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Explain why you think Primark is struggling (as a result of COVID-19) from a marketing mix perspective

Explain why you think Primark is struggling (as a result of COVID-19) from a marketing mix perspective (appr. 500)

Approaching the question

  • You need to read up extensively on what problems that the firm faces. In doing this, make sure you provide references to show your sources of information when/if you cite these sources. Such resources are likely to include market research reports (e.g. Mintel), quality newspapers (e.g. The Economist, The Financial Times) and academic journal articles
  • Do not simply describe the ideas and literature you are dealing with, provide a critical evaluation. This means finding journal articles that critique and discuss the marketing mix concept and its application in marketing practice. Also, do not be afraid of using multiple references to evidence your arguments or to synthesize authors’ ideas. Consider adding tables, figures, exhibits etc. as this will improve your argumentation. Adding these elements will seriously improve your work and add extra marks.

Assessment Criteria

Writing this assignment, we want to see evidence that you have read the material – the unit and the relevant parts of textbooks and journal articles – and that you have consulted the wider marketing literature. All materials and sources should be appropriately referenced in the main body of your assignment (e.g. Author’s name, year of publication). Simply cutting and pasting material from a website is unacceptable and will be considered as plagiarism. Any material used from a website must be referenced using the appropriate form for websites.

When you write your assignment, consider the following points:

  • Whether or not the 4Ps or 7Ps is relevant in this context and explain why.
  • Explain how Vargo and Lusch’s Service-Dominant Logic idea impacts on your choice of 4Ps or 7Ps for the marketing mix. Hint: You might consider the relevance of servitisation to your example firm.
  • Drawing on your discussion and analysis of the struggling company; what are the weaknesses generally in applying the marketing mix concept? Why do managers find it so useful? Please address this point in relation to the context of your assignment. Do not provide a discussion of the weaknesses of the marketing mix in general.
  • In relation to your failing company case, ensure that your application of the marketing mix is coherent and integrative, meaning that the elements are logically linked (so not suggesting a very wide mass distribution but then charging a premium price, but still offering the same products for example).

Unit Materials Summary

Unit 2

  • This unit is set-up to expose students to the different definitions of marketing and sets the scene for understanding and role and forms of exchange. The unit will help students to understand the historical legacy of contemporary marketing while ascertaining the role of marketing within the firm.
  • We have brought this unit to an end by beginning to explore how marketing is measured and controlled at the organisational and activity level. Increasingly marketers are being asked to account for themselves and their activities at the organisational rather than the functional level. Whilst these metrics are often of the ‘bottom line’ variety, e.g. sales, profits and margins, other financial measures such as brand equity and shareholder value are creating interest. Recent interest in identifying marketing effectiveness or measuring marketing performance is partly in response to greater scrutiny of marketing expenditure, but it also lies in a growing realisation that marketing is organisation wide and should not be restricted to a functional or departmental focus. There remains also the broader social role of marketing and concern regarding corporate social responsibility (Crane and Matten 2007). This transformation from marketing as a function to marketing as a philosophy and the implementation of this philosophy has been occupying marketing theorists and practitioners over the last three decades.

Unit 3

  • This unit develops the ideas of customer orientation and market orientation further, with an examination of how the customer or market orientation is translated conceptually and strategically within marketing thought. Over the last decade, debates on relationship marketing have been central in the shaping of contemporary marketing thought. In this unit, we explore the origins of relationship marketing and consider the idea that relationship marketing constitutes a ‘break’ from conventional marketing.
  • Relationship marketing has provided plenty of reading material for students to engage with, however it remains questionable whether it actually constitutes a paradigm shift or a simple reminder that marketing relationships extend beyond the sale and the customer. The debate on RM does however steer the marketing mindset away from toolbox approaches to the 4Ps and instead encourages students to see marketing as part of a system in which all participants are involved. It places a responsibility on students to look at ideas of interaction and the management of knowledge and learning within an organisation. It also usefully reminds us that trade involves social relations. This has encouraged many authors writing on relationship marketing to draw parallels with the Chinese idea of Quanxi to emphasise the social etiquette in trading between suppliers. 

Unit 4

  • Unit 4 considers the underlying historical, managerial and philosophical reasons behind the marketing research process and industry. It also designed to provide students with a clear understanding of the purpose of research before, and in addition to, knowledge of particular techniques and approaches for undertaking one. The unit discusses the relationship between marketing research, surveillance and intelligence systems.
  • In this unit we have sought to provide the reader with an account of how marketing research has developed as a practice and as an industry. The ideological role of marketing research in the support of the marketing concept has been presented with an explanation of how the development of the marketing discipline has been influential in the techniques and philosophy of research. The section concluded by exploring some contemporary social and cultural issues in the performance of marketing research. 

Unit 5

  • Unit 5 will zoom into the process of undertaking marketing planning, providing students with insights into different approaches to marketing strategy. In particular, we will consider the role of marketing and marketers in contributing to strategic decisions with organisations. Furthermore, unit 5 looks at the competitive environment, outlining how this fit with strategic marketing decisions.
    • Within this unit we have sought to provide an outline of how strategic planning is conventionally approached. In the process we have sought to question the detached, objective and rational perspective usually found within marketing textbooks. The human foibles evident in decision making and choices cannot be removed in the pursuit of a pure strategic framework. Strategic thinking is equally susceptible to fad and fancy. Writing strategy books is a highly profitable industry. These books are consumed eagerly by the very people who shape or seek to shape organisational strategy and decision making.
    • In recent years many large organisations have sought to reappraise those processes that are best undertaken within the organisation and those that are most efficiently undertaken by external firms and so subject to market rather than managerial co-ordination. Consequently, many formerly highly vertically-integrated enterprises have moved towards outsourcing those aspects of the production or service system that can be obtained at less cost or in higher quality from external suppliers than the enterprise is capable of producing itself.
    • However the number of firms adopting such policies suggests not merely a realisation of inappropriate arrangements in the face of new circumstances but also a bandwagon effect caused by intense commentary and accompanying claims. Although in strategic terms, enterprises adopting such an approach can be described as focusing their energies on their ‘core competence’ (Pralahad and Hamel 1990) – those activities in which they are able to maintain a distinctive competitive advantage against their competitors – in rather more cynical terms, and particularly in less technologically dynamic sectors, they  can be seen as limiting their responsibilities and liabilities in the absence of any more creative response to underutilised assets. Even where there are good ‘strategic’ reasons for outsourcing, other costs need to be borne in mind, such as those associated with developing enhanced capabilities in negotiating and managing contractual relationships with suppliers as well, of course, as the often negative PR associated with such moves.

Unit 6

  • In this unit, we discuss the interdisciplinary nature of consumer behaviour displaying how different disciplinary approaches from economics, psychology, sociology, biology and history has influenced our understanding of consumers. In this unit, we consider and appreciate the role of perception, attitudes and the social environment in the buying process. We ask questions like; who makes up the market? Why do people buy stuffs? Who are the key participants in the buying process? How do buyers arrive at their decisions?
  • The study of consumer behaviour is an integral aspect of marketing theory. In recent years the study has adopted a far more pluralist outlook, with the development of interpretive studies of the consumer and a move away from models informed by economics. There is also a growing appreciation of the networked individual, where products and services bring disparate individuals together through the activity of consuming (Maffesoli 1996). The challenge for contemporary marketers is to work with the contradictions of the advanced consumer society, to incorporate the individual and the network and to acknowledge the rational and emotional elements of consumption. In the process of working through these complexities, one thing is at least certain; the assumption of the individual, ordered, consistent, rational decision maker is resigned to the history books.

Unit 7

  • In this unit, we explore the ideas surrounding the market and market segments. We will draw on themes relating to positioning, targeting, and this will lead to an appraisal of how segmentation is used by marketers to enable firms to respond to changing market conditions and shifting customer demands. The unit also explains the limitations of segmentation and the barriers to successfully implementing segmentation within an organisation.
  • In this unit we have examined the strategic role of segmentation and its function in providing organisations with a customer-centric approach to business. Several tools have been presented which have sought to clarify the possible approaches to segmentation and to highlight the complexity of achieving an effective segmentation strategy in practice. 

Unit 8

  • In this unit, we look at how marketers conceptualise and operationalise their engagement with the market through the market offering. This process involves decisions about the product or service offering, pricing and distribution policies and communications. The unit focuses on the management of products and the operational and design issues surrounding the product.
  • So let us return to the original claim that services marketing is different. Services marketing is not just simply an appendage to what is already known about the marketing of goods, such as consumer durables. History has seen the marketing theory of physical goods develop before the marketing of services literature, and for this reason some marketing theorists have tended to write as if the study of the marketing of goods is the default knowledge-base. On the contrary, Vargo and Lusch (2004) are right to emphasise that marketing theory developed by such seminal thinkers as Levitt (1960, 1981) places a premium on the intangible components of products in satisfying customer needs.
  • Thus it is more sensible to see services marketing as a reorientation towards the core values and insights of marketing as Levitt (1960) and others have developed them. Services marketing is not in principle different from the marketing of goods. Rather, considering the marketing of services forces the marketer to grapple with different aspects of the marketing process more closely. Marketing a product which tends to be intangible, heterogeneous and perishable, and which is consumed the moment it is produced, is a considerable challenge with which the marketer must deal. In marketing a service they are faced with the particular difficulties of quality assurance, capacity planning and communications which we have outlined above.
  • These challenges have forced marketers to think more deeply about how to market services. And what they have learned has a consequential benefit for how we approach the marketing of goods. If, considering the marketing of a service, we learn that we may need to make it more tangible so that customers can better appreciate the nature of the offer, so in marketing a physical good we may also want to adjust the ‘mix’ to include more intangibles to add value and thereby derive sustained competitive advantage.

Unit 9

  • In this unit, we will look at how organizations use social media in marketing. The material incorporates the use of social media as a research tool for big data analytics but also considers the use of social media for crowdsourcing, as a channel for distribution and communication.

Unit 10

  • In this unit, we will be concentrating on the management of pricing issues and the role of communications in marketing. In bringing these issues together in one section, we are promoting the integrated nature of these issues and inviting students to see how these issues follow from and are interrelated to the broader strategic issues introduced earlier in this module.
  • This unit has addressed issues concerning the market offering. In particular it has concentrated on the conceptual, strategic and tactical issues surrounding communications and pricing management. These are inevitably broad areas to address but the intention of the section is to identify the integrated nature of these issues and to emphasise the significance of strategy, planning, operations and relationships that lead to questions over the market offering.

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