The marketing communications campaign of marks and spencer

The marketing communications campaign of Marks and Spencer

Introduction

The current revolution in information technology and rapid globalisation have made the marketers face many marketing communications options (Newman & Patel ,2003).Integrated marketing communications campaign is one of options, Which can be used to create added value for potential consumers and influence directly purchasing patter.

The IMC, which is defined, according to Duncan (2002), as ‘A cross -functional process for creating and nourishing profitable relationship with customers and other stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all the messages sent to these groups and encouraging data driven, purposeful dialogue with them”

The IMC is important issue because the companies can not afford either the financial or reputation damage which is caused by the poor planning or implementing of the IMC (Brassington & pettitt,2006).On the other hand, the planning and implementing the IMC campaign is a complicated process and involves a wide range of management tasks (Caemmerer, 2009). As a result, this paper aims to show the steps which should be followed in the planning and implementing the IMC and to apply these steps on Marks and Spencer as a case study from real life. Finally, some recommendations will be given to improve the performance of M&S.

Literature review

Identifying the target audiences

The planning the IMC, according to Kotler & Keller .should start with clear determining of target audience ,who is a group of people is aimed by marketing communications campaign , because it is vital step. Then, answers should be provided on the following questions:

What are the choice criteria, which are used to evaluate the products?

What are motivated them to buy the products?

What make them response to the competitors, products? (Jobbe, 2007).

Ø Situation analysis

Competitor analysis :

  • To analysis the competitors, according to Aaker and McLoughlin (2007), a group of questions should be answered:
  • Against whom do we usually compete?
  • What are their objectives and strategies in terms of brand?
  • What is their image and positioning strategy in terms of brand?
  • What have been the marketing communications of the competitors in the past? What impact have they had?
  • What are their future plans?

Market analysis:

Ø Defining the marketing communication objectives

Mean what the marketing communications are supposed to achieve, according to Blythe (2000), there are many objectives:

  • Image building campaigns: Those are intended to communicate a specific status for the product, as well as to emphasis ways that it could complete the lifestyle of the client.
  • Unique selling proposition (USP): that is the one attribute of the product which it differentiates the product from the competition.
  • Positioning: the strategies which focus on the ways that consumers distinguish the products comparing with their perceptions of the competitors’ products.
  • Direct response: instant response is wanted from the consumer in respect of purchase, a request for broacher, or a going to the store.

Ø Managing the elements of the mix

Deciding what is the media which will be used to convey the message of the IMC campaign. There are five elements of promotional mix

  • Advertising: any paid form of non-personal communication of ideas or products in the prime media .It takes place in many forms such as, television, press, posters, cinema and radio (Pickton &Broderick, 2005).
  • Public relations: are “the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to creating and maintaining mutual understanding between an organization and its publics ”
  • Direct marketing: is the message, which can be prepared to appeal to the addressed customer. It takes place in my forms such as direct mail, telemarketing, internet marketing (Kotler & Keller, 2006).
  • Sales promotion: the activities which aim to temporary increase in sales. They take place by many forms such as buy one get one free, free sample and money off coupons.
  • Personal selling: this is designed to meet the consumers’ needs by communicating face to face between the buyer and seller (McGolrick, 2002).

Ø Setting the promotional budget

Putting the promotional budgeting is one of the most important and difficult steps in Planning the IMC campaign because, according to West, Ford &Ibrahim (2006) ,If the companies have spent too much on the promotion program this could reflect negatively on the profits whereas, if they have paid out too little marketing opportunities would be get lost.

There are, according to Jobber and Fahy (2006), four methods, which are usually used to set the promotional budget: percentage of sales, matching competitors’ expenditures, objective and task and what can be afforded?

Ø Evaluating the IMC campaign

It is important step, according to Palmer (2004), because it can provide feedback to inform the future activities and make the managers more adjustment when they plan the promotional activities if the objectives are not being achieved.

Apply on the M&S

Marks and Spencer has been the Britain most-respected and leading retailer for long time. Besides, it is one of the most recognizable brands in the UK and operates about 6stores in the UK

Identify target audiences:

M&S has focused on fashionable males and females from different ages who have enough money to spend on the trendy dress and want to enhance their social image between their peer.

Ø Analysis the situation

Analysis the competitors:

The main competitors of M&S, GAP, H&M, and Top shop, which are distinguished by fashionable clothes and they has focused on the trendy of fashion .As a result, they are called fashion retailers not clothes retailers

In terms of Gap, which operates 4,171stores worldwide and the target market is 15-35 age groups. Gap promotes nationally towards young fashion consumers. Promotional campaigns do differ, however. Gap has entered above the line into a programme of intensive primetime television advertising. (Newman & Patel, 2003)

Concerning H&M

Analysis the market:

Fashion market, which is considered as one of the most profitable, dynamic and competitive area in the UK (Newman & Patel, 2003) .The fashion market is considered dynamic because consumer behavior in this market is distinguished by a sudden desire to buy and fluctuating customer tastes. Therefore, new opportunities are available in front of the companies and advertising agencies in this market to create added value for their potential consumers and influence directly their purchasing pattern by integrated marketing communication (Newman & Patel, 2003).

The fashion market is competitive market because, according to Moore (1995), growing the market shares of foreign fashion retailers in the UK, such as Gap and Benetton and reforming some fashion retailers like, Next.

Ø Defining the marketing communication objectives

M&S has had two objectives in its marketing communications campaign. It has tried to show that its products have been characterized and differentiated from the competitors’ products by its high quality, stylish, great value (USP) and to enhance the perceptions of consumers in terms of quality and fashion( M&S’s annual report, 2008).

Ø Managing the marketing communications mix

At the end every season from each year, M&S carries out marketing communications campaign.

On 8 November 2007, M&S launched marketing communications campaign and used the advertising (TV, cinema and the internet) as essential promotional tool in addition public relation (the website) and sales promotion (bonus).

The ad, which is called Christmas Belles, was created by the advertising agency, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y & R, and was executed by a group of models.

The models are Erin O’Connor, Elizabeth Jagger, Twiggy, Myleene Klass and Laura Bailey who are well known names representing different age groups and each gorgeous model is wearing different clothes from M&S range including lingerie and accessories . In addition to Hollywood actor Antonio Banderas who was chosen to attract the attention of menswear next to womenswear (Visit4inf, 2007).

The song of the ad is called it is the most wonderful, which is singed by the artist Andy Williams

The message, which has been conveyed by the campaign of M&S, is “Quality worth every penny”. Besides; M&S has tried to tell its target audiences that it has built its reputation in respect of quality since 1940 by establishing strict criteria which it continues to follow today. In other words, it has enhanced historical attributes of quality.

The ad was screened on the TV, which could provide higher levels of awareness and reach to a large number of target audiences.

Besides, it also was launched in the cinema because the commercial shown in the cinema made a stronger impression on the consumer .It was possible because it allowed for a longer advertisement that was also within cinematic technology in an artistically advanced package.

At the same time the ad was launched on the internet to support the TV and cinema launch. Moreover, the viewers were sending the advertisement to each other by Email .Consequently, the commercial internet was effective in two ways spreading the message between the consumers and cost. Hence, a lot of viewers had seen the ad on YouTube during a few weeks.

The new Website was Launched and it was connected to the campaign message .It was used as a complementary tool of TV and cinema .It was flexible and a reasonably cheap technique of getting an extensive target audiences and the company can get feedback from consumer by it (M&S’s annual report, Caemmerer; 2008, 2009).

The last promotional tool, which was used by M&S’s campaign, is bonus which is considered as a type of sales promotion and it was used to encourage the target ardencies of M&S to spend more.

Ø Setting the promotional budget

At the end of 2007 the marketing expenditure was £145m more than half of expenses spent on the advertising (Birtwistle, 2007).

Ø Evaluating the IMC campaign

There are many evidences of success the marketing communications campaign of M&S .First of all, The market share of M&S in terms of clothes increased from 9,8% 2007 to 11, 2% in 2008 approximately 1,4%9 = £4,095m (see figure 2).