Wal-Mart Marketing

“Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, wants to be your local neighborhood store” (Kumar, 2011). Wal-Mart has launched “My Local Wal-Mart” pages on Facebook for more than three thousand five hundred of its stores. This is one of many current marketing strategies that Wal-Mart currently has in place.

This strategy is both a generic and segmented marketing strategy. This strategy is generic by appealing to a mass-market and is segmented by appealing to the psychographic segmentation. By using the internet and social networking sites to connect with customers, they can keep customers informed on all events and specials currently being offered. This is an example of mass-market generic marketing strategy. This is also a segmented marketing strategy appealing to the psychographic segmentation of youth customers by utilizing social networking sites to lure customers. This is only one of many current marketing strategies that Wal-Mart is currently employing.

The three common targeting strategies are niche-market, mass-market, and growth-market strategies.  The niche-market strategy involves serving one or more segments that consist of a sufficient number of customers seeking specialized benefits from goods or services.  Mass-marketing involves two approaches.  The first is to design a single product marketing program that will appeal to the largest number of consumers.  The second approach is to design separate products and marketing programs for differing segments.  Growth-market strategy targets a growing segment that may not currently be very large, but it has great potential to expand.

One example of this is that each Wal-Mart store, as they appear the same, offer different products for different markets. Wal-Mart also offers a unique store called Neighborhood Market that offers grocery items and essentials instead of the Super Wal-Marts. This allows Wal-Mart to gain visibility and business in smaller markets that a Super Wal-Mart would not survive in. “Segmentation decisions are best made in one of three ways: based on who the customers are, based on where they are, or based on how they behave relevant to the market in question. The three approaches apply in both consumer and organizational markets” (Mullins, p. 206).

Demographic segmentation is broken down by age, sex, household life cycle, income, occupation, education, events, race and ethnic origin.  “Demographic descriptors are also important in the segmentation of industrial markets, which are segmented in two stages. The first, macrosegmentation, divides the market according to the characteristics of the buying organization using such attributes as age of firm, firm size, and industry affiliation (SIC code in the United States). The international counterpart of SIC is the trade-category code.

The second stage, microsegmentation, groups customers by the characteristics of the individuals who influence the purchasing decision—for instance, age, sex, and position within the organization. International markets are segmented in a similar hierarchical fashion, starting with countries, followed by groups of individuals or buying organizations” (Mullins, p. 207). Geographic segmentation deals with the where of marketing.

“Different locations or regions vary in their sales potential, growth rates, customer needs, cultures, climates, service needs, and competitive structures, as well as purchase rates for a variety of goods. For example, more pickup trucks are sold in the Southwest United States, more vans in the Northeast, and more diesel-fueled cars in Europe. More and more advertisers are taking advantage of geographic media buys. Uni-Marts, Inc., a convenience store operator of over four hundred stores, focuses on small towns and rural areas, thereby avoiding big competitors. In the first twenty five years of its history, it never recorded a loss.

Geographic segmentation is used in both consumer and organizational markets and is particularly important in retailing and many services businesses, where customers are unwilling to travel very far to obtain the goods or services they require. Thus, one way to segment retail markets is by distance or driving time from a particular location. The area included within such a geographically defined region is called a trade area” (Mullins, p. 208). “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is using a marketing website, WalMartNYC.com, as well as video-sharing website YouTube and social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, to promote its efforts to get Wal-Mart stores into New York City” (Kanable, 2011).

Psychographic segmentation has to do with the consumers themselves.  One way Wal-Mart sets itself apart from its competitors is by marketing specific items to better suit their needs. “Wal-Mart, for instance, is expected to launch a new anti-aging cosmetics line this month called Geogirl, consisting of some sixty nine beauty products.

Ravi Jariwala, Wal-Mart spokesman, said the line was developed in partnership with the chain’s customers to give parents a healthier, age-appropriate option for their tween girls who ask about wearing makeup. The line will be marketed to parents and targets a certain life stage as opposed to a certain age of girl so parents can make informed decisions” (Staples, 2011). This is one of many product lines that Wal-Mart develops specialized marketing techniques.

Wal-Mart, overall, has a very successful marketing campaign running. They have been dealing with recent losses due to the recession. They run a unique corporation, lumping many services and products under the same roof at a respectable market price. I do not see much room for improvement. Perhaps a stronger media campaign would help the profit margin over time. Wal-Mart has stepped back their commercial advertising in recent times. This could be just the kick they need to get back in the black.

References

Kavita, Kumar. (2011, October 15). Walmart ‘likes’ its Facebook strategy. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A.8. Retreived January 30, 2012, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 2514269901). Knable, Kate. (2011, August). Pushing for Wal-mart in New York City. Arkansas Business, 28(35), 19. Retreived January 30, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Dateline. ((Document ID: 2458764261). Mullins, J. W., & Walker, O. C. (2010). Marketing management: a strategic decision-making approach (7th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin. Staples, Gracie Bonds. (2011, February 19). Makeup for tween crowd: More cosmetics being marketed to ages 8-12. Some say attention on looks sends the wrong message to girls.