Complicated situations arise for many companies in their business journey. Some of the complications are due to their recent activities that they conduct as a part of their strategic planning, while some are due to their past experience. In order to cope with these difficulties, the companies are expected to adapt certain strategies to pursue in their business (Dibbs et al., 2015). There are various strategies that are adapted by various organizations. Some of those strategies to be name are customer retention, comparative advantage in terms of improving quality or price of the product so that the company would be able to improve the satisfying level of the customers (Moriarty & Kosnik, 2012).
One of the most trending strategies in recent market scenario is the blue ocean strategy. The strategy has been applied by major industries such as Apple, Zara, Facebook, Body Shop and even the online gaming company Candy Crush. A greatest example is of the strategies adapted by Apple Inc. It can be easily assumed that the success of these companies is a result of the various business strategies undertaken by the companies in their business journey (Schewe & Smith, 2013).
The philosophy that a firm or organization undertake in order to make decisions regarding satisfying the target consumers are known as marketing concepts. These are actually tools that are undertaken by various companies to fight against the competition in the market (Bresser, 2014). There is no doubt that the market is saturated with various options and substitutions for the consumers to choose from. It has become clear that unless proper marketing strategies are not applied, there is very less chance of survival for the company.
The success of the company mentioned above can be easily ascertained due to the fact that they have been applying correct strategies at proper instances. The most commonly used marketing strategy is setting a competitive strategy (McDougall & Robinson, 2015). Competitive strategy is mainly related to two objectives, one is product development and the other is setting a proper price of the product. For developing a product, various companies take various approaches. If certain examples are to be given of those companies who have agreed towards product development as one of their business strategies then the names of Zara, Primark, Facebook and lots of others who have understood that developing or making changes in their product can attract more consumers to them. It has been evident that these companies have been altering in their products or services at a random basis. Their approach is sufficiently correct and the same can be easily reflected in their market share or increasing marginal profit of the companies. There are more than 10 million active users of Facebook; this mark has only been able to achieve by the company because they have focused on product development (Fruin, 2014). On the other hand, retail or clothing companies like Zara, Puma, and Adidas have been able to attract more customers due to their pricing strategy. Adidas, Puma, and Nike, all are great competitors. These companies keep a good eye on the price and variety of the products that each company introduces. Based on the findings, the price of the products are decided. Thus, a tough and healthy competition keeps going on among these companies (Govindarajan, 2015).
Customer service gap model:
Today’s customers are smart and literate. They are ready to spend a good amount of money if the product or the service is capable enough to satisfy their needs. However, there is no doubt that the customers have become demanding as well. They want everything to be delivered for them at very quick instances (Lindi?Ќ et al., 2012). It is not that consumer products like cars, mobile phone, computers are able to market their product according to their own criteria but they are also restrained to do so. Companies like HP, Compaq, Dell and many others have to recognize the need of the customers and then proceed with their marketing activities.
As proposed by Kaenzig, Heinzle and W?stenhagen, (2013), there always lay a gap between what is delivered by the company and what is gained by the customers. This gap has been explained by calling it to be the expected service and the perceived service. The creation of this gap is responsible due to the fact that the companies fail to understand the demand of the customers. Sometimes, the right product is not delivered to the customers either in terms of service or in terms of quality of the product. It has also been observed that the products delivered by the company fail to meet the expectation of the customers. The same situation has been faced by Deloitte in its business (Malik, 2012). The service that the company promised to deliver to its target consumers were not up to the standard and thus failed to meet the expectation of the consumers. For the same reason, in the year 2012 the company had to face a critical situation in its business. The company has called this crisis period of their business journey.
Figure: Gap strategy
Example of gap:
Once there was a havoc raised regarding the menu that Pizza Hut offered. The customers were not satisfied with the company offering only pizza, but they wanted Pizza Hut to serve some kind of desserts also, may be Lemon Pie or Brownie. Again, when it was found that HBL did not have online payment option, the customers again got unsatisfied.
Zone of tolerance:
This term is used identify the difference between the desired service by the consumers and the actual service provided by the company (Nguyen & Rosetti, 2013). Sometimes, the service or the product provided by a company is not satisfying enough for the customers that they would be glad to accept the new incorporation made by the company. For example, it can be said that when it was demanded that pie is to be included in the menu of Pizza Hut, it was included following the demand of the customers. However, the proposed idea was not able to satisfy the customers completely because then people complained that the dessert was not up to the standard. Now, what more does the customers expect from a pizza maker (Rahman, Khan & Haque, 2012). The Gap and the Zone of tolerance can be wide as well as narrow at different instances of time.
Prior to the purchase of a product, the customers undergo certain instances for the understanding the various aspects of product evaluation in the market. There are a number of steps that are involved in the product adoption process. There are basically five stages in the process of product adoption:
Awareness- It is the first step that is done to create awareness among the consumers about the product. There is no doubt that unless people are informed about a product, it cannot be expected that the product will sell in the market. In order to meet the same criteria, companies usually take the help of advertising or promoting the product among the consumers (Ham, 2013). Not the awareness is created, it is expected that consumers would befall for the product.
Interest- It is assumed that the promotional activities done by the companies to create awareness among the consumers automatically create an interest in them (Yaqin, Chuanyong & Liang, 2015). Once this interest is created, people are more drawn towards the arrival of the product and this creates hype in the market.
Evaluation- This step considers the importance of the product whether the product is useful or beneficial for the consumers. It is evident that a person would like to purchase a product only if the product offers something usefulness and benefits to the customers (Ritchie et al., 2015).
Trail- At the time of purchasing a product for the first time, the consumer usually uses a trail product. It is only if the customer gets satisfied with the product, further purchasing is made. This is the trail method of a product.
Adoption- Only if the product is capable enough to satisfy the need of the customer, that they adapt the product and make regular purchase of the product.
A perfect example of the above discussed marketing plan can be given of a deodorant company Garnier. The company at the time of launch of product did a great research on the demand and need of deodorants among the consumers (Kr?ger, 2016). A very creative and attracting advertisement was made to promote the product. The created a great interest among the consumers and they were drawn towards the product.
Customer lifetime value:
It is a prediction that is adopted by the marketers or company that there is a lifetime value of the customers towards a particular product. This prediction also ensures a good and healthy relationship of the company with the consumers. In this respect, it can be said that there are certain instances that are responsible for the creation of a lifetime customer value. The foremost thing is the creation of a brand value (Hsieh et al., 2013). Once a brand value is created, a particular group of customers are bound to the particular company. This way, it is also ensured that the company has a fixed customer based even in this competitive market scenario.
As pointed out by Hinz, Schulze and Takac, (2014), a brand usually creates a loyal customer who will make repetitive purchase from the same company just because they have a faith towards the company that the product provided by them will be of good quality and that they will not be cheated. Companies like Tesla, Tesco, Wal-Mart all have a loyal group of customers because of the quality and the diversity of the product that these companies offer to the consumers. The profit margin or the market share of the companies are sky soaring and the reason behind this achievement of them can be easily assumed to be their loyal customer base.
It can be easily ascertain that when a particular thing is expected by a person, if the same thing could not hold the expectation after the confirmation process done after purchasing the product, then the level of dissatisfaction increases. This level of dissatisfaction automatically decreases the number of loyal customers. Again it can be said in this respect that the market is full of substitution and options (Baksi, & Parida, 2013). Thus, if a company loses a particular base of loyal customers there is other provisions open for the person. However, on the other hand, if the product or the service is satisfying enough for the customers then it can be said the company has been able to meet the expectation of the customer and there is a greater chance of confirmation of getting positive response from the market.
In this respect, example of a herbal product developed by one of cosmetic company can be given. The promotion made by the company was very attractive and it had promised to deliver great result to the users. However, on using the product, the response of the customers was not very satisfying. This created a negative impact among the customers and in longer run, it lost many customers. In fact, a good deal of customers was seemed to part away from the company due to the disloyalty played by the company. The expectations of the consumers were not met in this respect.
Figure: Marketing concepts
Net promoter score:
This is the method by which the management of a company takes the help of the loyal group of customers to ascertain their performance in the market. The score is given in the form of a score. It is usually expected that a score of 9-10 are those customers who are very loyal to the company and they keep on buying products from the company. In fact, they are regarded as promoters of the company. Every company has great faith towards these customers. In fact, it is the goal of the companies to get this range of customers.
Customers given the score of 7-8 are regarded as the enthusiastic customers. They are loyal to the company because the products provided by the company have been able to meet the expectation of the customers (Helmes, Schlosser & Weber, 2013). However, these customers can shift their buying choice to other companies as well. The last segmented group of customers is detractors who have been given the score between 0 and 6. These customers are unhappy customers and they are the major threats for the company. The power of word of mouth publicity cannot be denied. If there is something good or if it is bad, the news is easily spread (Bhagat, Goyal & Lakshmanan, 2012). Bad reviews are accepted more easily than the good reviews. Thus, any kind of bad reviews creates great damage for a particular company.
Blue Ocean Strategy:
One of the most recent trends as being adopted by majority of the companies in their business and marketing strategy is the concept of Blue Ocean Strategy. The rapid pace in the innovation and changes in the marketing and the business strategies of the company is one of the components of the blue ocean strategy. As opined by Nakata and Weidner, (2012), this strategy is more effective than the Porter’s Five Forces that has been applied for understanding the market framework and develops the product in a similar manner.
In order to attract more customers, it is a common phenomenon that there has to be inclusion of certain innovative ideas from the end of the company to attract more and more customers towards the company. Several companies have been applying this strategy for the sake of customer retention. Many big and small companies are adopting the blue ocean strategy for their company. In this respect, the best example of the company following the blue ocean strategy is TESCO. Some of the innovative strategies undertaken by the company as an innovative approach towards retaining customers can be discussed here.
Renovation in the store: The Company has focused in the renovation and decoration of the store at various outlets. Focus has been made towards segregating the departments of the various products in the store. This has helped to attract more customers towards to shop from their retail outlets than using other companies’ service.
Club card: This could be assumed to be the most effective and innovative approach, made by the company. With the help of the club card, TESCO provide certain benefits such as discounts or offers to the loyal customer base of the customers. With the effective use of the club card, more customers were retained in the company. There has been an increase in the number of visit of the customers in the store because they get benefit by using this card while shopping.
Value for product: Since, TESCO is one of the largest retail sectors; it deals with variety of product. At many instances, it is seen that the company keep giving discounts and offers with the other products (Kim & Mauborgne, 2014). This ensures a better buy for the customers and also a value added purchase to them. These offers attract more customers to the company.
Multi- retailing channel: The provision of online marketing has given the opportunity to the consumers to buy products from anywhere. In fact, the company has installed small e-counters at the bus stops in major parts of UK. This has enabled the consumers to buy products from the company without wasting much time. Now people can easily order product while waiting for their bus.
Easy payment mode: The Company gives provision to pay in terms of plastic money or direct paying through online mode (Lindic, Bavda?? & Kova?Ќi?Ќ, 2012). This has helped the customers to make their payment easily.
All these approaches can be easily regarded as the most innovative and effective way of retaining customers and creating a loyal base of customers that is indeed needed in a competitive market scenario of today. Along with these, the effectiveness of promotional strategies cannot be denied. Companies are using various promotional tools such as the social media networks or other publicity means for the purpose of attracting more and more customers and fight with the competition in the market. With the advent of globalization, the impact of competition and the availability of various options have lead to impact on the survival of the companies in the market.
In contemporary scenario, it can be said that marketing is no longer something that a company adapt to perform well in the market but it is something that is necessary for the sake of retaining customers. Two kinds of servicing has been observed; one that is perceived and it is required for the sake of marketing a product, and the other one is expected service that the company has to carry on for the sake of making the consumers happy and satisfied with the product. For understanding the needs and wants of the customers, it is expected that every company would carry out proper research of the market as well as the product that they are selling. A proper market orientation, communication with the internal and external stake holders and a focus on their market would definitely result in approaching a positive result towards their business. There have been many approaches made by several companies towards developing their product and gaining in the market. Some of the strategies have been discussed here along with many company examples where the companies have been using the strategies for achieving better results in the market. The most effective strategy in this respect could be easily considered as the blue ocean strategy. This strategy has been proving to be fruitful for every company who are incorporating them in their business. No wonder any kind of idea and plan can be clicked into one’s mind and this could give rise to a new strategy. The world is waiting for more such results where the major companies will take advantage of the strategies and they can easily grow in their business.
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