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SWOT Analysis of American Express

Describe about the Marketing Management for American Express.

The report focuses on the marketing audit that is being conducted by famous multinational company American Express in its new target market Australia. The aim of conducting the market audit is to increase the sales of various types of credit cards of the company to its target customers. The target customers of American Express in Australia are the young employed workforce that belongs to middle-income group. American Express is a company that has its presence among many countries of the world i.e. 130 countries. It is a reputed company, which has been established as an express delivery service of United States in 1850. It is seen that the company has maintained its reputation in the global market as a market leader most of the times in its sector of industry (Saenko et al. 2016). Tradition and innovation are the aspects that are embraced by the company in its products and service towards the customers. It can be said that American Express has its highest market presence in the countries of Asia Pacific region such as Japan. High net income revenue is generated by the organization from the target customers present in the market. However, the Australian market of American Express is not profitable when compared to other markets of Asia Pacific region. Hence, the company is trying to diversify its market towards new segment so that they can fulfil their organizational goals along with generation of profit for the company. Research has said that American Express in Australia have to refund net tax position of $3.3 million in seven the ending of seven years (West et al. 2015).

It is the reason of formulating marketing strategies along with targeting new sets of customers from the region. Different aspects are covered in the market audit of American Express such as SWOT Analysis, PEST Analysis, stakeholder analysis, customer analysis, competitor analysis, organizational background along with environmental scan of American Express. The above aspects are described in detail so that American Express can easily proceed with their new marketing audit to gather actual data required for formulating marketing strategies. American Express is an American multinational financial service enterprise headquartered in World Financial Centres of Manhattan in New York. However, Interbrand and Business Week rank it as 22nd valuable brand across the world. The average estimation of the brand is worth of US$14.97 billion. According to Fortune, American Express is listed under 20 most admires corporations of the world. The company is known for its organizational commitment and blue box values. The blue box values of American Express can be categorized into quality, customer commitment, integrity, teamwork, good citizenship, respect for people, personal accountability, etc. The values are integrated into these aspects of the blue box values. American Express is focused in offering superior value propositions to the target customers (Ward and Peppard 2016). It operates with economics of best class. Apart from that, the company is focused in maintaining itself as world’s most trusted brand not only in United States of America but also in other countries of the world. The product category of American Express consists of various types of credit cards that are formulated for different types of customers. American Express targets not only to the higher income group of people but also to the middle-income group people.

STRENGHTS

WEAKNESSES

Established brand name

Geographically diverse and revenue should help shield the business from shocks from any one part of their business. Globally and internationally, American Express has won awards such as JD Powers and AON Hewitt Best Employer Awards.

Global Market Leader

Amex possesses economies of scale, higher margins, revenues and other significant benefits, such as the ability to raise debt at lower cost.

Asset Leverage

Long term positive impact on its entity which can add to its value.

Size Advantages

Larger player globally and has cost advantages. 

Customer Loyalty

Amex provides strong and excellent customer services which shows on their score card metrics. American Express ranks highest in Customer Satisfaction awards.

Unique Financial Products

It has variety of financial products such as credit and charge cards including co-brand cards. It provides best in class member rewards program.

Financial Leverage

Strategic business and financial plan that uses financial leverage to sustain the economy.


Technologies
American Express Technologies (AET) supports American Express' quest to become the world's most respected service brand by finding innovative ways to leverage technology. 

Responsible Credit Cards

The shift in spending patterns and dent management habits rewards companies like American Express that specializes in these types of transactions.

Solid Balance Sheet

Stable balance sheet and historical results has shown that Amex has maintained a steady balance sheet throughout financial crisis.

Customer Relationships needs to improve.

It is a difficult qualitative factor to overcome.

Bad Acquisition hurts American Express business.

Travelers Cheques business is declining.

Lack of debit cards

Marketing Plan for American Express

The market audit that is being conducted in the Australian market is to target the middle-income young employed people of Australia so that they can create a brand value at a new dimension in the Australian market. However, environmental scan of American Express includes SWOT Analysis along with PEST analysis (Smart and Conant 2014). The strengths of the company include strong brand image, global leader, financial leverages, unique financial services and products, technological dearth, responsible credit cards, loyalty of customers, size of employees and asset leverage. On the other hand, there are few threats are also there that American Express face while operating in the existing markets as well as penetrating foreign markets. The threats include crisis in credit market, political risk, diminished consumer spending, government regulations, and changed financial spending, market trend and intense competition. American Express is known for leveraging its opportunities while penetrating a new market. The company for its growth leverages numerous opportunities of American Express. International expansion, fragmented market, financial innovation and technological advancements are the list of opportunities of American Express in the global market. The competitor analysis along with customer analysis will help the company to conduct the marketing plan for the Australian market (Vasudevan and Kumar 2014). The marketing audit is the channel through which American Express can gather substantial amount of information and data that can help it in formulating effective strategies for the new target segments of customers.

Marketing plan is referred to as a part of the business plan for an organization that includes few things such as extensive market research, competitor analysis, budget of the marketing plan, goals of the plan, monitoring measures of the actions of the plan, formulating strategies of accomplishing the marketing plan (Hawkes 2013). American Express will focus on these activities after conducting the marketing audit in order to formulate an effective market plan for its new target customers in the Australian market. Apart from that, there must be a purpose of the marketing plan for the company that will help American Expressing in achieving the marketing goals as well as the organizational goals. The economic statistics of Australia as per October 5 2016 are: Economic growth is 3.3%, inflation 1.0%, cash rate 1.5%, 1.4% annual growth in population, average weekly earnings is $1.161, household saving ratio 8.0%, average cost of residential dwellings is $623,000.

Marketing objectives of American Express is focused on the value proposition of its strategies at every stages of the plan. The marketing objectives of the marketing plan formulating for increased sales of American Express is illustrated in the form of SMART objectives.

Marketing Objectives of American Express

Specific (S) - The marketing objective of American Express is to target the young employed middle income group people of Australia. The plan will be formulated to increase the sales of the company among the new target customers of the company (Papasolomou et al. 2014).

Measurable (M) - Some factors are to be set that are important to measure the effectiveness and progress of the marketing plan in the target market. Australia is a booming market where American Express can tap people for revenue generation. The target of American Express Australia is to increase the total revenue by 5% and operating expenses by 7%. The net income is lower in 2015 compared to previous years. The aim is to increase the net income in the year 2016 (Americanexpress 2016).

Achievable (A) – There will be many challenges in accomplishing the marketing goals in the Australian market. Alternative plans are to be formulated and the people that are associated with the marketing department of American Express. Action plan for the marketing plan must be ready if the accepted plan will not work in the practical field (Hollensen 2015).

Realistic (R) – The strategies of marketing must be relevant and realistic with the market condition. It must be resonant, result oriented and resource based.

Timely (T) – Time maintenance is an important aspect that is required for the success of the marketing plan. The strategies that are formulated in the marketing plan must be commenced within a stipulated time. The success of the plan is dependent on the time based and time specific approach of American Express in the field of marketing (Naghiu 2015).

Apart from that, there should be mission statement along with the marketing goals that was set before formulating and implementing the market strategy. The mission statement of the marketing of American Express is to refund the amount of net tax position along with the increase the sales of the cards.

This section of the report will discuss about the implementation of the theoretical models of various theories of marketing mix such as 7Ps of marketing mix. Tactics of marketing are known as marketing mix. It is the theoretical aspects as well as practical implementation of the proposed plan of increased awareness of the product among the minds of the customers. The aim of the marketing mix is to reinforce the brand and the products among the minds of young people of Australia. The marketing tactics of American Express are described in the format of 7Ps of marketing (Kotler et al. 2015).

7Ps of Marketing Mix

Implementation of American Express

Product

There are many types of credit cards are developed by American Express for the Australian employed youths. The range of products include Amex Platinum cards, Amex essential credit cards, Velocity Escape card, Velocity Platinum card, David Jones card, etc. Apart from that, there is Blue cards that are following the philosophy of “do more” American Express uses latest technologies in manufacturing the card so that it can attract the youth customers. The concept of “look and feel” provides the feeling of a Titanium card to the youth segment of customers. The cards itself acts as a branding of the company.

Place

The company itself distributes the cards of American Express. It does not believe in mass advertisement of its brand in the Australian market. The products and services of American Express are unique. The selling points of the products are direct sales, peer-to-peer and multichannel sales (Jain 2013). The information of the products is transferred to the target customers via account balance info and credit history. Apart from that, the sales personnel also target the multinational corporations of Australia for High net worth customers.

Price

Penetration pricing and cost plus pricing are the pricing strategies that are adopted by American Express to tap the young middle income group individuals of the Australian subcontinent. There are many competitors present in the Australian market. However, the strong brand image of American Express convinces the customers to pay premium price for the cards offered by it (Hammond et al. 2015). The blue credit card is priced high when compared to credit cards of other banks of Australia. But due to the strong brand image the young people will ready to pay any amount for availing the benefits provided by the company.

Promotion

American Express is not present in mass advertising media. Various types of endorsements along with direct mailing, free gifts, bulk email to the customers of the company. Promotion is a vital aspect of the 7Ps of marketing mix that should be emphasized by American Express this time (Gordon 2012). In Australia, the product and services are new along with the target customers. Digital promotion is the important aspect that can engage most young people in the social media channels. On the other hand, digital marketing is comparatively very cheap than other traditional methods of advertising.

People

People of American Express include management, employees, culture, and customer service of the company. The company gives priority to the people associated with it because the employees are responsible for the generation of revenue and maintaining other operations within the organization (Cross et al. 2013). The culture and diversity of Australia are important aspect in formulating the marketing strategies. Awareness of brand in the Australian market must follow few features in the Australian culture.

Process

Process is relevant to the service industry. The whole process of creating the service within the company is described as delivering its value and range of features to the customers. The process is an important factor in the marketing mix, as it is the aspect that focus on the delivery of products and services of American Express to its target customers (Chaffey et al. 2012). The people associated of the company are trained in a way so that they can provide excellent services to the customers. Convincing customers are the vital aspect that can help the company in collecting more revenue from the Australian market.

Physical Environment

Apart from that, there are other people associated with the company. They are digital encounters, sales counters, staff contact experience of the company. The people of American Express are targeted for the interaction with the customers so that they can make the people interested with the products and services (Bhardwaj and Maharshi 2014). The physical environment of American Express is the area where the company interacts with the customer or where the products are kept. It is also the area where the services of the company are provided to the Australian youth.

The marketing tactics included in the product are product designing using innovative technology. In the price category, cost plus pricing and penetration pricing is to be followed. Promotional tactics include digital marketing tactics, direct marketing, social marketing tactics, etc. In the section of people, training should be provided so that they can capture prospect and complete the process of sales. Process includes the tactics where there would be involved in providing good service to people.

The marketing plan of American Express should be communicated to the senior management team of American Express Australia, Sales team, stakeholders of the company, marketing department and other people associated with the implementation of the marketing tactics. The marketing and sales team of the American Express Australia along with the marketing team are associated with the marketing tactics (Armstrong et al. 2014). The marketing tactics will be completed within eight months. It is explained in the timetable explained below.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

Using technology for card manufacturing

Area of promotion

Implementation of cost plus pricing

Social media promotion

Training to the sales associate

Decoration of the outlets and the space where customer interactions take place

Quality services provided to the customer

The above table illustrates that manufacture of cards will take two months of time with the usage of modern technologies. Implementation of cost plus pricing strategy will require one month for the cards that will be launched for the young customers of the Australian subcontinent. The promotional part includes digital platforms mostly that will be completed within five months of time. In the first month, American Express would develop their website of Australia about the new products and services (Boonpradub and Thechatakerng 2015). In the second month, the social media marketers of the company should engage themselves in targeting customers in the social media platforms and website of the company. In the next month, the company should develop pay per click campaign so that whenever people will search about credit cards, the website of American Express should come first. It will take one month of time. In the next month, the social media marketers must convert the viewers of the online channels into potential customers. The next category is people. The sales associate and the people who will be interacting with the customers will be provided training related to the new cards so that they can provide all the detailed information about the new services and product offerings for various sets of customers. A training of 3 months will be provided that will be divided into different slots. Process means the whole process of formulating the services of the new products i.e. credit cards for the target customers. The whole process would require minimum of three months and after that, again the cycle is reversed. Physical environment refers to the place where the people associated with the company are interacting with the customers of American Express. It should be attractive and eye catching as the target customers belongs to the young employed groups of Australia. The decoration will take a minimum of three months of time.

A sub header for what category of contingency would be better, example product strategy, avoid using the word back up plan.

A contingency plan must be formulated as a back up plan for the marketing plan of American Express.

Pricing strategy: The contingency marketing plan of American Express includes implementation of penetration pricing of the cards if the cost plus pricing does not work. The ultimate motto of the company is to increase the sales of the company at any how (Aghaei et al. 2014). Another aspect is that if the company fails in conversion of viewers into potential customers, then the sales associate will take more responsibility to provide the details of the new cards of the company to the existing customers.

Promotion: American Express can also do campaigns on shopping malls of Australia to tap many youth customers. Shopping malls are the place where many young people spent their time in shopping. The company can target the popular shopping malls of Australia. It will take time of minimum four months to complete mall promotion campaign among eight malls of Australia (Westwood 2013).

Alternative methods: Apart from these methods, direct mails or sms can be sent to the customers of the company to provide the notification about the launch of new products of American Express along with the services associated with the cards.

Conclusion

The report consists of description of the marketing plan of American Express Australia. The company has been conducted a marketing audit so that it can gain an idea about the target market along with the market trends and competitor analysis. The marketing audit provides the guideline top the company in formulating a marketing plan that would fulfil the objectives of the company. The objective of American Express Australia is to increase the profit of the company by collecting substantial revenue from the Australian market. It is seen that Australia is a country where there are many opportunities of growing American Express in various field. It is due to the good economic condition of the country that is responsible for increased spending habits of the Australian people. The report describes about different marketing objectives of the company in the form SMART objectives. The SMART objectives of marketing describe the goals of marketing of American Express in a detailed manner. Theoretical explanation of 7Ps of marketing mix is described in a way so that the marketing tactics are included in the theoretical framework. Apart from that, contingency plan and implementation plan of the marketing strategy of American Express are formulated so that the back up plan can help the company in achieving the marketing goals along with organization goals.

References

Aghaei, M., Vahedi, E., Kahreh, M.S. and Pirooz, M., 2014. An examination of the relationship between services marketing mix and brand equity dimensions. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 109, pp.865-869.

Armstrong, G., Adam, S., Denize, S. and Kotler, P., 2014. Principles of marketing. Pearson Australia.

Bhardwaj, N. and Maharshi, N., 2014. Interplay of 7Ps of Marketing Mix in Customer Acquisition: An Empirical Study of Retail Banking. The International Journal of Business & Management, 2(8), p.96.

Boonpradub, W. and Thechatakerng, P., 2015. Brand Endorsement by Celebrity in Thailand: 7Ps of Marketing Mix and the Impact of Brand Alliance. International Journal of Trade, Economics and Finance, 6(1), p.8.

Chaffey, D., Smith, P.R. and Smith, P.R., 2012. eMarketing eXcellence: Planning and optimizing your digital marketing. Routledge.

Cross, K.F. and Lynch, R.L., 2013. The “SMART” way to define and sustain success. National Productivity Review, 8(1), pp.23-33.

Gordon, R., 2012. Re-thinking and re-tooling the social marketing mix.Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 20(2), pp.122-126.

Hammond, J., Keeney, R. and Raiffa, H., 2015. Smart choices: A practical guide to making better decisions. Harvard Business Review Press.

Hawkes, K., 2013. First principles in developing a Marketing plan. Food New Zealand, 13(6), p.19.

Hollensen, S., 2015. Marketing management: A relationship approach. Pearson Education.

Ir.americanexpress.com. (2016). Annual report American Express 2015. [online] Available at: https://ir.americanexpress.com/Cache/1500081626.PDF?O=PDF&T=&Y=&D=&FID=1500081626&iid=102700 [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].

Jain, M.K., 2013. An analysis of marketing mix: 7Ps or more. Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 1(4).

Kotler, P., Burton, S., Deans, K., Brown, L. and Armstrong, G., 2015.Marketing. Pearson Higher Education AU.

Naghiu, M.O., 2015. SMART MARKETING THE KEY TO SMART CONSUMPTION?!. Agricultura, agricultural practice and science journal,95(3-4).

Papasolomou, I., Thrassou, A., Vrontis, D. and Sabova, M., 2014. Marketing public relations: A consumer-focused strategic perspective. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 13(1), pp.5-24.

Saenko, N.R., Sozinova, A.A., Karabulatova, I.S., Akhmetov, I.V., Mamatelashvili, O.V. and Pismennaya, E.E., 2016. Research in action integrated marketing communications as the elements of information and virtualization market relations. International Review of Management and Marketing, 6(1S), pp.267-272.

Smart, D.T. and Conant, J.S., 2014. Entrepreneurial orientation, distinctive marketing competencies and organizational performance. Journal of applied business research, 10(3), p.28.

Vasudevan, M. and Kumar, V.S., 2014. A study on the customer satisfaction towards the retail marketing mix offered by the select organised multi brand retail outlets with special reference to Coimbatore city. International Journal of Management, IT and Engineering, 4(11), p.80.

Ward, J. and Peppard, J., 2016. The Strategic Management of Information Systems: Building a Digital Strategy. John Wiley & Sons.

West, D., Ford, J. and Ibrahim, E., 2015. Strategic marketing: creating competitive advantage. Oxford University Press.

Westwood, J., 2013. How to write a marketing plan. Kogan Page Publishers.

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