marketing case study

marketing case study

The Power of Persuasive Marketing

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1. Introduction

The aim of this introductory chapter is to explain the importance of marketing and advertising in the technological age. Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Many people argue about the true purpose of marketing. Is it to persuade a consumer to purchase a product? Is it to inform a consumer about a product? Or is it simply to just satisfy the consumers needs? All of these questions pose an important role in the production and selling of a product. With the increased amount of globalization, competition, and greed it becomes harder for someone to choose the right product for themselves. This increases the significance of marketing. As without marketing, how would a consumer be able to make an informed decision on what to buy? Marketing helps to identify, anticipate, and satisfy customer requirements profitably. This means it is not only beneficial for the company, but also for the consumer. By creating and publicizing a product, a consumer is informed on what the product is, does and also if it is suitable to satisfy their needs. This in turn creates a safer environment for the consumer as they now have more options and an understanding of what the product is. With so many different products available in today’s consumer society, making an informed decision concerning what to purchase has become a crucial process full of education and evaluation. This is especially important for industrial, high-priced, or complex products. These products typically require a longer decision-making process and quite often benefit from targeted marketing communications. As an alternative to undifferentiated mass marketing, with little or no segmentation of consumers or products, persuasive marketing provides a specific direction for each stage of the process, and especially product development and communication.

2. Understanding the Target Audience

Marketers know how important it is to understand their target audience. Understanding the audience is sometimes even more important than the product or service being sold. If a company is not marketing their product or service to the right people, all other efforts are essentially wasted. The aim of marketing is to understand customers so well the product or service fits them and sells itself. This may be a simple concept, but it is the most difficult task. The company must know what the ideal consumer is, where they are and how to reach them. In determining the ideal customer for most companies or products, demographics are usually the starting point. Who can benefit most from the product or service? At this point, consumer needs are often divided into groups based on shared personal, economic and social characteristics (Kotler et al, 2009 p 96). While demographics are a good way to start the understanding of a target market, more detailed and defined segmenting of the market is needed for it to be useful. Whether the company sells nails or nuclear power plants, there are methods to define segments that will help the company understand and define their customers. Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into a distinct group of buyers that require different products or marketing mixes (Kotler et al, 2009 p 87). The division of consumer groups is an important aspect in understanding the target market, but it is only worthwhile if the company can then successfully target the defined consumer group. Often it is easy to define which market a company has decided to focus on, yet it is difficult not to waste effort and money targeting consumers outside of this group. A company with an idea of a defined target market should then progress to market targeting. This is the process of evaluating each market segment’s attractiveness and selecting one or more of the market segments to enter (Kotler et al, 2009 p 104). If it is established what the ideal consumer is, there is only the small task of reaching and serving them to complete. This will save the power tool shopper from sifting through advertisements from tool companies selling household tools if that is not the type of tool he/she wishes to purchase. The successful technique to be able to serve a specific target market is called market positioning. This is the process of influencing how a consumer defines a market’s product or service compared to the competition. Step one is to decide the position the company wants to have in the target customer’s mind, whether it be, we have the highest quality product, the lowest price or the most convenience. Step two is to carry out this positioning strategy. There are four broad targeting strategy types; it can attack a whole market, concentrate on one segment, or go for several strong or several weak market segments. Any of these strategies can be carried out using one of the traditional four P’s (Kotler et al, 2009 p 104). Step three is to take a look at how and where the target consumer is currently receiving information about the type of service or product to be offered. If it is able to influence these factors, it is almost guaranteed that this target market can be served. Market positioning is a powerful concept, since if a brand is strong and the positioning is clear, it becomes difficult to change customers’ perceptions later (Kotler et al, 2009 p 256).

3. Crafting Compelling Marketing Messages

Effective “big idea” marketing messages possess several key characteristics: Tell a compelling brand story. The brand story is the “big idea” of the brand and should communicate what the brand is about, why it’s different, and how this difference benefits customers. The story should be truthful, credible, and relevant to the target audience. Project a clear and simple brand image. The image is the visual, verbal, and emotional personality of the brand. Every element of the brand story should feed the image. The clearer and simpler the image, the easier it is for consumers to understand and the more likely they are to remember the brand. Promise a benefit. Every marketing message should communicate a benefit. The emotional nature and strength of the benefit will determine the brand’s competitiveness and the effectiveness of the marketing. This promise should also narrow the focus of the target audience by selecting the benefit they most desire. Internal consistency and external alignment. In an era of unparalleled access to information, it is crucial for companies to manage customer perceptions by aligning the brand image with the stuff of the brand story. Any inconsistency is likely to result in dissonance and a weakened brand image. A consistent image and promise will help to build brand equity.

4. Leveraging Social Media and Digital Platforms

Point 5 explains a very effective low-cost marketing tool, Search Engine Marketing. The two primary methods by which the company can use search engine marketing are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising. When potential customers are searching the web for information about various products, they will use certain keywords. The goal is to have the company’s website appear at the top of the search engine results when these keywords are searched in the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This is accomplished through optimizing the site and creating its relevance with the keywords. SEO can take a lot of time, but the results are long-lasting with consistent high amounts of traffic. If the company is selling established products and is aiming for expeditious marketing, time could be a crucial factor. This is where PPC can be used by bidding on advertising spots for specific keywords. When someone searches for the keywords, relevant ads will appear and the company is charged the bid amount when the ad is clicked. This is advantageous due to its quick results and cost-effectiveness. You can also stop the ads anytime you want.

Under point 4, the writer has discussed the importance of using social media and digital marketing tools to increase sales for our products. There are a few facts which support this. The most popular social media networking site, Facebook, has over 400 million active users. Many people, including our customers, spend their whole day on these social platforms. We can create a fan page on this network and ask people to join it. We can keep them updated with our new products and offers. If they are satisfied with our fan page, there is a high probability they will share it on their profile, thus making it visible to their friends. They will also give comments on our page which will act as instant feedback for us. These platforms have an option to view insights, i.e., statistics, so we can measure our marketing reach and success. Twitter has around 175 million users. We can post short tweets informing people about our products and if they are interested, they will visit our site to get detailed information. We can also give special offers to our Twitter followers. YouTube has over 2 billion views per day. We can create short interesting videos about our products and upload them. If people like these videos, there is a high chance they will share them with their friends.

Under the section titled “Leveraging Social Media and Digital Platforms,” the writer has discussed points 4 and 5 in more depth and considered point 6 as the very heart of this article.

5. Measuring the Success of Marketing Campaigns

The recommended way in measuring the marketing method is to evaluate the change of customer knowledge, customer attitudes, and customer behavior. These 3 aspects are the most sensitive reflection to consider if the marketing is useful or not. But in order to know the change of those 3 aspects that need to be done is research in periodic and continuous time. A change in knowledge, attitude, and behavior does not always automatically happen at the same time as the marketing message is delivered; it can be faster or slower. For example, Unilever with its Clear shampoo product was successful in changing Indonesian people’s mindset that dandruff on the hair is not dandruff on the head, but can be caused by the scalp. This marketing success can be considered very good, since a change in the understanding of this time dandruff and the dandruff solution causes an immediate behavior change. But the late change of behavior has a non-direct relation with the product purchase; Clear shampoo sales increase at that time is the mirror of the successful message delivery, a clarification of the problems dandruff solution using Clear shampoo itself increase happens in the Clear shampoo next selling period.

Measuring ROI (return on investment) is a common way to measure the marketing success. This method is actually fine, but it’ll be hard to measure the direct effect of marketing since the sales are affected by many factors. Usually, a marketing program does not give a direct effect on the sales no matter how good it is. For example, due to promos, bundling, or discount; those are the efforts to maintain the existing consumers. A new consumer acquisition does not always increase the sales at that time too, since usually the new consumer only wants to know first, or only intends to try.

Measuring the success of a marketing campaign is a must. But due to the many benefits of marketing activities, often the results cannot be measured or in a wrong way. Companies tend to measure the successful marketing based on the sales only. However, there are many aspects that affect the sales; a good product and efficient distribution process are two examples of them. One of the famous mis-measuring is the advertising recall. The advertising itself might be successful in delivering the message, but the impact on the company’s products is minimum.

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