Having really good feedback about the help I offer on the exam questions. The way in which a structured exam answer is worked through with examples helps you to see how to pass your marketing exam. The stages of writing an exam answer shows you how to allocate and manage your time in the exam and to gain the best marks
It would be really good if you could add a comment and let me know which marketing exam topics I should include. It maybe a general question about exam technique or a specific question you need help with. Either way simply post a comment and I will outline an answer. You can chose if it is a written outline as a structure or a brief video. This will show you how to approach the question and then you can add the key points
Look forward to seeing your top questions
Marketing students have seen for many years that Marks and Spencer is a marketing case study that has built its’ entire business on it own brand. Marketing the brand has been taken many years of dedicated effort. It has a range of quality suppliers who manufacture all of its’ ranges. Due to the price pressures M & S hit the headlines when companies in the UK were closed in order for the products to manufactured more cheaply in a range of different countries. This affected consumer confidence and some would say, that in the early stages the quality suffered. This is an example of marketing practice and how it is constantly developing.
The next development was into convenience type stores and offering only food. Simply Food can be found in some high streets but also in railway stations and motorway service stations. Often the simpler the idea the better. This has helped to revitalise the business. It has focused on customer needs. Built specific ranges for the different target customers.
For any business to succeed it must get the marketing basic right. Simply need to decide on the customer, really get under their skin and understand those needs. So, we are driving home and want something easy from Simply Food. No effort when we get home was a master stroke and a clever brand extension. It seems that Waitrose is about to offer a similar stripped down shopping experience.
The latest development is now to offer branded products. This is a total change in brand policy and is a calculated risk. The advantage is that it will extend the M & S brand into new areas and offer customers the opportunity to buy the brands and own labels at the same time. The challenge is to ensure that these brands compliment the current range and not compete.
Marketing lessons and tutorial. Be specific about the brand position and ensure that the brand values are clear and the brand is not over extended
I am often asked about the best way to study marketing. There are lots of different views on this but here are a few tips to help.
Marketing is a fast moving subject and it is all around you. There are hundreds of examples of good practice. So it is not a question of having to read text books alone. Perhaps there is too much information ? To be able to gain the most from your course it is essential to structure your time and focus on covering the syllabus.
If you look at the ‘Magic Formula’ in the Exam section, use that as the foundation for your work. Many students spend all of their time cramming facts into the short term memory. When they leave the exam very little it retained.
From the start, take the key concept e.g. market segmentation. Understand what it is, why it is used. Then to bring it to life take a case study and apply it. You might have a particular hobby or interest such as surfing or sport or fashion. Start with the industry and all of the competitors in in. Then show how they all related. Keep this case study going throughout the course and build up the examples week by week as your course develops. You will then have an easy way of remembering and applying. That reduces the need to memorise facts as it will be part of you. You can then use this material for assignments and perhaps take different companies in your chosen industry to give variation.
There has been a great deal of debate over marketing spend during the recession. It seems that advertising spend has declined. Recent GroupM research found although global advertising spend is expected to fall 5.5% this year to £253bn but sponsorship will see a year-on-year increase of 2%, the only discipline to see growth. The reasons are interesting. Sponsorship of football for example will give the sponsor may hours of prime time coverage. Especially if you sponsor one of the top teams. Cost of sponsorship have declined and it is a buyers market at the moment.
Sponsors are looking for proof that there is a payback. This can be difficult to judge and here companies are looking for direct links between sponsoring a football team and meeting longer term brand building objectives. It is a little easier to tie sponsorship into shorter term tools such as specific product promotions.
The difference is that with sponsorship we are actively watching the sport and can spend hours at a time watching the game with the sponsors’ brand in full view. If the sponsor had to pay for 90minutes of advertising that would be a huge cost. The issue is that many people avoid adverts. Especially since the development of television recording such as Sky Plus. Whereas with the sponsorship we are not avoiding adverts.
The recession has much to answer for and that is shaping the marketing budget and the increased focus on marketing metrics and ROI
Some time ago I developed structure to help me to pass exams. Just don’t ask how long! Over time I have developed it into a format that can be used for both exams and assignments.
It is known as the ‘Magic Formula’ There are basically three stages and follow in a neat order
Firstly, the Concept, here you show you know the material ie what is market segmentation
Secondly, Application, show what you understand and use examples. Perhaps some of the case studies in the blog or from an organisation you work for. Imagine you are marking the company out of 10 for its segmentation, how good is it?
Finally, Evaluation. This is where you show what you will do differently and why. Proof is very important, don’t just promise, prove it is going to work. Download the video and let me know if it helps
The current BBC series Mary Queen of Shops seeks to transform the Charity Shop culture in the UK. It changes the traditional view of everything as bargain basement and a hotch potch of somebody’s junk. It transforms into a modern boutique to offer specific products for customers and to move with the times.
The issue is that the staff are mature volunteers who are used to charging rock bottom prices. £20 for a Jimmy Choo handbag, I don’t think so. Yet the challenge is not just meeting the changing perception of the consumer but also the way the staff run the business. It was not an easy task for Mary.
Following some opposition, staff training and a total refit with Conran designers. The result is that more people come into the shop and spend more money in a day than they did in a week. The new manager then has to attract new stock, manage the staff and to deliver the cash. All within a very limited budget.
The marketing lessons are to focus on a different business model. Challenge the way the shop presents itself, build the brand, improve the perception of the consumer and also to change the culture.
Mary Portas Queen of Shops, look for the next progamme, easy watching and lots of good marketing examples