The concept of marketing is so broad that it is impossible to study it completely in prep class, perhaps for lack of time but also because information on the subject constitutes a bottomless pit. So I decided to chew on the work for you a little so that your learning would be easier. In this article, we will try to answer two main questions: how to analyze the marketing strategy of a company? And how to identify its marketing policy (4P method)?
To give a definition, marketing is in a way the analysis of consumer needs and all the means of action used by organizations to influence their behavior. Marketing grants, as you will have understood, a fundamental place to the consumer he tries to seduce, that is why it is necessary to create value in his eyes, a value that he will qualify as superior compared to that of competitors.
Analyze the marketing strategy
1. Define important terms
– Marketing strategy: functional strategy defined within a strategic business area (DAS) in the same way as the HR or IS strategy.
– Segment : consists of dividing a market into groups of homogeneous consumers.
– Targeting : consists of choosing populations and products on which to concentrate the company’s efforts.
– Positioning : represents the place occupied by the products and/or the brand in the mind of the consumer on the cognitive and affective levels, in relation to the positions of the competing products/brands.
2. Identify segmentation
– Either BtoC (Business to Customer), that is to say that the company trades with consumers, which can be analyzed using socio-demographic, psychological, psychographic and behavioral variables + situational variables such as physical environment (where do they shop?), social environment (do they come alone or with friends?), time perspective (during what time of day/year do they shop ?), etc.
– Either BtoB (Business to Business), i.e. in this case the company trades with other professionals, which can be analyzed with characteristics of the company such as its size, its profitability, type of activity, etc. + behavioral characteristics such as purchase frequency, purchase volume, price sensitivity, etc.
3. Define targeting
– Implementation of undifferentiated marketing : the products and the plan are unique to reach the greatest number of customers.
– Implementation of differentiated marketing : the products and the plan are distinct for each segment of the market.
– Implementation of a concentrated marketing : the products and the plan focuses only on a single segment (niche).
4. Understand positioning
– Rely on the differentiating attributes of a product/brand: the level of quality/range/price, the imagery linked to the product/brand, consumption patterns, etc. as well as on the values that she tries to highlight such as tradition, commitment, know-how, ecology, etc.
– The interest is above all to conclude by distinguishing the gap between the desired positioning and the perceived positioning.
Analyze the marketing policy (also sometimes called the marketing mix)
To do this, you must identify the 4Ps (Product – Price – Placement – Promotion), I advise you to deal with this question in the form of a table since it is a tedious task of writing which would cause you to lose a lot of time during competitions.
1. Product Policy (Product)
Product policy refers to the activity of defining, adapting, specifying, differentiating and, more broadly, pricing the goods and services that make up a company’s offer.
– Identify the range policy : is it broad (width = number of product lines)? Is it deep (depth = number of products in each line)? Is it long (length = the sum of the products of all rows)? Is it evolving?
If the range decreases: this means that the company is concentrating its efforts (advantage) but there is a risk of infidelity on the part of its customers and a risk of dependence on too few products (disadvantages).
If the range increases: it means that the company is making efforts to adapt to the needs of these customers and that it spreads the risks (advantage) but it risks greatly increasing its costs and facing a risk of channeling (customers will prefer certain products to the detriment of other products).
– Determine the brand policy : is it euphonic (easy to pronounce)? Is it evocative (of ideas, values, memories, etc.)? Is it declinable? Is it notorious (top of mind, spontaneous, assisted)?
If creation of several new brands: this means that the company will be able to introduce barriers to entry into certain markets and that there will be no confusion in the mind of the customer (advantage) but it will not be able to benefit from the notoriety of its other brands (disadvantage).
If deletion or few existing brands: this means that the company will have lower management costs and will be able to benefit from economies of scale (advantage) but that this can complicate the difficulty of reading concerning the identity and the offer of the company (disadvantage).
– Study of the packaging : what is its physical function (for example to preserve the product, facilitate use, etc.)? What is its marketing function (for example to attract, communicate, promote the product, etc.)?
2. Pricing Policy (Price)
The pricing policy is the only component of the marketing plan that directly affects turnover.
– Either a skimming policy : consists of setting a high price and then lowering it over time with the aim of maximizing long-term profits.
– Either a price penetration policy : consists in defining a low price with low profit in view of increasing it thereafter
– Either a price alignment policy : consists of setting a price that is aligned with that of competitors (i.e. staying at the same prices)
– Then, analyze the relevance of this policy according to internal factors (the position desired by the company for example) and according to external factors (competition, demand, perceived value, etc.)
3. The distribution policy (Placement)
The distribution policy represents the set of operations that allow a good or a service to reach the producer to the final consumer.
– Distinguish whether it is a producer or a distributor
If producer: study if the distribution circuit is direct, short (1 single intermediary) or long (> 2 intermediaries) + if the distribution is done intensively, selectively or exclusively
If distributor: study if the mesh is narrow or wide + if the network is integrated (the company has branches), associated (there are only franchises) or mixed (there are franchises and branches)
– Understand which strategy is being pursued: multi-channel strategy (the physical and virtual channels are distinct), omni-channel strategy (the physical and virtual channels are linked together) or cross-channel strategy (the physical and virtual channels are one and the same , they are more than linked since there is no break when going from one to the other)
4. Communication policy (Promotion)
The communication policy is the set of messages sent to the targets (current and future customers) of a company.
– Knowing whether the communication is media (posters, written press, radio, television, cinema, internet) and/or non-media (social networks, fairs and shows, public relations, opinion makers/influencers, sponsorship)
If media communication: the company will be able to reach more people (advantage) but it will not always be a useful audience and the message can sometimes be reductive (disadvantage)
If non-media communication: this mode often costs less than mass media and the company will have the possibility of personalizing its message (advantage) but it will have less control over the situation on what it will say since this communication does not always come from her (disadvantage)
– Clearly differentiate the type of customers the company is addressing: communication will not be the same in BtoC (notion of communication empowerment often very present with this type of customer) as in BtoB.
– Then, analyze the relevance of this policy according to the strategic constraints (knowing whether the cognitive, affective and/or conative objectives are achieved) and according to the financial constraints (management of the advertising budget, market share, share of voice, etc. ).
There you go, you now know the essentials to know about the marketing program! I invite you to memorize both the definitions and the way to justify the relevance of a policy.