MARKETING STRATEGY IN TODAY’S DIGITAL ECONOMY

The new age of marketing has been issued in.  People are connecting through social media and business has trended to online.  There is now a power shift to customers where individual consumers and business customers can compare prices or product specifications in a matter of minutes.  Because of the massive increase in product selection, customers are now the driving force behind businesses.  There are vast amounts of information available online that has changed the way we communicate, read the news, and entertain ourselves.  This, in turn, has to lead to the audience and media fragmentation.  Changes in media usage and the availability of new media outlets have forced marketers to rethink the way they communicate with potential customers.  As our economy has weakened, buyers have been forced to tighten their belts and look for other ways to lower expenses.  Due to this change of value propositions, situations, where customers see goods and services as commodities, have relentlessly willed them to turn to the most convenient, least expensive alternative.  Many of these customers face pay cuts or losing their jobs in addition to increased expenses.  These and other economic hardships have forced consumer and business buyers to rethink value propositions and focus on the importance of frugality.  Shifting demand patterns have also caused changes in technology that have shifted customer demand for certain product categories.

Yet, what has changed more than ever is Privacy, Security, and Ethical Concerns.  Our society is much more open than in the past.  These changes have forced marketers to address real concerns about security and privacy, both online and offline.  Unclear Legal Jurisdiction-When a company does business in more than one country, that company often faces a dilemma with respect to differing legal systems.  Another important legal issue involves the collection of sales tax for online transactions.

People (Human Resources)
The quality, diversity, and skill of a firm’s human resources can also make or break the implementation of the marketing strategy.  The marketing departments of many firms have taken over the human resources function to ensure that employees have a correct match to required marketing activities.

  • Employee Selection and Training-key is to match these employee skills to marketing tasks. ¬†Generation Y has better training, more technological sophistication, and fewer political inclinations than their baby-boomer bosses.
  • Employee Evaluation and Compensation-an outcome-based system evaluate and compensate employees based on measurable, quantitative standards such as sales volume or gross margin. ¬†This type of system is fairly easy to use, requires less supervision, and works well when demand is fairly constant, the selling cycle is relatively short, and all efforts directly affect sales or profits. ¬†Conversely, behavior-based systems evaluate and compensate employees based on subjective, qualitative standards such as effort, motivation, teamwork, and friendliness toward customers. ¬†This type of systems tied directly to customer satisfaction and rewards employees for factors they can control. ¬†However, behavior-based systems are expensive and difficult to manage because of their subjective nature and the amount of supervision required. ¬†The important point it to match the employee evaluation and compensation system to the activities that employees must perform in order to implement the marketing strategy.
  • Employee Motivation, Satisfaction, and the Commitment-the extent to which employees have the motivation to implement the strategy, their overall feelings of job satisfaction, and the commitment they feel toward the organization and its goals. ¬†For example, one of the major contributors to Google‚Äôs success is the strong social culture fostered by the company‚Äôs leaders. ¬†Google provides its employees with things such as paid childcare, onsite laundry service, free transportation, gourmet food, on-site haircuts, and time off for personal activities. ¬†Through factors such as employee motivation, satisfaction, and commitment are critical to successful implementation, they are highly dependent on other elements of implementation, especially training, evaluation/compensation systems, and leadership. ¬†Marketing structure and processes can also have an impact on employee behaviors and attitudes. ¬†The key is to recognize the importance of these factors to successful marketing implementation and to manage them accordingly.

Leadership
Often called the art of managing people, includes how managers communicate with employees, as well as how they motivate their people to implement the marketing strategy.  When leaders create an organizational culture characterized by open communication between employees and managers.  Employees are free to discuss their opinions and ideas about the marketing strategy and implementation activities.  This type of leadership also creates a climate where managers and employees have full confidence and trust in each other.

Approaches to Marketing Implementation
Implementation by Command
the firm’s top executives develop and select the marketing strategies, which are transmitted to lower levels where frontline managers and employees implement them. ¬†Implementation of the command has two advantages:
1) It makes decision making much easier, and
2) it reduces uncertainty as to what is to be done to implement the marketing strategy.  This approach places less emphasis on the feasibility if implementing the marketing strategy.  It also divides the frim minor strategies and implementers: executives who develop the marketing steady are often far removed from the targeted customers it is intended to attract.  In some cases, the tensions have become so hostile that franchises have flatly refused to implement some corporate strategies, including service guarantees and some specific promotions.

Implementation through Change
The basic goal of implementation through change is to modify the firm in ways that will ensure the successful implementation of the chosen marketing strategy.
Integrating Marketing purpose is an organizational commitment to motivation, education, and know about themselves through employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction.  Skillfully crafting the organization to fit the requirements of the marketing strategy.  Because many business executives are reluctant to give up even a small portion of their control (as is the case with the next two implementation approaches), they often favor implementation through change.  Implementation through change still suffers from the separation of planning and implementation.  Can create a situation where the firm becomes stagnant while waiting on the strategy to take hold.

Implementation through consensus
Upper- and lower-level managers work together to evaluate and develop marketing strategies in the consensus approach to implementation. ¬†The underlying premise o this approach is that managers from different areas and levels in the firm come together as a team to brainstorm and develop the strategy. ¬†Pulling different opinions together to ensure the development of the best overall marketing strategy. ¬†Implementation through consensus is more advantageous that the first two approaches in that it moves some of the decision-making authority closer to the front line of the firm. ¬†Lower-level managers who participate in the strategy-formulation process have a unique perspective on the marketing activities necessary to implement the strategy. ¬†These managers are more sensitive to needs and want of firms customers. ¬†Stronger motivation and commitment to the strategy to see that it is properly implemented. ¬†Implementation ¬†through consensus tends to work best in complex, uncertain, and highly unstable environments. ¬†Implementation through consensus often retains the barrier between strategists and implementers. ¬†The end result o this barrier is that the full potential of the firms’ human resources is not realized. ¬†Thus effectiveness relies in managers at all levels must communicate openly about strategy on an ongoing, rather than an occasional, basis.

Implementation as Organizational Culture
Marketing strategy and its implementation become extensions of the firm‚Äôs mission, vision, and organizational culture. ¬†All employees adopt the firms’ culture so completely that they instinctively know what their role in implementing the marketing strategy. ¬†The extreme form of decentralization is often called empowerment. ¬†Empowering Employees means allowing them to make decisions on how to best perform their jobs. ¬†Notable firms that incorporate implementation within their cultures include ESPN, Google, and General Electric. ¬†The choice of an approach will depend heavily on the firms resources, its current culture, and the managers own personal preferences.

Internal Marketing and Marketing Implementation

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