Monday, 6 March 2017

Strategies for product, promotion, pricing, presentation and distribution citing case studies

Do the media organizations need to develop strategies for marketing? Talk of the strategies for product, promotion, pricing, presentation and distribution citing case studies.

Yes, in this era of competition, even other media organizations also need to develop strategies for marketing like other products to survive and promote themselves. They also need to be a part of constant aggressive marketing.
When marketing, firms need to create the right product, which is to be sold at the right price and place using the most suitable form of promotion. To market themselves, marketers and management Gurus over the years developed a set of guiding principles, which is also known as the Marketing Mix.
Marketing Mix

MARKETING MIX – It is a set of tactical marketing tools that a company uses to produce a desired response from its target market. Through this, a company influences demand for its product as it serves as a tool to help marketing planning and execution. The marketing mix can be divided into four groups of variables commonly known as the four Ps: Product, Price, Place (Or Distribution), and Promotion.

Promotion of a product can be done through various Marketing functions like Advertising, Public Relations, Personal selling, Direct Marketing and Sales Promotion. The key to producing results through promotions is ensuring that companies target the right consumers - those who are more apt to buy their products. Moreover, the message must be convincing and run frequently while producing the desired effects.

Promotion is a form of persuasive communication. In a free enterprise system where firms offer a wide range of new and better products, there always exist messages and distractions of all sorts.   As consumers do not have the time and energy to compare the competing products physically, they turn to advertisements for product information.  The present business environment being highly competitive, each firm wants the customers to buy its brand. Thus, this is why promotion is equated with persuasive communication.
The job of marketing is to identify consumer wants and then satisfy these wants with the right kind of products, at the right place and at the right price. 
The purpose of promotion is to convey to customers about how the features of the product will satisfy the consumer. For example, if a refrigerator manufacturer is planning to offer an off-season discount, it is essential to communicate to potential customers about the extent and period during which discount is available etc. Promotion is, thus, an essential part of the marketing function.

It helps the business in the following ways. At the same time, it also helps to strategize their activities for promotion.
  • Increase Brand Awareness - Promotions such as television, radio and magazine advertising increase brand awareness. New companies particularly have to advertise to apprise consumers who they are and what they offer. This is true with local or even national companies, as brand awareness can be measured by market, regionally or nationally. They need to work hard to be able to match the established competitors.
  • Provide Information - Marketers may run press releases to apprise consumers that their products can help certain ailments. A small consumer products manufacturer may use displays and pamphlets to describe the benefits of a new health food. High-tech manufacturers often use in-store videos and demonstrations to show people how to use their products. Promotions can inform people during all stages of the buying process, including their initial search. Small business owners also use promotions to inform consumers about price, product features and outlets that sell their products.
  • Increase Customer Traffic – Strategies in Promotion need to know on how to involve the consumers. When one gets to know about a scheme, they come running. It is a constant effort made on part of the promotions’ team.
  • Build Sales and Profits - The primary objective in using promotions to build sales and profits also helps them earn a loyal customer base.

There is a reason why marketers of Colgate toothpaste and Lux Soap advertise to appeal to customers. Even the most loyal customers must be reminded that the product has served them well over the years. This along with ‘Out and Loud’ advertisements that talk only about the product’s are what form the pattern and style of promotion. Thus, in addition to informing and persuading, another important purpose of promotion is reminding customers.  This is why manufactures of well-established brands like Colgate, Lux, Surf, Nescafe, Lifebuoy etc. extensively to sustain customers preference for their products.

Promotions are done through a variety of ways.

1. Contests
Contests are a frequently used promotional strategy. Many contests don't even require a purchase. The idea is to promote your brand and put your logo and name in front of the public.  Sponsoring contests can also bring attention to the product.

2. Social Media - These days Social Media Marketing allows brands to connect with a world of potential customers. This enables interactivity, feedback. They also use it as a medium to hold contests and polls.

3. Product Giveaways - allow potential customers to sample a product. Such a method is usually used to introduce new food and household products. Many of these companies also sponsor in-store promotions, giving away product samples to entice the buying public into trying new products
4. Causes and Charity - Promoting your products while supporting a cause can be an effective promotional strategy. The customers get a  socially conscious image; a product they can use and the sense of helping a cause
5. After-Sale Customer Surveys - contacting customers by telephone or mail after a sale puts the importance of customer satisfaction first while leaving the door open for a promotional opportunites.

Pricing- Of all the aspects of the marketing mix, price is the one, which creates sales revenue. The price of an item is clearly an important determinant of the value of sales made. Researching consumers' opinions about pricing is important as it indicates how they value what they are looking for as well as what they want to pay. An organization’s pricing policy will vary according to time and circumstances.
Many companies make common pricing mistakes. Weak controls on discounting, Price increases poorly executed and worldwide price inconsistencies are few of the common.
Moser Baer Entertainment Ltd. attained its objective of delivering original and quality movie watching at a lower price in the Indian Home Video Market. It captured the potential home video segment, which is threatened by rampant piracy. Moser Bear adopted a low cost structure. Its market positioning strategies through its value pricing by altering the key components of its value chain and leveraging on its core competencies. It also discusses about the intense competition and price war prevailing in the home video market.
As a storage device manufacturer, it entered the Home Video Industry and adopted low pricing as a strategy to position to itself. Starting at Rs 50/-, it has captured the market for a long time with its reduced prices in the industry.
Marketing departments use different but complementary strategies to increase revenue and profit. Pricing strategies use the price of a product or service to draw in new customers while maximizing profit from current customers. Non-pricing strategies use other methods such as branding to maintain market share without altering price. While pricing strategies are more common during economic downturns, real-life examples demonstrate that marketers often use non-pricing strategies alongside pricing strategies.

To get the pricing strategy right, a brand needs to arrive at prices that match their image as well the nature of the clientele (premium prices cant be charged for a middle-of-the-road option), while also covering your production and operational costs and delivering the profits necessary for the business survival.

In terms of media products, Bobby, the Telugu film released in 2002 was made to change its climax.  On release, the film climax was such that both the lead actors were killed. With the film receiving negative reviews and to bolster revenues, the climax was changed such that it was a happy ending. The change was made as research made them realize that Telugu audience in general don't prefer anti-climax.

In terms of FMCG, brand and products, Starbucks lowered the prices of its popular low-end drinks such as plain coffee and lattes in 2009. It adopted this pricing strategy to compete with McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts, who introduced less expensive low-end drinks to take over some of Starbucks' market share. However, Starbucks simultaneously raised the prices of its high-end drinks such as caramel macchiatos. Starbucks' non-pricing strategy of ubiquitous convenience developed brand loyalty and allowed for a price hike among loyal customers 

Placing a product, which is also known as Distribution.

As a product, Manchester United provides for an excellent football team that plays and wins in an exciting way. However, there are also other factors that define the product, e.g. merchandising such as the sale of shirts, and a range of memorabilia. The product also relates to television rights, and Manchester United's own television channel. Its products like books, t-shirts, key rings etc are sold across the globe, through the club's official website and a range of other sales media. 
Manchester United markets itself as a global brand. The club also engages in a range of joint promotional activities, for example with the mobile phone company Vodafone. The club has positioned itself at the upmarket premier end of the market and, as a result, it tends to charge premium prices to watch their home league games.
Therefore, Positioning or repositioning a product refers to locating that product within a market for example presenting it is an upmarket or down-market product, positioning it as a product for younger consumers or older consumers etc.
To position your product in the market, a company or a brand needs to adopt a few distribution or placement strategies.

A distribution strategy lays out the details of how you plan to get your product in the hands of your customers.
Before working out a distribution strategy, a few strategic decisions need to be taken. Them being:

-  What is it? -  it is the step where the consumer buys your product or service. It focuses on how to reach your target market and other important factors like location of your business and Target market, how to reach your target market, warehousing and transportation of the stock etc.
Locating your business - are you retailing direct to the public or working through an intermediary? Is it convenient for customers to visit you?
Importance of exposure to your business, location of your major competitors etc
- Channels of distribution – patterns of distribution among reseller, wholesaler, retailer, consumer. The pattern of how the product is travelling needs to be studied.

Logistics - order and receiving raw materials or finished products from your suppliers, storing the products to ensure they are ready for delivery to your customers in good condition, delivery of those finished products, transportation required etc.

Whenever a movie is released, Bollywood, Hollywood, Tollywood or Kollywood, its distribution is done only on the basis of a target audience. It is obvious that Bhojpuri cinema or a Tamil movie will not run as successfully as a Bollywood commercial movie in a Delhi hall.

Therefore, Place (or distribution) is a critical element of marketing – after all, marketing is about getting the right product, in the right quantity, to the right place, at the right time.

To end with, a perfect example that can be studied is from India’s newspaper industry.
The newspaper industry in India is witnessing intense competition from within and from outside like electronic and Internet media. Newspapers have become products like any other consumer, industrial or service products.
There is more and more focus on marketing and innovations in marketing strategies. The Times of India has been often criticized for ‘Trimming and Slimming’ the size of the newspaper. 
Often talked about, TOI and The Hindu make for one of the best examples to study media strategies.
A few months back, The Times Of India came up with a campaign indirectly hitting at the market leader The Hindu. The advertisement asked the people of Chennai to not go to sleep reading boring news served by newspapers, hinting at The Hindu and to wake up to the exciting content provided by The Times Of India.

The Hindu came back strongly with an integrated marketing campaign – TV, print and Internet.  The ads laced with sarcasm on the third grade news doled out by today’s newspapers. The Hindu had managed to convey its message very strongly, Stay ahead of the Times.

The Hindu not only nullified the TOI campaign but also managed to dub readers of other newspapers dumb. This definitely prompted people to reconsider their choice of the newspaper they read. The campaign is also made authentic because of the strong quality content that The Hindu has always been serving.
However, the TOI group has made constant innovations in marketing strategies – in product, price, promotion and distribution related areas. 

4P's Four P's

As is true with each of the Four P's, no one factor stands alone in its contribution to the overall marketing process. They draw on the collective data related to product, place, and price and incorporate that information into the advertising in a manner that is likely to entice customers to make a purchase. The actual scope of data used will vary, depending on what marketers perceive as being the key points most likely to appeal to certain customer demographics and increase the chances of the copy triggering a sale.