Marketing Withour Advertising.


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.

The Assignment

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:








Optional Services

Product Quality

Staff Quality

StyIe-current or


Brand Name




Return Policy

List Price


Credit Terms

PubIicity-media mentions


or in-store promotions

Personal Selling

Mailing List and/or Newsletter

Internet: web site, newsletter, search engine





Ambience-interior, exterior & neighborhood

Layout of facility


Frequency of



Inventory Distributors


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
bulleted list.

(l’_l;1he chart above is adapted from

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)