How the role of marketing drives business forward

by Business Case Studies on Monday 29th November, 2010

Friday 26th November was a key date in the retailer calendar. It is known as 'Black Friday' because it is thought to be the first day of the year that retailers start to make a profit – leaving the 'red' and entering the 'black' (BBC, 26th November 2010). Unsurprisingly, high street retailers tend to see a large increase in sales in the run-up to Christmas. However, other organisations, like Portakabin, will not see such a change in levels of sales during this time.

This is because Portakabin is a business to business (B2B) organisation. It designs and delivers modular buildings for use as offices, medical centres and classrooms. It has to ensure that its marketing activities are appropriate for the industry in which it works. There would be little point in Portakabin using television advertising, for example. Portakabin must reach the types of organisations that are likely to use its services, so it promotes through trade magazines, targeted websites and direct mail.

Retailers, on the other hand, adopt different promotional techniques to encourage sales during this busy period which can make or break some businesses. For example, it is difficult to miss all the adverts for toys and games currently on TV. Sales promotions and discounts on products also provide incentives for customers to spend. Extending opening hours by having additional late night shopping during December is another way to attract more customers.

Questions

  1. Define marketing.
  2. Using the case study, explain the marketing activities that Portakabin carries out to ensure consistent sales throughout the year.
  3. Analyse the importance of providing good customer service for organisations like Portakabin.

Answers

1. Define marketing.

Marketing is the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably (as defined by CIM).

2. Using the case study, explain the marketing activities that Portakabin carries out to ensure consistent sales throughout the year.

Activities include:

  • Segmenting the market – particularly into education, health and manufacturing. This allows Portakabin to develop products specifically for the needs of the segments. Promotional activities can also be tailored to the specific segments.
  • Market research – primary and secondary research is carried out to find out what customers want in terms of products and services and what customers think of the organisation.
  • The marketing mix – Portakabin ensures that it uses the information it has to get the right mix of product, price, place and promotion.

3. Analyse the importance of providing good customer service, for organisations like Portakabin.

  • Good customer service can build brand loyalty so repeat business is generated.
  • It means that customers are likely recommend Portakabin to others, again generating more sales in a cost effective way.
  • It can provide competitive advantage.
  • It is good for the reputation of the organisation.

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