Acquiring and retaining new customers is considered the hardest and the most expensive in any business environment. This has led to most companies not only advertising its products but also changing their image and the internal operations to maintain their existing customers and to attract new ones. Relationship marketing in this case, therefore, involves a company creating a relationship with its customers that can last beyond the advertising. This type of marketing goes beyond a single transaction and tries to foster an everlasting customer relation and loyalty by providing more than just goods. Relationship marketing improves internal operations of the company to increase customers' satisfaction in terms of service delivery.
In any business environment, a balance between sales and marketing would mean an ideal environment. This is usually not the case. A business has to decide on the orientation that best suits its needs and goals and therefore to maximize profit in the long run. A business that employs marketing orientation strategy cares more about their clients and its main focus would be on the needs of the consumers. Therefore any strategy developed by the business must be in line with the change in needs and wants of the consumers (Armstrong et. al.). On the other hand, if a company or any business decides to use sales orientation strategy, its main focus will be on quantity sales rather than quality sales. The strategy is not based on the needs of the customers but on how fast the company can get rid of its products. This is done by making the company's products as affordable as possible. Similarly, when a company employs the product orientation strategy, their main focus will be pulling their customers towards buying their products. Unlike the sales orientation, the product orientation strategy focuses on product attraction to the consumers. For instance, the company can add new features to their products for the sole purpose of increasing the demand for the product.
A market involves all the buyers and sellers in given vicinity under consideration. Markets can either be physical or virtual and can cover a lot of networks globally depending on the types of markets and the requirements of the market. For a group of individuals or organizations or both to be a market, they require specific types of products or services under a given specific classification (Armstrong et.al.). These individuals and the organizations must have the desire, the power, the ability and the required authority to purchase those items. Besides the requirements, markets can be classified according to the activities carried out in that particular market. For instance, consumer markets only deal with those products that are sold directly to the individual consumers and those households involved in consumer purchases. On the other hand, business to business markets involves different companies and firms purchasing products and services for the purposes of further production into other products and services which are then sold and supplied to other companies.
Most companies use segmentation as a way of reaching all their target markets in time. The purposes of segmentation differ between companies; while other companies strive to break down large audiences to improve information reach and improve communication; other firms focus on identifying and creating new target markets. Other firms also use segmentation to focus message to specific groups and to reduce wastage when it comes to advertisement (Berthon et. al. 261-271). With market segmentation, companies can identify more potential segments and therefore, channel a specific target market with a specific marketing strategy.
When starting a business, often people are faced with problems of scarce resources and time. An effective marketing plan is therefore needed to minimize wastage of resources and time. Marketing plan involves comprehensive activities for reaching specific business objectives given the limited time and resources. Its components are target markets, market research, competitive analysis, positioning and market strategy. Marketers have faced different challenges, especially with the emerging technologies. Businesses must keep track of their clients and ensure they speak the consumers' language. Some of these emerging technologies include a Virtual reality that gives clients new experiences with products, blockchains that allows for decentralized data access and the live video that allows ease of contact with clients across the globe.
Aftercare is very crucial in any business especially in those businesses that every client counts. After the purchase of a good or a service, consumers are offered more than just a good service or quality product. These aftercare services include: product pairing to increase product sales, upsells especially the warranties and even new products and services. Just like humans, products also have lifecycle stages that they undergo until their end. For instance, in the introduction stage, a product is launched into the market for the first time. Similarly, in the growth stage, the product gains growth in terms of sales and profits. Other stages of a product lifecycle include the maturity stage and the decline stage. Companies can determine products life cycle stages by simply analyzing the product sales and profit trends.
Deleting products or a product line from production is often carried out by companies for different reasons. For example, a product can be deleted due to their obsolescence especially due to the ever-changing technologies. Products can also be deleted due to the change in a company's objectives and goals. Moreover, some products can be deleted due to an emerging product line that is deemed more desirable. Other factors that can lead to product exclusion include lack of profits and conflicts with other product lines (Berthon et. al. 261-271). The process of deleting old firms can eventually lead to a company introducing a new product. This can be done due to lack of profits from the old product, loss of appeal of the old product to consumers, obsolescence, and change in company's objectives.
Packaging is considered essential in any business environment as it improves the appearance of labeling hence easy identification of product by viewers. Labeling can also be used in packing of a product and mentioning ingredients, therefore, creating awareness among the consumers.
Pricing affects many buyers and sellers, and this tag of war is influenced greatly by customers' perception of price. When a company suspects that the consumers' perception of its product's prices is slightly below their set standards, depending on the competition in the market, the company will reduce its prices in a belief that the act will boost their perceived value to the buyers (Solomon et. al.). There are five major categories of pricing strategies that help businesses determine price points to maximize profits. These categories include the new product pricing, psychological pricing, differential pricing, product line pricing and the promotional pricing.
Most firms do not delete their poor performing products no matter the reason until they become financially threatening. This is usually under the assumption that the product can thrive again. However, this practice has affected many firms as in terms of profits as they lose so much profit that it becomes difficult for these firms to recover.
Businesses drive sales by promoting the image of the company as well as the benefits of the company's goods and services to the customers. L.L. Bean has a sophisticated promotion mix which has helped the company over the years to beat the completion and to stand out as one of the most valued companies in the world. Besides the company's initial promotion tool; the catalogue, the company has devised other promotion techniques which includes the company website, facebook, twitter, youtube channel, television and through partnerships with environmental friendly organizations. Moreover, the reach for the alternative promotions such as outfitting the weather channel meteorologists by the company has improved the company's sales over the years. Other alternative promotion activities that can benefit the company include: billboards, transit shelters and miscellaneous.
L.L. Bean catalog is the company's main promotion tool with detailed product analysis and variety of products to be viewed. Despite the company's success through the mail-order catalog, it is just a matter of time before the website becomes on top. The use of internet has increased over the years and most consumers; adults or young adults, spend most of their free time on the internet. This means that to completely get customers' attention, a company has to advertise its products through the internet, and L.L. Bean is not an exception.
In a business world today, websites are very important and often have the potential to reach the majority of consumers. This means, therefore, that a company, besides having a website itself, must make sure that its website is appealing to the customers. L.L. Bean's website is an example of an efficient business website. For instance, the website is easy to use in terms of simplicity and minimal scroll, functions properly and has optimized search engines. However, the website fall below the normal standards of a website regarding its appearance which is unappealing and content which is not easy to locate.
Armstrong, Gary, et al. Marketing: an introduction. Pearson Education, 2015.
Berthon, Pierre R., et al. "Marketing meets Web 2.0, social media, and creative consumers: Implications for international marketing strategy." Business horizons 55.3 (2012): 261-271.
Kirtis, A. Kazim, and Filiz Karahan. "To be or not to be in social media arena as the most cost-efficient marketing strategy after the global recession." Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 24 (2011): 260-268.
Solomon, Michael R., et al. Consumer behavior: Buying, having, and being. Vol. 10. Pearson, 2014.
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