Qualification - Higher National Diploma in Business

Unit Name - Marketing Essential

Unit Number - Unit 2

Unit Level - Level 5

Assignment Title - Marketing Planning Report

Learning Outcome 1: Explain the role of marketing and how it interrelates with other functional units of an organisation.

Learning Outcome 2: Compare ways in which organisations use elements of the marketing mix (7Ps) to achieve overall business objectives.

Learning Outcome 3: Develop and evaluate a basic marketing plan.

Assignment Brief

You are appointed as the Marketing Manager for an organisation of your choice.

Introduction

Marketing is among one of the most important tasks that an organisation has to fulfil, since there are usually a large number of rival companies in the market that make it difficult to establish market dominance (Banterle, et al., 2014). This report has been written on Asda, one of the most popular retail organisations in the UK, right after Tesco and Sainsbury's (Wunsch, 2020). The report focuses on the interrelationships of the marketing function with the other departments in order to highlight the importance of the same. The marketing mix approach has been introduced in order to understand how businesses utilise them to achieve their marketing objectives. Furthermore, a strategic action plan based on a set of SMART objectives has been devised for the organisation.

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1. Introduction to the concept of marketing, including current and future trends.
2. An overview of the different marketing processes.
3. Explanation of the role and responsibilities of a marketing manager in the context of the organisation.

LO1: Role of marketing and interrelationship with other functional units of an organisation

Key roles and responsibilities of the marketing function

The marketing function has an array of roles and responsibilities in terms of any organisation, such as Asda. The company relies on this function for the fulfilment of many requirements that are integral for the survival of the organisation and its many operations.

Market research: Conducting thorough market research forms the background and the foundation of any organisation, including Asda. Being adept ta studying the market demands and trends can be rewarding since it can help understand the position of the competitors with respect to the target market (Burns, Bush and Sinha, 2014). Thus, this can be fundamental in terms of allowing companies like Asda to develop a sense of direction with respect to their strategies and plans.

Customer service and management: The marketing function and the concerned teams are also responsible for the fulfilment of the responsibilities that lead to the appropriate management of the customers and their requirements (Claro and Ramos, 2018). The marketing function has the job of ensuring that the brand image can be developed accordingly with the aim to convey it to the customers so that they can bring about an increase in their profits and subsequently their revenue.
Strategy development:The marketing function is also responsible for the formulation of the strategies that can help with gaining a competitive advantage over the market competitors (Varadarajan, 2015). At Asda, the marketing department and its teams are responsible for framing the necessary action plans and strategies related to the promotional aspects of the brand, just like any other company.

Thus, the marketing function at Asda, just as in any other organisation, is responsible for ensuring that the products and the services that the brand produces can reach the customers, while also making sure that their needs and demands are duly met. The marketing function is an embodiment of the commitment that Asda has towards its customers, since it elaborates their needs and ensures that the products and solutions that are offered are just the right fit for the consumers.

The marketing manager is in charge of the marketing department of organisations like Asda, and they have their own set of roles and responsibilities as well -
• They are responsible for the finalisation of the plans and strategies that lead to maximum profits while also advocating for customer satisfaction (Singh, 2012).
• They identify the new consumer segments and support the team to generate leads and subsequently create new promotional content for Asda.
• Marketing managers also organise trade shows, conferences, and other events which can be an enriching experience for the employees.

Relationship of roles and responsibilities to the wider organisational context

The marketing team for major organisations such as Asda has numerous responsibilities as discussed in the previous section, and these are interrelated with the organisational needs on a wider context. Thus, their role in this regard can be better explained as below.

Communication: The marketing team has the responsibility of maintaining a good line of communication with the other departments of the organisation. This is because the marketing function is the body which studies the consumer demands and market trends and can conduct an analysis of any subsequent changes that need to be brought about within the company (Vercic, Vercic and Sriramesh, 2012). Thus, it is crucial for the marketing department to have a robust line of communication with all the other units.

Service quality: The marketing team also has the responsibility of ensuring that the service quality as meted out to the customers is at par with the organisational standards. Thus, the marketing department at Asda is responsible for ensuring that the purchase and production departments can work in coordination so as to make it easier for the organisation to meet the market demands well ahead of time.

Liability: The marketing team also establishes profitable relationships with the stakeholders, so as to ensure the smooth functioning of the business processes for any organisation (Atorough and Martin, 2012). At Asda, the head of the marketing department is liable for maintaining the relationships with the suppliers so that only the best and the most value-for-money products can be brought forth to the customers.

In this regard, the marketing manager has the role and responsibility of ensuring that the top-down as well as the bottom-up communication within the marketing department at Asda is being pursued effortlessly as understood from the article by Felix, Rauschnabel and Hinsch, (2017), so that the team members can take full liability and responsibility of the service quality that is being meted out to the customers.

Roles and responsibilities of marketing in the context of the marketing environment
There are four roles or responsibilities that the marketing function has to fulfil from the perspective of the marketing environment, since it is important to understand these external factors before bringing about drastic changes within Asda.
Strategies:The marketing strategies as adopted by Asda or any other company is liable to change based on the trends and spending patterns of the consumers. Some of the external factors that impact strategy-making for an organisation include the external and the internal factors, which have to be thoroughly assessed by the marketing so that the strategies can be aligned appropriately (Keegan, 2017).

Product: The products as marketed and sold by Asda should be in full compliance with the market demand. It is the marketing department which is responsible for understanding this trend and intensity of the needs, so that the consumers can get what they require at the retail outlets.

Sales: Similar to the aspect of products, the sale strategies and promotional techniques as required to be deployed by Asda have to be assessed and finalised by the marketing function. This in turn adds to the sales as experienced by the company since it is dependent on the external environment to a significant extent.

Competitor analysis: The market rivalry determines the positions and the impacts that the competitors can inflict on Asda, this is an important aspect of the marketing environment that the marketing function has to keep track of. There are a large number of competing brands in the retail industry, including the big names such as Tesco and Sainsbury's (Wunsch, 2020), and thus, the market needs to be studied carefully so as to keep track of their activities.

Significance of interrelationships between marketing and other functional units

As is evident from the discussion presented so far, the marketing unit has a major role to play in terms of the success of a retail organisation like Asda. Thus, this makes it imperative for the department to maintain seamless relationships with the other functions as well. For instance, the finance department relies on the marketing function to supply them with information related to the areas that need development, which they can utilise to enhance the allocation of their funds (Porto and Robert Foxall, 2019). This allocation is necessary so as to ensure that Asda does not lose money and can continue enjoying profits.

Similarly, the purchase team is dependent on the marketing team for collecting information on the products that need to be developed or procured. The products as stocked in any retail store like Asda depends significantly on the market demand that is experienced at any given point of time. The marketing team typically has the best knowledge with regard to the demands of the customers, since they study the market trends and design the promotional strategies.

The human resource department also works in coordination with the marketing team to ensure that the necessary personnel for the purpose of promoting Asda are always available (Pashchuk, 2016). The employees are the most important and powerful stakeholders of any retail brand, and thus, the employees in charge of the marketing function are responsible for cooperating with the HR functions so as to keep the consumers engaged.

Thus, the marketing function is extremely important as far as the roles and responsibilities it entails are concerned with regard to a retail organisation like Asda. Market research is among the most significant tasks that the department has to undertake since it needs to design the necessary campaigns and promotional techniques to attract the customers and also retain them. Thus, the finance, purchase and human resource departments all have to coordinate with the marketing function.

Additionally, the operations and the research and development units are also liable to cooperate and interact with the marketing department. The operations department takes care of the product and service development aspects, while the R&D team makes sure to bring forth new products and services as per the consumer demands. This knowledge of the market dynamics is what they procure from the marketing team, thereby illustrating the need for this interrelationship.

4. An explanation of how marketing influences and interrelates with other functional departments of the organisation.

5. The value and importance of the marketing role in the context of the organisation

6. Compare two organisations use the various elements of the 7Ps marketing mix. You are required to explain the marketing mix and marketing process used to achieve business objectives, relating to the two chosen organisations. This research will inform your situational analysis and enable you to formulate marketing goals and objectives for your organisation based on the comparative findings.

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LO2: Comparison of ways in which organisations use marketing mix elements for achieving business objectives

Comparison of the application of marketing mix to achieve business objectives

Before comparing the marketing mix as deployed by Asda and one of its competitors, it is necessary to understand the meaning and significance of the same. Marketing mix typically refers to the tactics and actions that an organisation utilises for the purpose of promoting its brand and its products in any given market. The most widely-used framework is that of the 4Ps (Gordon, 2012) - product, price, place, promotion - while in many cases the concept of 7Ps is also used, which includes people, process and physical evidence along with the four traditional elements (Jain, 2013). The best company for comparing the marketing mix approach in this case would be that of Sainsbury's, since the retailer had in fact been involved in discussions to merge with Asda, owing to the similar portfolio of products they sell. This merger would have toppled Tesco from its position as the market leader in the UK retail sector, and thus, it would be interesting to note the marketing mix approach as utilised by these two companies.

Product: The product element of the marketing mix analyses whether the goods and services that an organisation markets is appropriate or not with respect to the current market scenario and demands (Gordon, 2012; Jain 2013). The products that any company sells must be suitable for the customers and thus, satisfy their demands. Both Asda and Sainsbury's have a very similar product portfolio and they market groceries, clothing, footwear, and everyday essentials that are necessary for any household. Asda does offer financial services such as credit cards and personal loans, while Sainsbury's is more focused on pushing the products of their own label more vigorously.

Price: The price element of the marketing mix deals with the monetary value as attributed to the goods and services that are sold by the company. It is necessary to examine the price point regularly so as to keep up with the market dynamics and ensure that the products are correctly valued (Gordon, 2012). Since Asda is essentially owned by Walmart, its primary intention is to follow a low-cost strategy and offer the best possible prices to the customers, so that they can feel that they are getting the correct value against their money. On the other hand, Sainsbury's does not really believe in deep-discounting and offers reasonable prices for the products but instead they carefully combine product-positioning with price-discrimination to set forth a strategy that does succeed in attracting a significant number of customers.

Place: The place element refers to the channel or the physical location where the product is sold at the given price. This is also an important aspect since it can both hinder or increase the overall sales significantly. Different organisations are suited to selling at different places. Both Asda and Sainsbury's sell their products through both online and offline means, although the latter does have a greater number of physical stores. Both retailers have prominent outlets in South-east London, Dartford and other places all over the UK.

Promotion: The promotion element refers to the tactics and techniques that are utilised by a business organisation for pushing forth its brand image and promote itself in the market. This encompasses the methods that are used to tell the customer that the brand is all about providing them with exactly what they want (Gordon, 2012). As already discussed, Asda is more into attracting customers through its low-price profile, while Sainsbury's is more into retaining its customers through quality and reasonable pricing. Asda offers many promotions such as discount vouchers and other kinds of rebates a lot more as compared to Sainsbury's. Both companies use online as well as offline media for promoting their brand name and gain customers.

People: The people element in the marketing mix refers to the individuals who are responsible for running the business from the frontlines (Jain, 2013). It is extremely important to have the right kind of people when it comes to running a business, since they are often the face of the brand as they represent the organisation in front of the customers.Both Asda and Sainsbury's have more than 100,000 employees (Asda, 2020; Sainsbury's, 2020)and they receive thorough training both before and during their tenure so that they can be better able to handle the customers. Like most retail organisations, both the companies offer incentives and rewards based on the performance of the workers.

Process: The process element refers to the manner in which the service or the product is delivered to the customers and the end users (Jain, 2013). This is dependent majorly on the price that the customer pays for the product. As already discussed, both Asda and Sainsbury's sell their products through physical stores as well as online by offering doorstep delivery within a stipulated time period. Asda typically opens its stores early and shuts them very late, and there are also certain locations that remain open for 24 hours. Sainsbury's has also been experimenting with and installing self-checkout points, which would enable the retailer to function 24x7 without human monitoring.

Physical evidence: The physical evidence refers to those elements which are tangible and can be impacted by the price that the customers pay for the product or service (Jain, 2013). In retail, physical evidence is usually the products they receive in exchange for the price that the customers pay. Both Asda and Sainsbury's strive to provide the best quality products to the customers at the most affordable and reasonable prices. Both companies have their own distinctive logo and branding, and thus stand out to the customers in a unique manner.

Evaluation of the tactics to demonstrate the achievement of business objectives
As can be understood from the discussion above, Asda and Sainsbury's have many aspects in common, especially in terms of their product portfolio and employee management.While Asda's business objective is to attract as many customers as possible just like Sainsbury's, the techniques or the marketing mix approach adopted is entirely different. The company follows a low-cost strategy to lure buyers, while Sainsbury's avoids using this trap and seeks to retain the customers on the basis of the quality of the products they market and sell. This is exactly why Sainsbury's pushes its own product label so as to highlight the fact that its items are of good quality. Thus, both the businesses undertake the necessary efforts to strive in the market and promote itself as the best among the retailers in the UK so as to ensure its growth in terms of market capture. Both companies utilise the traditional as well as the digital methods of promoting their brand, which can be said to be a commendable way of reaching out to all the target consumer groups.

7. Produce a marketing plan to meet marketing goals and objectives. The marketing plan should include all elements of the 7Ps marketing mix, with an action plan and measures for monitoring and evaluating progress and meeting of goals and objectives.

LO3: Development and evaluation of a basic marketing plan

Objectives of the marketing plan

In order to improve an existing business, it is necessary to have an appropriate marketing plan in place, with strategies to achieve the intended objectives. The marketing objectives also need to be SMART - i.e., specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (Ogbeiwi, 2017). SMART objectives are important since they provide organisations with a sense of direction and enable them to gauge their performance against a set of predefined strategies. Based on the assessment as documented so far, the following can be set as the SMART marketing objectives for the new marketing mix plan as would be suggested for Asda -
1. To open at least five new stores in the UK by the end of 2021
2. To increase the online sales by at least 15 per cent in the next 6 months
3. To increase the overall market share in the UK by at least 2.5 per cent in the next 12 months.

Segmentation, targeting and positioning
Segmentation, targeting, and positioning - simply referred to as STP in marketing - is a framework that provides a simplified approach to recognising the necessary target market groups which can then later be utilised for shaping the business activities for gaining the maximum possible profits (Camilleri, 2018). STP is an extremely important step when framing a marketing pan since it can enable a business like Aldi to take its products to the right customers, thereby making it easier to attract and retain buyers in the process.

Segmentation: Segmentation is important as it allows Asda and other organisations to identify those attributes which can help them divide the market for subsequent targeting. Thus, market segmentation makes it easier to attain competitive advantage. Asda will essentially segment the market on the basis of demographics such as income and age, and also from a behavioural perspective such as the lifestyle.

Targeting: Targeting is pursued on the basis of market segmentation, and is therefore the very next step after an organisation segments its potential markets. Asda will target the young individuals - typically the millennials and the generation-z people - when it comes to the demographics of age. The company will also target the middle-class buyers in terms of their income, as they would be most-likely to seek out cheaper and economical options. Furthermore, people with a sedentary lifestyle, especially the young individuals who work from home, would be more inclined to shop online, and will thus be targeted by the retailer.

Positioning: In marketing, positioning typically deals with the public perception of any brand or company, and is dependent majorly on how the organisation markets itself (Bruggeman, et al., 2012). Thus, Asda would position itself as an affordable retailer that seeks to provide the buyers with value in exchange for their money. Thus, this would allow the company to attract and retain the intended consumer groups and consequently achieve the marketing objectives.

Marketing mix using 7Ps

As already discussed, the 7Ps in marketing are extremely crucial for analysing and setting a course of action for the fulfilment of the marketing strategies, and subsequently, the intended business objectives. Based on the SMART objectives as well as the STP analysis as indicated in the preceding sections, the new marketing mix for Asda can be formulated as below -

Product: Since Asda is a retail organisation, the emphasis should be on providing the best quality products to the customers, since the value that the buyers get would determine the extent to which they could be retained in the long run. It is not at all necessary to introduce any new products or services into the portfolio since it is already quite diverse.

Price: As pointed out time and again, the customers must always feel that they are getting value for their money. In such a situation, Asda will not raise any prices but continue to follow a low-cost strategy so as to meet the consumer expectations. The focus will be on sales volume and not on the profits accrued per product.

Place: Asda will focus majorly on boosting their e-commerce sector, which has already gained significant traction due to the pandemic. The new stores would also be opened in the busiest of locations, possibly within a walking distance of the metro stations and bus stops for the convenience of the customers. Furthermore, the new stores will also be made sure to be positioned in areas with a higher population density so that the maximum possible customers can be reached.

Promotion: Retail organisations like Asda have to invest significantly in their promotional mix since there are a large number of options in the UK, with Tesco and Sainsbury's making up for a majority of the market share. Since the e-commerce portal is to be promoted, a majority of the marketing campaigns would be centred online, with focus on the social media websites. Asda will also continue to endorse the traditional advertisement platforms such as newspapers and television so as to inform the customers about their new locations and offers. An extra discount of 5 to 10 per cent can be offered for those choosing to shop online, which can further help increase the popularity of the online ordering platform.

People: Asda will have to hire more employees for the new stores and to revamp its website. A team of developers shall be assigned to take care of the e-commerce proceedings exclusively. Furthermore, the company will hire mostly those people who have possibly lost their jobs during the pandemic so that they can have a source of livelihood while also meeting whatever little demand for human interference the new stores would require. This can also help improve the market reputation of the company by positioning it as a brand that cares about its people, and thus, possibly widen its pool of customers.

Process: Asda would have separate teams to tend to the online and the offline store proceedings. The contracts with the suppliers shall be extended as required since the pandemic has brought forth a wave of bulk-buying among the customers and thus, the retailer needs to satisfy this demand in order to stay relevant.

Physical evidence: Asda will have to redesign its website and online portals to make it easier for the people to order online. The new stores shall have self-checkout points and preference will be given to unmanned store activities so that they can serve customers 24x7 and eliminate the need for human interference. Furthermore, the stores will also follow the traditional outlook of the Asda outlets and have bigger parking spaces so as to accommodate more customers at once.

Action plan
The table below gives a detailed action plan for the intended marketing strategies of Asda as discussed above.

Table 1: Action plan for Asda's marketing strategies

Objective

Activity

Impact

Estimated time

Establishing the 5 new outlets

  • Asda will have to finalise the leases and contracts regarding the procurement of land and store space with the necessary officials
  • Recruitment of new employees to manage the new stores, typically from those people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic
  • Possible increase in market share
  • Buyers would switch to Asda due to increased convenience from the self-checkout points
  • Positioning of Asda as a company that cares, thereby increasing the overall impact on the customers

12 to 14 months

Redesigning of the e-commerce portal

  • Recruitment of new employees and allocation of work to the new team for redesigning the website
  • Possible increase in the online orders
  • Increase in market share

6 months

Monitoring of the marketing plan and progress control
In order to assess the growth of sales and market share of Asda, the management will be undertaking the following activities -

1. The sales volume shall be monitored closely and compared with the sales as accrued the previous year. This shall give a clear idea if there has been any improvement because of the promotion of the e-commerce portal.

2. The increase in the sales volume shall be measured against that of Tesco and Sainsbury's, since they are the main rivals that Asda needs to dethrone. This will give an idea of the extent to which it is increasing its market share in the long run.

Conclusion
From this report, it can be concluded that marketing is among one of the most important aspects for any company, including Asda. The marketing functions are all interrelated with the various departments and this holds true even in terms of the wider organisational context and the external environment. The comparison as drawn between the marketing mix as adopted by Sainsbury's and Asda revealed that a majority of the retail organisations have a similar line of strategy they adhere to, since they appeal to the common target population. It has been estimated that the marketing plan as attached in the last section shall be fundamental in terms of helping Asda increase its market share and improve the overall profits.

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Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria:

Learning Outcome

Pass

Merit

Distinction

LO1 Explain the role of marketing and how it interrelates with other functional units of an organisation

P1 Explain the key roles and responsibilities of the marketing function.

 

P2 Explain how roles and responsibilities of marketing relate to the wider organisational context.

M1 Analyse the roles and responsibilities of marketing in the context of the marketing environment.

 

M2 Analyse the significance of interrelationships between marketing and other functional units of an organisation.

LO1

D1 Critically analyse and evaluate the key elements of the marketing function and how they interrelate with other functional units of an organisation.

LO2 Compare ways in which organisations use elements of the marketing mix (7Ps) to achieve overall business objectives

P3 Compare the ways in which different organisations apply the marketing mix to the marketing planning process to achieve business objectives.

M3 Evaluate different tactics applied by organisations to demonstrate how business objectives can be achieved.

LO3 Develop and evaluate a basic marketing plan

P4 Produce and evaluate a basic marketing plan for an organisation.

M4 Produce a detailed, coherent evidence-based marketing plan for an organisation.

LO2 & 3

D2 Design a strategic marketing plan that tactically applies the use of the 7Ps to achieve overall marketing objectives.

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