STRATEGIC MARKETING: CASE OF VODAFONE
Table of Contents
1.1 Role of Strategic Marketing in the firm: 3
1.2 Relationship between corporate strategy and marketing strategy: 4
1.3 Developing a marketing strategy: 5
2.1 Approaches to internal environmental analysis: 5
2.2 Approaches to external environmental analysis: 8
2.3 Integration of internal and external factors: 9
3.1 Analyzing decisions and choices made at corporate level: 9
3.2 Influence of decisions on the marketing and functional level: 10
3.3 Approaches to competitive positioning of firms: 10
4.1 Range of strategies for developing business competitive advantage: 11
4.2 Marketing Communication Strategies: 12
4.3 Marketing strategies analysis, their application and implementation: 13
With competition growing in every sphere of the business world, marketing process is also getting more complicated. Firms are now not only focusing on developing customer awareness with marketing but also generating a long term sustainable competitive advantage. Blankson et al. (2009) stated that strategic marketing helps the firms in establishing long term competitive advantage by proper allocation of resources for their firms. Duncan and Moriarty (2007) opined that strategic marketing helps in aligning the organizational objectives with the market condition. The study focuses on the strategic marketing process of Vodafone. The marketing processes of Vodafone based on engaging and stimulating the consumers with the firm for developing its brand equity and survive in the tough competition in the market (Wilson and Gilligan, 2005). The report will focus on evaluating the importance of strategic marketing and the process of developing strategic marketing plans for Vodafone.
1.1 Role of Strategic Marketing in the firm:
Strategic marketing plans of a company are designed in order to attain the financial goals of the firm and help it grow. The execution of strategic marketing activities of a firm is associated with the equipped process so that the business is able to establish the forces of demand and supply and contest the market necessities (Grönroos, 2007). The most essential role of marketing is that it helps the firm in evaluating the requirements of the consumers and the variables that should be incorporated in improvement of the products and services (Ballantyne and Varey, 2009). The strategic marketing process of Vodafone is aimed at the expansion of market responsiveness and help in promoting their brand equity. Marketing planning and analysis in Vodafone is also focused on evaluating the competitor strategies and the existing position of the company in evaluation to its stakeholders (Duncan and Moriarty, 2007). Thus, it can be opined that strategic marketing in a way helps in analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the firm and reduces the threats and uncertainties in the market.
1.2 Relationship between corporate strategy and marketing strategy:
Corporate strategies of Vodafone include the strategic planning and vision of the corporation. In the words of Duncan and Moriarty (2007), the connection between the corporate strategy and the marketing strategy is based on the organizational structures and policies. In case of a customer centric firm such as Virgin, the corporate and marketing strategy is almost similar as both are intended to achieve a common goal. On the other hand, in an employee centric firm such as Vodafone both corporate and marketing strategies will differ as the focus to achieve organizational excellence by understanding the employee needs. However, Ballantyne and Varey (2009) argued that corporate strategy and marketing strategy from the organizational goals and hence their aim should also be parallel to each other.
Figure 1: Relation between marketing and corporate strategy in Vodafone
(Source: Grönroos, 2007, p – 18)
1.3 Developing a marketing strategy:
Marketing strategy of a firm encompasses many factors that are necessary for the escalation of the firm such as consumer acquisition, customer withholding, market development, etc. In the present-day scenario, the procedure of developing a marketing strategy has altered with technological influence. Online marketing means have become one of the most extensively used tools for developing the marketing strategies. The primary aspect of Vodafone’s marketing strategy is to build a translucent connection with their customers. The customers must appreciate the profits of the products and services offered by Vodafone and insist on for getting occupied with the firm. However, some firms have chosen the opposite of this concept. For instance, Apple Inc. develops their strategies trying to keep an aura of mystery around their customers so that they are eager and more focused on the firm (Ballantyne and Varey, 2009). The marketing plan should also be able to position the products and services offered by the company to the fitting customers. Apart from these the market strategy of a firm also helps in recognizing the competition in the market and the factors moving customer actions.
2.1 Approaches to internal environmental analysis:
The internal environment of an organization is framed on the basis of organizational values and mission; this drives the process of decision making for building the business strategies (Knights and Morgan, 2007). The internal decision making process of a firm is analyzed mainly by comparing the positive and negative changes in the world which is also known as the resource based view (Kolk and Van Tulder, 2010). The resource based view of internal analysis focuses on collecting information and investigates the changes in the daily activities of the firm and their contribution in developing a long term competitive advantage.
Figure 2: Factors considered in resource based view
(Source: Kolk and Van Tulder, 2010, p -124)
Another process of domestic environment analysis is VRIO, VRIO stands for Value, Rareness, Imitability and Organization (Brady et al. 2007). VRIO framework of a firm is directed towards increasing the competitive advantage by elevating the values of a company, building exclusive characteristics that will discriminate the organization in the market place. It also limits the admission of other firms to replicate their strategy and manage the resources of the firm in an planned manner (Knights and Morgan, 2007).
Figure 3: VRIO
(Source: Ballantyne and Varey, 2009, p – 347)
SWOT is one of the most commonly used internal analysis process. SWOT signifies strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities (Grönroos, 2007). The SWOT examination helps a business to recognize the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The strengths and weakness of the firms permits them to prepare their strategies consequently whereas the opportunities and threats reveal the future scopes and risks that may prevail in the market and control the business activities (Kolk and Van Tulder, 2010).
Figure 4: SWOT Analysis
(Source: Ballantyne and Varey, 2009, p – 345)
2.2 Approaches to external environmental analysis:
The external factors influence the work procedure of a business majorly. Business organizations such as Vodafone designs their strategies in a style that will help them support the business activities with the peripheral factors (Brady et al. 2007). Managerial tools and techniques such as porter’s five forces, PESTEL analysis, perceptual mapping, generic strategies, etc helps in analyzing the external factors. Some of the critical external environmental factors that impact the strategies of the firm are competition, market forces (demand and supply), consumer behavior, technological changes, etc (Grönroos, 2007). Apart from these, the changes in the international market also influence the managerial activities. In order to analyze these changes, PESTLE analysis is the most commonly used method on the other hand, Porter’s Fiver Forces represent the status of external factors that directly affect the business activities like suppliers power, buyer power, competition in the industry, etc (Mooradian et al. 2012). The perceptual map represents the situation of the corporation in comparison with the other competitors against definite variables and helps the firm identify the most suitable position for developing a sustainable competitive advantage.
2.3 Integration of internal and external factors:
Although the internal and external factors affecting the business activities may differ in their nature but they can lead to similar consequences. They are reciprocally dependent on each other, the decision making process of a business has to ensure that the complex process of aligning the internal and external factors are carried out properly (Kolk and Van Tulder, 2010). For instance the work culture of Vodafone is influenced by the geographical and cultural differences of the worker base which is an external factor; again managing the work culture is an internal aspect (Grönroos, 2007). Thus, employee management process is directly related with the managerial decision making process in context of managing internal and external differences. SWOT analysis is mostly used for aligning the external pressure and prospects with the internal strengths and weaknesses of the firm (Mooradian et al. 2012). Some factors that influence the process of alignment are labor markets, organizational factors such as decision making and management, organizational structure and culture, demand and supply forces, competition in the industry, brand loyalty, customer behavior, etc (Brady et al. 2007).
3.1 Analyzing decisions and choices made at corporate level:
The decision making process of Vodafone can be broadly segmented into three categories namely, operational, tactical and strategic. Operational decision making process deals with the day to day work process and short term goals of the firm. The tactical decision making focuses on medium term aims and implementations while strategic decision making if for longer term. Changes in performance and productivity helps in analyzing the efficacy of the decision making process (Knights and Morgan, 2007). Duncan and Moriarty (2007) criticized that analyzing the decision making process depends on the organizational culture of the firms, in case of an employee centric firm such as Vodafone, the administration will focus on recognizing the changes in the work structure while a consumer centric firm such as Virgin will calculate the changes in the customer behavior. The marketing assessments of a firm are explored with the internal managerial analysis techniques or with the help of established market analysis devices such as Porter’s Fiver Forces, PESTLE, Perceptual mapping and BCG matrix analysis (Ballantyne and Varey, 2009).
3.2 Influence of decisions on the marketing and functional level:
The operational level workings of a firm are connected with the marketing process. Vodafone ensures that their employee base is able to meet the customer needs and expectations and generate marketing success. The marketing activities of the firm on the other hand help in gathering the market inputs that express the organizational activities (Knights and Morgan, 2007). The decision making process of a firm manipulates both marketing and operational level work process. Any changes in the work arrangement or the decision-making structure of a firm will initiate ripples through the functional activities of the firm hence changing the marketing activities. In order to ensure that the marketing objectives are fulfilled, the firm must ensure that the organizational decision making process consists of effective change implementation frameworks. For instance, Vodafone. is focusing on promoting their brand with their corporate social responsibility projects and thus this has directed their marketing activities from their product line to the environmental and social workings of the firm (Ballantyne and Varey, 2009).
3.3 Approaches to competitive positioning of firms:
The activities undertaken by the company influence the competitive positioning of the company (Knights and Morgan, 2007). Kolk and Van Tulder (2010) argued competitive positioning techniques of a business are based on their requirements and the market demands. In order to develop a competitive position, Vodafone should acknowledge the strategies used by their competitors and also identify the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors such as BT, TalkTalk, Virgin, etc. The competitive positioning strategies can be built on the marketing procedure, operational process, product development, etc. In the words of Duncan and Moriarty (2007), competitive positioning of a firm helps it to develop a sustainable competitive advantage so that it can enhance their market presence and generate consumer awareness. In order to recognize the competitive position that has to be attained by a business the internal and external activities of the firm are analysed.
Figure 5: Competitive Positioning of a firm
(Source: Duncan and Moriarty, 2007, p – 6)
4.1 Range of strategies for developing business competitive advantage:
Strategy development of a firm relies on their objectives and the market status (Mooradian et al. 2012). Vodafone for instance is focusing on generating consumer awareness and increasing their engagement with the brand for generating brand equity (Brady et al. 2007). Vodafone is also looking forward to build a cost or service differentiation from their competitors to develop a sustainable competitive advantage. Vodafone CSR helps the firm in corresponding with their customer base and understands their expectation and requirements (Kolk and Van Tulder, 2010). Social media networking has also emerged as one of major process of promoting the brand and getting connected with stakeholders of the firm. With the help of their social media profile Vodafone has been able to inform the customers regarding their organizational focus. This has helped in specifying the necessities of the consumers and enhanced the marketing planning and product/service designing method of the firm (Mooradian et al. 2012).
4.2 Marketing Communication Strategies:
The target consumer base, products and service base of a firm also influences the marketing strategies of a company. Brady et al. (2007) observed that marketing process for communicating with students and business executives for a similar product will differ and the product nature can also differ marginaly.
Figure 6: Change in the marketing communications
(Source: Kolk and Van Tulder, 2010, p -125)
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has brought in many changes and upgradations in the marketing communication process of the business firms (Mooradian et al. 2012). Technological control has changed the procedure of marketing and communicating with the consumers, firms can now access to their customer base 24*7 because of ICT growth which has reduced the geographical barriers for customer gathering. The commonly used and effective marketing communication strategies are online content writing, image and video marketing and mobile marketing (Brady et al. 2007).
4.3 Marketing strategies analysis, their application and implementation:
Analyzing the marketing communication process helps in identifying the contribution of the marketing strategy in developing the company’s performance (Mooradian et al. 2012). Apart from the analytical tools stated before, marketing strategy can also be analyzed by comparing the market position of the firm from its competitors’ and consumers’ perspectives. Vodafone focuses on delivering the proper message to their customer base to develop a transparent business environment that will also increase their brand equity (Brady et al. 2007). On the other hand, implementation of a marketing approach is based on factors such as customer segmentation, competitors’ strategies, market status and company strength.
The above study has reflected the process of strategic marketing and its importance in the business scenario for developing a competitive position and a long term competitive advantage. The researcher has selected Vodafone as the company for this study. The strategic marketing process bonds the customers and other stakeholders of Vodafone by highlighting the benefits of the products and services presented by the company. Other essential characteristics such as internal and external environment of the business also influence the marketing and operational activities of Vodafone. In order to enlarge the brand equity and make sure sustainable business intensification, the firm has to categorize the risks and uncertainties along with the scopes and opportunities that may be present in the market. These factors have a say in the decision making process of the corporation. Strategic marketing process is encircled by many factors that are directly or indirectly related with the performance of the company and hence should be developed with a proper decision making process.
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