In the current business world, the level of competition in the market has increased significantly (Cloud Creative Group, 2011). This implies that there is a need for marketing to succeed in such a competitive environment. It also demands adjustments to accommodate the current changes taking place in the market. This has also increased a need for business-to-business relationships to solve this problem (Cloud Creative Group, 2011).
This case study involves Cloud Creative Solutions Ltd, a company which is based at London inn Barnet, North London. The company applies several marketing strategies. However, the company has been intensively relying on the word of mouth as a means of marketing (Cloud Creative Group, 2011). This is because the company has a good reputation in the market. This method is relatively cheaper compared to other methods of advertisement (Lurali K. Mantrala and Kalyan Raman; Business Administration Lecturers, 2002). This method does not require complicated technology and therefore it is cost-effective.
Marketing communication tools-1
In every business, the main factor which determines the overall performance is the total number of sales made (Trehan, M. and Trehan, R., 2007). If a company fails to sell its products, then the whole production process will be of no use. Marketing, therefore, becomes a significant practice in an organization. It plays a pivotal role in the business (Brennan, Canning, and McDowell, 2010). Hence, we can say that marketing is one of the most significant factors that determine the performance of an organization.
Over the past, CCS has been using the word of mouth as the only marketing tool for its products. This particular marketing tool has yielded encouraging results since the company has long enjoyed a good reputation. However, there is a need for changes with time as the economic conditions change (Keillor, 2007). Therefore, the company must embrace other marketing tools to retain its clients in both the short run and also in the future.
Public Relations (PR)
For the company to maintain a good public image, it needs to apply public relations strategy. Micael Dahlén, Fredrik Lange, and Terry Smith who have conducted intensive research in public relations and communication marketing tools recognize public relations as the main strategy by which an organization establishes and maintains goodwill and a mutual understanding between an organization and its customers (2009).
Public relation is one of the major tools which have been applied by most companies across the world. According to Koekemoer and Bird, who have achieved several awards for their achievements in marketing communications argued that public relations and some other marketing tools can significantly increase the level of sales in an organization (2004). The need for public relations has been triggered by the current nature of the market which is characterized by a very high level of competition.
Public relations management is of great importance to the performance of an organization in the current business world. According to Nichols, the need for companies to improve their reputation has been increasingly becoming more significant due to the increased hostility of the marketplace (Nichols, 2011). Over the past, many companies have been establishing public relations through the press at the national, international, and also at the local level to establish successful public relations. However, these methods have been replaced or supplemented by modern methods due to technological advancements (Kandampully, 2003).
It is important to keep on chanaging advertisement mechanisms with time to keep up with modern technology. One of the most common media in the recent business world is social networks. Through social networks, the company will be able to meet more people. Bearing in the mind the fact that the economy is currently facing economic difficulties due to recession, this method will be of great significance as it is cost-effective (Knoop 2010).
Most customers are also shifting from the traditional ways of marketing tools. Therefore the company will manage to capture the new market effectively. Some of the social networks which the company can use include Facebook, Twitter among others (Cloud Creative Group, 2011). In the current business world, advertising agencies have been forced to carry out direct marketing, public relations and web-based campaigns on top of advertisement duties. Therefore, these tools will be very helpful to the company in the future.
Advertising is another important marketing communication tool which can have a significant contribution in the company’s success in the current as well as in the future operations (Janoschka, 2004).This tool will be of great use if properly applied,
The company should therefore use this method to advertise its products in the area around London. This will help the company in attracting local customers. Currently, the level of competition is high in the region due to entrance of new parties in the market. This has threatened loss of customers to these competitors. Therefore, the company need to advertise its products in its market networks in order to retain its clients. This is why advertisement tool will be advisable for the company. According to Kym Moore, who is a creative marketing strategist, advertising can get the intended messages to a relatively larger audiences in the more efficient ways through radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, internet and mobile technological communication devices (2011).
In the current business world, internet advertising has become very popular. This is due to its effectiveness in terms of costs as well as the performance. Advertising will help in capturing the new market. This significantly reduces the total expenditure. This method will therefore be significant to the company especially in the current situation where the company is experiencing difficult economic times. According to Keillor (2007), the current business world requires innovating marketing tools in order to succeed in the competitive market.
Bearing in the mind the recent advancement in technology levels, the most feasible advertisement method for the company is internet marketing (Keillor, 2007). More people can now have an access to internet and therefore can help the company to capture the new market. While conducting internet advertising the company need to emphasize on several things. First, it is advisable to have a web with the most appropriate content, format and animation in order to capture the attention of potential customers. According to Schumann and Thorson, who are both lecturers, the effectiveness of internet advertising also depends on the brands familiarity (2007). In this case, the company has already established its brand in the market. Its major concern is to maintain its clients despite of the hard economic times the company is facing.
Structuring the sales force
The sales force has a significant role in an organisation. This is because the sales force has a major role in determining the level of sales as it is responsible for sales in an organisation. It plays an important role in determining the level of sales made in a certain period (Kerin, not dated).
One of the methods through which a company can organize its sales force is through geographical territories (Duggan, 2011). CCS is located in Barnet, North London. This location is ideal for the company because it easy to serve small and, medium enterprises located in and around London and South East. Therefore, organizing the sales force geographically in these areas will play a significant role in increasing the performance of the organization (Duggan, 2011).
When the sales force is assigned based on geographical boundaries, each member is assigned a certain location where he or she is supposed to carry out sales operations (Duggan Tara, 2011). While allocating territories to the sales force, it is important to consider the factor that some areas have more people than others (Duggan Tara, 2011). That is, in some places, customers are more concentrated than others. Therefore, it is important to consider how the customers are distributed in order to facilitate the sales process. CCS is currently experiencing economic difficulties which are triggered by the current recession. Therefore, it will be more recommendable to distribute the six sales persons proportionally bearing the customer density in order to avoid unnecessary additional costs.
One of the main advantages of organising sales force geographically is that it is cost effective (Duggan Tara, 2011). The sales force can be placed strategically close to the customers hence saving the time spent by the workforce moving from one place to another (Bennett, 2009). (Bennett was consultant in marketing communications). In addition, the company will also be able to save on the additional costs incurred on movements from one place to another. However, this method suffers from the fact that it is very difficult to control the sales force from the distance. However, this does not pose a major problem to CCS.
Another advantage of organizing the sales force through geographical means is that the sales people will be more familiar with their territories (Kagermann, 2008). This plays an insignificant role in increasing the average level of performance of each employee. It also reduces the chances of customer confusion.
Another method through which an organisation can organise its sales force is through customer based territories (Duggan Tara, 2011). In this system, each sales person specialises in servicing a particular category or type of customers.
The diagram above is an illustration of a consumer based sales force arrangement. In this arrangement, the organisation has divided its customers into two broad categories, that is, industrial and retail sales. Then each category is further divided into various groups of customers. Then, each sales person is assigned a specific role.
The effectiveness of this method lies on the fact that it is more customer oriented (Bennett, 2009). This implies that the level of customer satisfaction related with this method is relatively very high. This can significantly help CCS in its effort to retain its clients during these economic difficulties. According to Duggan Tara, who is a Project management professional (2011), it is necessary to consider the efficiency of the tool applied in advertisement before applying it.
Another method of organising the sales force is through products. In this method, the sales force is organized on the basis of the products (Bennett, 2009). In this sense, every sales person is expected to specialize in particular products which are carried out by the sales organization. The figure below illustrates an example of a product based sales strategy.
The figure shows a strategy where we have an overall sales manager who is responsible for the entire marketing process. Below the sales manager, there is the advertising manager, marketing services manager, first and the second product sales manager. Finally, we have each product’s salesperson who is assigned a specific product each.
One advantage of applying the product-based methods in organizing the sales is that each line can receive a comparatively higher degree of specialized attention compared to other methods of salesforce organization (Bennett, 2009). Through this system, it is possible to solve problems closer to the problems with any particular product line. However, this method suffers from the fact that it is difficult to maintain a consistent image since the salespeople will be handling people from diverse geographical backgrounds. Another disadvantage of this method is that additional costs may be incurred in case specialization occurs above the salesperson level (Micael Dahlén, Fredrik Lange, and Terry Smith 2009).
I think the best method for CCS to organize its employees is through geographical territories. Bearing in the mind the prevailing economic situation, it will be advisable for the company to avoid expensive methods which will increase its operational costs. The company aims at retaining its already existing clients as it struggles to capture the new market. Since the company does not want to deal with multinational companies, for the time being, the geographical distribution of the sales force will be the best option.
One of the major advantages of this method is that the company can manage to offer good services at a lower cost (Pearson, 2011). This will help the company in suppressing the impacts of the recession on its economic condition and at the same time provide better services to retain its
When the sales force is distributed geographically, it is possible to react rapidly to the changes in the local competitive environment. This is because the responsible parties will be familiar with the environment and therefore capable of detecting any changes in the market faster than when they are distributed using other criteria (Micael Dahlén, Fredrik Lange, and Terry Smith, 2009). A company’s ability to react to changes in a competitive environment is very significant since it determines the existence of an organization in a competitive environment.
Another reason why this method is best for the company is that when the workforce is distributed geographically, it facilitates the process of solving problems. This is because the respective representatives will be familiar with the environment and hence will be able to understand the consumer needs. This is because they will have experience on the past problems which may be necessary for analyzing the current problems (Pearson, 2011).
Relationship variables and business networks -3
The fact that the organization has recognized the importance of business-to-business relationships is significant for the success of the organization in the present and also in the future. Ian Wilkinson, who was a lecturer of Business Management (2008), observed that a company can rarely perform well without relating with others in the current competitive market. To CCS, business to business has significantly contributed to its success.
The company has managed to maintain a good relationship with other companies in the region. This good relationship has been achieved through the company’s commitment to providing quality services to its clients. Moreover, the company is seriously determined to maintain the existing relationships as well as build new ones. This has significantly contributed to the success of the organization. It also presents good opportunities in the future. Word (2009), observed business relations can help a business in transformation; which is becoming increasingly common in the present business world.
Another importance of business relationships is economies of scale. Businesses can enjoy the benefits associated with economies of scale when they have a good relationship with other companies (Ian Wilkinson, 2008). For instance, CSS outsources most of its production functions to other businesses. Moreover, the company has also benefited in marketing due to close relationships with other businesses (Ian Wilkinson, 2008). For instance, the company has had a very easy time marketing its products through the word of mouth. Because of a good relationship with its clients, CSS manages to outsource large quantities of tasks from a large number of its clients.
Consequently, the companies enjoy the benefits of economies of scale associated with these services. This helps in reducing the overall costs incurred by the company in production. This can also help a company to charge lower prices below the competitors’ prices (Metcalf, Frear, and Krishnan, 1992).
In other words, CCS has managed to maintain its high-level performance through its good business-to-business relationships. In most cases, many companies lose their clients during recessions. However, CCS has managed to retain its clients due to the good relationship which the company has developed between its clients. For instance, some of its competitors were kicked out of the market after losing their only clients. Good business relationships improve an organization’s competitive advantage and therefore the risks of failure are very low (Woo, 2001).
When businesses are engaged in close relationships with each other, each company can learn good qualities from the other (Anonymous, 2011). This facilitates the spreading of success-related ideas. Consequently, each company can improve on its performance. By engaging itself in close relationships with other businesses, CCS has managed to learn a few things which have helped the company to improve on its activities. It has also been argued that such interactions also promote efficiency in the interacting businesses (Goetsch, and Albers, 2010).
Good business relationships also promote business growth (Ian Wilkinson, 2008). this is because the company can retain its clients and hence maintain a regular demand for its products. For instance, CCS has managed to retain its clients even during this period of recession. Therefore the business will not be adversely affected by the economic downturn. While its competitors struggle to recover, CSS will be using its funds to expand its business.
In conclusion, the information above has given a clear description of the current business condition at CCS. This information has indicated that the company over relies on one marketing tool, which is the word of mouth. This poses a great threat to the company bearing in mind the current economic situation. The country is encountering economic difficulties due to the prevailing recession. Therefore, the company’s clients will tend to minimize their expenditure on marketing to suppress the impacts of the economic downturn. Therefore there is a need to provide an incentive to encourage their consumption.
In the current business world, more customers are shifting from the traditional methods of advertisement to the more current media. This presents a good business opportunity for the company. To be able to retain its clients and win the new market opportunities, the company should therefore embrace other marketing tools to convince their clients and also convince the customers to buy their client’s products. This will significantly help the organization in maintaining its competitiveness as well as its productivity.
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