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Contemporary Issues in Marketing Strategy

Innovations in Marketing

The new consumer is more dynamic and reactive than the conventional consumer. Contemporary marketing strategies have had to change in line with the change in consumer behavior over the last half century (BOUTELLIER, GASSMANN & ZEDTWITZ 2008, pg12). Modern marketing has shifted from traditional to customer interaction to modern and efficient personalized communication. Personalized communication is done by means of processes that “consider” the consumer. Personalized communication is made possible by the growth and influence of information technology on the contemporary consumer (KASHANI & HOROVITZ 2005, pg21). It is now universally accepted that the majority of consumers spend more time online than on other media channels such as television. Information is derived from an individual consumer’s online activities that include Facebook, twitter, tumbler and many more. The information of interest to marketing personnel relates to the consumer’s tastes and preferences as well as their wishes and expectations. Marketers are also interested in the views and perspectives of consumers on products (BOUTELLIER, GASSMANN & ZEDTWITZ 2008, pg33). The information collected is then used to influence the consumption of a “personalized” product by the individual consumer. Modern day consumer behavior forces companies to understand the individual consumers in addition to acquiring knowledge about the consumers. That is; these companies have shifted their strategy from production of goods for the consumers to creation of consumers who then form the demand part of their sales cycle. The shift from traditional marketing has led to the emergence of innovational marketing strategies which are discussed below.

Digital marketing refers to the extensive employment of electronic media such as computers and software dependent devices, smartphones, cellphones, gaming devices, personal computers and tablets in the marketing of products and services (KASHANI & HOROVITZ 2005, pg44). The internet is regarded as the most effective and popular and digital marketing tool since it statistically agrees that most people spend more time online than on any other electronic channel. Digital media marketing also occurs through channels such as text messaging, instant mobile messaging, electronic billboards, digital radios and televisions, mobile applications and podcasts. Through digital marketing, companies can understand the tastes and preferences of their consumers, therefore, creating a special type of relationship (KASHANI & HOROVITZ 2005, pg54). Although this is the case, competition in the digital media advertisement sector is stiff, and hence it is necessary for a company to know its consumers better than any other rival company. The company can achieve this through creation of an extensive database of tastes, preferences, expectations and wishes of consumers. The database is derived from across various channels such as web, direct mail, point of sales terminals and mobile applications.

Contemporary Issues in Marketing Strategy
In the current business world, most companies own an official website. This website is characterized by important information relating to the company such as the location, prices and availability of the company’s products (ZOU & FU 2011, pg14). Most websites also have a sales link through which consumers can purchase goods online. The website plays the role of the interface between the company and its consumers and hence an important advertisement tool.

Some companies have specially designed mobile applications related to their products. The applications enable the consumers to get first-hand information on product availability. The applications also act as a point of sale as consumers can order for products through interfaces incorporated in the application (ZOU & FU 2011, pg21). Modern advertisement is also done through instant messages to consumers. These messages are sent by mobile service providers and are sent to specific consumers located in specific regions. Information communicated to consumers is in relations to product promotion. The situation is known as push digital marketing where marketers send information even though it has not been requested (ZOU & FU 2011, pg39).

Another innovative way of marketing is through the use of podcasts. Podcasts refer to digital channels of audio and videos downloaded or streamed from specific websites. They offer consumers detailed information regarding the company and its products. Company websites contain links through which consumers can access the podcasts. Digital marketing as an innovative marketing strategy is effective because consumers have access to information from wherever they are and at whatever time. It also acts as a feedback mechanism to the company about the popularity of its products. This is because consumers air their like or dislike for products and services online (BHALLA 2011, pg22). Information about the product is then passed onto other consumers who are their friends, relatives and followers online. Information on the product is not only exposed to the consumers, other stakeholders in the marketing industry such as the media and rival companies in the industry have access to this information. Marketers utilize this information to come up with an environment that enables the consumer to have a fulfilling and memorable shopping experience (BHALLA 2011, pg45).

Social media marketing is an innovative form of digital marketing which utilizes social networks such as Facebook and twitter in promotion of goods and services (MOHR, SENGUPTA & SLATER 2010, pg51). The idea behind social media marketing is the provision of information to consumers that attracts them and forces them to share it with their friends and followers through the social platform. Social media applications enable its participants to be able to comment on real-time events, comment on, and share, or upload photographs as well as participate in groups and games (MOHR, SENGUPTA & SLATER 2010, pg63). Successful use of social media platform as a marketing strategy depends on how viral the information provided has been. This is a concept known as viral marketing. Viral marketing is an online version of the traditional word of mouth advertisements. Here information regarding the product is made available on the social media platforms through groups or paid up advertisements. Facebook allows companies to own official pages through which they can interact with their consumers. It is worth noting that Facebook is regarded as the largest social media site in terms of audiences (MOHR, SENGUPTA & SLATER 2010, pg73). Companies can also promote their products through sponsored advertisements on the platform. Such advertisements are made available to a certain group of consumers who are participants in the platform. The information is then shared by the participants especially those who have a relationship with the product (BHALLA 2011, pg28). One participant may share the information to three of his friends; these three friends share the information with others creating a message that is spread at an exponential rate. This is what is known as a viral message.

Social media marketing programs utilize strategies that enable them sell the products to consumers to attain the optimum profit. The strategies include segmentation of participants which refers to the process by which specific participants are targeted (BHALLA 2011, pg38). The targeted participants are then categorized together under one group. Information provided by participants when signing up as well as the respective tastes and opinions on the products can enable marketers to come up with the various categories of participants. This makes it possible for marketers to provide the various segments with “personalized” information about the products.

The other common strategy utilized in social media marketing involves the use of market determinants or influencers. Social media platforms are designed such that participants operate in communities. Different communities exhibit different characteristics and therefore have different factors which influence their consumption patterns (SWAN & ZOU 2012, pg67). These factors are known as influencers or determinants. Information provided by the members of such communities enable marketers to come up with means through which they can present information about their products while at the same time ensuring this influences work to their favor. Most of the large multinational corporations have been found to have a huge social media presence. These companies utilize the concept of social media marketing not only for advertisement, but as an interactive tool. Recent Research conducted lead to the conclusion that businesses with a large community of followers tend to have a high number of customers (SWAN & ZOU 2012, pg81).

Point of sale marketing is another modern day innovative marketing strategy. A point of sale (POS) terminal is the last point which can influence a consumer to pick or drop a particular product. In order to fully exploit the market considering POS, marketers have designed new strategies to market the products to the customers. The new strategies relate to pricing of the products, its location at the point of sale terminal as well as any promotions that can boost sales at the terminal. Modern marketing strategies require that products be placed within the customer’s range of view where the customer can easily spot the product (VAZ, MORGAN & NIJKAMP2006, pg31). The Product’s price should also be clearly indicated so that consumers do not have to strain. Marketers should ensure that product promotions are clearly indicated at the point of sale terminal so as to arouse consumer interest in the product. Recent trade and industry research suggests that businesses which employ a point of sale marketing strategies grow 50% faster than their competitors who do not (HÜLSMANN & PFEFFERMANN, 2011, pg81).

Innovations in marketing strategy have been effective in building brand recognition and therefore sales. Some organizations have however experienced challenges in implementation of such strategies (VAZ, MORGAN & NIJKAMP2006, pg43). These challenges include: The large number of digital media channels arising from the use of multiple channels and devices. Consumers interact with this devices and channels in many different ways and it is, therefore, impossible for an organization to determine individual consumer’s tastes or preferences. There is no one organization with enough resources to be able to track consumer preferences and tastes over the many digital media channels.

Another problem faced by organizations when implementing digital and social media marketing is stiff competition. Digital and social media channels are cheaper than other means of marketing making them within the reach of many other businesses. As a result, the organization has to compete with many other businesses regardless of whether they are big or small. This makes it almost impossible to capture an individual consumer’s concentration. Organizations are, therefore, unable to get useful data regarding consumer tastes and preferences (OFEK & TOUBIA 2010, pg57).
Consumers leave behind large volumes of data in the various digital media channels they access. Data they leave behind is not organized, and it may sometimes be impossible to obtain the right type of data useful for marketing. Most organizations do not have the statistical capability to process such data even if it is obtained (BHALLA 2011, pg61).

Some consumers leave behind trails of fake data. Sometimes consumers may provide information which is false. Consequently, the organization may be led into analyzing the fake data and coming up with products which later turn out to be useless.

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