Marketing has been described as an art, a science, a myth or indeed a combination of all three. It is a function that is subject to much criticism, due to the creation of wants and the persuasion techniques used; yet it is a function, which the country depends on for the export of goods and to fight competition from imports. It is also a function clouded by some confusion, the most common confusion arises between a marketing and a selling orientated business.
The following is a quote by Theodore Levitt:”Selling focuses on the needs of the seller in converting his product into cash.””Marketing focuses on the needs of the consumer.”The above quotes can be viewed as being very broadly defined and thus vague. They do not provide us with a very broad and clear meaning of what marketing exactly is. What we need is a definition that should indicate that marketing consists of activities that are performed by both individuals and organisations. Marketing can be defined as the all-embracing function that links the company with customer tastes to get the right product to the right place at the right time. Marketing decisions are made through the marketing model, based on the findings of market research, and carried out through the marketing mix.
At all stages in the marketing process, the firm needs to work closely with the production department and research and development, to ensure that what is promised is delivered. Another definition to describe marketing is the one below which is put forward by the U.K Chartered Institute of Marketing:”The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumers’ requirements profitably.”This certainly is a valid quote to try and convey the true meaning of marketing, however, it fails to include that marketing activities occur within a dynamic, ever changing environment, and not that of a static, to which the above definition portrays.
However, we can never be provided with a clearly explained definition of marketing, as the scope for this is far too vast. The reason being is that marketing affects us in every way, all the time. From advertisements on radio, television and bill boards to basic word of mouth.Working in Tesco, at the weekends it is impossible to avoid the large scale of marketing that occurs. From signs to internal announcements, from promotional offers to promotional prices, it is clearly evident that vast marketing exists. Another example is that of a web design business.
My father operates such a business and marketing is an essential element for success. Slogans on the shop window like, “Is your business on-line?” are aimed at passers by in the aim to get them thinking. These examples show how different goods can be marketed. Furthermore, it shows how we, the consumer, are provided with the same thing, information on the best products within the market.Marketing StrategyWithin a firm there are several different managers that have different functions.
Personnel managers are there to ensure that staffing is up to scratch, i.e., there is enough staff in the organisation that is doing the right job. Production managers are there to ensure that the production of goods runs efficiently and financial managers create and devise ways of overcoming finance problems.
Similarly, the marketing manager has his/her own function. Evidently, they are the people responsible for developing and managing all activities relating to marketing. This therefore, means that marketing managers are those responsible for creating marketing strategies.A market strategy is they key to the success of any firm’s promotional objectives. It revolves around selecting and analysing a target market. This target market is a particular group of customers to aim the product at. When a niche, or target market has been clearly discovered, the marketing manager must then create a suitable marketing mix, i.
e., Product, Price, Promotion, Place, that will be of appeal to those specified in the target market.Obviously, in the business environment, a firm produces goods with the intention and aim of selling them to customers. It is up to the marketing department to make people aware of what is being offered to them. This can be a demanding task, however, if carried out successfully, the firm should reap great financial rewards. In trying to manage marketing activities, marketing managers have two sets of variable. One is totally in their control, which is the marketing mix, which if done successfully could lead to much success. The other, however, is totally out of the marketing managers control.
It is the marketing environment, and the only thing the manager can do is to try to predict what is likely to happen in the environment by conducting a PEST analysis. This analysis takes into account Political, Economical, Social and Technological factors that may affect the business.As explained, the function of a marketing manager is detailed and can be very straining.
However, it is a key management tool of a company and if carried out efficiently, it can be very effective for company performance.Having described and explained marketing and marketing strategies, one will proceed to analyse a company. The company that I have chosen to discuss is Manchester United PLC,” a company that I have a keen interest in. Almost everyone has heard of this company due to their success as a football team. The company’s marketing strategy is very successful as will be discussed.Over the last 15 years, Manchester Utd have had a key marketing opportunity due to their success as a football team and subsequently the amount of interest that people have in them. A marketing opportunity occurs when a particular thing happens which enables a firm to aim products at a certain segment of the market. An example is the clothes brand NY.
Its sales have rose dramatically sine the terrifying disaster that happened on September 11th. Celebrities started to wear the brand, which stands for New York as a mark of respect. Subsequently the demand for the brand increased dramatically. Although less tragic, this is the case for Manchester United PLC.
Another factor is the high publicity of their mid-fielder David Beckham. This has meant that a lot of merchandise has been sold with him on it. Recently, in his newly formed contract, he was told that he had to keep the same hairstyle for at least 6 months, so as not to pre date the merchandise.The club has also continued to develop the Old Trafford stadium. This costs an outstanding some of money and the club persist that it is to accommodate more of their supporters. Nice gesture. However, with being able to accommodate more supporters, Manchester United PLC is just increasing their profits.
Success on the pitch is vital to keep the company successful also. The investment of ï¿½14m into training facilities is a way to help ensure that this success continues, keeping them as a highly competitive team and hence company.A large company also may try and spread the field of customers that it can attract from foreign countries. In San Francisco for example, there is a large Manchester United superstore.
This is a very good strategy from the company as soccer is not at large in the USA, but Manchester United is one of the only clubs to have stores there. This means that any American or resident alien in the USA who is a soccer fan, may very well take an interest in the club. This emphasis the point that success on the field will make global merchandise more popular.Target marketing is a key aspect to a company’s marketing strategy.
In a supermarket, for example, the sweets section is always alongside the checkouts. This policy is targeting at children, the aim being that children will “hassle” their parents for a treat.Manchester United targets a vast range of customers.
Young, old, male and female. From Manchester itself to as far away as Western America, the company tries to provide its fans with a well-established product.The Marketing MixThe marketing mix consists of four variables, Product, Place, Promotion and Price. One of the primary goals of marketing managers is to create and maintain a mix that satisfies consumer needs and wants in providing them with the product that they want. These variables can be relatively controllable, however, such things as government regulations can limit their alternation.ProductManchester United has created a well-established brand name throughout the world. Merchandise such as shirts, shorts, jumpers, posters of players etc.
, have increased annual turnover immensely. Again, back to the point of team performance, when the club are doing well on the pitch, their turnover is increasing. On a point closer to home, this is the case for the different counties in Ireland.
Once a team reaches the All-Ireland stages of the GAA inter county competition, there is an immediate rush for team replica jerseys and such merchandise.The company’s product portfolio is also ever increasing. With Manchester United being the first team to allow their fans to watch games on-line, this was a very successful thing for the club. This meant that those spectators, all over the world, without the luxury of the appropriate T.V channel, had the option of going on line to watch their hero’s perform.A few years ago, the company were at much criticism. This was due to the fact that they changed their jerseys too regularly, which meant that the supporters, who wanted to keep up with the newest merchandise, were spending quite a substantial sum of money each year on maybe 3-4 different jerseys. The club did release a statement that was somewhat unconvincing, saying that they had to change their away jersey because it clashed with the colours in the crowd.
Nevertheless, the company will always continue to sell their merchandise due to their highly established brand name.PlaceAs already discussed, Manchester United have a vast amount of merchandise available throughout the world. Their large worldwide superstores ensure that their fans can buy their favourite club’s merchandise in a large number of countries. The English premiership is one of the, if not the most popular soccer league in the world.
Therefore, fans both living abroad and foreign fans have availability to club memorabilia.PriceBack to the point of the controversy that surrounded the number of shirts produced a few years ago. Since then, the club don’t make as many jerseys a year. The price of the jerseys has remained the same, but the customer is not paying out as much in total, annually. The price of a jersey for any club is around ï¿½35 – ï¿½45, so there is not much competition to lower prices between the clubs.
Pricing strategy is therefore, not one of the most important element of the marketing mix for the company.PromotionVodafone, the telecom company, sponsors the best team in the world’s richest sport. I refer to their sponsorship deal with Ferrari in the formula 1 motor sport. They also sponsor one of the best teams in the world’s second most expensive sport, this being Manchester United, in soccer. This lucrative four-year ï¿½40m deal ensures that fans of the club can get information about club news sent to them, any time, practically anywhere. Recently, having visited Old Trafford, in the official supporters shop there was a deal for Manchester United fans. With the stub of a match ticket, you could purchase a vodafone handset for 75% of the retail price.
This is another perk for the club’s supporters.It is evident that Manchester United PLC has a clearly defined marketing mix. It is more that visible that the company is successful, mainly due to the fact that it is the richest club globally. The club had an intake of over ï¿½100m in 1999, the year they completed the historic treble. This alone would tell you that the clubs marketing strategy is very strong, and that is a clear incentive for the club to perform well on the field.On a way of conclusion, one can clearly see the marketing strategy of Manchester United PLC and how it is exercised.
This strategy has lead to great success, both on and off the field. Being the richest club in the world, the finance for buying world-class players is certainly available. This, with help from the management staff at the club, would improve the team, and therefore, create greater publicity for the club and also help attract new fans, which in turn helps sales of company merchandise. Both the club and company as a whole benefit from each other and this link will remain strong both keep doing what they are doing best. Performing well.