Exam Advice

The exam help comes in many forms. If you are about to sit exams try to build up a portfolio of case studies. The Opportunity to use real life examples in the marketing exam is crucial to gaining the higher marks.

Start early and look for case studies now that are  in the press. At the moment Toyata is dominating the headlines and as such it is a good source of information for marketing communications and crisis management. Look to the past for examples of businesses that suffered poor PR and how they were able to recover. This will offer ideas to help Toyota and show your understanding of the way in which marketing practice can be used to help the business recover

Brand Tiger

Could not let the recent press on Tiger Woods go without a post. Brand Tiger has been carefully built on the values of reliability, focus and achievement. The guy who came from nowhere and broke into the golfing world, not only that but became the best by some distance. He is credited with generating a huge industry of golf followers and also improving the standards in the game.

Hence the shock at the current headlines. So where now? Golf needs him to redeem his reputation. Sometimes it is the way a problem is handled that is the issue. This has not been ideal nor has the constant stream of headlines. He needs time to regroup and deal with the fall out. His sponsors can be seen to abandon in time of need which could be a bigger risk for them. One thing for sure is that golf needs Tiger, he needs reparation. Time will tell if he is able to rebuild. One key lesson is that whatever the brand it is so fragile it cannot be taken for granted

Best Marketing Practice-X Factor Goes Global

The growth of X Factor as a brand has been extraordinary. It has a multi million viewer base every week. The established stars that appear every week such as Rihana and Alicia Keys see a boost in their sales within days. For the weeks leading up to the final the music charts are dominated by the X Factor acts.  It is a really good example of marketing practice

This is now becoming a global event.  Simon Cowell and Sir Philip Green of the High Street retail fame are to join forces. They will take the show to Vegas with two stage shows a week. They plan two shows each week with pay per view. For the top 12 contestants they will sing in Vegas which is a huge dream.

This is a really good example of the way in which a brand can be firstly built and then extended. In this blog there have been other posts on this topic and it is one that will be revisited again

Is Your Business Engaging-Best Marketing Practice

When we think about successful marketing most people will talk about advertising campaigns. The ad about the Meerkat for example. Funny ads are remember or those with a story that runs and runs. Nescafe was the first brand to run a ‘story ad’. This is where boy meets girl and the will they, won’t they story runs through the ads. Funny and interesting now the trick for marketing is to take that interest and create something more. Current marketing practice is using more humour to differnentiate in a crowded market

The advert is the start of the conversation. If there is no reply then it is one sided. Imagine you are in the shopping centre stood on a box with a megaphone, trying to sell your stuff. The reaction would be to avoid, or laugh. That is hardly good communication. So ads create that first impression. The task now is to go much further.

Businesses who take communication to a whole new level ask for a response. That response creates two way communication and engages the consumer. Then you have buy in and that is a whole new ball game. Consumers are interested in your business and can relate to it. You are not shouting over a megaphone, trying to be louder than the competitors. You are working with your consumer. That gives the consumer more power and they can then shape the products or services they want. The marketing term of co creation is built on consumers engaging with your business. The development of Twitter, Facebook etc are tools to make this happen. UTube relies on consumers to create the business.

The question is now, how far will your business go in engaging and allowing your consumers to shape its future? If you are a marketing student consider which businesses engage with their customers the most. This is an example of best marketing practice, the marketing lessons are to build that two way process and look through the customers eyes

Marketing Case Study. How o2 Expands

In marketing there are so many marketing case studies that talk about brand stretch. It is a popular topic in marketing exams and assignments.  Current marketing practice is to build brands.  The importance of branding cannot be under estimated. Kotler famously said that ‘without brands products become commondities’. One of the key tasks of any marketing manager is to build the brand. This is equally important in all sectors from the popular consumer goods such as Coke Cola, to banks to branding people. For example building X Factor as a brand, Simon Cowell as an individual and the latest in the family is Cheryl Cole.

Once the brand is built the level of brand equity develops. That gives the business opportunities to expand. We have seen that followed by the likes of Tesco. From a start of food retailing the brand how expanded into clothing, electrical goods, financial services and so on.

One of the latest businesses to stretch the brand is o2. From a mobile phone business which was originally part of BT it has built the brand from scratch. It has grown to be the largest mobile phone provider in the UK. The consumers are across the spectrum but it boasts a large number of younger customers. These are difficult to access for marketers. This customer base is now so valuable and o2 are now able to offer more to these customers. They can see the needs of the customers and that is the key for marketing managers.

The expansion for o2 is into financial services with the latest card. The benefits are that you are able to manage your cash and be alerted , by text of course, when the balance on the card falls. This is really helpful and offers a personalised service. Visit www.o2.co.uk for details. The question in any brand stretch or expansion is how far can it go? If it is over stretched it loses the equity in the brand. Some of the exclusive brands offer diffusion lines and low cost items but it is an aspiration to own an expensive product. If it becomes too available it loses the very reason for purchase. The marketing lessons and best marketing practice is to carefully select the markets to enter and to ensure that the brand equity is built not reduced

Marketing Case Study- New Brands for Marks and Spencer

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

Marketing Case Study-Ferrari – the World’s Fastest Rollercoaster Ride

When you think of Ferrari it conjures up images of sexy red sports cars. Racing round the Italian mountains with sparkling blue sea in the background. Driven of course by the best looking guy.

The brand is loved by those who may not be able to afford the car but can buy the merchandise. Marketing students have seen the classic brand extension into clothing, sunglasses and so on. There are 28 stores around the world where the brand fan can indulge their passion. So far all pretty traditional brand extensions. Common in the automotive industry.

The latest extension of the brand is a big change. Ferrari are opening a theme park in Abu Dhabi. The roof is in the shape of a side of the Ferrari GT body.

The car maker says the theme park will host over 20 attractions, “each designed to bring to life a different part of the Ferrari story”, including the world’s fastest rollercoaster and rides for children. (Marketing Week Oct 09)

This really takes the ride of your life to a whole new level.

Lessons for marketing students are to build the brand so that it has real equity and that links to the relationship it has with the consumer. Once that is established the brand then extends into new areas. The risk is to ensure that it is not stretched too thinly or it will devalue the brand.

Marketing Case Study- Can the High Street Survive?

Much has been written in the press about the recession and its effect on spending. There is no doubt that there has been a major slow down and decrease in consumer confidence. So, the question is how can retailers survive? This is a topic that will be seen in a marketing exam or business exam this year.

One way is to cut prices and bundle products together. So a typical offer is to buy a shirt and get the second one half price. However there is more to it. Look at the thousands of people who go shopping and the numbers that return home with bags. They look and some buy and some walk away.

If you are a marketing professional or marketing student,look at the way in which you can excite customers. The marketing lessons are to offer something of interest. It needs to be up to date, not too expensive so buyers can justify it and ease to match into an existing wardrobe. So your display would be Key Trends for Autumn. If you read the millions of fashion pages in magazines that is the story. Yet shops have rails of stuff and you have to work out what goes with what. So outfits or rooms where you can see how it all works together.

Take the marketing case study of Next. The online directory shows, trends and rooms. It is easy for the consumer to see how that wil work for them. You can also shop by product such as shirts or tops. Try then to reflect how someone lives. So is it Saturday night outfit? Smart business suit. Or maybe something you can wear for both?  If you watch the house makeover programmes they style a house so somebody can see themselves living there.

The lesson for marketing students, is to excite the consumer, show what is new but not too different. Make choices simple so that consumers can see themselves in that skirt or buying that latest shade of bedding. By doing this we are removing the risk. The key point is to ask what stops someone from buying?  Typically it would be cost or will this look right on me? What will my friends think and will it work with that shirt I bought last week.

The marketing questions are to understand the need to really get inside the mind of the consumer and not just think about shifting rails of product.

Marketing Case Study-Media Multitaskers

This marketing case study briefly outlines the differences in the way in which we use the media and how our daily use of technology has changed the way we live. The marketing question is how can this be translated into greater understanding of the consumer. That will in turn help us to be much more effective with the marketing tools.

We sit on the sofa with the TV on and flick across channels. We are also on the laptop surfing and chatting on line via Twitter and then the mobile rings and we text back. We might even be downloading the latest iPhone app. The development of Sky Plus lets us pause to make tea and fast forward through the adverts.

How life has changed and with it the way in which media is used and how we shop. As I write I have just txt a friend for a coffee and Facebooked another while watching the TV. All very interesting but the implications and lessons for marketing are the key here.

Evidence suggests that we are open to new ideas and to change and try new products, offers and brands. This makes us fickle and a bit of a strawberry tart. We are much more likely to use comparison websites and customer reviews. Indeed if I am booking a hotel Trip Advisor has become a favourite. Just love the comments and that puts the gloss from the hotel in a whole new light. Those hotels that get good reviews get my booking.

Lessons for marketing students
* Understand the multi tasker, look for integrated and multi media

* Focus on fabulous customer service, in reviews really good is rare and makes the review headlines

* Use the social networks, they are not just for chatter but business

* Be quick and move with the times, multi taskers are early adopters and move with the times. Don’t fall behind and wear last seasons fashion

* Communicate and build relationships

Marketing Case Study-P & Gs Secrets to Success

When we think about big global businesses Procter and Gamble is right up there. It has recently changed the way in which it develops strategy. It is starting from the inside out. We preach in marketing to be externally focused, so is this a contradiction?

If we look at the P&G ideal it is driving values in the business, which focus on care of the customer. The starting point is to build the culture of the business. Everything that the business does is aimed at making the lives of the consumer better. If this is achieved the profits will follow. Many of the items are relatively small ticket e.g. razor blades. The secret is scale. Do the maths. P&G have 7 billion consumers who spend $14 pa (HBR 09). If this is increased by just a few dollars per consumer per year the increase in profits is huge. Spending an extra dollar per year, per consumer is a juicy prospect

So, how will P& G achieve this? They spend more on innovation by some distance, than its competitors. They conduct more than just lip service market research. They really get under the skin of the consumer and understand how they live. 10 years ago the P&G business in Brasil was dying. The product were top of the range yet in relatively too expensive by a long way.

‘In a recent article by Moss Kanter When the first basico products were launched (women’s hygiene, diapers, and “greener” laundry detergent), demand immediately outpaced supply. They quickly captured market share through small neighbourhood shops, substituting colorful store displays for costly TV advertising. Premium products were lifted too. The business in Brazil became a profitable global growth model, and not just for emerging countries. Tide Basic was recently introduced in the U.S ‘( HBR 09)

This gives great benefits to the consumer but also to the business. It showed how the team could re-engineer the way in which the products were developed. Each tiny element was examined to find a way to decrease costs. That helped to gain synergy across the business and create a sense of belonging for all of the staff. They gained a great deal of satisfaction from challenging accepted business processes.

This process has seen similar improvements in India. The majority of shaving is done in barbershops. Not home or in the car as in other countries or on the train on the way to work. Again the P&G products were too expensive for the lower incomes. So the manufacturing processes had to be taken apart and new products developed. One of the benefits was bringing the business together to think outside of the usual business silos.


Create a vision

Challenge the accepted way of doing business

Get inside the skin of the consumer. They shave, yes but how do they live? Look in depth not just think about developing another better product and doing the same just a bit better.

Uncover new markets. E.g Asda sells a great deal of Indian food. Customers demanded more and one of those demands was for clothing. This week in the UK Asda, which is owned by Walmart will launch the first high street range of Indian clothing.

Be brave and challenge, before someone else seizes the opportunity