The marketing plan is a comprehensive blueprint, design, or proposal, which outlines an organization marketing efforts. Most organizations use marketing plans for the purpose of increasing profit, revenue, and shareholders’ wealth (Kerin, Hartley, & Rudelius, 2011). The task of Charlie Team consists of completing the marketing planning phase one. Charlie Team will use the outline of the marketing plan from the student website for assistance in accomplishing the following process of the marketing plan phase one.
Selecting an existing organization and discussing its overviews is the first step in phase one. The second step is giving a description of the new product or service. Step three is explaining the importance of marketing for organizational success. The fourth step analyzes the factors of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends (SWOTT) of the new product or service. Step five is the marketing research approach for developing the marketing strategy and tactics of the new product or service (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Organizational Overview
Team Charlie chose the Walmart organization for completing this assignment. Walmart is one of the best known organizations in the world that have successful marketing plans and strategies. Sam Walton is the founder of Walmart and opened the first store in Rogers, Arkansas, 50 years ago in 1962 (Walmart, 2012). Currently Walmart operates in more than 10,000 retail stores under 69 diverse banners in 27 different geographic locations across the world. They service customers and members in excess of 200 million times per week with sales of approximately $444 billion continually for the fiscal year 2012 (Walmart, 2012).
Sam Walton’s visionary leadership and focus point centered on helping customers and communities by saving money and living better. His personal goals for Walmart consist of creating great value and great customer service. He believed that leadership through service would support the success of his business.
Because of his belief in leadership and service, he used this for creating the principle foundation of Walmart. According to Sam Walton, the principle of Walmart is true leadership depends on willing service (Walmart, 2012). Walmart basic values and philosophy include Sam Walton’s personal goals and the organization principle that established the mission statement: Save money. Live better (Walmart, 2012).
The product mix that Walmart host contains a large variety single products and many product lines. For example, their product mix include books, electronics, movies, music, furniture, jewelry, toys, grocery, health care products, pharmaceutical products, and many more (Walmart, 2012). Walmart’s product mix meets and satisfies just about any household needs and wants.
Walmart also provides a number of different services within their retail stores. Some of these services include photo lab service, pharmacy, automobile service, financial service, vision center service, and wireless services. A different Walmart may provide a different service depending on geographic location, population size, consumer needs, and wants (Walmart, 2012). Because of Sam Walton’s belief in creating great value and customer service, the Team wants Walmart consideration for the marketing plans of incorporating a new Express Shopping Service. * New Service Description
* Imagine developing a convenient, quick, and fast way of shopping, when customers are on the go and timing is an essential element. Adding an Express Shopping Service to the Walmart shopping experience will support the mission statement of saving money and living better in a timely manner. Giving the Walmart customer the advantage of buying on the fly will satisfy the demanding wants and needs of expedient shopping. * The Problem
* A Walmart surrounding a heavily populated area, such as a military base, several high schools and hospitals, fast growing neighborhoods, and communities become victims of long waiting shopping lines. Running inside a store, picking up a few essential items, and checking out of the express line has become a slow process. Customers on the go, such as military soldiers late for duty, fire fighters awaiting unexpected calls, policemen rushing to protect and serve want and need an Express Shopping Service. * The Solution
* Walmart New Express Shopping Service to the rescue. Customers rush in and rush right back out. Allowing customers the advantage of quick shopping through the Internet, phone, and mobile devices, choosing a date and time for picking up item inside the front of the store will satisfy wants and needs buying on the fly.
On the Walmart website purchase 10 items or less, pay by credit, gift, or debt card come to the store at his or her convenience receive items in a timely manner and out the door the customer goes (Walmart, 2012). With cash or check in hand customers may pay at the time of pick up. * The Service Structure
* Stage the Express Shopping Service near the front entry of the store. Not obstructing regular traffic flow by dividing the pathway of travel between regular shoppers and express shoppers. Provide immediate response agents with five available cash registers, and bagging essentials. Install an electronic messaging board for informing customers when his or her items become available for pick up. Adding necessary equipment, such as freezers, holding bends, and product handheld scanners will accomplish the Express Shopping Service goal and objective. Assign a daily manager from the service department for controlling, supervising, and improving the Express Shopping Service experience. * Key Benefits
* The key benefits of express shopping is the power of purchasing products or items quick, fast, and speedy. Shorter waiting line that move in a matter of seconds or minutes. The limited number of items will encourage the use of the express service. Customers will benefit from buying on the fly when timing is important. Walmart benefits from the additional service for satisfying the wants and needs of the consumers.
The competitive advantage is offering this service before any other organization (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Carrying on the vision of Sam Walton leadership belief in helping save money and live better through the Express Shopping Service will improve the efforts of Walmart’s marketing strategy and tactics. * The Importance of Marketing
* One of Walmart’s main reasons for success is because of the different ways that the organization uses the tools of marketing. This is important to Walmart’s marketing strategy and tactic for building on the goals, objectives, and the mission set forth by its founder (Walmart, 2012).
As technology and innovation continually change, the organization forces itself to stay ahead of its competitors through the advantages of first place marketing. * Walmart always strove for excellent by marketing new products, services, or improving them for keeping up with the wants and needs of consumer demands. The ability to market different products and product lines under one marketing strategy deter competitors from entering the market before Walmart (Walmart, 2012).
This advantage allows the organization many approaches to marketing new products or services before they become available. Keeping on top of the advantages and benefits of marketing is what makes Walmart so successful. * SWOTT Analysis
The method the organization will use for determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends (SWOTT) is through the use of a SWOTT analysis (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). This analysis is extremely important in the decision to implement a product or service by listing the informational factors for each category. The following information about each category will aid in the final decision-making process of this new service. Strengths
A major strength includes providing customers with another service from the retail leader. Customers can place a prepaid order online, and the purchase will be available for pick-up upon arrival (Walmart, 2012). Walmart’s ability to provide this service is an enormous strength for the organization that already provides products at a dollar value the customer continues to expect.
The organization will continue to match competitor’s prices using the price match software currently available during the checkout process. Walmart’s increasing customer base helps the organization remain the retail leader, and places the organization in a perfect position to develop and implement the new express shopping service (Walmart, 2012). Weaknesses
A weakness in the implementation of this new express shopping service includes the designation of one row of current customer parking space to provide parking for express service customers only. Walmart will have to limit the number of items a customer can purchase to meet the time sensitive needs of the customer. The uncertainty of how successful the new service will be and the ability to meet the demand of the new service initially will be a weakness to contend with by the organization (Walmart, 2012).
The new express shopping service will not allow the purchasing of prescription drugs because of federal and state regulations that requires special handling of any prescription drug. Because the orders are prepaid, the customer must go physically inside the store to the customer service department to resolve any returns or exchanges. Opportunities
The opportunity to create an additional service may add new customers or continue to broaden the current customer base. The new express shopping service will appeal to customers in a rush or on a time limit that may deter the customer from entering the store to shop and waiting in long lines for purchases of 10 items or less. This new express shopping service will gain an additional competitive advantage over Walmart’s current competitors (Walmart, 2012). Threats
A threat to the new service is the competitors will duplicate this service to remain competitive. Other similar organizations will begin to fine tune this idea by broadening some of the restrictions that Walmart will put in place for any similar service policy another company decides to create. The city, state, and federal regulators may have and increasing amount of involvement in regard to city planning and zoning regulations, taxation differentiation between location, and possible legality issues concerning privacy issues of customers placing orders online through the organization’s website (Walmart, 2012). Trends
The trend of shopping online is increasing in popularity. The process of online ordering is becoming easier for the customer to navigate and make purchases. Organizations are placing more focus on security and privacy to protect the customer and encourage online ordering (Walmart, 2012).
Because Walmart can reduce labor costs by offering this service and satisfy the needs of customers previously unreachable, Walmart chooses to be the innovator and leader in the early growth of this new express shopping service. By creating this new express shopping service, Walmart will accomplish that objective. * Marketing Research Approach
* Acceptable marketing research approach for developing the marketing strategy and tactics for the new Express Shopping Service is using both details of consumer analysis and market industry analysis. Consumer analysis should contain information, such as demographics, psychographics, purchasing behaviors, geographical considerations. The market industry analysis will show important information and data from conducting a competitor’s analysis (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). * The marketing research approach will also include statistical data the organization currently uses for forecasting trends and consumer needs.
The use of secondary and primary data will be an important part of the market research in the collection of data to analyze (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart must analyze the data carefully for making sure the data available is not out-of-date and specific enough for the marketing research. Marketing Plan Phase II
The marketing plan phase two will explain market segmentation and identify the segmentation criteria that will affect the target market. Phase two will also identify Walmart’s target market. It will describe organizational buyers and consumers, factors that influence their purchasing decisions, and discuss how these factors will affect Walmart’s marketing strategy. Finally, phase two will analyze current competitors and define the competitive landscape for Walmart’s Express Shopping Service.
Market Segmentation The definition of market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinctive subgroups of buyers with similar wants, needs, and demands that may require separate products or services (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). When Walmart formulates a market segmentation plan, it is critical to evaluate the market for determining the segment of the market that best fulfills the marketing plan. Market segmentation comes through the direct effect of the observation that potential users of the service are different (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011).
Marketing strategy and tactics depends on Walmart ability to divide correctly the market segments into subgroups for effective targeting. Accomplishing this task relies on breaking down the market segmentation into variables and characteristics. These variables and characteristics make up the four basic market segmentation strategies: demographic, geographic, behavior, and physiographic (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Demographic Segmentation
Dividing the market into groups based on variables, such as age, family, education, occupation, and income is demographic segmentation (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). It is the most popular basis for dividing groups because consumer wants, and needs usually match demographic categories. Walmart may use demographic segmentation because the variables are easy to measure and obtain. Geographic Segmentation
Dividing the market into groups based on the variable of location, neighborhoods, cities, states, counties, nations, and regions is geographic segmentation (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Walmart should tailor their marketing plan and strategy for fulfilling the wants and needs of individual geographic areas. The studies of the population density, cultural differences, or regional climate are factors Walmart must consider in geographic segmentation. Behavior Segmentation
Dividing the market into group characterization focused on the efforts of consumers’ researched behavioral toward a product or service is behavior segmentation (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). The division of the target market is set up according to benefits, rate of use, brand loyalty, user status, and occasions that stimulate purchases. Behavior segmentation permits Walmart dividing potential buyers into groups based on their knowledge, attitude, uses, or responses to the product or service. Physiographic Segmentation
Dividing the market into groups characterized by consumer’ lifestyle preferences is physiographic segmentation (Kotler & Keller, 2012). When segmenting a market according to consumer standard of living, activities, interests, opinions, attitudes, value, or personality characteristics. Walmart can promote their product or service as expressions of lifestyles. Also Walmart may use factors of personality for matching their product or service with consumer personalities. Segmentation Criteria
The key role of segmentation criteria is splitting the market into actionable segments. Basic criteria for market segmentation are customer needs and demands (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). The effectiveness of the market segmentation depends on certain viable criteria that the selection groups must comply with. The five criteria for effective market segmentation include measurable, relevant, accessible, distinguishable, and feasible (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Measurable
Obtaining the values of the variables must remain true and measurable in terms of its size in purchasing power and profiles. This is important to Walmart, especially for demographics and geographic variables. Some aspects of segmentation become difficult to measure, whenever possible the process must remain doable (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Relevant
Potential size and profit of the market segment must prove large enough to justify economically separate marketing activities. This means that Walmart marketing activities must ensure it will cover expenses, return a larger profit, and justify the resources required for targeting the audience. If it is not relevant enough, the justification is not worthwhile and should receive reconsideration or eliminated (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Accessible
The segment is reachable through distribution channels and communication. Walmart should have target group specific media advertisement, magazines, and website ads that the target audience likes. Accessibility ensures that a marketing strategy can target a segment group effectively (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Distinguishable
Segments must respond differently to dissimilar marketing mixes. Using unique needs, Walmart may create and justify separate offerings in different marketing mix. Some market segments may show their distinctive characteristics by slightly modifying a product or service differently from competitors (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Feasible
The possibility of approaching each segment with a particular marketing plan and drawing from the advantages they offer. Walmart must have the ability of drawing a cost-effective marketing plan for its targeted customers and markets. The feasibility of the segment has reasonable price with minimum risk (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Criteria that Affect Target Market
Targeted marketing segments can use different criteria and marketing mixes to approach the most profitable markets. However, some criteria may affect Walmart’s target market, such as identifiable, accessible, unique, and durable (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). These are four major criteria that have negative effects on market segmentation. Identifiable
If Walmart target specific market segments, they must first identify the distinguishing characteristics that make consumers in the segment similar. These similar attributes will complete the criteria requirement for measurability. Walmart cannot effectively determine how to best market a segment or how much to invest, without clearly identifying what makes the customers unique and similar (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Accessible
Without possessing access to the market for communication, Walmart will not reach the target market with a positive effect. The inability to assess a particular segment renders that segment useless for marketing purposes (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Accessible and serviceable communication is a must for targeting specific segmented groups through media advertisement, magazines, or Internet websites. Unique
Each Walmart’s market segment must respond and react to different marketing mixes for justifying their separation as segments in unique ways. The lack of establishing uniqueness between market segments similar attributes will affect the development of specific messages for different targeted markets (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart should consider combining segments with high similarities. Durable
Walmart investing in unstable market segments can lead to significant expenses in new marketing strategy and tactics. They must establish themselves for long-term success. Walmart can accomplish this by identifying and using segments likely to exist in the future. When a market segment ceases to exist or reduce in value, Walmart must invest in new market development (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Target Market
Target marketing involves breaking a market into segments, as seen above, and concentrating the marketing efforts on one or a few key segments. The importance of target marketing is that it makes the pricing, promotion, and distribution of the product or service easier and more cost effective (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart’s goal is to reach a subset of the population who has an interest in their new service. That group of people is Walmart’s target market.
The targeted market for the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service will center on geographic locations with high populations within the United States close to military bases. Walmart established superstores in these areas as an attempt to satisfy the wants, needs, and growing demands of consumers living in these locations. However, focusing the attention on target markets will further support Walmart’s mission of saving money and living better (Walmart, 2012).
Walmart target markets will include their target audience with common characteristics that set them apart as different groups (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). The target market for the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service main focus is customers on the go. Military soldiers, fire fighters, and policemen are examples of Walmart’s target market. Organizational Buyers and Consumers
There are many similarities between organizational buyers and consumers. The most important similarity is that price matters to them. Both expect quality specifications, customer satisfaction, and service guarantees. They both make judgment decisions based on experience (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). However, the organizational buyers and consumers for the Express Shopping Service are the people in charge of purchasing products and services for personal or organizational use (Web Finance Inc, 2012).
Offering the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service to any type of customer will improve the profit margin. Consumers, such as military soldiers, fire fighters, and policemen in need of products for personal consumption are always welcome to use the Express Shopping Service. Organizational buyers, such as businesses, corporations, governments, manufactures, and resellers are also welcome as well to use the service. Factors Influencing Purchasing Decisions
The most important factor influencing purchasing decision is pricing of products and services. Understanding the factor that influences purchasing decisions, starts with researching, and studying consumer buying behavior. Various factors influencing purchasing decisions involve personal, social, psychological, and cultural factors (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Factors Affect Walmart’s Marketing Strategy
The above factors that influence purchasing decision can also affect Walmart’s marketing strategy. This is because their strategy focuses on understanding needs, wants, and personal characteristics. Before Walmart effectively market a product or service they must pinpoint exactly, which potential buyers will concentrate on their efforts (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). If not, Walmart may risk wasting time and money on buyers loyal to other product brands or services. Analyzing consumer behavior can guide Walmart toward better marketing strategy and tactics (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Current Competitors Analysis
The competitive analysis helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Walmart’s competitors. Using a competitive analysis will indicate the areas Walmart can focus on improving on what the other competitors are doing. Walmart’s current competitors in the general merchandise retail business are primarily Target and Kmart.
Because Walmart’s new Express Shopping Service focuses on the retail grocery industry, the competitive landscape will include organizations, such as Howard Edward Butt (HEB), Kroger, Albertsons, and Safeway in the competitive analysis (Walmart, 2012). Difference in price is the primary focus of concern when choosing which organization the customer chooses to shop with. Competitive analysis indicates that none of the organizations offer an Express Shopping Service. The Competitive Landscape for Express Shopping Service
Competitive landscape refers to the analysis an organization uses to identify competitors both online and offline (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). The grocery industry is a highly competitive industry. Competition has been why many smaller grocery stores have gone out of business or have become part of larger grocery store chains.
Research shows, through the use of competitive analysis, any organization posing a potential threat to Walmart. Organizations such as HEB, Kroger, Albertsons, and Safeway compete with Walmart daily to capture the largest market share available. Price, variety, selection, and quality are specific attributes the consumer desires in achieving a favorable shopping experience (Walmart, 2012).
The one identifiable service each organization has in common is an online website. Each of the online websites give an overview of goods and services available to the customers by each of the organizations Walmart and Safeway are the only organizations in the list of competitors that offer some type of online grocery shopping. Walmart offers a selected list of grocery items that customers can order online (Walmart, 2012).
Safeway offers a similar service as Walmart along with delivery service in limited demographic areas (Safeway Inc, 2012). The population and income target market variables for the organizations are similar. After reviewing the online websites of each respective organization, research shows there is no service provided by any of Walmart’s competitors that matches the new service that Walmart plans to offer. The Express Shopping Service gives Walmart the opportunity to increase the organization’s competitive advantage and reach an otherwise ignored target market. Marketing Plan Phase III
Team Charlie decided that introducing an express shopping service into the Walmart Corporation will create, establish, and ensure a competitive edge because this type of service is nonexistent in the discount variety store industry. The team’s market analysis reveals a potential and successful marketing opportunity that allows Walmart the advantage before its competitors.
The express shopping service will open the doors into a new marketing structure for discount variety stores. Charlie’s marketing team must consider the marketing plan phase three factors for generating a successful marketing strategy and tactics. Within the marketing plan it is importance that Walmart have an awareness of, knowing, and understanding service marketing. Marketing services evolved from a product-dominated view, in which tangible output were the focus into a service-dominated view refocusing on intangible processes related to providing services (Kotler & Keller, 2012).
The marketing plan of phase three starts with describing the attributes of the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service in detail. The second objective deals with the product life cycle and the pace, which the service will move about the life cycle through the factors that will affect its movement. Also, describing how the product life cycle may affect the marketing of the express shopping service. In the third stage of phase three, is the indentifying strategies for positioning and differentiation of the service. The final stage will classify the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service appropriate price strategy. Express Shopping Service Attributes
The American Marketing Association defines service attributes as characteristics, which indentify, and differentiate features, functions, or desired unique elements that benefits the target market (Marketing Power Inc, 2012). Walmart’s awareness of the importance of the consumer’s store shopping choice process will give the organization insight into express shopping service attributes wanted, needed, and desired by customers.
For example, consumer’s store shopping choices include both retail outlets, and shopping modes. Retail outlets provide consumers with different places of obtaining products. The shopping modes allow consumers purchasing through different means, such as locally, out of town or shopping from home through the mail, telephone, and Internet (Kerin & Hartley, 2011).
Using the above examples for consumer’s store shopping choice process will uncover Walmart’s Express Shopping Service attributes. In addition to developing, Walmart’s marketing plan phase three. The attributes include features, functions, unique elements, and consumer benefits relating to consumer’s shopping choices and modes (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Details in the following paragraphs will describe the attributes of Walmart’s Express Shopping Service. These attributes will also limit customer desires and needs for different shopping choices and modes. Features
Characteristics consisting of technical innovation, such as mobile phone, wireless, and Internet shopping will headline the major features. Technology improvement of communication methods encourages consumer’s purchasing behavior (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Up-front in store pick-up access with available designative parking spaces will add the features of drawing customers awareness to the newly provided express shopping service.
The most attractive feature focus on supplying customers with service status information updates through the use of electronic messaging boards. Service status information will display customers appointed dates and times of pick-up, positioning regarding purchase movement, such as in progress, service completed, and awaiting customers’ final transaction. Functions
The purposes for the design, role, or existence for how the service works or performs in relationship to its actions and activities are functions (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart’s Express Shopping Service main purpose is for supplying the target market a faster way of purchasing goods and products when he or she wants or needs them quickly. The design, role, or existence of the service works by allowing customers additional ways of ordering, purchasing, and obtaining products with and at a convenience determined by the customer. Features of the service also relate to the different functions that the express shopping service offers. Unique Elements
Walmart’s Express Shopping Service develops, creates, and establishes a retail service nonexistent to customers. Anything that radiates rare or different quality not easily found is unique elements (Marketing Power Inc, 2012). Combining the qualities of features, functions, and consumers benefits into the shopping service will form unique elements for the marketing plan and strategy. Unique elements are the key attributes of Walmart’s Express Shopping Service that generates the competitive edge. Consumer Benefits
Sam Walton’s personal goal belief in helping customers and communities save money and live better is the focus point for Walmart’s consumer benefits. Consumers already benefit from the increased competition in Walmart’s differentiated products (Walmart, 2012). Through the express shopping service, consumers will also benefits from the discounts saving provided by phone, wireless, and Internet shopping. The use of these purchasing methods of Walmart’s Express Shopping Service allows the consumer a 5% discount rate off his or her total purchase.
Another discount saving that consumers can enjoy include 3% discounts on purchases made with a Walmart’s credit or gift card. When the consumer’s monthly purchase exceed 10, he or she will receive the lowest priced item in his or her next purchase free of charge. The consumers have the benefit of a ready available attendant for carrying the purchased items of customer in need of assistance to his or her vehicle. The Walmart’s Express Shopping Service attributes encourages positive customer behavior purchasing and sustainability for the success of Walmart’s marketing strategy and tactics. Product or Service Life Cycle Pace
The progress of a sequence of stages known as the introduction, growth, maturity, and decline that a product or service goes through refer to its life cycle. It describes the life of a product or service from development to it becomes obsolete or replaced with a new version or upgrade (Kotler & Keller, 2012). The pace at which the express shopping service moves through the life cycle depends on the speed of the discount retail industry evolving Walmart. This is because it depicts how long a service will likely remain viable in the marketplace.
Competitive analysis shows that the introduction stage should start out slow as consumers become aware and comfortable with the new service. As the growth stage begins, some consumers may still lack trying the service, but it will show an increase in the pace speed from those who adapted, use, and support it (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). When this happens, Walmart may benefit from expediting the service pace life cycle as competitors try matching or differentiating their express shopping service.
The results will display another increase in speed of the pace when entering the maturity stage until the service life cycle peeks from too many competitors saturating the market offering express shopping services. After the peek in the maturity stage, the pace will coast along for a while before reducing speed slowly heading into the declining stage. In the decline stage the pace gradually decreases at a speed above the growth and introduction stages (Kotler & Keller, 2012). The below diagram display the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service pace as it moves through each stages of the life cycle (Beever, 2010). Service Life Cycle
Factors that Affect the Movement Pace Most factors start their effects when the product or service first takes on its form of development. The slow pace in the introduction stage is the result of factors that affect delays in technical problem, not enough early adopters, reluctance of customers, and the lack of efficient advertisement (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). A product or service that satisfies the market entering the growth stage will start increasing quickly.
These factors have positive effects on the service life cycle pace, such as increasing service expansion, profits, competitive interest, and customer satisfaction. The maturity stage pace lasts longer than the rest of the stages. This is because the factors that affect the movement pace remain unchanged for a longer span. Factors that affect the decline stages pace reduction include technological advancements, shift in consumers tastes and preferences, and increased competition (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Product or Service Life Cycle Marketing Affect
The effects of marketing on the product or service life cycle happen in several ways. Whatever the situation marketing holds the key to adjusting the product or service for maintaining the marketing objectives (Kotler & Keller, 2012). The initial marketing strategy budget should allow investing in a high level of marketing, advertising, promotion, and starting with low prices for the new product or service. This affect would encourage the initial expenses declining quickly on the scale of economy (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). The positive effect gives Walmart the chance of penetrating the market before competitors have a chance of introducing competing products or services.
After the introduction stage starts increasing, the growth stage brings affect of marketing that may need some necessary adjustments to the four Ps for maintain a successful marketing strategy (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). In the maturity stage, the effect of competition becomes stronger and Walmart’s profit margin may begin suffering. This affect happens because competitors start advertising more strongly and using other promotional means for increasing sales. Finally, the product or service life cycle begins declining and at this point some serious marketing decisions must come into play (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Positioning and Differentiation Strategies
A positioning and differentiation strategy is one of the most important factors in a marketing plan. Positioning is placing the product or service in the right place and at the right time. Differentiation is making the product or service different from other competitors (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). The Walmart’s Express Shopping Service stands out above the competition. Predetermined Walmart retail stores surrounding military bases present the opportune places, and the time is at the present in support of military soldiers coming home from war. The factors below outline Walmart’s positioning and differentiation strategies. Positioning
* Places of first implementation include Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, and Fort Steward.
* Timing of implementation starts two months before redeployment. Differentiation * Offering a nonexistent express shopping service in the market of discount retail stores.
* Purchasing methods by phone, wireless devices, and Internet. Appropriate Price Strategy Marketing research reveals that Walmart’s pricing for the express shopping service should adopt the economy pricing strategy for keeping the costs of marketing and promoting to a minimum. However, combining the approaches of value-based pricing into the pricing strategy will assist in paying for the performance of the service (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). The appropriate pricing strategy for Walmart’s consideration should focus on is economy pricing based on the value it will create for the customer. The reason for this is so that Walmart will continue maintaining the goal, objective, and vision of saving money and living better (Walmart, 2012). Final Marketing Plan Phase
The final marketing plan phase will identify the appropriate place and promotional strategy used in developing the strategic marketing plan. It will develop an initial sales promotion schedule and create an advertisement plan. Identifying public relations opportunities and analyzing the effect of channel management decisions for the express shopping service will show their importance in marketing.
The final phase of the marketing plan will also select the appropriate distribution channels, develop a budget, and identify quantifiable elements for evaluating, monitoring, and controlling the effectiveness of the marketing plan. Place and Promotion Strategy
* Placement and promotion strategy for the express shopping service will have the purpose of communicating the benefits of the service within a context that best promotes the service features (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart will place the new service at stores around military installations. The organization will continue to use the current promotional strategy, but will add the Express Shopping Service to the current list of services offered by Walmart where applicable. Walmart will announce the hours of operation and rules of service for the Express Shopping Service in future promotional information. * The Initial Sales Promotion Schedule
* Walmart plans to implement the first new Express Shopping Service on January 2, 2014 at nine in the morning. The organization plans to begin advertising in the television outlet of the initially selected market area three months prior to implementing the service. The advertising process will remain the same for each subsequent implementation the new service subsequent to the respective opening dates (Walmart, 2012). Promotional strategy with regard to public relations will explain itself further in the public relations section. * Advertising Plan
* Media advertising of the new service will be added to current television advertisements in all target areas of the new service three months prior to implementation. The new service will feature on the organization’s website (Walmart, 2012). Walmart will place weekly advertisements in the local print media beginning one month prior to implementation of the new service. * Public Relations Opportunities
* Walmart will take pride in performing a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the Express Shopping Service on January 07, 2014 at eight-thirty in the morning. Using the opportunity of public relations, Walmart will invite corporate executives, the city mayor, and city council members. Because the target market will include soldiers of the arm forces, the military installation commander will do the honor of cutting the ribbon.
* Channel Management Decisions and the Appropriate Distribution Channel * After carefully analyzing the objective of the new service, the determination to alter slightly the normal channel management decision will improve customer service (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). The Express Shopping Service will add an additional department, supervisor, and manager for running the service operations. The appropriate distribution channel is the area of operations within each discount retail store. *
* The Budget and Breakeven Analysis * Walmart’s Express Shopping Service will be in operation from nine in the morning to nine in the evening on a daily basis. Walmart’s thought process is that these hours of operation are the most convenient both time-wise and traffic-wise for the customer and were the determining factors in the final decision (Walmart, 2012).
The operation’s opening time coincides with the end of morning rush hour traffic allowing a fluid and convenient time for customer order pick up. An end of operation time of nine in the evening allows last minute purchases that a customer thought about during the day, but for some reason forgot to purchase. * Labor Costs
* The organization will employ three cashiers, three order fillers, and three customer service assistants during the 12 hours of operation. Each employee will work an eight-hour shift less a 30-minute lunch period. This computes to 67.5 hours of labor daily. Walmart’s Express Shopping Service employees will receive eight dollars per hour. Cost of labor will total $540 a day for an average hourly labor cost of $45 to operate the service. Total cost in labor per year will be $197,100 (Walmart, 2012).
* In order for Walmart to breakeven on labor costs, the organization must determine the number of customers and average dollar amount spent per customer hourly to achieve a breakeven amount. Assuming an average amount of purchase of nine dollars per customer, the service must accommodate five customers per hour to pay for labor costs. This is a variable amount that Walmart will track over time to determine the feasibility and success of the service while leaving options for adjustments in operating procedure. * Renovation and Equipment Cost
* The marketing team will introduce a one-time renovation and equipment cost for renovation, refrigerator, freezer units, and point of sale equipment totaling $63,000 (Walmart, 2012). After breaking this cost into an hourly cost, the organization determines first year cost per hour of operation will be approximately $14. The initial sites will be those stores located near military installations. * Advertising Costs
* Advertising and promotion adjustments to existing and current costs will cost the organization approximately $10,000 in additional costs. This is a fixed cost of approximately $2.28 per hour of operation (Walmart, 2012). The organization plans on spending an additional cost of $5,000 for ribbon cutting ceremonies. This is a one-time cost of approximately 57 cents per hour of operation over one year (Walmart, 2012). * Total Costs
* The total budget cost for initial first year implementation will be $275,100. After the first year, the budget will decrease to $207,100 annually. The first year cost per hour of operation will be approximately $63 (Walmart, 2012). At nine dollars per average purchase, the amount of customers per hour to breakeven will require seven customers per hour of operation. After the first year, the breakeven amount of approximately $47.25 per hour of operation will require an average of 5.25 customers per hour of operation (Walmart, 2012). The total costs mentioned above represent the total costs per each store offering the new Express Shopping Service. * Quantifiable Elements
* Walmart can track and monitor customer count and sales on an hourly basis with the current point of sale equipment software. The sales and customer reports are helpful in forecasting future sales and labor predictions (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). The hourly sales reports for the Express Shopping Service department will help determine the feasibility and success of the new service. * Conclusion
* The phases of the marketing plan are an important process for the development of the marketing strategy and tactics. It requires a large amount of intense marketing research, competitive analysis, and the consideration of other factors that influence the marketing procedures. The process of implementing a new product or service in an organization depends on the wants, needs, and desires of the target market. An organization must know the positioning of its products and services to remain competitive.
Once a product or service reaches the decline stage of the product life cycle, it is important to reposition the product or service if feasible. If not, the organization must develop a new product or service to take its place. The Walmart Corporation sets a fine example of an organization with excellent marketing success.
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