P&G Brand Advertising Campaign

Different Brand Advertising Campaign: Case Study of P&G

P&G Brand Advertising Campaign: As prescribed by different researchers and organizations, the cost of doing business is in the recent years is increasing (Amyx 2005; Williams and Page 2009). This is as a result of increasing competition within the market environment, where different businesses are doing everything possible to woo as many customers as possible. As a result of this, consumers of different products are the beneficially since all the extensive researches conducted are geared toward improving the quality of different products; hence, enhance consumer satisfaction. To achieve such objective, while still remaining relevant and competitive, the organizations need to formulate resilient strategies that build on distinctive competencies and provide a lasting competitive advantage.

On the same right, the said strategies ought to be sensitive and dynamic so as to encompass any eminent changes that are inevitable in any competitive market. Among the market strategies that different organizations are engaging in is the different brand advertising campaign. Advertising, as different researchers have claimed plays a key role in determining the success of a given product in the market. In regard to a different brand advertising campaign, the emphasis is on product differentiation, where the company tries to convince their customers, and other potential ones that their products are superior to similar products offered by their competitors. This is specifically done, in a bid to increase sales, command the market share and win new customers for increased profitability. Nevertheless, adopting a different brand advertising campaign is not a smooth ride but there a variety of handles that the marketers need to contend with at different levels. This is even true when a firm is facing competing rivals who also keep strengthening their advertising and product strategies with an aim of dominating the market (Brewster and Palmer 2001).

The study work at hand intends to explore some of the potential problems that a marketer may experience in his/her bid of using a different brand advertising campaign as his/her ultimate marketing strategy. To achieve the intended objective, the study will use P&G as its case study and will explore some of the challenges, and benefits it has achieved by employing the said marketing strategy instead of using the conventional advertising strategy. In addition, the research will propose some of the methods that can be employed to override those problems.

Brief description of P&G

William Procter and James Gamble are credited as the founders of Procter and Gamble (P&G) business that has in the recent past expanded to the international market; both in developed and developing countries. It has been regarded as one of the Fortune 500 American multinational corporations that have established its roots far and beyond its boundaries of Cincinnati where it was first established. The industry is supposedly the American biggest producer of household products and pharmaceutical goods. In particular, company is credited for providing over 250 brands that are grouped into six distinct categories. These groups include laundry and detergents, paper products like toilet papers, beauty care, food and beverages, sanitary towels and health care products.

In addition, the company also makes other products like pet food and PUR water filters and chemicals that are used internally and also by other chemical processing companies. As a way of attracting and retaining new clients, especially female consumers, the P&G also engages in production and sponsoring of Soap Operas that serves to distinguish its brand advertising strategies (A Company History: 1837- Today 2006). In fact, P&G is among business that have been credit with successful business innovations especially on brand management such as Connect and Develop innovation. According to Nielsen Company, P&G business is also among those companies that spend a fortune in advertisements alone. It is said to have had the highest advertising budget of all companies listed in United States by 2007 (Johnson 2012).

Brand Advertising
Brand Advertising

Despite all these positive aspects, the company also faces some challenges that demand prompt actions. Among such challenges is the continuous demand for new innovative and brands differentiation. The pressure originates from stiff competition that is posed by other small and larger competing companies. In addition, advancement in technology and new demands for new brands, the company is in a dilemma in deciding which brands to retain and those to discard. For instance, though soap and candle were the main products that the company produced in its initiation stages, candles have become obsolete due to the invention of electric lights among other products that rendered it irrelevant. Attracting, retaining and satisfying the clients are the main challenge that the company contend with all the time.

To handle this challenge effectively, the company has come up with different strategies that are also sensitive to the increasing cost of production in the company. In regard to this fact, as was observed by Jeff Neff of Ad Age, the company had even lost its usual top post in shopper magazine ranking. The failure to retain the top slot went on for three years making shareholders wary. The challenge is thought to have been as a result of effective advertising by its competitors like Unilever (Neff 2013).

In regard to its budget, as per its 2010 annual report indication, P&G is said to be spending cash amounting to over $10 billion in advertisements alone. According to the report, the percentage of Ads as a portion of sales for the said years was approximately 11.3%. This is an increase from the previous years’ where the same ratio was 10.9% and 9.8% in 2010 and 2009 respectively (Johnson 2012). Such increasing figures in advertising is said to have its toll on company’s inability to reward its faithful shareholders effectively (Edwards 2011).

Psychology of advertising

Advertising, since time in memorial, has been used in different circumstances by business to build powerful business force. In definition, as proposed by Brewster & Palmer, 2001, advertising may be referred to the purchased publicity conducted in a pre-planned way to seduce potential clients to act, think or behave as per the advertisers’ desires. According to Robert Hearth, advertisement is a tool that is most effective in persuading any potential and existing consumers to consumer certain products. According to him, companies that use advertising are amongst the most successful ones in the world (Heath 2012).

The same claim is echoed by Krugman’s idea who asserted that TV advertising has a direct influence on individuals even when processed inattentively. This is what is supposedly referred to by a number of individuals as subconscious seduction. Advertisers take advantage of this fact, first, to influence individuals’ mind and secondly, to influence their decision making in regard to certain products. Some psychologist believes that advertisements have both negative effects and positive effect on different individuals of a society. They also believe that the presence of advertisements on available media; whether television, newspapers, magazines, journals, radio and internet among others make all individuals target. They thus believe that advertisements have subliminally stimulated the way different individuals react in different situations (Amoto and Laudati 2001).

Richard Pollay, in his book, The Distorted Mirror: Reflection on the Unintended Consequences of Advertising claim that advertising seem to pop up in every part of the society, include the intimate space of customers’ homes. According to him, advertisements are created to attract attention, cause a change of attitude and influence consumer behavior toward certain ways (Pollay 1986). Nevertheless, some researchers still hold the idea that, though, advertisements has almost direct influence on individuals viewing them, businesses and individual marketers need to formulate their advertisement perfectly so as to inform customers of their products; hence, woo them toward buying (Hansotia and Wang 1997).

According to researchers, customers are highly responsive to advertisements, especially those that are aimed at informing them of new products in the market. Such advertisements are said to carry information persuading the customers to purchase a certain brand of products due to their superiority in quality and customer friendly prices. Depending on the response of the customers on product differentiation message contained in the adverts, firms are said to take appropriate actions; whether to increase or decrease their sizes. In cases where the customers’ responses are deemed positive, firms are said to increase their market size appropriately as they also adjust the prices of their products accordingly (Ferguson 20012).

Possible problems associated with advertising

As describe above, advertising is one of the strongest and most effective tool that businesses can adopt to reach their targeted customers. Nevertheless, in the process of designing, formulating, implementation and monitoring a myriad of potential problems may haunt the business. Such challenges are the center of interest in the succeeding discussion. The problems may include, but not limited to cost implication, consumer attitude, stiff competition from competing businesses, and product differentiation among others.

Cost implications

According to a discussion paper prepared by Kyle Bagwell of University of Columbia, Department of Economics on The Economic Analysis of Advertising, advertising is a sizeable business. According to him, in the year 2003, major companies like General Motors $3.43 billion, Procter and Gamble $3.32 billion and Pfizer $2.84 billion among other companies experienced such greater advertising expenses (Bagwell 2005). The high costs of advertising are to some extent influenced by the stiff competitions that exist in the market. In the case of P&G, though the company was the pioneer of so many products like cleaning detergents, health care products like shampoos and chemicals, a large number of potential competitors like Unilever have come up with similar products. In some instances, such competitors are said to outdo P&G Company in terms of quality of some products. They also do well in reaching out for consumers through their effective advertising and rebranding strategies.

In regard to adopting a different brand advertising campaign like it has been done by P&G, the cost of selling the idea would mean adjusting the advertisement budget upward. In a conventional advertising budget, the cost would be influenced by a number of factors such as the frequency of advertising, competition and clutter, market share of the brand being advertised and the product life cycle stage. In regard to frequency of advertisement, advocating for a different brand would mean that the cost would be relatively higher than that of already established products. The need for increasing the frequency of advertising is to try and ensure that the target consumers are convinced that the target product is superior to the ones being offered in the market (Brewster and Palmer 2001).

A company using a different brand advertising campaign is also expected to bear more financial burden in regard to competition and clutter. Clutter in this case refers to number advertisements that are run in a given media. P&G is expected to incur extra cost since it requires having more clutter than its competitors. In addition, the cost of designing such advertisement would cost them more than that of an already established product that have already been accepted widely and can still dominate the market even without the need for an advert.

Selling a different brand will also require the company to emphasis on the quality of the product it is selling. According to psychologists, consumers are always looking for a product that would not only satisfy them in terms of financial implication, but also one that meet their quality expectation. This will auger well with how well the product has gained ground in terms of market share. In addition, a new brand will demand that the advertisement be of high quality and eye catching and unique. To achieve all these, the company will require engaging experts in its production lines who will ensure that the quality of the product is not compromised. They should also ensure that their packaging line is managed by individuals who are experienced and understand how the markets work. The packaging material should also be appealing and unique so that it can stand-out amid competition. All the above objectives are only achieved if the company’s advertising budget is relative higher than that of the competitor.

In some instances, companies, including P&G are bound to rebrand their products in the form of product differentiation. This will mean that even an existing product, which has undergone such changes, would look as new product. To convince the existing consumers and also the potential consumers that the products are the same or relatively better will call for serious and extensive campaign. In order to reach all the clients, the company would not trust only one form of media, but would opt for a number of them that would be accessible by the target clients. For instance, in a bid to remain relevant and competitive in the sale of women product, P&G is said to be producing and supporting some soap operas both in TV and Radio. This means that its advertisement budget is higher than that of its competitors. With increased advertising budget together with other running expenses that companies incur in their bid remain competitive and attract to both customers and potential and existing investors, the company may fail to meet its long-term objectives.

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For instance, it is said that P&G had in some years failed to provide substantial returns to its shareholders due to increasing cost of production and running costs. Here, with a quick glance at the 2012 P&G annual report, the company’s net earnings reduced from $ 15,495 to $13, 292 despite an increase in net sale to $83, 680 from $81,104 in the year 2011 and 2012 respectively. This led to a decrease of $ 0.73 in net earnings per common share from continuing operations (P&G 2012; Johnson 2012). The increase in sales may be attributed to the progressive and active advertisement, but this lead to increased operation costs that have lead to reduction in net earnings. With the company failing to satisfy its shareholders, some are bound to withdraw their support while others may invest in competing companies. Such a move would be detrimental to the company and its products.

Consumer attitude and perception

Psychologically, individuals are said to react with a lag of diverse period in terms of changing their decision due to changes in certain issues (Gujarati 2007). In regard to the question at hand, individuals would also be cautious to jumping into buying new or rebranded products due to the natural nature of human being of the fear of unknown. In addition, as expressed in the previous section, customers are subjective to seduction borne in different advertisements. In cheer realization that other competing companies are as well striving toward winning more consumers, such companies are bound to benefit more when a company decide to go beyond the usual products. In addition, some researchers have argued that, the relevance and importance of a certain ad would be determined highly with how the consumer has interacted with ads In cases where the consumer do not have access to the ad, it would mean that they would be blind to the product being targeted (Rubin 1981). On the same note, the different brand advertising campaign may not encompass enough information to change the decision of the clients as Fernandez and Rosen (2000) found out in his research on goal-oriented consumer’s response.

Effect of competition on advertisement

According to economists, companies come up with advertisements for various reasons that are all directed to customers. On the same note, economists believe that marketers and advertisers retain ultimate right to decide on the content of advertisements, and customers have no option but to take the information carried by the ads. For this reason, consumers do not all the time openly accept the information. Instead, they are said to interpret advertisements differently. Therefore, adopting a different brand advertising campaign is bound to experience more challenges than the conventional way. In addition, since advertisements are bound to affect pricing of different products before consumers are fully persuaded that the different products are superior and selling at fair prices, the company may experience low growth as consumers opt to buy from their competitors (Kirmani 1990). Similar assertion are echoed by Sutton (1991) who said that though advertising is bound to improve customer perception toward a certain brand; hence, creating some barrier to entry, it is bound to increase competition; thus, forcing some firms to reduce their expenditure to avoid the ultimate effects of fierce price competition.

Economists, to some extent, agree that advertising is majorly adopted by monopolistic firms, to gain product differentiation and achieve market control. With product differentiation objective achieved, the firm is as well said to have gained some ground in controlling the market. In the study’s case scenario, P&G Company is not a monopolistic but is surrounded by able rivals and even potential entrant. For this reason, convincing the customers that their products are superior would mean increasing its advertisement clutters; adopt alternative campaign strategies among other ways. Different brand advertising campaign may also, instead of increasing awareness of the product increase the demand for a rival company’s product at the expense of the marketer.

On the same right, such advertising strategy would reversely lead to a decline in consumer value especially in developed market due to increased commodity prices to counter the extra financial experiences trigger by the ads. For instance, P&G sponsored the US Olympic Team and had an advert dubbed ‘Thank you Mom’. Inasmuch as the ad had gained popularity in the US, P&G Company may have not scored properly due to the high cost of running the advert. According to a report released by the company in 2012, the ‘Thank you Mom’ advertisement required the company to think globally. This would involve formulating a communication objective that would cut across board; hence, requiring an expansive and expensive plan to articulate (P&G 2012).

Product differentiation

One of the key pillars toward a successful advertisement campaign is price differentiation. Firms and companies that have successfully managed to persuade their customers that their products are overly different from others in terms of quality, outcomes and costs are said to have been rewarded with unequivocal market share and dominance. In regard to product differentiation, a firm opting to conduct a different brand advertisement campaign is bound to employ either the horizontal or vertical differentiation. In definition, horizontal differentiation consumers are said to differ in what they prefer in a product. That is; the characteristics like color, taste, and sources bestowed on a given product. On the other hand, in regard to vertical differentiation, the emphasis is on product characteristics that make consumer go for quality. Therefore, a problem of ensuring that the products under scrutiny in different brand advertising campaign are purely different from other may arise.

In regard to P&G, as documented in its 2012 annual report, its main objectives is to have brands with strong equities in the minds of consumers, those that retailers are demanding and those that are platforms for innovation. Achieving such objectives is not a significant challenge to P&G since it has financial, technological and manpower strength. Nevertheless, the same notion is sure in its rival competitors’ agenda. The only sure way to ensure that its product retain their reputation is to ensure total differentiation, which in part is supported by effective and extensive advertisement (Barroso and Llobet 2011).

In this right, Roberts and Lattin (1991) found out consumers reaction toward consuming a certain brand is more influenced by their choice sets later than their awareness sets. According to them, the consumers’ awareness is highly influenced by such things like advertisements while the choice set is determined by the consumers purchasing decisions. Therefore, a firm that is determined to employ a different brand advertisement strategy should emphasis on influencing both awareness and choice set factors, something that may be problematic to balance and achieve as (Goeree 2008) found out.

Shon Ferguson (2012), in his study on Endogenous product differentiation, market size and price stated that consumer love for diversified brands leads them to becoming more sensitive to product differentiation efforts by different firms; hence, uncontrollable increase of differentiated products in the larger market. In respect to this, he argued that expansion of market base by firms through product differentiation and advertisement may eventually lead to higher prices of such products. If this does happen, consumers are then said to divert their attentions to other similar commodities that are offered at lower prices. This is because, with polarized market, consumers have a wide variety of commodities that they can choose from; hence, the notion of consumer loyalty does not hold (Ferguson 20012).

This is true even to the case of P&G Company that, though having been among the market pioneer is competing with so many other late entrants. In addition, as some researchers have argued, so much concentration on the need for price differentiation would eventually lead to a compromise in terms of prices or quality (P&G 2012). Therefore, the most appropriate advice that researchers have offered is for firms to remain cognizant of the consumers’ need and marshal toward satisfying them by and large.

Grossman and Shapiro while investigating the effect of informative advertising realized that advertising help the elasticity of demand faced by each participating firm. According to them, the lower the cost of advertising, the more the advertisement clutter will increase and the better informed the consumer will become (Amoto and Laudati 2001). In such instances, where the customers are well informed, and more firms are engaged in advertisements, a firm that spend more money in advertisements is bound to suffer since advertising in a market where consumers have full knowledge of the market does not necessary mean increasing your customers.

Recommendation

To avoid the potential problems that are associated with different brand advertising campaign effectively, marketers would need to take a number strategic measure. First, as it has extensively been discussed in the previous section, the marketers should constrain their budgets in such a way that they adhere to the company’s objective. This can be done by ensuring that the advertisements are perfectly formulated to reach the target group effectively while at the same time, minimizing the cost of running those adverts in different media.

In regard to consumer perception and attitude, the adverts should carry exceptionally, convincing and persuasive messages that reflect, if possible, the actual reality of the brand being advertised. This would auger well since customers who have had the potential to purchase the product can pass the same information to them that are aware of the brand but have not made a positive choice of purchasing them. In addition, this would give the company a competing edge against its potential rivals and potential entrants.

The company should also formulate its advertisement with cheer realization that the advert can have an anti-competing outcome, where it promotes the products of the competing firms. The company should also have its shareholders and investors in mind; hence, it would continually receive financial and other forms of supports even in times of turmoil.

Conclusion

P&G Company, like many other large and small companies, engages in intensive advertisement in a bid to weather down any potential competition. In fact, Procter and Gamble is said to be the leading company in terms of advertisement. This is true even with the fact that it is always in the top three of the most profitable multinational company. The need for regular advertising, where it is reported to collaborate with other firms and sponsor is said to emanate from the need to inform its customers regularly of its superior brands that have dominated the market. In a bid to advertise, like any other companies, it faces challenges that drag down its objectives.

Among the advertising strategies that a company adopts, different brand advertising campaign is one that can lead to greater success in reaching customers. Nevertheless, there are a myriad of challenges that are attached to the strategy as discussed in the previous section. In particular, the campaign would be more expensive than the conventional methods employed by many companies. It requires maximum time to convince the customers that truly, the brand the company is selling is superior and better than the similar ones in the market. Again, the customers may not be fully convinced; hence, though having the awareness of the product may opt to consume those offered by competitors. The strategy is also said, sometime, to work against the company where it indirectly promotes the products of its competitors. Therefore, as much as the company would love to use this strategy, it should be wary of the challenges; hence, plan appropriately. The advert should be formulated in such a way that all the unnecessary costs are avoided while at the same time, targeting to reach all the potential customers.

References

AMOTO, Giuliano and LAUDATI, Lariane L. (2001). The Anticompetitive Impact of Regulation. illustrated ed., Edward Elgar Publishing

AMYX, c. (2005). Small business challenges:The perception problem size doesn’t matter. Washington business Journal, 50-76

BAGWELL, Kyle ( 2005). The Economic Analysis of Advertising. New York, NY, Columbia University

BARROSO, Alicia and LLOBET, Berald (2011). Advertising and consumer awareness of new, differentiated products

BREWSTER, Arthur Judson and PALMER, Herbert Hall (2001). Introduction to Advertising. illustrated ed., Albuquerque, NM, The Minerva Group, Inc.

A Company History: 1837- Today. (2006).

EDWARDS, Jim (2011). How P&G’s Ad budget grew to $10B, Accomplishing Less and Less as it went

FERGUSON, Shon M. (20012). Endogenous Product Differentiation, Market Size and Prices. Research paper, Research Institute of Industrial Economics

FERNADEZ, K. V. and ROSEN, D. L (2000). The effectiveness of information and color in yellow pages advertising. Journal of Advertising, 29 (2), 61-73

GOEREE, Michelle Sovinsky (2008). Limited Information and Advertising in the U.S. Personal Computer Industry. Econometrica, 76 (5), 1017-74

GUJARATI (2007). Basic Econometrics. 4 ed., India, McGraw-Hill Education

HANSOTIA, B and WANG, P (1997). Analytical Challenges in Customer Acquisition. Journal of Dierect Marketing, 11 (2), 7-19

HEATH, Robert (2012). Seducing the Subconscious: The Psychology of Emotional Influence in Advertising. illustrated ed., Burlington, MA, John Wiley & Sons

JOHNSON, Bradley (2012). Procter & Gamble Co.’s Advertising Spending, 1987 to 2012

KIRMANI, Amna (1990). The Effect of Perceived Advertising Costs on Brand Perceptions. Consumer Research, 12 (1), 160-7

NEFF, Jeff (2013). P&G Regains Top Slot in Shopper Marketing

P&G (2012). 2012 Annual Report

POLLAY, Richard (1986). The Distorted Mirrow: Reflections on the Unintended Consequences of Advertising. Journal of Marketing, 50 (1), 18-36

ROBERTS, John H and GLEN, L (1988). Modeling Multiattribute Utility, Risk, and Belief dynamics for new consumer Durable Brand Choice. Management Science, 32, 255-66

RUBIN, A (1981). An examination of Television Viewing Motivations. Communication Research, 8 (1), 141-65

SUTTON, John (1991). Sunk Costs and Market Structure. MIT Press

WILLIAMS, Kaylene and PAGE, Robert (2009). Marketing to the Generations. Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the brand advertising campaign of P&G. There are many other titles available in the marketing dissertation collection that should be of interest to marketing students and practitioners. There are many dissertation titles that relate to other aspects of marketing such as branding, corporate advertising, marketing strategy and consumerism to name a few. I would be grateful if you could share this post via Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you.

Marketing Banking University Project

Marketing Banking: Identifying the Insightful Marketing Mix in Banking

Marketing banking services has assumed a new dimension as new ideas and innovations continues to drive the competition. Today, marketing has occupied a prime place in the business of banks and different services and products are being created and directed towards meeting the needs of the customer. While the traditional methods of marketing banking remain effective, there is the need for banks to apply more insightful marketing mix in marketing financial products and services. This paper identifies email marketing, rather than social media networking, as a very effective means of marketing to the Gen Y among other insightful approaches to marketing banking nowadays.

Introduction

The evolution of marketing banking started in the West in the late 1950’s (Muraleedharan, 14). Prior to this period, marketing was alien to banks. At the early stage of its emergence in the banking industry, marketing banking was mainly practiced in the form of advertising and promotional strategies. It was not until the 1970’s before marketing was fully grafted into the banking industry as an integral part of managing banking business.

Effective marketing of banking services is important particularly during a period when banks are confronted with tough competition from other local and foreign banking and non-banking financial agencies that offer value added services to their customers. Competition in the financial service industry is not limited to resource mobilization and lending to customers; it extends to the core areas of revenue generation services offered by banks and which also form the core aspect of banking. The cumulative effects of stiff competition in business and the continual change in the banking operational environment, engendered by the process of economic reforms, has made marketing of banking services imperative for all categories of banks in the private and public sectors of the economy.

Marketing banking services has assumed a new dimension as new ideas and innovations continues to drive the competition. Today, marketing has occupied a prime place in the business of banks as different services and products are being created and directed towards meeting the needs of the customer.

What is Marketing Banking?

Hartley (Jha, 49) referred to marketing banking simply as ‘’responsive marketing’’ suggesting that it is an attempt at responding to the changing needs of the customer, the society and the environment. Kuppuswami defined marketing banking as ‘’the creation and delivery of financial services suitable to meet the needs of the customer at a profit to the bank’’(Kuppuswami, 20). Kuppuswami’s definition shows that marketing banking aims at satisfying the need of the customer with an underlying intention for making profit. Deryk Meyer, a former United Kingdom Chairman of the Barclays Bank, defined Marketing banking as ‘’consisting of the process of identifying the most profitable markets now and in future, setting business development goals, making plans to meet the goals and managing or promoting the various services to achieve the set plans in a rapidly changing market environment’’ (Muraleedharan, 27).

Marketing Banking Dissertation
Marketing Banking Dissertation

Deryk Meyer’s definition has been considered as comprehensive because it highlights a process of marketing bank services consisting of the following three layers:

  1. Identifying the present and future markets that offer the most profit margins.
  2. Assessing the present and the future needs of the customers.
  3. Setting aims and objectives, managing and developing banking products and services that satisfies and meets the needs of customers in a changing market environment.

Brent (1995, 45-54) and Holmlund & Kock (1996, 287-297) identified the ability of banks to implement marketing strategies based on the needs and preferences of customers as a key factor for successful marketing banking.

Marketing banking goes beyond selling bank products and services to existing and prospective bank customers. Effective marketing of banking products and services includes creating a strong and worthy brand image of a bank on the mind of its customers. The present day bank customers are looking for a bank which can meet all their present and future needs, therefore, understanding the key elements that makes marketing banking effective is crucial to the successful implementation of marketing orientation in banking because banks now operate in a buyer’s market.

How to Identify the Needs of Bank Customers

Market Segmentation and its Importance

Marketing banking has two key elements which are: an understanding of the needs of the customer and the willingness to satisfy the identified needs. It involves learning what a customer takes into consideration when making choices from specific banking products and services. Existing and potential bank customers are increasingly becoming quality conscious clients and since no two groups of customers are the same, there is the need to do market segmentation of bank customers within each branch or geographical area in a bid to identify the needs of each group of customers.

Meaning of Market Segmentation in Banking

Market segmentation is a common marketing practice where a larger target market is broken down into smaller market segments for efficient and effective marketing. Alan Roberts refers to marketing segmentation as a means of conquering a larger market by dividing it into smaller segments. The classification of banking products and benefits is often the best way of defining bank market segments where many products are available on offer to customers.

The parameters for the segmentation of bank customers include the use of one or a combination of two or more of the following: geographical location, demographics, volume of transactions, psychographic or personality traits, and benefits (Rajeev, 119).

Geographic Market Segmentation

In the context of banking, geographic segmentation may be done on the basis of different variations like north, south, east and west or on the basis of population like town, small city and large city or it could be done simply by classifying the market into rural, urban and metropolitan. Geographic segmentation appears to be the easiest form of market segmentation as each segment has a well-defined demarcation.

Demographic Market Segmentation

Usually, demographic parameters include sex, age, income, occupation, education and social class among others. Literature is replete with the suggestion that extending geographic segmentation to include demographics may produce banking market segments with more homogenous characteristics than either of the two taken on individual basis (Muraleedharan, 31).

Psychographic Benefit Segmentation

Psychographic benefits such as parameters that portray personality traits are another set of useful criteria for segmenting banking market. However, psychographic benefit parameters are rather sophisticated and their effective use for market segmentation requires a deep understanding of the psychology of the customer. Examples of psychographic benefit traits are leader-follower traits, conservative-liberal traits, and introvert-extrovert traits. However, the extent to which psychographic traits could help in segmenting bank customers based on needs and behavior remain rather uncertain and it is, therefore, difficult to implement in bank market segmentation.

Product Benefit Segmentation

Product benefits as a tool for segmenting bank customers refer to the use of parameters like status, economy and convenience. A bank customer who longs for a bank loan is looking to enjoy the benefit of better economy and another customer who craves for prompt and efficient bank service is looking to enjoy the benefit of convenience and would be willing to pay a price for convenience. The most common banking benefit segments are categorized as follows:

Standard Banking Benefits

Standard checking and savings banking products form one of the largest segments of banking benefits commonly offered by banks. Though banks usually market checking and savings accounts separately, yet many banks now attempt to create a bonding relationship with their regular customers by introducing banking packages that gives additional value to customers when they add savings accounts to their checking accounts. Often, the incentives used by banks include offering higher interest rates on savings deposits and seamless transfer of funds from checking to savings accounts and vice-versa. Marketing of this category of banking benefits to target customers could be done through electronic and print media like television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

High-end Special Savings Benefit

The special savings benefit segment is a step ahead of the standard banking benefit for checking and savings customers. High-end special bank savings may include high interest rate savings accounts, money market, certificates of deposits and other packages that give great dollar value to customers. It is easy to market this category of benefit segment to existing customers already running standard checking and savings accounts but the product can be marketed through the media.

Bank Loans

Bank loans form a huge segment of banking benefits which most banks offer their customers as part of banking operations and a strategy for marketing banking. Typical examples of bank loans include home and auto loans which often form a significant part of bank loan portfolio. Other available banking loans are student loans, equity loans and personal loans. Marketing bank loans are usually done separately from marketing of other banking products. Home loans are better marketed through real estate resources or media-like publications and auto loans would reach the right target customers if marketed in auto publications. Banks can also cross promote consumer banking loans by marketing to existing customers at attractive rates or as part of a package with other products.

Investment Benefit

The investment benefit segment of banking operation is fast becoming popular among traditional banks. Bank customers who have been managing their stock, bond and other niche investments on their own through separate bank accounts could be targeted for this product. Banks can also market investment benefits to existing customers together with attractive benefits. Banks could also market investment solutions through investment related media and investment publications.

It is expected that customers within the same classification or segment would show similarity or homogeneity in their banking needs. However, each segment should be tested for validity using measurability, accessibility and profitability as measuring tools before any group is accepted as a segment.

The factors that influence a customer’s choice of bank products are both internal and external factors. The internal factors include needs, attitudes, motives and perceptions while the external factors include influence of culture, economics, business, family and the influence of social group.

Household Segment versus Corporate Segment

In most markets, market segments within the banking industry could be classified as either household or corporate segments. The degree of bank marketing efforts required in each case differ because the two major segments have characteristics which are distinct and opposite to each other. Marketing banking to the household segment requires the application of consumer marketing principles while the principles of industrial marketing has been considered by experts as the most appropriate technique for marketing banking to the corporate market segment. Some of the recognized and leading household marketing banking segments are students, senior citizens, housewives, working women, young working men, working women and defence personnel among others.

Benefits of Market Segmentation to the Banking Industry

Market segmentation of bank customers has its distinctive advantages. It helps a bank to differentiate customers with dissimilar needs from those with similar needs. Market segmentation of bank customers provides a solid foundation for building enduring bank marketing strategies. Market segmentation also helps banks to create special marketing packages for each group of customers based on their distinctive needs. In turn, bank customers could easily create the mental feelings that specific bank products have been specially designed for them. Such psychological feelings will improve customer satisfaction and also make the work of the bank marketer easier. The overall positive effect of proper segmentation of bank customers is bound to gain a higher return for every dollar spent on marketing banking services.

The Importance of Marketing Banking

Banking is a service industry and bank customers have become sophisticated. Technological advancement has produced more sophisticated consumer tastes. Bank customers now expect that their bank will offer them quality services and products tailored to meet their specific needs. Financial needs of bank customers have become rather complex because of the global modern trend. Bank customers now compare products and services offered by both local and foreign financial agencies and demand improved quality services with variety or a range of choices. Nowadays, customers of banks want access to instant cash, appropriate financial advice; Internet based banking services, deferred payments, asset security, reduced interest rates, personalized services and financial products with flexible terms among others. Identifying the needs of the existing and potential bank customers and providing quality financial products and services that match their demands is the key strategy of marketing banking. Marketing banking creates awareness of banking products and services among customers and it helps banks to focus on offering quality products and services as a key factor towards running a successful banking venture in a competitive world.

The stiff competition the banking industry face nowadays cannot be overemphasized. In a recent report published on May 7, 2012, Grind Kirsten analysed the new banking services which brokerage and mutual-fund firms have been rolling out to excite existing customers and also grab a lot of the new customers who are already getting frustrated with the sloppy services of the big banks. Experts suggest that some of the new incentives might worth a look because the new offerings seem to be paying off for the firms. The brokerage and mutual-funds firms have started to record increases in the number of accounts opened and the deposits made by their customers ostensibly influenced by the thoughtful offerings and incentives offered.

TD Ameritrade, a brokerage firm is now offering online bill pay, ATM rebates, free checking accounts and increased return on savings accounts which now pays 1.25 percent per annum to their brokerage customers. Also, Charles Schwab Corporation is offering all their existing brokerage and prospective customers free checking accounts and a lot more incentives like reimbursed ATM fees.

In Fidelity Investments, the new offerings being made to their customers seems to be yielding good results as the brokerage firm saw an increase of 40 percent in their Fidelity Cash Management Accounts in 2011. The Fidelity Cash Management Accounts don’t pay a fee on checking and there is no minimum balance restriction. Fidelity Investments rewards customers for higher deposit levels with such incentives as free trades, Apple gift cards and airline tickets. Charles Schwab recorded a $61 billion increase in bank deposits last year which translates to a 20 percent increase in deposits according to the report. Overall, the report says the deposits of 10 US banks run by brokerage firms increased by 16 percent in 2011 to $263 billion.

In comparison to traditional banks, financial advisers say that some offerings by brokerage firms stack up well which is why marketing banking is a very important concept to the present day banking industry.

Approaches to Marketing Banking

The banking industry has approached marketing banking in various ways over the decades using a combination of such methods as:

  1. Identifying and analyzing the needs and wants of existing and potential customers.
  2. Crafting banking products and services to match the needs and wants of customers
  3. Setting appropriate pricing for banking products and services
  4. Using appropriate advertising channels to promote products and services to the existing and prospective customers

‘’Top to Bottom’’ Approach to Marketing Banking

There have been many traditional approaches to marketing banking products or services over the decades. One of the traditional methods is the ‘’top to bottom’’ technique. Banks have generally been occupied with the development and release of various banking products and services on the basis of ‘’top to bottom’’ approach. The ‘’top to bottom’’ approach of marketing banking is a scenario where the headquarters of a bank designs and develop banking products and services solely and then trade these products through their retail outlets, which are often called branches, to the different segments of their teeming customers.

While this approach could have been effective at some points, the present challenges of bank management requires a shift from this traditional approach and focus on developing banking products from the grassroots level up to the top. The ‘’bottom to top’’ approach promises to help banks design and develop products and services that suits the needs of the different homogenous segments of bank customers.

Besides the traditional approaches to marketing banking, experts have proffered new strategies and ideas to facilitate marketing success in the banking industry. Jim Marous, a marketing services expert recently tweeted ‘’50%+ of bank customers aren’t on banks email lists. Need multi-channel integration.’’ In response to Jim Marous, Bob William, a Director of Marketing Technologies at Harland Clark and author of the blog ‘’The Merchant Stand’’ wrote a guest article on Jim’s blog, ‘’Bank Marketing Strategy,’’ and suggests the need for banks to collect more insights and use mobile device applications to improve proactive multi-channel communications and integration with their customers. Banks are simply not using the mobile channel for effective communication with their clients according to Bob’s article ‘’Banks Need to Collect Insights to Communicate Effectively.’’

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Neal Reynolds, a bank marketing and advertising strategist, suggests that banks should offer more than the traditional banking services if they elect to succeed in banking. Neal says banks need to ‘’become the go-to place before anyone invests in anything.’’ Maybe banks need to offer their customers insights on how to invest in stocks, real estate and even how to choose insurance packages and retirement plans. In addition, Neal suggests that banks should embrace the Internet more and offer internet related banking services; remote capture and online bill pay services as creative means of attracting new prospects and keeping their existing customers.

In analysing the strategy for marketing banking to the Millennials, that is, the Gen Y population group or the Internet Generation in the USA, Damian Davila, in his article ‘’How to Market Banking to Gen Y’’ published in July 2010, says that email is the one and only effective means of marketing banking to the Gen Y in this contemporary times rather than online social networking sites – Davila reached this conclusion after analyzing a series of data on Gen Y. People within the Gen Y led the pack of online banking customers with 80 percent and it is reported that they are comfortable performing financial transactions of various types on the Internet.

Martha Bush, the SVP of Strategy & Solutions at SIGMA Marketing Group, suggested the following key strategies bank marketers can use to improve bank marketing experience:

  1. Identify the behavior triggers of your customers that show their readiness to buy new banking products by setting powerful predictive software models to run against your customers’ database or files. This is a good strategy for monitoring customer growth initiatives and it is a novel approach for cross-sell and up-sell bank marketing techniques. Bank marketers can identify the real time to sell specific products or simply suggest the use of new banking services to the customer through this marketing strategy.
  2. Use hunt-and-peck method of marketing to consistently find high net worth persons looking for new banking experience.
  3. Reduce the rate of customer attrition while working to build stronger relationships by spotting the early warning signs of customer dissatisfaction. The point at which each customer becomes dissatisfied can be known early and you will have the best chances to apply retention strategies if powerful predictive models and automated messaging techniques are used.
  4. Use timely and relevant communications to improve customer satisfaction. Bank customers now expect real-time exciting relationships with their bank everyday.
  5. Effective communications requires that the bank marketer has in-depth insights of the customer each moment of interaction. Customer insights should include banking behaviour and lifestyle so that the bank marketer will be able to deliberately create smart interactions with the customer while adding value at the same time.

Conclusion

Effective marketing of bank services and products increasingly requires creative strategies if banks hopes to continue to successfully compete with other financial agencies in the market place. Though marketing banking has now occupied a prime place in the business of banks yet banks need to continue to develop different services and products and direct the variety towards meeting the needs of the customer. Considering that there is a great shift in the way banks succeeded in the past compared to the prevailing new competition, banks will have to continue to develop insightful ideas and strategies to retain existing customers and attract new clients.

Banks needs to lay less emphasize on location but concentrate more on delivering quality services through the Internet and endeavor to create a bond with their valued customers by using varied and proven marketing strategies together with mobile device applications more proactively. Also, it is imperative that bank marketers will have to incorporate powerful models and analytics into managing their customers’ database to improve predictions of customer behavior.

References

Brent, K (1995). Relationship Banking and Competitive Advantage: Evidence from U.S. and Germany. California Management Review 37, 45-64.

Bush, Martha. Five Engagement Strategies for Bank Marketers in 2015

Davila, Damian. How to Market Banking to Gen Y, 2012

Grind, Kirsten. Funds Firms Challenge Banks, 2012

Holmlund, M and Kock. S (1996). Relationship Marketing: The Importance of Customer-Perceived Quality in Retail Banking. The Service Industries Journal 16, 287-297.

Jha, S.M. Service hdarketing, Himalaya Publishing House, Mumbai, 2000. p.49.

Ksajitha. Marketing of Banking Services.

Kuppuaswami, S. The Banker November 1986, p. 22.

Marous, Jim. Bank Marketing Strategy, 2012. Web

Muraleedharan, K.K. Marketing Strategies of the Banking Industry, 2010.

Rajeev K. Seth. Marketing of Banking Services, Macmillan India Ltd. Neu Delhi, 1997. p.119.

Reynolds, Neal. Sticks and Bricks or in the Clouds: Bank Marketing Strategies + Ideas, 2012

William, Bob. Banks Needs to Collect Insights to Communicate Effectively. Bank Marketing Strategy, 2012

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on Marketing Banking.. There are many other titles available in the Marketing Dissertation Collection that should be of interest to marketing students and practitioners. There are many dissertation titles that relate to other aspects of marketing such as branding, corporate advertising, marketing strategy and consumerism to name a few. I would be grateful if you could share this post via Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you.

Family Purchasing Behaviour

The Effects of Gender on Family Purchasing Behaviour

Family Purchasing Behaviour – There is a great need to conduct research on purchase behaviour and patterns of families. Democratization of the society has been on the rise, and this has affected the way gender is viewed by both the members of a family as well as the entire society. Due to the changes caused by the democratization of the society, the traditional family model which involved a define hierarchical organization and where role played by each member of the family were clearly defined, has been reduced into a new family model, with less hierarchical organization and that includes new family patterns. Some of the modern family models include single parents, multi-nuclear families, cohabiting couples, homosexual couples among others. In this dissertation, there will be extensive use of the terms such as ‘couple’, ‘husband/man’, as well as ‘wife/woman. This is mainly because these are the key elements of a family.

Family Purchasing Behaviour
Family Purchasing Behaviour

Family purchasing behavior is a complex unlike individual purchasing behavior. The process involves complex stages right from making the decision to the real purchasing. There are several factors that affect the family purchasing behavior. This study will investigate the effects that gender has on the family purchasing behavior. It is of great important to understand how gender affects the family purchasing decisions. This understanding will help in predicting the purchasing pattern in spouses. This study is therefore very important to the firms as well as institutions of higher learning. By understanding the family purchasing patterns, the firms will be able to adopt marketing strategies that will help in achieving increased sales. The institutions of higher learning will benefit from this study since by understanding the family purchasing patterns; they will adopt the best strategies in training marketers. This dissertation will investigate the effect of gender on family purchasing behaviour.

The dissertation will use a quantitative research design and an open-ended and closed questionnaire for data collection. The sample will be made of 150 couples, making it 300 individuals from London. Data analysis will be done by the use of SPSS. The findings of the study will be useful to both the firms as well as the institutions of higher learning. This dissertation aims at investigating the effect of gender on family purchasing behavior.

When making the purchase decisions for the family, both the husband and the wife are likely to disagree due to the diversity in their tastes and preference and the fact that they both want their viewpoints considered in the purchase decision. Many academics suggest that the power of the spouse in the relationship has a greater impact on the decision making. For instance, if the wife believes that her husband has more power over her, she will be very comfortable with her husband making most of the decisions. In the other hand, there are instances where the wife will influence the purchase decision of particular products. For instance food stuffs. This is because; women are taken to be very conversant with household goods.

Dissertation Objectives

  • Investigating the way through which couples make purchase decisions
  • Investigate the conflict between couples when making purchase decisions
  • Investigate the influencing tactics in couples while making purchase decisions

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Loyalty Cards

An Exploration into The Relationship Between Brand Trust and Use of Loyalty Cards – A Case Study of Tesco

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This dissertation seeks to evaluate the relationship between brand trust and loyalty cards and show the impact of loyalty cards on brand trust of customers. In context to carry out the investigation, it has explained the facets of brand trust, customer satisfaction, perceived value and customer loyalty. The research is a quantitative, deductive study where primary data have been collected from three stores of Tesco Plc., in the UK (Birmingham Region) through the survey questionnaire method.  The research has assumed Uncles’ Research Model (2002) in the background and has modified it according to the objectives of the research. The questions in the questionnaire are mostly close-ended questions based on Likert Scale Rating which has been analysed through factor percentage analysis method. The research has successfully identified 4 factors with various sub factors and established the suggested research framework through justified literature review and data evidences, based on the conceptual model of Uncles’ et al. (2002). It has also accomplished all the  four research objectives showing that loyalty programs are considerably effective in earning trust from old and new customers by perceptible and imperceptible constituents, which can be explained both in behavioural and attitudinal aspects.  This research has also considered several literature gaps which were present earlier and tried to answer several of them.

Loyalty Cards Dissertation
Loyalty Cards Dissertation

The main purpose of this research dissertation is to evaluate the relationship between brand trust earned through loyalty cards used in many conventional retail stores. Many companies have now adopted the practice of loyalty cards because they consider this an excellent way of earning trust from customers and creating a special bond with them.This in turn helps in the retainment of old customers and also creates a good reputation in the market. The loyalty card system gives some privilege facilities to the member customers because they get bonus points and discount offers on products. This study will delve deeply into the concept of brand trust, the effects of loyalty cards in relationship marketing and the impact of loyalty cards on brand trust in reality, by considering the case study of Tesco and their Loyalty Club Card facilities for the UK customers. The main aim of the research is to evaluate and find out the relationship between brand trust and loyalty cards. It will identify and evaluate whether loyalty cards can confer brand trust in the customers. To fulfil the main aim, the following objectives will be further accomplished;

  • To investigate the impact of loyalty cards on brand trust of customers by a questionnaire analysis of Tesco club card members from three different stores in the UK
  • To critically evaluate the effectiveness of loyalty programs in increasing the perceived values and customer satisfaction which contributes to brand trust
  • To test the hypothetical assumptions regarding the relationship between loyalty programs, perceived values and brand trust
  • To prove that loyalty programs offer a good index of customer brand trust
  • The survey results will be interpreted through percentage analysis and deductive reasoning, thus proving the suggested theoretical assumptions