing unlimited support to the customers. We can now focus our attention to see how MARICO as a parent brand established its various product lines by incorporating new and innovative strategies(Woods,2004). Parachute continues to prove its dominance in the Indian hair oil market. The series of initiatives including micro marketing by MARICO has paid of. The parent company launched small packs at low prices in order to  attract the loose coconut oil users to Parachute in the Indian market. In February 2006, MARICO acquired Nihar to add to their coconut oil portfolio thereby establishing the brand in the Indian Oil Market. Saffola, which is MARICO’s refined edible oil brand has been strongly positioned in the market due to its advertising efforts. It is associated with World Heart Day and encourages people to walk. A new television commercial  with a tagline “Babu Samjho Ishare” acts as a wake up call , focusing on the need to shift to a healthier lifestyle. The high quality of Saffola’s advertising has also felicitated them with several awards. Thus MARICO’s efforts and effective marketing strategies have proved to be influential thereby establishing it as a brand to reckon with and a leader in the highly competitive FMCG industry. (Chaharbaghi,1999).

 

We will now discuss the marketing strategies used in the life insurance sector and how these strategies help in enhancing sales of a product which ultimately leads to customer satisfaction. The insurance industry often suffers from challenges like increased operation costs, regulatory pressures, and inflexible technology. In order to fight with these pressures the insurance companies adapts to certain marketing strategies keeping in mind the external and internal environment. The marketing mix plays a vital role in implementing a successful strategy for the insurance service sector. The 7P’s in this case can be briefly discussed. In case of insurance companies their products are the services that they manufacture for their clients. Apart from the insurance that a consumer buys as a product they also purchase the services like the advise of the agent and assistance. Hence while creating these services both the customer satisfaction and employer benefit should be kept in mind. For deciding the insurance premium companies consider certain factors like the investment earnings, expenses etc. The place management for insurance companies needs new vision and effectiveness on the branch officials to make these decisions productive. On the promotional perspective insurance companies depends on effective measures for impulsive buying. Promotions mostly includes advertising and other publicity tactics. The people involved in this industry includes all the customers, employees, management and everybody working in the organization. As it is a service industry which involves high customer interaction training and development should be provided to the staff to ensure better understanding of customers. The process in an insurance industry should be customer friendly. Lastly it is the after sales service which can be provided to the insurance customers in the form of policy certificates and premium pay slips. With the detailed analysis of the 7P’s we can now look forward to the execution with the help of advertising, sales promotions, technology, distribution channels and customer relationship management. (Balaji,2002).

Advertising as well as personal selling creates a positive effect on customers. Both the direct and indirect strategies should be mixed in equal proportions to get a desired result. The companies are responsible in providing proper reasons to the customers for buying an insurance. By finding a  customer mix with high income and targeting them to get the insurance can be another good promotional strategy.  On the technological front, new information and communication technologies are allowing the insurers to outsource the functions to various providers. (Kandampully,2002).

 

A good customer relationship management involves good customer analysis which includes certain actions like prompt issue of documents, fair settlement of demands, good listening capacity, better approach to solve problems and meet requirements of customers from time to time.The CRM ensures better service by protecting them against risks therefore enabling them to retain existing customers and attract new ones into the business. (Chandok,2006).

The distribution network plays a very important role in the insurance industry. Insurance can be sold in a better way through advanced modes like ATM, banks, post office, departmental store etc which can be used as channels to increase the selling of insurance.  Hence we can say that the new and improved marketing strategies are vital for the survival  of companies in the insurance sector. Companies instead of focusing only on improvement of products should also concentrate on targeting new segments in a desired market and implement new strategies to achieve growth and enhance profitability in the business.(Ryan,2009).

We can now put our focus on the marketing strategies that are used in the hotel industry to remove competition and to gather revenue. We will discuss about 2 five star hotels and evaluate how they have become successful by the implementation of appropriate marketing strategies.  HYATT which is a famous  hospitality firm  reckoned globally, a leading brand which has sustained for a glorious 50 years with help of its innovation techniques. The mission has been to provide good hospitality by creating a difference in the lives of people. The OBEROI  five star hotel has also become a famous name with the help of its guest preferences, relationship marketing techniques, technology, media planning and environmental awareness.

To conclude the above discussion we can sum up the points that marketing elements forms the structure of any industry. For a business to get established and to stand out in the competition requires good strategies which needs to be crisp, innovative, intellectual and different from the competitors. In the above essay we have pinpointed the pros and cons of marketing strategies and analysis for any industry to perform. Our focus has ranged from direct and personal selling to advertising and distribution channels, to its relevance with the organizational hierarchy, to digitalization. We have also discussed the functioning of the FMCG and the Insurance sector and also a brief about the hotel industry. Finally we have concluded that various organizations have different hierarchy with marketing at its backdrop.

 

References

  • Aaker, D.A, 2001, ‘Developing Business Strategies, 6th ed. Canada: John Wiley & Sons’.

  • Balaji, B,2002, Services Marketing and Management. New Delhi, S.Chand & Company Ltd.

  • Belch, G.E. & Belch, M.A, 2004, ‘Advertising and Promotion: an Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective’, 6th ed., international ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

  • Booms, B.H. and Bitner, M.J. (1981), “Marketing Strategies and Organization Structures for Service Firms”, Marketing of Services. Donnelly J.H and George W.R. Chicago: American Marketing Association, pp.

  • Chaffey, Dave, Johnson,Kevin, Mayer, Richard, 2012, ‘Digital Marketing, Strategy, Implementation and Practice’, Pearson, 5th

  • Chandok,Anil, 2006, ‘Application of CRM in the Insurance Sector. Insurance Chronicle’.

  • Chaharbaghi, K. & Lynch, R, 1999, ‘Sustainable competitive advantage: towards a dynamic resource-based strategy’, Management Decision.

  • “International Journal of Marketing, Financial Services & Management Research”,2012,1, Issue 11.

  • Kotler, P, Burton, S, Deans, K,R, Brown, L, Armstrong,G 2013, Marketing, 9th

  • Kurtz, D.L. & Clow, K.E. 1998. Services Marketing. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Ma, H, 1999, ‘Creation and pre-emption for competitive advantage’, Management Decision, 37(3): 259–266.

  • Ryan, Damian, Jones, Calvin, 2009, Understanding Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategies for engaging the Digital Generation, Kogan Page Ltd.

  • Singh Tony Anuroop, 2004, ‘Challenging Opportunity. Asia Insurance Post’, 28-29.

  • https://www.info.shine.com, Industry Information “FMCG industry an Overview”, retrieved on Sept. 15, 2012.

  • Wood, R,2004,‘Delivering customer value generates positive business results: a position paper’, Futurics, 28(1/2): 59–64.
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