Marketing strategy is the most significant aspect which is important in the present competitive business world. In the light of marketing strategy the important decisions regarding the products so off red by the concerned company are carried out to match up with the expectations of the prospective consumers. The report presented here is related with analysis of the effectiveness of marketing strategy adopted on part of a particular company and the organization so selected here is Marks and Spencer. The sole need to analyze about the marketing effectiveness of any company can be realized that it is directly related with the revenues of the company (Alon 2000).
So in this manner it can be evidently stated that to increase an organizations revenues there is need to increase the focus on marketing and its effectiveness. There are several ways in which marketing investments and returns on them are realized by the company. In other words it can be stated that effective marketing leads to certain byproducts and these are in terms of organizational revenues. Along with this it is also important to state that there are many risks which are required to be calculated before any marketing plan is devised and implemented. This is because the risks and odd elements can lead to devastating results if not eliminated in the earlier stage of the whole process.
Gone are the days when the companies used to make use of simple and direct marketing channels but now with advent of time things have changed and this is the era of multi-channel marketing strategies. All the facts about the popular practices being carried out in relation with marketing effectiveness will be discussed in scope of this report and there is need to have some information about the concerned organization in light of which the whole task will be performed. Marks and Spencer is specified to be a retailing company and holds a great position in the eyes of the consumers. There are two reasons which are identified nd because of which Marks and Spencer is believed to be a legendary brand in field of retailing and these are the management style of the company and organizational leaders.
There are several organizational practices which have been acknowledged by the consumers an even competitors and this has happened only because of the leaders and their innovative steps at Marks and Spencer. The most important thing to mention about Marks and Spencer is the fact that it is a managerial giant and this reason being there is need to follow effective practices in each and every organizational aspects. The scope of this paper is only limited to the marketing practices and their effectiveness but these practices are somehow are related with other activities of the company in one way or the other (Cooper and Nakanishi 1998).
It is an evident fact to state here that Marks and Spencer enjoys great status and it is regarded to be the best managed company in entire Europe. This was the initial stage when the company got popularized among the consumers but later came a time period in the late nineties where things did not went down well and this was believed to be the declining stage of Marks and Spencer. The decline was realized in various organizational fields and to mention the sales figures were not appropriate and the market share of the company in the retailing sector also started to shrink. At the same time as a result of declining sales figures and the shrinking market share of the company the revenues and the profits so generated also started to decline.
This was something very important to be taken care off as profits are believed to be the bottom line for existence of any company. The image and reputation enjoyed by the company began to tarnish and this was the main reason Marks and Spencer was required to transform its marketing strategies in a way that some control should be exercised on the existing situation. To gain an insight about the marketing strategies followed at Marks and Spencer it is important to have some idea about the prevalent marketing strategies which are popularly being followed on part of various organizations. In the next section of this report the marketing strategies will be explained and post that the effectiveness of the marketing strategies of Marks and Spencer will be analyzed.
Types of Marketing Strategies
There are various types of marketing strategies which are generally followed by companies to grab attention of the consumers and these are used separately from each other as well as in combination to one or the other. The main of any marketing campaign is to make the target people aware about the products and services offered on part of any company and for his purpose there are several ways are being used these days. Earlier only the traditional ways were being used for the purpose of marketing but with advent of time information technology has made its way and sue of internet has become prevalent for marketing practices.
The major emphasis is laid on use of latest marketing technologies when any company is planning out its marketing plan and this reason being every other day a new marketing strategy is out in market and it imposes some pressure on existing companies to alter their marketing strategies and make ways to incorporate the latest strategies which have become popular in the eyes of prospects. The broad way of classifying the number of marketing strategies form one other there is need to take account of use of internet. Those making sue of tradition ways is classified as one set while the other marketing strategies involved with the use of internet can be defined as the second group.
The very first marketing strategy to be discussed in this regard is termed as internet marketing itself. It is inclusive of all the varied forms of marketing practices which are base on the use of internet and related forms of information technology. These types of marketing practices are carried out by companies which are keen to target all the consumers who are aware of internet and are associated with a different class and lifestyles. This was the perception associated with internet marketing in the earlier days but now as the time has passed both use and popularity of internet has increased and people are getting more used to about all such techniques (Shaw 1998).
Internet has become a very indifferent part of our daily life and this reason being companies are keen to use such marketing practices which are sure of grabbing more and more of consumer attention. Along with the peoples life internet has a great say in the activities which are performed on part of various organizational departments and at the same time internet also plays a crucial role in interconnecting these different departments with each other. Internet marketing is believed to be termed as online marketing also and there are various forms to it which are defined as video advertisements, search engine marketing and e-mail marketing (Zentes, Morschett and Klein 2011).
The above sated examples and the description about the scope and range of internet marketing explains that it is exactly opposite to the second type of marketing strategy which is popularly used on part of companies and it is termed as offline marketing. There are certain crucial elements which are required to be fulfilled when one company plans out to make use of internet marketing. All these crucial aspects indicate about the designs, areas and development approaches used at the time of advertisement creation. It is a common practice with verified results that in contrast with company which is making use of a website only the other company with great designer advertisements will be more vigilant and successful in the consumer eyes.
Apart from online marketing there is offline marketing and it accounts for all the possible ways in which the companies make their products and services presentable in the public domain so that a considerable increase in their sales figures is carried out. To illustrate further about the offline marketing practices the popular techniques of this section can be stated here and they are local advertising in newspapers and on television, hoarding, billboards and the likes. For having a overview about the marketing practices which are popularly being followed on parts of varied companies it is clearly visible that there is need to strike a perfect balance among the online marketing efforts and the offline marketing efforts (Challenges faced by marks and Spencer 2012).
The same technique is being employed by the concerned management giant and retailing company Marks and Spencer. The close association among the offline and online marketing efforts of the companies will account for multiplier effect. The companies will get more and more exposure in the public domain and as a result of striking this balance the use and purpose of a perfect marketing plan will be realized to the greatest possible extent. Same is the case with Marks and Spencer as the company is keen to make use of both online and offline marketing practices and to make most of the available opportunities (Lynch 2007).
Along with the above stated two marketing forms there are several other types of marketing practices and they can be defined as inbound marketing, outbound marketing, newsletter marketing, article marketing, tradeshow marketing, search marketing, direct marketing, niche marketing, social media marketing, drip marketing, referral marketing, guerilla marketing , promotional marketing, affiliate marketing, reverse marketing, business to business marketing, viral marketing, mobile marketing, telemarketing, direct mail marketing, business to consumer marketing and personalized marketing (Slack, et al. 2009).
All these tool used in the field of marketing are specified and work well with specified situation and as result of which most of the companies pick out the best associated type to make use and get results from.
Marketing Strategy at Marks and Spencer
In case of our concerned company, which is Marks and Spencer there are several possibilities which state that use of all the above mentioned marketing practices is possible in one situation or the other. But this not possible and does not seem to be viable option as the companies are assigned with specified marketing budgets and making use of which they are required to give desirable results. This indicates that rather making use of all the available option to nay company it will be more judicious to pick out the best option to get more and more results out of them (Jeannet and Hennessey 2005).
In case of Marks and Spencer the company has faced several issues because of which the image of the company got tarnished among the consumers. This explains that to have a effective marketing strategy will require to conceal all the old patches and to give a new and fresh look to the company which is acceptable to the consumers and they feel willing to make use of organizational products and services. The image of the company spoiled in the public domain because of the decisions and verdicts so made by the French courts (Handlin 2012).
At the time of late nineties it was believed that the company was not practicing the correct policies with its workers and was being harsh to them. The so called and well popularized effective management systems of the company was facing failure and people were leaving their hobs like anything and the attrition arte was at its peak. This caused lot many problem areas to be dealt on part of the company and the company was in crisis. All the rescue operations were failed and were not working and at such a critical point of time the only life saving technique comes out in way of any company talks about marketing strategies and their use in the most efficient manners so that the target consumers can be convinced with the whole idea (Marks & Spencer 2012).
The scope of activities associated with the concerned company is very vast and there are lot many stores or outlets of the company. This indicates about the fact that the scale of operations is very large and as result of which the marketing efforts have to work on large scale too. At the same time a very important fact to be mentioned here talks about the need of being correct as there is very less possibility of going wrong and survive back. The above stated fact can be elaborated further as it talks about a keen analysis to choose the most appropriate marketing strategy as the strategy will be practiced on a large scale and if it goes wrong the results will be faced by the company on a large scale which can turn out be devastating in nature (Marks & Spencer 2012).
This is an evident fact that the concerned company, Marks and Spencer, is the largest British retailer with approximately 150 stores in more than 30 countries all over the globe. In addition with this the network of Marks and Spencer also comprises of 130 franchise business units functional in different parts of the world. The popularity enjoyed by the company is also very high and this is fact that vouches for the effectiveness they incorporate in their marketing strategies. There are several uncertainties which are associated with the marketing strategies so devised to be used with any particular company. (Marks & Spencer 2012).
The very first uncertainty to be mentioned here and which was also applicable to our concerned company, Marks and Spencer, talks about the difficulty to accurately allocate measurable returns in associated with the marketing expenses so incurred on part of any company. This is a cruel reality as in spite of carrying out population surveys and generating favorable results form the targeting the marketing strategies fail. This is all because of the subjectivity associated with the consumers which can turn out exactly opposite to the generalized result so derived from the surveys (Meidan 1982).
The marketing strategy so adopted and practiced on part of Marks and Spencer highlights the aspect of global expansion which can also be termed as internationalization of the company. In the first place when we are discussing about the marketing strategy of Marks and Spencer there is need to focus on the initial phase and the improvised and altered new phase of their marketing strategy. This explains that the marketing strategy used on part of Marks and Spencer can be categorized into two separate phases and these phases can be the old phase and the new phase (Hill and Jones 2012).
The old phase comprises of the old marketing strategies which were used on part of Marks and Spencer and it is important to state that these strategies were quite simpler and straight forward in contrast with the multi channel marketing strategies popularly used by various companies active in contemporary business area stuck with cut throat competition. Earlier at Marks and Spencer it was believed to produce high quality goods and simply offer them to the consumers at a reasonable price which is affordable to them but it is not cheap at the same time (McDonald 2011).
The reason for such a philosophy indicated that there is need to position the products and services at a good position in the minds of the prospective consumers. Over positioning and under positioning will cause harm to the products and the consumer will not be able to relate the marketing strategy with the products so offered. So in order to get rid of the problematic situation the company concerned a simple yet effective marketing strategy which was believed to be the essence of effectiveness at Marks and Spencer.
The concerned organization took account of such an important point regarding positioning of their products on a correct level in the minds of prospective consumers talks about the effectiveness itself. Marks and Spencer always maintained a high quality approach towards its products and to practice such a technique the company aimed to become hot favorite among the consumers that they are offering best of the quality at the most reasonable price. This strategy provided immense satisfaction to the consumers that they have made the right decision of purchasing with Marks and Spencer (Marks & Spencer 2012).
Along with the quality aspect there is one more point which was emphasized in case of old marketing strategy at Marks and Spencer. This point indicated the use of brand name and to establish a brand name there is need to make use of most effective and efficient marketing strategies. The sue of marketing strategies is related with the quality aspects as it provides base to the most impactful and impressive marketing strategy which is termed as viral marketing and is also stated in the earlier section o this report. Viral marketing is also defined as word of mouth which is expressed by consumers after making use of the products so offered on part of the company or availing the services which are being provided to the consumers.
Viral marketing is the ultimate key to success when the effectiveness of marketing strategy is talked about as the consumers themselves are keen to inform other consumers about the good and bad aspects of the company products. In this order companies will strive to make use of this technique in a positive manner and hence they automatically need to focus on the quality o products and services which are being offered on their part. The high quality and the affordable prices will be the elements which were being highlighted in case of viral marketing.
As a result of this the company products became popular and Marks and Spencer managed to establish itself as the biggest retailer of the Europe in that era. But as the verdict and decision from the French courts came out the scenario changed completely and the criticism of the concerned company, Marks and Spencer, were the hot topic among people. It was believed that the company is not doing good to the organizational workers and the organizational consumers were convinced with the idea that purchasing with Marks and Spencer will automatically represent them as the ambassadors of this sort of behavior (Marks & Spencer 2012).
This was the time when the image of Marks and Spencer was completely spoiled and the sales figures declined a great deal and this indicated need to devise a new marketing strategy with which the consumers can be convinced to invest their faith and trust in Marks and Spencer once again. In the old philosophy it was believed that focusing on the manufacturing and production related practices will help in highlighting about the marketing aspects too but this was not believed to be true when the new marketing philosophy came into existence and practice with the giant British retailer, Marks and Spencer.
The discontinued earlier marketing strategies and the birth of new marketing strategies at Marks and Spencer can be explained in light of the fact that the company started to lose its competitive advantage to other active retailers in the domestic front. The changed consumer preferences and the declining sales figures were the accelerating elements which caused Marks and Spencer to review its marketing strategy. The saturation of the domestic competitive area lead Marks and Spencer to tap the potential areas all over the globe and here was the start of internationalization or global expansion marketing strategy by Marks and Spencer.
In addition with the above stated elements there were certain other elements which were held responsible for the shrinking market share of Marks and Spencer. These elements were termed to be the lousy business environment in which company was operating and was making use of its marketing strategies along with this some other elements to be mentioned here are related with losses in various categories like loss of confidence in respect with the consumers, loss of profits and loss of stocks. As a result of all the facts stated above the earlier marketing strategy adopted by Marks and Spencer lost its effectiveness and paved way for establishment of new marketing strategies (Zentes, Morschett and Klein 2011).
This was the believe held on part of top management at Marks and Spencer and they suggested making use of newly improvised and well knitted marketing strategy to revive back the market position. But this was not the case with business analysts as they told a completely different story on their part which caused such a drastic change in the position and status enjoyed by Marks and Spencer. The analysts concluded in their analyses that the changes have occurred because of the dull merchandising practices which were being carried out on part of Marks and Spencer (Deloitte and Touche 2012).
Along with this the analysts also pointed out that the concerned company, Marks and Spencer was not much responsive about the competitive obligations which were being imposed on it. The competition increased a great deal and lot many retailers made their start in the retailing industry of Europe. This situation change in the retailing industry demanded Marks and Spencer to play an active role to strive for its market leadership but a lose response on their part cause such a harm to their potion. Not one or two but many retailers like Top Shop, Kookai, Miss Selfridge, Jigsaw, Oasis, Warehouse and the Gap came in to existence and crafted their niche in the marketing arena. They were new and their marketing strategies were also up to the mark and innovative in comparison to the strategies which were being carried on part of Marks and Spencer over a large period of time (Powell 2008).
With increase availability of choices to the consumers their demands changed in a great deal and they opted for newer options made available to them. This scenario continued and the whole situation of market leadership by Marks and Spencer got transformed to its lagging behind due to lack of competitive advantage. Both the views of top management and trade analysts regarding the loss of competitive advantage on part of Marks and Spencer have been stated above but the most certain reason so identified for loss of competitive advantage in light of the overall discussion points out towards the limited approach followed by Marks and Spencer.
The company was stuck to the domestic market of UK only and in spite of enjoying monopoly for such a long period of time the company remained static and never thought of expansion outside UK in that time period. This clarity of thoughts led the company to devise new marketing strategy altogether and the company planned to get back its situation and as a result of it the company reinvented into internationalization. The formulation of any strategy sounds very easy but actual implementation and realization of the desirable results is the task to be performed in case of effective marketing strategy.
This explains that there were several challenges which were faced on part of concerned retailing giant Marks and Spencer. These challenges talk about the basic problem which was tradition practice at Marks and Spencer over a period of time. This explains that the company was totally dependent on the consumers and market activities of UK and was nave when other big economies were considered. This indicates a possibility that the company will make big mistakes in making entry into new economies and business world the company has got no idea about the tastes and preferences of the consumers apart from UK. The situation was very difficult and everything has to be managed and started up with scratch.
Along with the above stated problem the internationalization marketing strategy of Marks and Spencer was also exposed to some big internal problems too. The top management of the company comprised of such top management members who were related with the families of the owners and were positioned from a long period of time. Expansion on a global basis required services from the executives of different host countries nd this reason being it was becoming more and more difficult to bring these two classes of employees along for organizational objective (Zentes, Morschett and Klein 2011).
There were some more internal problems which were realized when the company Marks and Spencer planned to execute its newly formulated marketing strategy of global expansion in a effective manner. This fact indicates that the there were issues in relation with the organization structure which was vertical in nature. This reason being the flow of all the important decisions like prices, products, colors, and even designs of the products was carried out in a unified manner and no preference was allocated to the demands and needs of the prospective consumers.
Effectiveness of Global Expansion Marketing Strategy
The internationalization related decisions are very appropriate and correct in their place but at the same time there is need on part of Mark and Spencer to keep its focus on to the regional retailing too. There will be two added benefits of this approach as firstly focus on regional retailing will help the company to get rid of overreliance from the domestic market and on the second hand the company will become capable to direct the distribution channel of its products in the international marketing arena.
There are certain facts in light of which it can be clearly stated that this strategy of global expansion has surely proved out beneficial for Mark and Spencer. This is because the status and recognition the company is enjoying in the preset world economy is commendable and can only be attributed to its internationalization marketing strategy. But in addition with this it is also important to state that this global expansion strategy has not helped Mark and Spencer to regain its status of market leader in the UK. This is because of the presence of lot of competition in the retiling market and the current leadership was being enjoyed on part of Wal-Mart.
The internationalization marketing strategy by Mark and Spencer was high on differentiation of products as per the choices and preferences so displayed by the consumers of varied states in to which Mark and Spencer made entry. The differentiation was carried out on basis of the fashion trends, color, sizes and design specifications. All these differentiations were carried out in relation with the cultural variations that occurred and the purchasing power of the consumers too along with the choices and preferences of consumers as stated above.
It was anticipated before the formulation and implementation of this global expansion strategy on part of Mark and Spencer that there will be need for a reinvented platform. The global platform or the company will be provided on basis of the corporate culture being followed into the expansion areas. This will help in coordination among the management activities nd the anticipated responses and as a result of this there will lesser probability of strategy failure. Along with the above sated changes a major change in the marketing strategy followed on part of retailing giant Mark and Spencer was realized that in case of this newly adopted marketing strategy scope for consumer feedback was there. This was meant go gain information about the likes and dislikes of the consumers about the products and services on part of Mark and Spencer in the global arena so that the desirable changes can be carried out to make the more appropriate and suitable for consumer tastes in the specified regions (Zentes, Morschett and Klein 2011).
There are no second thoughts about the fact that consumers are the ultimate king or queen for deciding about the products and services so offered on part of any particular company. In this context it can be easily stated that there has to be a interaction platform in the company representatives and the consumers so that the best possible strategies can be devised for mutual benefit. The main aim associated with this report is related with the identification of degree of effectiveness associated with marketing strategies so used in case of UK based retailing giant Mark and Spencer.
In light of the overall analysis so carried out above it can be stated that the effectiveness is high with the marketing strategy being used presently as it has helped the company to get established in different parts of the globe. At the same time it cannot be denied that there is possibility for further improvement and flaw elimination so that the degree of effectiveness’ can be increased to the highest level. There are certain elements which are important to be stated here to vouch for the effectiveness of the branding strategy and marketing mix of Marks and Spencer.
In light of the branding techniques each and every organization strives to adopt a certain method which is suitable to differentiate the wide range of products so offered to the consumers and associated certain specific aspects to some key products only so that the consumers are allowed to make out what they wish to have and what not,. In this regard we can state that the branding strategy of concerned retailing company Marks and Spencer was great as consumer were fully aware about the products being offered to them, as well as this fact they were also having a clarity of thoughts when we look into the positrons of the company and its products (Zentes, Morschett and Klein 2011).
In layman terms branding is also defined as the consumers capability to identify the company specific logos, names and brands with which the various are products categorized. The companies which are high on this remembrance on part of consumers are believed to have an effective marketing strategy and Mark and Spencer is surely one of such company. Along with the branding strategy the effectiveness is also realized in case of marketing mix and its implementation into various companies as part of the global expansion strategy. In addition with the positive aspects of the strategy there are some flaws too which are not letting the retailer overcome leadership of Wal-Mart in UK and corrective actions are awaited in this regard.