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Key Elements of Marketing Activities: 4 Ps Approach

Learning Outcome 3

 Learning Outcome 3

Using a range of different organisations across a wide range of sectors, highlight what you believe to be key elements of their marketing activities which enables them to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals.

By undertaking research into the current marketing activities of UK-based firms you will be able to link academic marketing content with current practise which demonstrate the relevance and validity of various fundamentals of marketing.

Focusing on the 4 Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Place), you are required to produce a portfolio which demonstrates this.

Within each ‘P’ section you should;

  • Provide an academic definition of the ‘P’ 
  • Choose key marketing components associated with this section and provide examples which link the theory and the practice 
  • Every marketing component that you choose must have a properly referenced academic definition or explanation 
  • The examples chosen must be current examples from the UK 
  • You can either focus on one company for all of your examples in the section or use a number of different ones if you think it helps provide a more relevant example 
  • Allocate equal word count to each P.  Each section is worth 25 marks 
  • Word count 3,000 words (excluding reference page) 
  • Marks will be deducted for poor referencing 
  • You can use images to highlight examples relevant to your answer 
  • Late submissions up to one week will lose 10% of the total mark.

Key Issues

This is a research-led assessment. You are expected to gather information from UK marketing sources such as Marketing Week, Retail Week, Econsultancy, BBC Business, Campaign, The Drum, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Times.

You must not access sites which provide essays for sales to students. These sites often provide ‘free’ samples, but you should never access them. Avoid an over-reliance on the company website – use it sparingly for factual information.

Don’t attempt to provide a history of the company or list what they do.  Your focus is on demonstrating your academic knowledge of marketing by using these firms as an example You are not writing a report, don’t include a contents page, introduction or conclusion.

Don’t begin with a definition of the marketing mix – this isn’t asked for. Start immediately with Product, then Price, Promotion and Place Do not use online dictionaries or resources for your academic definitions – you must utilise marketing textbooks

Each assessment should be submitted to Turnitin. It is your responsibility to ensure that no plagiarism issues are flagged up by the system.  It is essential that you submit your work prior to the final deadline date to check if there is an issue with your work.  If any potential plagiarism issues are identified then you should amend your work by re-writing it and including a reference where possible.   

Use paragraphs for each element of the marketing mix and leave 2 clear spaces between each paragraph.

An excellent answer will make use of a number of different marketing textbooks, be referenced properly and have a low similarity figure on Turnitin.   It will be concise, use relevant examples and highlight your knowledge of how the marketing mix is utilised by various companies – every marketing term used will be defined and explained.   

The marketing topics chosen will be focused and best-suited to this assessment.  Evidence of wider research into the choice of relevant examples will be relevant.  There will also be an equal balance allocated to each of the four marketing mix components.  It will also provide evidence of wider reading from external sources eg Mintel report, marketing magazines etc.

Key Issues

A good answer will utilise some academic textbooks, describe accurately most of the components of the marketing mix and highlight how different firms utilise the marketing mix.  There should be an equal balance between each marketing mix element but it’s possible that one section may not be as strong as the others.  There may be a tendency to describe what a firm has done or regurgitate class notes without always focusing on the example.

A weak answer will lack academic definitions and be descriptive of what a company does but without applying it to a relevant mix component. There will be an imbalance between the marketing mix components eg too many words on one of the Ps and not enough written about the others.  It will also be evident that limited research has taken place.  The choice of companies will probably be large, well-known companies rather than looking for a strong and relevant example first.  There will be heavy regurgitation of class notes without attempting to read what the question is asking for. 

Below is an example of what an answer should look like if you had been asked to provide information on the Process element of the extended marketing mix. 

What is ‘process’?   Jones (2009) states that “…..It begins with the prospects very first contact with the service-providing organisation” and “could be a brochure, a visit, a website, making a phone call or calling into an office”.  Bradley (2014) states that it focuses mainly on the service industry and is related to the ‘how’ aspect of service delivery’  process as the way in which a service is provided. 

Service recovery is defined as company's resolution of a problem from a dissatisfied customer, converting them into a loyal customer….. It is the action a service provider takes in response to service failure (Kotler 2016).  My experience of this was when I complained to the Holiday Inn about the quality of my hotel room.  The manager came and apologised and upgraded me to a higher quality room at no extra charge.   Dibb et al (2018) state that resolving complaints at the earliest stage is the best way to ensure service recovery takes place. In this example I was originally unhappy but the company’s swift actions ensured I remain a loyal customer. 

Self-service technologies (SSTS) is defined as ‘’any point of sale or service in which a customer can bypass without interacting with another human” (Davidson, 2019, p.243).     Today’s self-service ordering kiosks are ….helping enterprises deliver the speed and convenience customers expect, while providing a way forward to reopening restaurants from the Covid-19 crisis” (Mintel, 2021).   

What is Process?

McDonald’s originally trialled these in 2011 before rolling them out nationwide in the last few years.  Their aim was to improve customer service and improve customer satisfaction. (Aila, 2020).    Evidence that this is helping them comes from the Institute of Customer Service ‘Customer Satisfaction Index’ when McDonald’s score increased from 77% to 81.5% over two years, moving them up to 21st overall in the UK (ICS, 2020)An example of a McDonald’s self-service kiosk (McDonald’s 2021) 

Mobile marketing is a multi-channel, digital marketing approach aimed at reaching a target audience on their mobile phones and tablets (Chaffney, 2018), One aspect of this is the use of apps which improve the ordering process.    Apps are quicker, more interactive and easier to navigate compared to websites…..websites help to create brand awareness but apps are where most sales are incurred (Brown 2018).   Domino’s launched their ordering app in the UK in 2014 (Smith, 2020) and in 2020 94.3% of their sales come from online orders (Statista 2021).  The use of the app helps to reduce the time spend on answering telephone calls and taking payment details. 

This is how the company promotes the use of its app to customers;

Order and pay for your food in our app and we'll start to prepare it for you as soon as you are close to the restaurant. To collect your meal……..go to the restaurant entrance and they will let you know the you can go inside to collect your order(Domino’s 2020) 

This approach helps enhance the customer-restaurant relationship…. and provides the firm with a complete sales dashboard with detailed information about orders, demand, timings (Restlab 2020). 

The benefits of delivering food direct to customers’ homes means restaurants are not limited to the size of their restaurant or the number of cars who can drive through and can lead to increased sales, increased efficiency and more satisfied customers (Abercrombie 2020). 

McDonald’s have teamed up with Just Eat to enable home deliveries to take place with the launch of ‘McDelivery’ (Marketing Week 2020).   However, Smith (20018) made the point that outsourcing of aspects of the process, such as Deliveroo and food deliveries, could be a potential problem for service providers.  This is an area of the process delivery McDonald’s will no doubt be aware of and is why their website has details of where complaints should be made to:  If you have a customer complaint or relevant comments please contact McDonald’s Customer Service (McDonald’s 2020) 

If you look at this example then note;

Wide range of academic resources used

Every process term has a definition and explanation,  

Limited use of company websites

Images used where appropriate

No description of the company or outline of its history

Focus on providing examples which link to marketing topic,

UK focus with current examples,

No use of sites like MBA Skool or BBC Bitesized (which is aimed at secondary school),

Appropriate use of Mintel reports.

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