Introduction to Strategic Marketing
For every firm to differentiate itself from its competitors there is a requirement to build such strategies that can help it in sustaining its position in the market and remain profitable. There are certain strategies that a company frames for itself including business and corporate strategy (Vrontis, Kogetsidis and Stavrou, 2006). Some companies also adapt to formulate effective marketing tactics that are sure to help them in facing the market competition and stand successful in the industry. The present report is based on studying strategic marketing for Debenhams. It is a British fashion retailer company based in UK and functions with franchisee in other countries. This report attempts to assess value of different models involved in strategic marketing planning and the final part explains link of marketing tactics and strategy that leads to the successful positioning of the company (Tsiotsou and Goldsmith, 2012).
LO1 Principles of Strategic Marketing Management
1.1 Role of strategic marketing
Strategic marketing can be termed as plans and ways that a company adapts to function effectively in the industry and is able to face the intense competition from its competitor firms. It requires company to analyse its strength and weakness and provide better value to its customers (Jones, 2003). Malcolm Macdonald defines it as company’s best choice that it attempts to choose in order to foster its growth and profitability by applying all possible resources and skills. It involves all strategies that are concerned in achieving all objectives. According to Kotler, Strategic marketing can be defined as selecting target markets and formulating appropriate marketing mix for the organization in order to make it function effectively and achieve a growth in terms of profitability and sales (Kotler, 2012).
Strategic marketing plays an important role in any organization. It can help Debenhams in determining that it always allocates right amount of resources for its expected outputs. Strategic marketing helps the company to identify its customer expectations and provide it the directions to work towards fulfilment of these expectations and objectives. Debenhams has introduced newer strategies that are related to marketing its products to customers (Davies, 2012). It has introduced mobile marketing campaigns that are helpful in developing an insight of its customer’s expectations and develop according to their demands. Strategic marketing helps the company to reschedule and prioritize its activities and plans that will help them to work in an efficient way. Further this would help Debenhams to develop its goals and objectives related to specific timeframes that are useful to achieve efficiency in its operations as well as growth in its market.
1.2 Process involved in strategic marketing
This process constitutes four major phases that defines the planning of marketing strategies. For Debenhams to involve in Strategic marketing planning, these phases would include:
Defining goals: This step requires the company to define its mission, vision statements. These are necessary to define the future plans and develop strategies. Further it also defines its long term objectives that it sees for the company. For Debenhams these include achieving larger share in markets with increased profits.
Analysing current marketing situations: This would require Debenhams to research on the market and analyze it for various factors that are likely to affect it (How to: Strategic Marketing Planning for Your Small Business, 2011). Further it also requires undergoing internal analysis of the firm by finding out its strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. This phase will further help the company in making assumptions that will assist in planning.
Strategic and tactical planning: This stage involves planning effective strategies that are beneficial for the company. This also involves developing marketing strategies for business of Debenhams and thus develops various tactics and plans for implementing these strategies.
Implementation and monitoring: This involves allocating appropriate resources for the company to make it implement these formulated plans effectively to improve efficiency (Ashill, Frederikson and Davies, 2003). Final part also involves allocating budget and applies mechanisms that are involved in monitoring of these plans against their effective implementation.
1.3 Links between strategic marketing and corporate strategy
The corporate strategy of a company consists of certain policies and plans that are framed for the company. This involves mission and vision statements of the company along with its corporate goals and objectives. These define the overall long term plans for the company (Jones, 2003). Debenhams also has several plans in its corporate strategies that are framed by its top level managers. Further marketing strategies are a part of corporate or business level plans which are strictly focussed on customers and their perspective. Marketing strategies of Debenhams need to be aligned to its corporate plans in order to achieve its ultimate goals. Debenhams has been well known for its stores to be the favourite of its customers. Its mission statement states its purpose to achieve profitability and growth in the markets share. This is a part of its corporate strategy and thus it creates several marketing plans to achieve this mission (Fodness, 2005). These plans include creating and attracting new customers for its products. It develops new stores at different locations and works through franchisee to attain a better growth of its brand in the market. All these plans are linking it to its ultimate corporate goals.
LO2 Tools Used to Develop a Strategic Marketing Strategy
2.1 Value of models used in strategic marketing planning
There are various models that can help in assessing the strategic marketing planning for Debenhams. One such model that can be used is its own internal analysis that is SWOT that will help in analysing its current strengths and weaknesses.
- Better brand equity in the world of fashion.
- Good number of stores in UK, Ireland and more than 150 stores.
- Company has better mergers and acquisitions.
- Have a large number of employees around 30,000 (Motta and Schewe, 2008).
- Many retail stores with similar strengths are present in market.
- Not involved in focussing upon all potential segments.
- Has less geographical presence.
- Has to face complex taxes.
- Its franchisee model can foster its growth and profitability.
- More opportunities of expansion.
- Chances of growth, Due to changing preferences of customers in the fashion industry.
- Introducing innovation and variety in its product will help in achieving better profits.
- Change in prices of raw materials affects profit margins.
- Risk of increased number of competitors.
- Requires better awareness of its brand for customers worldwide (Cravens, 2010).
Another model that can help in assessment of marketing planning of Debenhams is porter’s five force model
Threat of new entrants: New entrants in the industry mean new companies that may enter the market in same industry. This is the most profitable industry and firms and other stores chose it as their first option of business to start a fashion store so it has larger threat of new entrants.
Rivalry among competitors: Rivalry among competitors means the number of companies that are operating with similar functions, products and strategies and require to compete in order to sustain in the market. This industry has many competitors like ZAR, G- Star etc. so again the rivalry among competitors is very high (McGrath, 2013).
Threat of substitutes: The fashion industry is known for its uniqueness and competitiveness. There are large numbers of substitute available for customers that can easily drive them against purchasing products from Debenhams.
Bargaining power of customers: There are numerous brands that are competing in this industry and thus customers very easily switch on to other brands and have a high bargaining power.
Bargaining power of suppliers: Suppliers also have a higher bargaining power for retail stores like Debenhams (Viardot, 2004). They have large number of companies demanding for similar type of raw materials thus they can fix costs accordingly.
With the help of SWOT analysis it is easy to find out the various strengths and weakness of Debenhams and therefore provides the company with an insight to follow upon formulating its strategies. This model explains what all areas can be included in the marketing planning and provides a direction of focus. Further Porter’s five force model is also used for assessing the marketing planning process for Debenhams. It is clear from the fact that it is operating in fashion industry where it has threat from almost all factors of the industry including new entry and competitors (How to: Strategic Marketing Planning for Your Small Business, 2011). Besides this it also faces higher bargaining power of suppliers and customers as there are many companies operating in same industry. Thus this provides a better understanding for Debenhams while developing its marketing plans and strategies and need to formulate specific policies and strategies that will support it in retaining better customers and sustaining its position in market.
2.2 Links between strategic positioning and marketing tactics
Strategic positioning can be defined as approach or plans that a company takes to move towards its goals or handle particular situations. Managers develop strategies to position it and communicate these to staff for its effective implementation. Debenhams also defines its strategic positioning by describing its expected future position by collecting information and researching the market. This information provides certain factors of environment that are likely to affect Debenhams and thus provides direction to it to formulate strategies (Jones, 2003). There are certain factors like competitors or threats that require adopting effective strategies or marketing tactics assisting the company to position itself in the market. To position itself in future market and achieve profitable growth and development,
Debenhams can choose certain marketing tactics like market development or product development. These are a part of generic business strategies that are focussed on developing better products to develop new customers. For linking the marketing tactics with strategic positioning, Debenhams can also adopt certain strategies related to its products like providing various options of selection ranges (Motta and Schewe, 2008). It provides variety in clothes for different levels of customers like designer dresses and premium range clothes. It can also work upon better quality and try reducing its costs so as to improve its pricing of products as well as manage the profit margins. It can develop plans to promote its brand and create its awareness among customers so as to ensure better sales and position in market. Apart from this to position itself in market, the company can adopt tactics like developing effective loyalty schemes, distribution channels that ensure timely delivery of products, effective management of stock and promotion and price decisions that can serve as few of the best strategies of growth (Davies, 2012).
2.3 Merits of relationship marketing in a given strategic marketing strategy
For functioning in the competitive market, Companies adopt a numerous strategies that assist companies to sustain better positions in market and industry. The fashion industry is the one having number of companies operating with varieties and range of products. So to compete in the market and industry Debenhams can also adopt several strategies including relationship marketing that can be best to retain loyal customers (Ashill, Frederikson and Davies, 2003). Relationship marketing involves Customer relationship programs that are most effective for managing customers.
There are a number of loyalty schemes that can be adopted to benefit the potential customers of the company by providing them with schemes and discounts. This relationship marketing is aimed at achieving customer satisfaction at the first perspective. The prime focus of Debenhams must also be having all its customers satisfied that help in retaining them. These strategies include marketing products and services to customers personally and identifying their own perception about the brand and try to fulfil their expectations (Kotler, 2012). They can also apply plans to increase the switching cost that make the customer more loyal and help in retaining them.
It is significant for all companies operating in the industry to formulate effective marketing strategies that make it sustain its position in the market. The undertaken report is based on studying strategic marketing planning for the fashion retail store Debenhams. Debenhams has been a successful store in creating better experience for its customers by providing a variety of products ranging from fashionable clothes, accessories etc. This study explains the role and importance of strategic marketing for Debenhams. The report also carries out a description of strategic marketing planning process. It explains various phases of this marketing planning process and develops an insight into the link of marketing tactics and strategy. The report also studies various models that are helpful in assessing the strategies by studying the strength, weaknesses of the Debenhams. Final part of this study carries out a brief description of importance of relationship marketing for Debenhams and its strategies that involves development of various schemes and discount for loyal customers. This report is creates an excellent understanding of strategic marketing for an organization.
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