When you say marketing, many people think advertising. But, as I hope you’re learning, marketing encompasses much more.
Ev ery point of customer contact comprisesthe marketing of a business. Taken together, these contacts make up the customer experience and
are opp ortunitiesto either cement their loyalty, or driv et em into the arms of competitors.
The smart business realizesthis and
plansfor it. Some businesses claim one thing but deliv er another. Other businesses are more se at-of-the-p ants: they don’t have a plan for
managing these experiences.
The purpose of this assignment isto get you to think about the aspects of marketing otherthan adv ertising
and to look for re al-world applications.
Choose a local business (or local branch of a national/international business)
and learn as much as you can about their marketing efforts aside from advertising.
What to Do
Walk into the business as a customer and
observe the com Iete customer experience, using the chart belowto guide you. What message do you receive as a customer? Ask yourself what
you would do dift}erently-what recommendations would you make to management? You can use the 4 P’s as a framework for your
Is the product or service they are offering consistent with their claims? What isthe return policy in the event you are
not satisfied? Is it clearly stated, or do you hav e to ask? Are there free samples ortrial sizes of new products/service s? Comment on
their packaging and labeling.
Are the prices easy to find, so that customers do not hav e to ask? This is uncomfortable for
some-they’d rather walk out than ask. Are items bundled at a special price that offersthe customer a better deal? Are the items priced
separately so that the customer only pay for exactly what is needed? What pricing strategy do you think this company use s?
the staff helpful, courteous, knowledgeable, and readyto learn about your needs and educate you about their product or service? Does it
seem that everyone working there has been given the same training concerning customers? Or not?
Doesthe physical location offer an
experience that is consistentwith the message the business istrying to deliv er? What does it look like, sound like, smell like? The
concrete floors, industrial shelving and high ceilings at Costco are no accident-they are telling their customersthat theirs is a
no-frills, low-ov erhe ad business with the lowest pricesto be found.
You might want to try calling the businessto see if their call
answerrng messages are helpful or annoying.
Ev en how inventory levels are managed is part of marketing-is stock always on hand, or
do customers show up, onlyto be disappointed because that item is out of stock? How will that experience affect the customer’s feeling
about the business and pro duct or service? Are rain checks offered? (A rain check is a gift certificate or other special given to a customer
when a product is not av ailabIe-e.g. 10% off next purchase).Promotion Mix (referto chart below)
Has this business receiv ed media
attention recently? Search newspaper/rnternet sourcesto see if the y’v e been in the news. Is it a positive piece that will alert potential
customersto their existence, or a media disaster? Are there in-store promotions, specials, contests, etc?
Does the sales person œup
sell you (suggest additional items you might like/ne ed?) Is s/he knowledgeable about the product/service so that you can confidently make
a decision to bu
Are there in-storye specials, promotions, contests, etc? Can you sign up to receive a newsletter or email promotions?
Is the web site easyto find and navigate? Doesthe business come up on the first page of a Google (or other search engine) search?
Comment on your conclusions about this company’starget market, their branding strategy,the resulting brand loyalty of customers
(if any), and any recommendations you would make to management to improve the customer experience. Be specific.
The questions above
are a starting point. Document asthoroughly as you can your customer experience.
The chart below may help you:
or in-store promotions
Mailing List and/or Newsletter
Internet: web site, newsletter, search engine
Ambience-interior, exterior & neighborhood
Layout of facility
A FEW LAST COMMENTS:
Don’t choose Starbucksto write ab out-they’ve made your job
too easy. But if you want to observe a businessthat has mastered the concepts we’re discussing, go have a latte.
Don’t choose your
current employer. It’stoo hard to see yourjob site through fresh eyes, or as a customer would.
This must be a business with a physical
location or storefront-no web-only businesses. Get out there-Safeway, McDonald’s, your local dry cleaners, etc.
Your write-up should
be in an organized, narrativ e or essa st Ie, addressing each of the 4 P’s. Be sure to include your recommendationsto mana ement or what
you thinkthey should do differently. DON/’T copy and paste the questions above and answer each one with a few words. DOlFT give me a
(l’_l;1he chart above is adapted from http://www.sfc.ucdavis.edu/agritourism/factsheets/market2.htmI)
e rest oft e
assignment is adapted from Marketing Without Advertising: Inspire Customersto Rave About Your Business and Create Lasting Success, a
terrific book by Michael Phillips and Salli Rasberry, published by Nolo Press, 2003.
There are 40 points possible:
points for discussion of product/service offering.
8 pointsfor discussion of pricing.
8 points for discussion of promotion.
8 pointsfor discussion of place (distribution)
8 pointsfor summary (branding, target mar et, recommendations)