The Role of a Quality of the Product in the Marketing Strategy
If the product is of a low quality, all marketing efforts will fail. A nice packaging, attractive promotion or even a lower price of competitors cannot replace a quality. The successful marketing strategy is the one that has all elements balanced. This is the only way to attract customers and hold them in a long-run.
Marketing strategy includes all activities aimed at the increase in sales and a sustainable competitive advantage based on the selected marketing mix that consists of 4 Ps or product, price, place and promotion (McCarthy). All elements of the marketing mix are equally important and must be harmonized in order to achieve the marketing goals. The product is what sells to customers and the base of the business operations. It must have an adequate price which is determined by costs and must be brought to the consumer through selected distribution channels. Customers also must be informed about the product that is offering. In services marketing is added three more elements – process, people and physical environment, which makes the 7 Ps (Booms et. al.).
Although all elements of the marketing strategy are important, the quality of the product is crucial because creates a customer satisfaction (Singh 5). Even when all other elements of the marketing strategy are in line with the market, if the quality of the product is low, the customers will not be satisfied and will stop buying the product. The quality of the product also creates value (Singh 5). Furthermore, product quality has a direct and positive influence on ROI, market share and price (Jacobson and David 32). Customers are willing to pay higher prices for higher quality. Also, a quality product will easier enter the market and increase market share. In return, higher prices and market share have a positive feedback effect on increasing the quality and all together increase ROI (Jacobson and David 42). It is enough to look the well-known brands, such as iPhone, Mercedes, Nike or Armani to see that with high quality always goes high price, a huge market and enormous business success. However, customers will buy only what they want, so the company must find the right mix of all elements.
Therefore, though all four elements of the marketing strategy are important, without a quality product a company cannot survive in the market, even if has the greatest competitive advantages in other aspects of marketing. Very often a quality of the products is the crucial factor in the decision to purchase a product because it determines customer satisfaction.
Booms, Bernard H. and Bitner, Mary Jo. “Marketing Strategies and Organization Structures for Service Firms.” Marketing of Services. American Marketing Association,1981, pp. 47–51.
Jacobson, Robert, and David A. Aaker. “The Strategic Role of Product Quality.” Journal of Marketing, vol. 51, no. 4, 1987, pp. 31–44., doi:10.2307/1251246. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.
McCarthy, E. Jerome. Basic Marketing, IL: Richard D. Irwin, 1964.
Singh, Meera. “Marketing Mix of 4P’S for Competitive Advantage.” IOSR Journal of Business and Management, vol. 3, no. 6, 2012, pp. 40–45., doi:10.9790/487x-0364045. http://www.ijbmi.org/papers/Vol(2)6/Version-2/B02620508.pdf. Accessed 17 Feb. 2017.
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The term marketing mix refers to the marketing activities used to create, communicate and deliver value to the customer (Kotler, Keller, Brady, Goodman, & Hansen, 2009, p. 866). The four main marketing mix variables, referred to as the 4Ps of marketing are: product, price, place, and promotion. Each element of the marketing mix will be discussed in relation to the Philips product eBLOCK.
Product is the first element in the marketing mix. A product can be broadly defined as "anything that can be offered to a market to satisfy a want or need and consist of a set of attributes, including physical goods, services, experiences, events, persons, places, properties, organizations, information and ideas" (Kotler, Keller, Brady, Goodman, & Hansen, 2009, p. 867). Therefore a product can be tangible or intangible or a combination of both. A tangible product being one which can actually be touched while an intangible product cannot, for example a service. Our product named eBLOCK is a tangible product which also has intangible attributes such as repair and replacement services. eBLOCK can be further classified as a durable good. Durable goods are product offerings that have a longer use lifetime (Kotler, Keller, Brady, Goodman, & Hansen, 2009, p. 508). Another way to categorize eBLOCK is as a consumer good as it is a final good purchased by the consumer for personal use.
The eBLOCK is a product which combines existing technologies and products and combines them into one multifunctional device. Phillips therefore makes use of a market breakthrough strategy to bring the eBLOCK to the potential market, as shown by Figure 1.1. The customer need fulfillment is high because the eBLOCK improves the quality of education.
Figure 1.1 Types of Product innovations
Customer Need Fulfillment
Newness of Technology
Phillips can use of the market breakthrough strategy to bring the eBLOCK to the market. The eBLOCK is a product which uses nearly no new technologies
A product can be divided into five customer-perceived (CPV) benefit levels. The product levels are core benefit, basic product, expected product, augmented product, and potential product. The five product levels are depicted below. Each level adds more customer-perceived value resulting in the final market offering.
The elementary level is called the core benefit. The core benefit is the benefit the costumer actually buys. The core benefit of the eBLOCK is that it provides a comfortable learning environment which is easy to use.
The second level is the basic product. The most basic "eBLOCK" allows students to make notes, make calculations, view presentations and documents, and construct and view their agenda. eBLOCK also includes Bluetooth and an USB input which allows the easy transfer of PowerPoint presentations or notes before lectures. Additional applications and expansion of the eBLOCK is possible at a cost or by buying a different model.
The third level of the CPV hierarchy is the expected product. This level is "a set of attributes and conditions buyers normally expect when they purchase this product (Kotler, Keller, Brady, Goodman, & Hansen, 2009, p. 506)." Students can expect a handy, easy to use, comprehensive learning product.
Next is the fourth level, augmented product. The augmented product of the "eBLOCK" is that it comes with repair and replacement services. If the product malfunctions or breaks one can bring it in for repairs or replacements.
The final product level is the potential product, which consists of all the potential transformations that a product or offering might go through in the future. Innovation, development, and modernization of the "eBLOCK" will continue as long as the product is in use. Furthermore, one can expand the basic "eBLOCK" with more advance and or new applications in the future. Also software updates will follow.
Another important attribute of the eBLOCK is that it is an eco-friendly product. No more wasting paper, ink, nor time, the eBLOCK has it all. Buying and using the eBLOCK is a simple way to begin making a positive impact. In the long run this green product will not only save trees, but also fill your wallet and ultimately can to some extent improve the overall quality of life.
The prototype of the eBLOCK is shown below. The different images show diverse layouts of how the functions of the product will look. It also has a short description of what is being shown.
The eBLOCK is a multifunctional product which allows customers to view PowerPoint Slides while writing notes on the other side of the screen.
written down on either square paper or plain paper. This also allows the customer to draw graphs in their notes when necessary.
Another feature of the eBLOCK is that it can be bought in diverse colors to suit the different tastes of customers.
Phillips should introduce a sub site for "eBLOCK". This subside should include an introduction to the product, further specifications, a web shop and so forth. The product should also be available at all universities and HBO colleges in the Netherlands either through the school itself or through student associations. These different types of supply spots make it easy for students to acquire an eBLOCK.
Once, Phillips decides to expand to different models of the eBLOCK, it needs to look for different distribution point. These distribution points can be found throughout its own distribution channel. Phillips needs to do so as it at this moment will also have a new focus group.
The selling price of the eBLOCK will be at 150 euro's for the most basic version. The price for the expanded version will lie much higher at approximately 250 euro's which includes a higher profit margin.
Phillips should adjust the basic price to accommodate different target consumer. Price discrimination occurs when a company sells a product or service at two or more prices that do not reflect a proportional difference in costs (Kotler, Keller, Brady, Goodman, & Hansen, 2009, p. 601).
Phillips can make use of second-degree price discrimination when selling "eBLOCK" to universities and HBO colleges or to student associations. In, second-degree price discrimination, the seller charges less to buyers who buy a larger volume (Kotler, Keller, Brady, Goodman, & Hansen, 2009, p. 601). Selling at a lower price to these organizations allows them to pass on the price advantage to the students, who normally do not have a great deal of spendable income left to spend.
Product-form pricing is an example of third-degree price discrimination. In third- degree price discrimination, the seller charges different amounts to different classes of buyers (Kotler, Keller, Brady, Goodman, & Hansen, 2009, p. 601). Of course, different prices go along with different models. However, Phillips can use product-form pricing to increase its profit margin. Phillips can ask a higher price for an "eBLOCK" with new features as this product will probably attract different consumers. The price will lie higher than the cost incurred in adding new features, as previously explained. Nonetheless, these presumed wealthier consumers are more willing and able to buy the eBLOCK given the higher prices.
Phillips can also give student discounts by means of logging onto a site such as SURFsport.nl. This is a web shop where students and employees of universities and HBO colleges can get official software and other ICT-products at a very low price. Students can make use of this simple ordering system as it allows them to get a discount and home delivery. This will also makes the university, HBO College or student associations pass on their price advantage to students. If they don't, students will not buy them at these organizations and thus they will be left with extra eBLOCK's.
Advertising is defined as any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor (Kotler, Keller, Brady, Goodman, & Hansen, 2009, p. 861). Phillips can advertise the eBLOCK through posters, flyers and over the web. The university, HBO collages and student organizations also have to promote the product further after the eBLOCK has taken them into inventory. When new students apply to these organizations, they can be informed about the eBLOCK and asked if they opt to buy one.
Phillips can organize an information day for all the universities and HBO colleges to introduce them to their new product. A certain amount of students can subscribe to test the eBLOCK for a period of time. This will allow students to get to know the product and its functions, and word of mouth advertising could take place.
Once Phillips expands into a more developed version of the eBLOCK, it also has to take into consideration that it needs to use different promotional tools to reach its target group. To reach the potential professional users it can make use of business-promotion tools such as presenting the product at conventions and trade shows.
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