Strategic Marketing of Marks and Spencer
Marks & Spencer has a firm position in its strategic marketing and this has been a very important area. The marketing strategies used by Marks & Spencer are quite direct and are much focused on the middle aged person. These strategies are formulated with the thorough analysis of life style, needs, wants, demands, cultures and consumption pattern of the potential customers. This thorough analysis results in high quality strategic and tactical marketing goals. Marks & Spencer has always focused on the unique style of advertising which is quite different from its competitors like The Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, and American color of Benton and A&F. Marks & Spencer has always focused on multiple selling points particularly focusing on the middle aged person and the perception of high quality and elite class. Apart from innovative style of advertising Marks & Spencer has also unique style of hiring procedure, which is done through by running campaigns in different colleges and universities. Through these campaigns they hire people who are good looking and customer oriented and who already are loyal to Marks & Spencer.
There are three main factors in strategic marketing that needed to be paid attention and the first and the foremost is the Segmentation. Marks & Spencer have its own strategies for the promotion of the brand. This plan however focuses on the new strategies that are being followed by Marks & Spencer for the purpose of raising the brand image of the company in the market. Although Marks & Spencer focuses much on the middle aged person but they need to focus on the other variables as well for the segmentation purpose. Below are the criteria of segmentation that company has been following:
Benefits Sought: Most of the Marks & Spencer products are good valued product that are available at reasonable price
Purchase occasion: There are varieties of clothing offered ranging for special occasions to casual wears.
Usage: M&S has a profile of heavy users that follow Pareto’s Ruling of 80:20 (80% of sales comes from 20% of customers)
Perception and Beliefs: The brand perception is of traditional and standard clothing.
Lifestyle: Marks & Spencer focus is on middle aged person mainly women that are active, energetic and fit
Personality: Marks & Spencer has defined its brand for a person that is of middle age, educated, family oriented, with a relatively active lifestyle and enjoys good food
Demographics: Marks & Spencer average customer is between 35 to 54 years of age. Their customers are family focused, active and rich. Mainly women seem to be its main customer
Socio-Economic Variable: Well educated person with a successful career and a handsome income comes in the socio economic variable of Marks & Spencer
Geographic: Marks & Spencer focuses on wealthy suburban areas; affluent greys; Home Counties; Prosperous and professional Metropolitan areas.
Targeting approach used by Marks & Spencer (M&S) is more multi segment targeting than a concentrated targeting approach. When we look at the segmentation statistics, middle aged women are the prime revenue generator for the company but even the 80% of customers who bring the 20% of sales according to the 80/20 Pareto’s rule can be developed to increase the sales. Therefore M&S has been more focused on targeting multi segments of people with good educational socio economic class and who some high income urban populations as well. M&S has been previously focusing on women gender only but now environmental variables are changing and M&S has entered into the men market with high quality products as well that has increased the brand image in the clothing and accessories industry.
M&S cannot follow undifferentiated or differentiated approach as the product pricing techniques are such that it is targeted to limited segment of higher socio economic class, who have high demands and can afford luxury and pleasure easily.
M&S, as now has become an international brand, therefore the company needed to position its brand in variable manner. The promotion in South East Asia region needed to be very different from what it was positioned in Britain. The company has focused a few important parameters that lift the brand in clothing industry. M&S has positioned its clothing and accessories with relaxation and high quality, moreover when it comes to international market specially in India where people are more in lower socio economic class and the consumer purchasing power is not equal to other international markets where M&S has been making profits, therefore in such regions the company has also focused on flexible pricing strategies in order to retain and add new customers.
The competitors of M&S in the international market are large in numbers and in order to be differentiated from the others the positioning strategy currently adopted by M&S is well suited to the situation. The comfort and quality has been a prime concern for the clothing industry and positioning the product with such parameters requires M&S to provide constant results on long term basis so that the company is able to build the brand equity and customer loyalty.
Positioning is promises that a company makes to its consumers and fulfilling this promise is not only the toughest task but it also need great sacrifices and unpopular decisions at times. However it is fact that if the positioning of the brand is well justified by the company with sincerity the increase in customer level is significant. In the world of similar products and services retaining customers is not easy and therefore M&S as a brand has to strive harder to get to the top clothing positioning.