It is true to say that planning gives direction to an organisation, planning enable an organisation to achieve its objectives, but without control measures planning is of no mean, it’s just an empty exercise without control.
Business organisations do marketing planning to incorporate overall marketing objectives, strategies, and programs of actions designed to achieve marketing objectives. Marketing Planning involves setting objectives and targets, and communicating these targets to people responsible to achieve them.
After an organisation develops and implements the marketing plan, next task is to control the marketing performance. Marketing plans and strategies are required to be monitored, evaluated, and adapted to meet the changing market environment, market needs, and market opportunities. The process by which an organisation adapts its marketing plans and strategies to reach its marketing objectives is called marketing control.
Marketing Control can be defined as “the process of measuring and evaluating the results of marketing strategies and plans, and taking corrective action to ensure that marketing objectives are achieved.”
Marketing Control can also be defined as “the set of practises and procedures employed by firms to monitor and regulate their marketing activities in achieving their marketing objectives.”
Developing and implementing marketing plan is not enough to reach marketing objectives; marketing plans and strategies are required to be monitored, evaluated, and adapted to meet the changing market environment, needs, and opportunities. Marketing control ensures performance improvement by minimising gap between desired results and actual results. If the actual results are found deviated from the expected results, plans and strategies are adapted to bring the results back to the desired level.
Marketing Control Process
Marketing control is a four step process:
- Define Marketing Objectives
- Set Performance Standards
- Compare Results Against Standards
- Corrections and Alterations
Resources are scarce and costly so it is important to control marketing plans. Controlling marketing plan is not an one time activity, it is a series of actions, and it is required to be done regularly. Marketing control process starts with the review of the marketing objectives.
After defining/redefining marketing objectives, performance standards are set. Performance standards provide benchmarks to enable managers and employees to decide how they are progressing towards achieving objectives.
Actual results are compared against standards. If the actual results are in direction to the expected results, there is no problem in marketing plan and its execution.
If actual results are deviated from the expected results, there is requirement to correct and alter marketing plan to bring the results back to the desired level.
Integrated marketing communication plays an integral role in communicating brand message to a larger audience. Integrated Marketing communication helps in integrating all essential components of marketing to communicate similar message to potential and existing end-users.
Integrated marketing communication goes a long way in creating brand awareness among customers at a minimal cost. Integrated marketing communication is essential not only for business to business marketing but also for direct interaction with customers. Organizations implementing integrated marketing communication not only successfully promote their brands among target audience but also develop trust among them who would always stick to their brands, no matter what. Through integrated marketing communication, similar message goes to customers simultaneously, eventually creating a better impact on them. Believe me, the end-user does not even think of buying Brand B, if features and benefits of Brand A are communicated well to the end-users. Integrated marketing communication is more effective as it carefully blends various marketing tools such as advertising, public relations, direct marketing and so on.
Integrated marketing communication scores over traditional ways of marketing as it focuses on not only winning new customers but also maintaining long term healthy relationship with them. Integrated marketing communication ensures two way dialogue with customers – a must in all business. Customer feedbacks need to be monitored well if you wish to survive in the long run. Remember, their feedbacks are valuable and need to be evaluated carefully. Gone are the days when marketers used to rely only on advertising and simple promotions to make their brand popular among end- users. In the current scenario of cut throat competition, marketers need to promote their brands by effectively integrating relevant marketing tools for better results and increased productivity. Integrated marketing communication plays an essential role in delivering a unified message to end-users through various channels and thus has better chances of attracting customers. A single message goes to customers across all marketing channels be it TV, Radio, Banners, hoardings and so on. Integrated marketing communication ensures the brand (product or service) is an instant hit among end-users. It also develops a sense of attachment and loyalty among end-users.
Marketers do not also have to think really hard as to which marketing tool is really effective in creating brand awareness. Integrated marketing communication saves time which is often lost in figuring out the best marketing tool. Through integrated marketing communication, marketers can smartly blend and integrate all marketing tools for better response. In a layman’s language integrated marketing communication provides a wide range of options which help marketers connect easily with their target customers. Integrated marketing communication ensures that the customer gets the right message at the right place and right time. Integrated marketing communication uses several innovative ways to promote brands among customers such as newspaper inserts, hoardings and banners at the most strategic locations, pamphlets, brochures, radio or television advertisements, press releases, discount coupons, loyalty clubs, membership clubs,PR Activities, sales promotional activities, direct marketing initiatives, social networking sites (Face book. Twitter, Orkut), blogs and so on.
Some of the elements of marketing mix are given below
A product, service or idea, may be defined as something which is given to consumers in exchange for a price. Product is the article which a manufacturer desires to sell in the open market. It is the first element in the marketing mix. The product mix includes the following variables.
- Product line and range,
- Style, shape, design, colour, quality and other physical features of a product,
- Packaging and labeling of a product,
- Branding and trade mark given to the product,
- Product innovation, and
- Product servicing.
Managing product component involves product planning and development. Here, the decisions are required to be taken regarding product range, branding, packaging, labeling and other features of the product. The product manufactured for market should be as per the needs and expectations of consumers.
Product is the most powerful competing instrument in the hands of the marketing manager. It is the heart of whole marketing mix. If the product is not sound /attractive to the customers, no amount of sales promotion, appropriate channel selection or price reduction will help to achieve the marketing target. Hence, durability, quality, uses, etc. of the product are important from the marketing point of view.
The following aspects of a product need careful attention in marketing decision-making.
- Product line and range,
- Style, shape, design, colour, quality and other physical features of a product,
- Packaging and labeling of a product,
- Branding and trade mark given to a product.
- Product servicing and channel of distribution.
- Product pricing.
- Guarantees and warranties of the product.
- Product innovation.
- Special features of the product from the marketing point of view.
Decisions on these aspects of a product are important as marketing is directly related to these aspects. Sales promotion measures will be useful but their role will be supplementary/ supportive. Such measures may not be effective if the product to be marketed is not of standard quality or if the brand or package is not attractive or if the product is not as per the requirements/expectations of consumers. This suggests that decisions relating to product are important /crucial in the marketing of a product.
Physical distribution is the delivery of goods at the right time and at the right place to consumers. Physical distribution of product is possible through channels of distribution which are many and varied in character. Distribution is made up of two components: (1) Physical distribution, and (2) Channels of distribution
Physical distribution (place mix) includes the following variables:
- Types of intermediaries available for distribution,
- Distribution marketing channels available for distribution, and
- Transportation, warehousing and inventory control for making the product available to consumers easily and economically.
For large-scale distribution, the services of wholesalers, retailers and other marketing intermediaries are required. A marketing manager has to select a channel which is convenient, economical and suitable for the distribution of a specific product. For instance, large numbers of outlets are required for the distribution of products of mass consumption such as soaps and oils. On the other hand, for the marketing of speciality products like refrigerators and TV sets, selective distribution through authorized dealers is quite convenient.
Price is one more critical component of marketing mix. It is the valuation of the product mentioned by the seller on the product. You can define price as the amount of money that consumers must pay in exchange for the product, service or idea.
Price mix includes the following variables:
- Pricing policies,
- Discounts and other concessions offered for capturing market,
- Terms of credit sale,
- Terms of delivery, and
- Pricing strategy selected and used.
Pricing has an important bearing on the competitive position of a product. The marketing manager may use pricing as a tool for achieving the targeted market share or sales volume. Pricing can also be used for capturing market and also for facing market competition effectively. Pricing decisions and policies have direct influence on the sales volume and profits of the firm. Market price of a product also needs periodical review and adjustments. The price charged should be high enough to give adequate profit to the company but low enough to motivate consumers to purchase product. It should also be suitable to face market competition effectively.
Generally, marketers consider the following factors in setting prices:
- Target customers: how much they will buy at various prices, in other words, price elasticity of demand.
- Cost: how much it costs to produce and market the product, i.e., both production and distribution costs.
- Competition: severe competition may indicate a lower price than when there is monopoly or little competition.
- The law: government authorities place numerous restrictions on pricing activities.
- Social responsibility: pricing affects many parties, including employees, shareholders and the public at large. These should be considered in pricing
Promotion is the persuasive communication about the product offered by the manufacturer to the prospect.
Promotion mix includes the following variables:
- Advertising and publicity of the product,
- Personal selling techniques used,
- Sales promotion measures introduced at different levels,
- Public relations techniques used for keeping cordial relations with dealers and consumers,
- Display of goods for sales promotion.
Promotional activities are necessary for large scale marketing and also for facing market competition effectively. Such activities are varied in nature and are useful for establishing reasonably good rapport with the consumers.
Advertising gives information and guidance to consumers. Brand names are made popular through advertising. Along with advertising, personal selling is also useful for motivating the customers to buy a specific product.
In addition to advertising and personal selling, a manufacturer has to use other sales promotion techniques at the consumer level and at the dealer level. The techniques at consumer level include displays, exhibitions, discount coupons, small gifts and free samples, attractive container and consumer contests. Consumer psychology is favorable for extensive use of such sales promotion techniques. After-sales services are also useful for promoting sales of durable good.
Like other elements of the marketing mix, promotion should be aimed at the target audience rather than at consumers at large. If target consumers are in upper-income groups, promotional messages for, say, color television sets might highlight motives such as status and prestige associated with owing a color television, whereas if they are in lower-income groups, the price of a model might be emphasized. If target consumers tend to be highly educated, promotion messages should be more sophisticated than when target consumers have low levels of education. Failure to consider the unique characteristics of the target consumer can result in ineffective promotional efforts.
The definition that many marketers learn as they start out in the industry is: Putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time.
Marketing Mix is one of the most fundamental concepts in marketing management. For attracting consumers and for sales promotion, every manufacturer has to concentrate on four basic elements/components. These are: product, pricing, distributive channels (place) and sales promotion techniques. A fair combination of these marketing elements is called Marketing Mix.
James Culliton, the American marketing expert, coined the expression Marketing Mix and described the marketing manager as ‘mixer of ingredients” as he has to establish fair balance among the four elements of marketing mix in order to achieve marketing targets. He is also a ‘decider’, ‘artist’ of marketing mix formula.
The four components of marketing mix are also called “marketing mix variables” or “controllable variables” as they emanate from within the enterprise and the marketing manager can use them freely as per his desire or need of the situation.
The marketing mix consists of the following four major activities usually referred to as elements of marketing mix.
- Product: activities relating to the product, service or idea to be offered.
- Price: activities relating to the price to be charged for the product, service or idea.
- Promotion: activities relating to promotion (advertising, personal selling, sales promotion and publicity, called promotional mix) of the product, service or idea.
- Place: activities relating to distribution of the product, service or idea (physical distribution and channels of distribution).
Lately three more P’s have been added to the marketing mix. They are as follows:
- People – The individuals involved in the sale and purchase of products or services come under people.
- Process – Process includes the various mechanisms and procedures which help the product to finally reach its target market
- Physical Evidence – With the help of physical evidence, a marketer tries to communicate the USP’s and benefits of a product to the end users
Marketing mix is a combination/integration of four basic marketing variables namely, product, price, promotion and place. It aims at achieving marketing targets in terms of sales, profit and consumer satisfaction. It is rightly said that marketing mix is the marketing manager’s instrument for attainment of marketing objectives/targets.
Marketing mix is not a rigid combination of four variables. It is in fact a flexible combination of variables. It is necessary to adjust the variables in the mix from time to time as per the changes in the marketing environment. It is the continuous monitoring of the marketing mix which facilitates appropriate changes in the mix.
The main focus of marketing mix is the customer. His satisfaction and support are important. Variables of marketing mix are for giving more satisfaction and pleasure to consumers.
Four Ps in the marketing mix represent the sellers’ view of the marketing tools available for influencing buyers. Each tool is designed to deliver a customer benefit. The sellers’ four Ps correspond to the customers’ four Cs as shown below.
Four C’s of Marketing Mix
Now days, organizations treat their customers like kings. In the current scenario, the four C’s has thus replaced the four P’s of marketing making it a more customer oriented model. Koichi Shimizu in the year 1973 proposed a four C’s classification.
- Commodity – (Replaces Products)
- Cost – (Replaces Price) involves manufacturing cost, buying cost and selling cost
- Channel – The various channels which help the product reach the target market.
- Communication – (Replaces Promotion)
Limitations of Marketing Mix Framework
The marketing mix framework was particularly useful in the early days of marketing concept when physical products represented a larger portion of the economy. Today, with marketing more integrated into organizations and with a wider variety of products and markets, some authors have attempted to extend its usefulness by proposing a fifth P, such as packaging, people, process, etc. Today however, the marketing mix most commonly remains based on the 4 P’s. Despite its limitations and perhaps because of its simplicity, the use of this framework remains strong and many marketing textbooks have been organized around it.
Unemployment is caused when someone is laid off, fired or quits — and is still looking for a job. This type of natural unemployment always occurs, even in a healthy economy. If someone retires, goes back to school or leaves the work force to take care of children or other family member; that is not unemployment. Also, if someone gives up looking for work, they are also not counted as unemployed by the Federal government. For this reason, some people say the government undercounts the real unemployment rate.
There are many different possible causes of unemployment, and unfortunately for governments, it is never easy to identify which is the most important and what to do about it. The causes of unemployment can be split into two main types:
It is said to occur when there is not enough demand, as a result employers to not need many workers. This leads to demand deficient unemployment.
This is caused when there are too many people looking for a job, and there are not enough jobs in the economy. This can be seen in imperfect labour market. A perfect labour market will always clear and all those looking for work will be working – supply will equal demand.
The other major causes which have been responsible for the wide spread unemployment can be spelt out as under.
1. Population Growth
This is a major problem in developing countries where the population growth is enormous and the economy is not growing at that pace to generate enough jobs. The growth of population directly encouraged the unemployment by making large addition to labour force.
2. Limited Land
Land is a natural resource which is limited in nature, due to its limit the land is not sufficient for the growing population. As a result, there is heavy pressure on the land. In rural areas, most of the people depend directly on land for their livelihood. Land is very limited in comparison to population. It creates the unemployment situation for a large number of persons who depend on agriculture in rural areas.
3. Defective Education System
The education system is still historical and not updated since ages, it is still confined to classrooms and the main aim is to acquire certificates i.e. it is not job oriented. There needs to be a change in the system and it should aim at making students not just look for jobs but should look to create jobs i.e. entrepreneurial.
Let us take a look at some of the definitions of scheduling to understand what scheduling means.
According to Leon Alford and Henry Beatty, “Fitting specific jobs into a general time-table so that orders may be manufactured in accordance with contracted liability, or in mass production, so that each component may arrive at and enter into assembly in the order and at the time required.”
According to Richard Lansburgh and William Spriegel, “Scheduling involves establishing the amount, of work to be done and the time each element of the work will start, or the order of work. This includes allocating the quality and rate of output of the plant or department and also the date or order of starting of each unit of work at each station along the route prescribed.”
In simple terms, it is assigning an appropriate number of workers to the jobs during each day of work.
Determining when an activity should start or end, depending on its
- Predecessor activity (or activities),
- Predecessor relationships,
- Resource availability, and
- Target completion date of the project.
Meaning of Scheduling
The principle aim of scheduling is to plan the sequence of work so that production can be systematically arranged towards the end of completion of all products by due date.
The meaning of scheduling is explained by below diagram:
Scheduling is the last step in production planning alone. However, it is the second step in production planning and control.
It comes after routing. It is a time-table of production. It gives the starting and completion date and time for each operation of job (task or work). It is just like a railway time-table.
The production process is divided into many different jobs. Scheduling arranges all these jobs in the order of priority. That is, it tells which job must be done first, which job must be done second and so on. Then it fixes starting and completion date and time for each job.
It gives a lot of importance to the time element in the production process.
It is also done for materials, parts, machines, etc.
The main purpose or objective of scheduling is to see that all production operations are completed in a given time. If the production is completed in an allotted time, only, then, the delivery of goods can be made on time. If this happens, it will increase the goodwill of the company
The functions or procedure of scheduling is as follows:
- Make a list of all the production activities.
- Fix the starting time for each activity.
- Fix the finishing time for each activity.
- Prepare the time-table.
Unemployment is often used as a measure of the health of the economy. The most frequently cited measure of unemployment is the unemployment rate. This is the number of unemployed persons divided by the number of people in the labour force.
Economists divide unemployment into a number of different categories, since defining types of unemployment more precisely sheds some light on why unemployment occurs and what can be done about it.
Types of Unemployment
The five major types of unemployment are given below:
It refers to unemployment that occurs when workers are not qualified for the jobs that are available. Workers in this case are often out of work for much longer periods of time and often require retraining. Structural unemployment can be a serious problem within an economy, particularly in cases where entire sectors (manufacturing, for instance) become obsolete.
Advances in technology and changes in market conditions often turn many skills obsolete; this typically increases the unemployment rate. For example, laborers who worked on cotton fields found their jobs obsolete with Eli Whitney‘s patenting of the cotton gin. Similarly, with the rise of computers, many jobs in manual book keeping have been replaced by highly efficient software. Workers who find themselves in this situation find that they need to acquire new skills in order to obtain a new job.
2. Cyclical Unemployment
It refers to unemployment that is a product of the business cycle. During recessions, for instance, there is often inadequate demand for labour and wages are typically slow to fall to a point where the demand and supply of labour are back in balance. It is a type that Keynesian economists focus on particularly, as they believe it happens when there is disequilibrium in the economy.
It is also often known as cyclical unemployment because it will vary with the trade cycle. When the economy is booming, there will be lots of demand and so firms will be employing large numbers of workers. Demand-deficient unemployment will at this stage of the cycle be fairly low. If the economy slows down, then demand will begin to fall.
3. Frictional Unemployment
When somebody loses their job (or chooses to leave it), they will have to look for another one. If they are lucky they find one quite quickly, but they may be unlucky and it may take some time. On average it will take everybody a reasonable period of time as they search for the right job. This creates unemployment while they look.
It results from imperfect information and the difficulties in matching qualified workers with jobs. A college graduate who is actively looking for work is one example. Frictional unemployment is almost impossible to avoid, as neither job-seekers nor employers can have perfect information or act instantaneously, and it is generally not seen as problematic to an economy.
4. Seasonal Unemployment
Seasonal unemployment is fairly self-explanatory. Seasonal unemployment is less severe than this, and tends to occur in certain industries. Industries that suffer particularly are:
- Hotel and catering
- Fruit picking
5. Under-employment or disguised unemployment
This is the type of unemployment which is never practically seen, but only experienced. Suppose a job which can be performed by just 10 worker, has in reality has 20 workers, then the excess 10 workers who are not actually required are said to be under employed or disguised unemployed. In other words, the surplus labor do not make any addition to the output. Technically, their marginal product is zero. Such a situation is called wider-employment or disguised unemployment.
While high unemployment is undesirable, full employment (meaning zero unemployment) is neither practical nor desirable. Generally there is a relationship between inflation and unemployment – the lower the rate of unemployment, the higher the rate of inflation. We will study this in the next topic “Philips Curve”
Benefits of IMC
Although Integrated Marketing Communications requires a lot of effort it delivers many benefits. It can create competitive advantage, boost sales and profits, while saving money, time and stress.
IMC wraps communications around customers and helps them move through the various stages of the buying process. The organization simultaneously consolidates its image, develops a dialogue and nurtures its relationship with customers.
IMC also increases profits through increased effectiveness. At its most basic level, a unified message has more impact than a disjointed myriad of messages. In a busy world, a consistent, consolidated and crystal clear message has a better chance of cutting through the ‘noise’ of over five hundred commercial messages which bombard customers each and every day.
IMC saves money as it eliminates duplication in areas such as graphics and photography since they can be shared and used in say, advertising, exhibitions and sales literature. Agency fees are reduced by using a single agency for all communications and even if there are several agencies, time is saved when meetings bring all the agencies together – for briefings, creative sessions, tactical or strategic planning. This reduces workload and subsequent stress levels – one of the many benefits of IMC.
Challenges of IMC
Across the globe, there is continuity in market deregulation and emergence of individualized segmentation of consumer tastes and preferences. So IMC being not an easy process has to face internal as well as external challenges. As some markets flee traditional media they still come across some communication clutter. The challenges of IMC are.
- A shift in market place power from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer/shift in channel power.
- A movement away from relying on advertising focused approach.
- Rapid growth of data base marketing.
- A shift in traditional promotions.
- Change in the way the advertising agencies compensated.
- Rapid growth of internet marketing.
- Growing competition in relationship marketing.
- Change from mere information delivery to value delivery.
- Consumer empowerment.
- Fragmentation of media.
- Increasing advertising clutter.
- Desire for greater accountability
In the traditional advertising agency world, many responded by acquiring or setting up public relations, sales promotion, direct marketing, and interactive expertise and touting their capability to meet all of their clients’ IMC needs. In addition, companies began looking beyond one-stop advertising agencies to other types of marketing communications specialists to develop and implement various components of their plans. Today it is not unusual for organizations to outsource their requirements to a number of different types of specialized communication agencies.
Integrated marketing communication is the integration by the company of its communication channels to deliver a clear, consistent and compelling message about the organization and its brand. It calls for recognizing all contact points (brand contact) where the customer may encounter the company and its brand.
The shift from mass marketing to targeted marketing, with its corresponding use of a richer mixture of communication channels and promotion tools, poses a problem for marketers. Consumers are being exposed to a greater variety of marketing communications from and about the company from an array of sources. However, customers don’t distinguish between message sources the way marketers do. In the consumer’s mind, advertising messages from different media—such as television, magazines, or online sources—blur into one.
Although it can be said there are a number of reasons for the important shift to integrated marketing communications, some of the major reasons are:
Develop Efficient Marketing Communication
By coordinating marketing communication efforts, organizations can avoid duplication, take advantage of synergy across communication tools, and develop more efficient and effective marketing communication programs.
Makes your marketing budget more productive
The cost savings by leveraging the same design and creative work in many fields increases the effectiveness of all components and make them more efficient job. It maximizes your reach. An integrated approach targeting the message to be delivered to potential customers and your target group, where “live”, both on-line and off-line.
But with ever-increasing ad clutter, shorter attention spans and greater resistance to advertising, your customers now tend to be a lot more selective: they shut out the stuff they feel they don’t need, and go with the stuff that they want. The media now zeros down on the particular niche market to advertise their product or service. Also, the fragmentation of media markets, which has resulted in less emphasis on mass media and more attention to smaller, targeted media alternatives
Customer is the king
The power has shifted from the manufacturers (those who make a product) to the retailers (those who actually sell the product). We all know it: it’s easier to keep an existing customer happy than it is to win back a customer you lost. Retailers now place greater emphasis on protecting their clientele- and take great pains in whipping up the best possible experience for their patrons- before, during and after the sale.
Data Oriented Marketing
The rapid growth and development of database marketing has prompted many marketers to target consumers through direct mail, direct response advertising etc. As business becomes more cutthroat, business owners who are also now more involved in the marketing process hang on tightly to their media budgets- and let go after carefully choosing the right mix of media- both traditional and non-traditional.
Spread of Internet
The growth of the Internet especially digital/on-line marketing, which has changed the very nature of the way organizations communicate and interact with target audiences. Every organization now has a website, which your customers can check out at any time anywhere in the world. Conversely, it also means that your business can also exist outside your regular business hours, and therefore have the opportunity to keep selling 24/7.
Demands for greater accountability from advertising agencies and changes in the way they are compensated which motivated agencies to consider a variety of marketing communications tools and less expensive alternatives to mass media advertising.
Let us look at some of the components of IMC
1. The Foundation
As the name suggests, foundation stage involves detailed analysis of both the product as well as target market. It is essential for marketers to understand the brand, its offerings and end-users. You need to know the needs, attitudes and expectations of the target customers. Keep a close watch on competitor’s activities.
2. The Corporate Culture
The features of products and services ought to be in line with the work culture of the organization. Every organization has a vision and it’s important for the marketers to keep in mind the same before designing products and services. Let us understand it with the help of an example.
Organization A‘s vision is to promote green and clean world. Naturally its products need to be ecofriendly and biodegradable, in lines with the vision of the organization.
3. Brand Focus
Brand Focus represents the corporate identity of the brand.
4. Consumer Experience
Marketers need to focus on consumer experience which refers to what the customers feel about the product. A consumer is likely to pick up a product which has good packaging and looks attractive. Products need to meet and exceed customer expectations.
5. Communication Tools
Communication tools include various modes of promoting a particular brand such as advertising, direct selling, promoting through social media such as facebook, twitter, orkut and so on.
6. Promotional Tools
7. Integration Tools
Organizations need to keep a regular track on customer feedbacks and reviews. You need to have specific software like customer relationship management (CRM) which helps in measuring the effectiveness of various integrated marketing communications tools.