Business to Business Marketing- Solved Essay
- Consumer Marketing
In the commercial sector, the issue of consumer marketing is still ingrained in the traditional areas and mediums normally used by organisations. Established theories, like the four Ps (product, pricing, promotion, and placement) of , is still being used in organisations and still taught in business schools as among the basic elements of consumer marketing. (, 2002, ) In the same manner, recent development in technologies has placed this established theory in a position of importance among organisations. An article of (2002, ) noted the cases of Harley Davidson and Amazon.com in employing the 4Ps and have reaped the rewards. Specifically, the bike company have risen from their slump as they improved their bikes, promoted the product by building a community, and held on to the legacy of the brand to determine the pricing and placement of the organisation. In the case of Amazon.com, the basic elements of the 4Ps are taken to the next level as the internet and its complementing technologies have changed the way the consumer interact with today’s organisations.
- Commercial Sector
For the commercial sector, the major players that operate in this environment normally have one primary objective: to provide greater value for their money. With this premise in mind, the major influences on this regard are to be discussed in the following marketing techniques.
- Business to Business Marketing
Recent articles have been emulating the fact that business-to-business (B2B) marketing is a rather new concept in the commercial sector. In fact, majority of the articles that has solely placed its attention to B2B marketing in general are published in the later part of the 1990s and the early part of the new millennium. In the article provided by (2000, ), he noted that the recent surge in the use of B2B tends to be caused by the innovations in technology. The interconnectivity and the convenience in communication tend to highlight the attractiveness of the marketing technique to both buyers and sellers in the industry.
For this reason, the World Wide Web tends to the medium of choice when players in the commercial sector tend to employ B2B marketing transactions. (, , , 2001, ) It has also been noted that using such methods provides opportunities for businesses to take away the perceived costs in the chain of supply-and demand as well as to boost the market efficiency of the players. (, , , and , 2001, ) One success story cited in these articles highlights Grainger.com that has been described as an e-distributor focusing on maintenance, repair and operations (MRO). (, , , 2001, ) Particularly, the said company uses the web as opposed to an extranet to maintain open access to a range of suppliers and possible partners such that information like pricing and account information could be accessible for those who have existing B2B relationship with the company.
- Not-for-profit Sector
In not-for-profit organisations, this discussion the definition would be based on the study of , , and (1996, ) indicating that these organisations tend to regard customer influence to be secondary given that the payments forwarded by these individuals may be the secondary source of income. Studies also indicate that the companies included in this sector tends to be involved in medical care or in the academe, thus the illustrations provided below will be primarily based on these two industries.
- Business to Business Marketing
In the same account as that of the commercial sector, modern B2B marketing methods provided for by not-for-profit sector tends to implement IT technologies. Moreover, the existing studies dealing with this topic tends to emphasise distance education and the access to an online library provided for by the university itself. In a study made by , , and (1999, ) they have analysed universities that are accredited by Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Specifically, they looked into the capability of these universities in exploiting the web in implementing B2B practices. On a more particular note, the study focused on the use of internet technology in boosting the educational institution’s distance education and the subsequent advertisement of their distance learning services. They pointed out that the main factors that influence their B2B marketing includes internal and external solutions, which essentially helped in improving the potentials held by the internet as a teaching tool. For academic institutions that tend to manifest not-for-profit orientations, the use of the internet for educational purposes boosts not only the number of clients and possible stakeholders in the organisation but also in extending their range in realising their organisational goals.
- Consumer Marketing
There is little difference between B2B marketing to consumer marketing in the context of not-for-profit organisations. Some studies pertaining to these sector tend to call the marketing process as business-to-consumer marketing (B2C). Once again, B2C marketing processes shares distance learning with B2B. However, the focus of the articles pertaining to B2C marketing tends to focus on the provision of degrees of such schools. Specifically, the “electronic delivery” of the education is taken into consideration in these discussions. (, 2000, ) The work of , , and (2002, ) highlights this fact as they claim that the function of universities and other educational institutions have changed. This change is emphasised in the article of (2000, ) as she maintains that these institutions are slowly acquiring operations similar to businesses and profit seeking organisations.
The public sector includes all government agencies and government-controlled corporations with organisational goals geared towards the provision of the services required by the citizens of the state. The following discussions will be pointing to the use of B2B and B2C marketing techniques by the government.
- Business to Business Marketing
The realm of B2B marketing in the government sector tends to fall under the e-government initiative implemented by the state. Recent studies indicated that the nearest possible process that cleaves closely to the B2B is called government-to-business (G2B) process. (, 2002, )
Basically, the context of G2B tends to show signs of online transactions between the government and businesses. Specifically, the process involves web-access of certain services that businesses traditionally process personally. (, 2001, ) In any case, it has been established in the US setting that businesses prefer the online process more as compared to the traditional way. (, 2001, ) However, it has also been noted that for such processes to actually acquire such an outcome, a considerable number of the public has to be acquainted with the technology, have access to it, and how to use it to their advantage. Aside from the United States, Australia has also been noted as one of the countries that will benefit greatly on the implementation of such G2B processes as it is ready to provide the public with an alternative to the traditional processes. ( and , 2002, ) The connectivity and openness of the global flows of information tends to become a great contributor to the overall development of the economy of a state. With the implementation of e-government processes, this may well facilitate this needed development.
- Consumer Marketing
In the same area as that of the B2B process, the issue of B2C in the context of the government sector have certain similarities. For one, these processes are certainly covered by the general concepts of e-Government. On a similar note, the concept and principles held by B2C cleaves closely to the context of government-to-citizen (G2C) processes. (, 2002, ) The basic difference in this aspect is that in G2B, the benefactors are businesses and entrepreneurs that operate in the state. On the other hand, the citizens in general gain an advantage in this type of marketing such that they could access certain services through the internet. For instance, the website provides for the availability of certain forms that the citizens of the special administrative region could access online as well as an opportunity to book an appointment to a particular agency such that the transactions could be more efficient. At any rate, the citizens of the region benefits on these applications of B2C practices held online.
Several years ago, there is a clear distinction between B2B and B2C marketing. However, recent developments in technology have evidently blurred the line as both methods have begun exploiting the benefits provided for by the World Wide Web. Regardless of the sector that implements these methods, the bottom-line still rests on the fact that efficiencies and capabilities are developed in these areas such that the processes of marketing have evolved radically. The connectivity and range acquired by modern organisations have been the pivotal factors that made all the difference.
- Southwest Airlines
The company is one of the pioneers in the low-cost airline carriers in the air transportation industry. (, 2006, ) Specifically, the company was responsible in introducing “simplified boarding, disembarking, and aircraft servicing processes” to the industry. (, , , 1995, ) The following discussions on the company is based on the case study on the work on and (2004, ).
For the past three decades, the said company has established itself as the trendsetter and forerunner in the airline industry’s low-cost niche. ( and , 2004, ) This company has similarly been in the forefront in customer satisfaction within the same timeframe. On this note, it is no surprise that the company’s marketing framework is frequently emulated by its counterpart companies in Europe. The subsequent parts will look into the marketing mix espoused by the company. In the same way, an analysis will be provided using theories on marketing communications. The majority of these analyses are to be based on academic and scholarly journals based on business processes and marketing studies.
- Marketing Mix of the Company
This part of the study will use the marketing theory used by in presenting the conditions where Southwest Airlines excelled on the low-cost air transport industry.
The company boats of its fleet of Boeing 737 series, which hold at least seven flights in total within a 24-hour period. (, 2007) However, the company is best known for the service it provides its customers. ( and , 2004, ) Specifically, the company is one of the best in the area of consumer satisfaction, in fact it has acquired a 74 out of 100 on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index in 2002. ( and , 2004, ) This mark is not to be taken lightly as the low-cost air transport industry players normally gains a mark of 66 out of a possible perfect score of a hundred. Thus the primary product of the company, aside from the actual hauling of people from point A to point B, is the way they treat them during the actual haul.
and (2004, ) noted that the company is one of the very first to employ the paperless ticketing and online booking. This means that the company was actually one of the very first to exploit the internet to expand their range and provide convenience to their customers. However, it also said in the case study that the company prefer to deal with its customer personally as opposed to using online means. This indicates that the company places value on the personalisation of the service they provide to the potential cost effectiveness offered by automation. In this same manner, the company holds on to a set of core customers loyal to the service that they provide in the industry.
The price of the service stays competitive as compared to the existing players in the industry. Aside from these competitive rates, the website of the company shows that they are constantly implementing special offers for their customers such as their air fare special, rental car specials, hotel specials, rapid rewards, and vacations packages to name a few.
As it has been stated in the earlier parts of this paper, the company is one of the pioneers in online ticketing which implies that they have an existing website for customers to access. This means that Southwest has made the most of the web such that their positioning and placement in the industry has acquired a range wide enough for possible clients local and overseas to access and possibly book flights. In the same manner, the case study of and (2004, ) have also implied the presence of a customer service centre which could be reached by the core clients, shifters, and possible first-time customers. At any rate, the access to the company is considerably great as customers could readily reach them by any means possible.
Based on the discussions on the marketing mix of Southwest Airlines above, its success in the low cost air transport industry is apparently based on several factors: use of customer relationship management; leadership; strategic reification; and its regard with technology.
- Use of Relationship Marketing in the Process
In the discussions provided by and (2004, ) in their case study, the extraordinary use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) techniques on the part of Southwest Airlines has been their competitive advantage over the other players in the low-cost air transport industry. To put it in simple terms, in employing CRM techniques, the company is placing the customer at the centre of the universe. (, 1999, ) They make the place value on the customer’s money by giving them the highest possible quality of service that they could offer.
- Implications of a Charismatic Leader
Another possible factor that contributed to the overall success of the company is with the leadership provided by . ( and , 1999, ) once held the position of CEO, President, and chairman of the company. and (1999, ) even pushed further in claiming that his style of leadership is possibly the closest thing that could match an idyllic charismatic leader. This means that the said leader created not only the company by means of marketing strategies and foolproof plans, he established the culture of Southwest Airlines that contributed to its current success.
- Reification of Southwest
The awareness of the company of the market and their subsequent use of this information to their advantage provided the company the capability to be flexibly adapt to the changing environment. and (2006, ) identified this process as reification. This means that the ability of Southwest to reify itself to something that would complement their environment has become instrumental in their success.
- Use of High Technology
Based on the case study of and (2004, ), they have implicated that the company did made use of technologies of the web for improving their business. However, they have stood clean with their mission as stated in their website to take care of their customers. This means that though they have made the most of the IT technologies available, they did not depend on it as they preferred a more personalised approach in dealing with their clients. This means that the company would not be considerably crippled once online ticketing would encounter a glitch or if a failure in the IT infrastructure would arise. At any case, this only shows that the company has maintained a balance that would be able to deal with the needs of the business without compromising the implementation of its organisational goal.
In looking at the discussions above, it shows that a company may only depend to a certain degree on marketing communication processes and strategies. An equally required element is the cognisance of the decision-makers of the company on the general environment that the organisation is subjected in. In this manner, awareness and flexibility are highlighted. In the same manner, dependence on technology does not imply a sure fire solution to the marketing needs of a business. Elements like the customers, leadership, and the culture of the organisation tends to be similarly important factors to consider in any conducting a major business.