This relationship, in turn, is responsible for building brand image, and the delivery and communication of value. The concept in itself is an all-encompassing package that the organisation then sells. For successful holistic marketing to be effective the concept requires four components; internal marketing, integrated marketing, socially responsible marketing and relationship marketing. Internal marketing requires that everyone in the organization buy into the concepts and goals of marketing and engage in choosing, providing and communicating customer value.
Only when all employees realise their job is to create, serve and satisfy customers does the company become an effective marketer (Kotler et. al, 2009). Internal marketing requires a customer oriented approach, not only by the firms marketing and sales departments, but spread throughout the organisations various departments. If the concept of holistic marketing is to be successful then it must be communicated and accepted by each member of staff. (Kotler et. al, 2009). There are many definitions for internal marketing, but many only cover single key components of internal marketing.
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Ahmed and Rafiq define internal marketing as ‘…a planned effort using a marketing-like approach directed at motivating employees, for implementing and integrating organizational strategies towards customer orientation. ’ It emphasizes achieving customer satisfaction through the implementation of customer-orientated strategies by motivating employees and co-ordinating cross-functional efforts. In recent years there has been a shift towards employee satisfaction in contemporary approaches of management. Especially important within the services sector is personnel recruitment, retention and motivation.
These have consequently become a vital facet of human resources for firms, where the attraction of quality and skilled employees is of critical importance in assisting organizations to connect with customers. A business operating in a crowded market should be acutely aware of these factors, for it is often the quality of the service that is the only real differentiating factor between competitors. There are a number of different ways in which a marketing department can be arranged, the main structures being functionally, geographically, by product or brand or by market (Kotler et. al, 2009).
These various approaches are suited to different contexts and enable an organization too target their products more specifically, build brand awareness and communicate value to customers. Functional organisation is the most common form of marketing organization. This structure groups together employees from the same function of specific jobs within an organization. Employees that specialize in a single function are grouped together to form a department. The main advantage is its administrative simplicity. However, this form loses effectiveness as the company’s products and markets increase.
A geographic organization divides its functions and operates along geographical lines. Certain markets may require special attention as opportunities arise. The emergence of minimarkets and improved accessibility to information has pushed the shift towards a regional approach. For example, Westfield shopping centres only operate within NSW. Product or brand management is commonly used by organizations that produce a variety of products or brands. An extra level of management is added to supervise the various categories or product areas that the business operates in.
This presents an advantage for organizations such as Kraft, as it separates the product categories of cereal, pet food and beverages. (Kotler et. al, 2009) Similarly, instead of separating by product categories, market management organization uses a focus on user groups and market segments. For instance, a firm may sell to individual consumers, business and/or government. Integrated marketing is the coordination and integrating of all marketing communication tools, avenues, and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximises the impact on customers and other stakeholders at a minimal cost. (Kotler et. l, 2009)
By directing Internal Integrated Marketing Communications (IIMC) towards their employees, firms are able to promote employee satisfaction, trust and commitment, thereby strengthening the firm-employee relationship and ultimately affecting profitability by enhancing customer satisfaction (Herington, Johnson and Scott 2006). Integrated marketing is based on a strategic marketing plan. The plan coordinates efforts in all components of the marketing mix. A complete integrated marketing plan starts with and incorporates every element of the marketing mix including product, price, promotion and place.
The purpose is to achieve harmony in the messages sent to customers, while at the same time integrates all promotional efforts to keep the organizations communications synchronised. Within the marketing plan it is often the channels of advertising in which an organization fails to successfully navigate in its quest to reach its target audience. There are a wide variety of media available to an organization, where often an optimum marketing strategy involves mixing these media for quality advertising. Traditional media channels, including television, radio, magazines and newspapers provide the largest potential market for a campaign.
Many communication channels are available beyond the traditional system. These include buzz and guerrilla marketing. In the modern era it is vitally important an organization is using some form of internet advertising, or e-marketing. This integrates e-commerce programs with more recent trends that have evolved over time with usage. These include social networks such as Facebook, and blogs such as Tumblr among others. This channel deserves special attention from those firms who attempt to capture the attention of the younger generations.
According to Tsai (2005) in order for integrated marketing communications to be conceptualized as management of the holistic consumer experience, a framework is needed to integrate communication factors (for building a consistent and preferable brand image) and brand management (which stresses superior product quality and offers consumers functional and symbolic meanings). Tsai proposes the Holistic Consumer Experience Management framework (HCEM). It suggests that through the various stages of the consumer experience, an integration of communication factors and brand management helps to develop a holistic brand value.
It is this integration that satisfies the consumers’ needs and desires for sensory experiences. Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2004) suggest that the role of the consumer in contemporary markets has changed, and organizations need to shift their focus from managing resources and capabilities to managing the consumer experience as the primary source of value creation. Marketers now require a newer forms and greater quantities of information on customers to engineer a brand value structure that enhances the consumer experience.
Increasingly, consumers are becoming involved in the processes of both defining and creating value. They suggest that value creation has now moved from a product-centred to a consumer-centred concept, which an organization can overcome through enhancing the consumer experience. Socially responsibility is how well a business manages the social, environmental and human consequences of its actions. An organizations main objective is to maximise profit and create value, however consumers demands for social responsibility is ever-increasing.
Today, enterprises are increasingly aware that their business success does not depend solely on a strategy of maximising short-term profits, but on protecting the environment and on promoting their social responsibility, including the interests of consumers (europa. eu). This means that they must take into account society’s environmental sustainability, moral and ethical concerns. Economic development must be accomplished sustainably – that is, using methods of production that conserve the Earth’s resources for future generations.
Economic growth should not occur at the expense of environmental damage such as poullution of air, water and those natural resources that are essential for sustaining life on earth. The balance occurs when sustainable development is achieved. The social conscience of responsible business owners, and increasing government legislation, has led to the widespread adoption of of conservation, recycling and restoration policies. This is particularly evident in the technology industry, where socially responsible businesses are furthering efforts to contribute to the transfer of environmentally sound technology.
Modern technology now aims to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, release of carcinogens and discharge of hazardous waste. The world economy is now extremely interrelated due to the process of globalisation, and as a result populations and markets have seen an increase in cultural diversity. Marketers must now be aware of the entire audience, not only the target market. In today’s domestic environment, an action may be judged as ethical by some stakeholders, and yet unethical by others. Even a clear unethical behaviour may, sometimes, be inadvertently perpetrated (Alsmadi 2010).
Aswell, on an international level globalisation has made the organisation of enterprises more complex since the increasing extension of business activities abroad has led to new responsibilities at global level, particularly in relation to developing countries (europa. eu). There is often a blurred line between normal and unethical marketing practice. Both society and government object too and prohibit unethical behaviours such as false and deceptive advertising, bribery, quality or safety defects and price fixing.
Companies are obligated to adopt and disseminate a written code of ethics, build a company culture of ethical behaviour and hold employees responsible for observing ethical and legal guidelines (Hunt and Vitell 1992). Organizations and its employees must now be aware of the various legislation composed by government to which they must adhere. In Australia, for example the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) promotes competition and fair trade in the market place to benefit consumers, business and the community. It also regulates national infrastructure industries.
Its primary responsibility is to ensure that individuals and businesses comply with the Commonwealth's competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws (accc. gov. au). Also it should be noted that although not illegal, corporate philanthropy can be resented by consumers that perceive the company as exploitive or fails to live up to the image it presents (Deane 2002). Often an integrated program of multiple focuses on social responsibility is required rather than just a simple donation of money. Some critics have stated that by adopting and implementing policies of social responsibility undermines the profit-seeking purpose of business.
However, a vast majority believe that by accepting social responsibility organizations create many more opportunities and advantages over competitors. An awareness of consumer social ideals can in fact create and add value to its brand by promoting high standards of business operation and marketing conduct (Kotler et. al, 2009). An organization can benefit from this not only by consumers through brand recognition, but also the ability to attract quality employee, especially from the younger generations who have an admiration of those organizations they feel positive about.
Relationship marketing is the development of long-term cost-effective relationships with individual customers. This marketing philosophy is the practical component of the marketing concept. It is in the businesses best interest to forge strong and long-lasting relationships built on meeting consumers’ needs and desires and overall customer satisfaction. The ultimate aim through this relationship is too create customer loyalty.
Payne et al (1999) suggests that the traditional view of relationship marketing as the development and cultivation of long-term profitable and mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and customer has been broadened. She states that it now encompasses internal marketing in acknowledgement that the successful management of external relationships was largely dependent on the alignment of supporting internal relationships. Relationship marketing now represents the convergence of marketing, customer service and internal alignment resulting in a holistic approach to marketing.
The article proposes that the creation of value for a customer is manufactured through consumer satisfaction and loyalty. The four key constituents for relationship marketing are customers, employees, marketing partners (channels, suppliers etc), and members of the financial community (shareholders, stakeholders and investors) (Kotler et. al, 2009) The main objective for marketers is to establish a clear balance of prosperity between these elements. As stated previously, these relationships are founded on an understanding of these constituents’ capabilities and resources, as well as their needs and desires.
Customer retention is an important issue for marketers as it is five times more expensive to attract a new customer than retaining an existing one. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process of carefully managing detailed information about individual customers and all customer ‘touch points’, in which a customer encounters a brand or product, to maximise customer loyalty. CRM enables real-time customer service through the effective use of individual account information. Based on this information a company can customise its communications and offerings to suit each individual.
The result of these efforts results in what is known as a marketing network which consists of the company and its stakeholders. The businesses ability to achieve a positive and effective network is what determines perceived brand image and enables successful communication and delivery of value perception. Hence it is clear that for successful holistic marketing to be effective the concept requires an awareness and the implementation of four important components components; internal marketing, integrated marketing, socially responsible marketing and relationship marketing.
Goal achievement can be achieved through the implementation of The firms products, services and modes of delivery are responsible for building brand image, and the delivery and communication of value. It is clear that through an awareness of both internal and external factors management can overcome challenges in the business environment and gain a competitive edge over competitors.
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