Unit 42 Contemporary Issues in Marketing Management-Btechnd
Marketing mix is an important marketing tool for any marketing department of an organisation. It can be defined as a combination of several marketing activities in which organisations might engage, so that it can successfully achieve the requirement of its target market. Marketing mix basically consists of four important elements such as:
However over last few years since marketing has become more customer oriented, thus in above four Ps, now there are three more Ps, which has extended the marketing mix. These Ps are (Kleis et al, 2013).
- Physical layout: During time period when manufacturing industry dominated the global economy, then there was not much focus on the physical layout of the store of unit were products were placed. However, today physical layout plays a major role in boosting the overall attraction of the customer. For example KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) which is fast food chain ensures that its physical layout of store is attractive and has a common theme across its entire store in world. This helps in delivering a unique but uniform experience to its end customer.
- Provision of customer services: KFC in its store has ensured that all its employees handling the order counter are courteous to its customer and always keep a track of customer preference. This ensures that a superior customer service is delivered in the end. It also has special customer grievances cell, where if any customer finds any sort of issue with products sold by the company, then it is addressed promptly.
- Processes: There are several processes which are associated with the way customer servicing is done. For example, KFC has complain box in its store, and it also has feedback collection mechanism enabled on its official website, where a customer can just provide his feedback. Such kind of processes provides the end customer flexibility.
3.2 How the product/service mix can be used toenhance value for the customer and organisation
Product/Service mix plays an important role in boosting the overall value of the product and organisation for the customers associated with the company. As discussed in above section, product mix basically consists of product, price, place, and promotion, whereas service mix focuses more on the service aspect of the business where it adds aspects such as people, processes and physical layout. If used strategically, product as well as service mix can add significant value to the business in following ways:
- Product/service mix focuses on interest of the customer, and ways through which more and more customers can be attracted to the business. Hence, it improves the overall revenue of the organisation if more customers are attracted to the business.
- As part of the service mix efforts, organisations always keep a close track of the customer requirement and behaviour. This provides the organisation flexibility, where it can adapt itself quickly to any sort of the change in customer demand.
- Product/service mix focuses on the value addition to the services provide to the customers of the organisation.
3.3 How difficulties peculiar to the marketing ofservices can be overcome
Marketing of services at times can be tricky for an organisation and can pose numerous challenges in front of the organisation. It is important to understand that when an organisation provides a service then there are several characteristics to the service such as variability, intangibility, inseparability and inability to transfer the ownership of service. These characteristics are some of the major aspects due to which service based organisations such as Vodafone or KFC face difficulty in their marketing efforts and activities (Christophee et al, 2013). For example, when KFC started its operations in India, there was lot of pressure on its quality of product as chicken which used in the product was highly processed in nature. Similarly price factor was another major aspect where people initially were sceptical to buy the products from KFC. Thus over a period of time KFC conducted several rounds of market research in order to have a better understanding of the local taste and market demographics. Based on which KFC accordingly reshuffled its menu and included vegetarian items as well, and pricing strategy was also in sync with the market sensibility of the market. Another major issue faced by KFC was marketing of the quality of service, which was experienced only when a customer visited the store. Hence due to word of mouth and positive reviews of the quality of services, KFC not only gained respect in terms of quality of its product but was also able to attract much more customers than anticipated.
3.4 Role of IT in services marketing management
Information Technology has major role in marketing especially in a virtual organisation such as www.amazon.com. Amazon is an online retailer which is one of the biggest in the world today. This position which amazon has achieved is on the basis of its IT strength. Amazon uses IT applications extensively in its marketing efforts as well. For example, it uses mediums such as e-mails to regularly communicate with its customers and inform them about any new deal or offer. Similarly, on various websites, advertisement of products etc. is done through online banner or flash, hence when a user clicks those banners etc. then user is directed towards Amazon’s website. Most importantly, Amazon’s entire business is dependent on its e-commerce website, which also doubles up as its marketing tool as well.
Ethics and social responsibility has always remained one of the focus areas of the businesses. Especially when it comes to marketing, role of ethics and social responsibility becomes even more important. Majority of times, marketers face ethical dilemma in their marketing activity, which creates lot of issues for the organisation. That is why, companies today have become extra careful about what product they are manufacturing and selling, and whether that product has any negative impact on the society or not. It can be said that ethical and social responsibility to a large extent also impacts the image of the company, hence it important to analyse the reasons for increasing emphasis on ethics and social responsibility as part of the marketing management process.
4.1 Current issues of ethical and social concern to marketers in a particular industry
Some of the current ethical and social concern to marketers in the service industry is as follows:
- Often it has been seen that a particular service might have some negative impact on the customer but still the product has to be marketed. For example, everyone is aware of the ill effects of junk foods, however marketers put their best foot forward when they promote fast food such as burgers sold from KFC or McDonalds.
- Service industry also has major social concerns. Since service industry does not produces any tangible product, hence in that using a service such as banking service for social responsibility can be extremely difficult.
- Often there are cultural impacts as well due to ethical and social concerns. For example, company such as Burger King, which it enters a country like India, then immediately it has stopped selling beef or pork burger due to cultural sensitivity of the region in which it operates.
4.2 Concept of CSR with reference to Vodafone
Corporate social responsibility is one major aspect of a business. It ensures that company is not only focused on earning profit and increasing its revenue but is also focused on giving back certain extent of its revenue for society development. In this regard Vodafone as a robust CSR unit which takes care of various CSR programs such as education of children in selected region of India and other developing countries it operates. CSR also is an important channel for Vodafone through which it engages with its customers, and other people of society who might need help from the company. Similarly, Vodafone from time to time keeps launching initiative such as Cancer reduction initiative etc. Thus it can be said that CSR gives a chance to the organisation to include the social element in the overall business of the organisation.
4.3 Role played by a selected pressure group in influencing ethical and social marketing policies
In a changing business environment, no company can take its place guaranteed. However this becomes even truer, when it comes to influencing the ethical and social marketing policies. For example recently in Asian countries such as India it was found that in Coca Cola, there is high level of traces of insecticide and pesticide in its product. This research was conducted by one of the leading organisations in India. Hence this organisation played a typical role of governing agency which analysed and publicly released the data which also impacted the sale of Cocoa Cola for. Such kind of pressure groups basically ensure that all the public activity of the company remains under the radar, and in case of any trouble, misappropriate, or misinterpretation these peer groups act proactivity and highlight the issue.
One thing which is sure is that in coming few years there will be increasing stress on the CSR related activities, and sorting out the ethical and social dilemma. Both service as well as product based companies have to be extra careful in selling their products in the market, and should also ensure that their product or service should not breach the morality and ethical framework under which the society lives.
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