- 1 Introduction to Textile Marketing
- 2 Textile Marketing Strategy
Introduction to Textile Marketing
Many people think of textile marketing as only selling and advertising. We are attacked every day with TV commercials, catalogs, sales calls, and e-mail pitches. However, selling and advertising is only the tip of the textile marketing iceberg.
Broadly defined, marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and organizations obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging value with others.
In a narrower business context, marketing involves building profitable, value-laden exchange relationships with customers.
Hence, textile marketing can be defined as the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.
According to Philip Kotler, “Marketing Management is the analysis, planning, implementation and control of programs designed to bring about desired exchanges with target audiences for the purpose of personal and of mutual gain.
It relies heavily on the adoption and coordination of product, price, promotion, and place for achieving responses.
“According to American Marketing Association (2004)– “Marketing is an organizational function and set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing relationships in a way that benefits both the organization and the stakeholder.
“According to Eldridge (1970)– “Marketing is the combination of activities designed to produce profit through ascertaining, creating, stimulating, and satisfying the needs and/or wants of a selected segment of the market.”
Marketing is the activity, set of instructions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
Textile Marketing Strategy
Literature in the area of textile marketing strategy lack depth and pervasive investigation on the constructs of marketing strategy formulation and implementation.
The major problem is their inability to identifying the major and supporting variables that constitute marketing strategy formulation and implementation and the tendency to see them as separate processes.
Some literature defines marketing strategy implementation variables with the same variables they use for defining marketing strategy formulation.
However, El-Ansary makes explicit account of marketing strategy literature for a period of 16 years (from January 1990 to April 2006) and comes up with better taxonomy and framework of marketing strategy formulation and implementation.
The variables and frameworks that are used for this dissertation are based on this in-depth study and with adjustment of some of the constructs based on the pertinent literature that have been published from 2007 to date (2016).
As getting a single definition for strategy is difficult so it is for marketing strategy, whether one considers the literature on the subject or the use of the term by executives in the business arena who are familiar with the practice.
For example, Corey defines marketing strategy as the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities; while business dictionary defines marketing strategy as a strategy that integrates an organization’s marketing goals into a cohesive whole.
Similarly, Cravens argues that marketing strategy provides concepts and processes for gaining a competitive advantage by delivering superior value to the business customers.
However, key issues remain similar among the different definitions in that they view marketing as the creation of 36 unique offer that the market needs so that profitability of the company and customer satisfaction could be achieved simultaneously as an outcome.
Businesses exist to deliver products and services to market and according to Corey, to the extent that they serve this purpose well and efficiently, they grow and profit. The process of implementing business strategies is largely concerned with how marketing activities are accomplished.
The gist of this statement implies that although marketing strategy is a subset of the overall business strategy, it (marketing strategy) is the key to its realization. Thus, marketing strategy translates the business objective and strategy into market terms and marketing activity.
The practical success of the organization‘s business objective and strategy will depend on the quality of the marketing input right at the top. Hence, the business strategy is as good as the marketing strategy which an organization formulates and implements.
Furthermore, argues that at the heart of any business strategy is its marketing strategy which makes marketing strategy to be big but yet poorly approached. And according to Vargo and Lusch, marketing‘s service dominant approach implies that marketing strategy should be placed at the core of the firm‘s strategic planning.
Consequently, appropriate marketing strategy formulation and implementation are critical for a business organization and without it, profitability and customer satisfaction remain for mere chances.
Due to resource constraints, firms are often unable to pursue all the segments they identify in a given market. Instead, they focus their marketing resources on satisfying a smaller number but profitable segments in the market.
This process of allocating resources effectively by focusing marketing efforts on the selected part of the total market is called targeting. In practice, the target market refers to a set of buyers sharing common needs or characteristics that the company decides to serve.
By focusing their limited resources on the targeted segments, firms are able to compete effectively in those segments by developing a distinct value proposition better than their competitors.
Broadly, the targeting strategies that firms follow can be classified into four major categories ranging from undifferentiated to individual targeting. Such categories are undifferentiated marketing, differentiated marketing, concentrated marketing, and micromarketing.
Positioning is the process of creating a distinctive image on the consumer’s mind. Textile Marketing literature argues that marketing is the battle of perception where the battle can only be won by getting a larger mind share of consumers.
In doing this, the marketing strategist states to customers what the product means and how it differs from current and potential competing products.
Similarly, Kotler and Armstrong argue that a product‘s position is the way the product is defined by consumers on important attributes and the place the product occupies in consumers‘ minds relative to competing products.
Such a claim implies that products are made in factories but brands happen in the minds of consumers. The end result of positioning is the successful creation of a customer-focused value proposition about the product which in turn will result in greater mind and wallet share.
If marketing is considered to be a battle of perceptions, as many kinds of literature claim, then positioning is the means to win the battle. Hence, companies can position their brands on almost an infinite number of associations. Such infinite possibilities make the selection of the best positioning strategy challenging.
However, several authors have classified these associations into distinct groupings based upon alternative bases of positioning. In the positioning strategy through features of a product, companies emphasize the concrete attributes of the product to create a distinctive image in the consumer’s mind so as to create a differential advantage.
In this case, the textile firms can position their products of having comfort, eye-catching, and being environmental friendly which consumers can evaluate during and after using the products.
Textile Marketing Strategy Implementation
The marketing mix is the operational tactics used for executing the marketing strategy formulation elements. It is a conceptual framework that identifies the principal decision-making process in configuring companies offerings to suit consumer needs.
The tactics (tools) can be used to develop both long-term strategies and short term tactical programs. The mix consists of four elements which were originally proposed by McCarty and such four elements are still operational in goods.
However, the mix adds some three additional Ps in some literature and even five additional Ps in others in the service business.
Therefore, since the assessment of marketing strategies in textile firms is the aim of this study, the marketing mix consists of products, prices, promotion, and distribution According to Chai, firms seek competitive advantage and synergy through a well-integrated program of marketing mix elements.
In this context, marketing strategy is referred to as a roadmap of how a firm assigns its resource and relates to its environment and achieves a corporate objective in order to achieve competitive advantage and remain sustainable in the market ahead of its competitors.
Such resource assignment role of marketing strategies in a firm enables us to see the marketing strategies from the resource-based point of view. Therefore, marketing strategies are better addressed from inside out than outside in. The marketing mix strategies are explained below.
Product Marketing Strategy
According to Kotler and Armstrong, marketing-mix planning begins with building an offering that brings value to target customers and developing a product or service involves defining the benefits that it will offer which is communicated and delivered by product attributes such as quality, features, and style and design.
As a result, developing an effective marketing strategy involves careful planning and executing of all these core elements of a product.
Furthermore, the product element of marketing strategy such as product design, brand mix, warranty, and customer service as pre- and after-sales services, and product advantages (such as luxury, prestige, and quality) are variable of product marketing strategy.
Similarly, products and services are key to any organization‘s survival and growth — but only as far and as long as they continue to deliver the solutions and benefits that the customers want from them. According to Jain, product strategies specify market needs that may be served by different product offerings.
It is a company‘s product strategies, duly related to market strategies that eventually come to dominate both the overall strategy and the spirit of the company. Thus, a product strategy involves careful planning and execution of these processes and to the extent firms pay attention to them products become the real spirit of the company.
To conceptualize the product strategy well, the following sub-product strategies will be scrutinized in context to textile products.
New-product development is an essential strategy in business organizations which is striving for competitive advantage in the market place. According to Kotler and Armstrong developing a new product is important for both consumers and markets.
For companies, new products are a key source of growth. Even in a down economy, companies must continue to innovate because new products provide new ways to connect with customers as they adapt their buying to changing economic times.
The implementation of this strategy has become easier because of technological innovations and the willingness of customers to accept new ways of doing things. Despite their importance in strategy determination, however, implementation of new-product programs is not easy as too many products never make it in the marketplace.
Such strategic importance on the one hand and difficulty in implementation, on the other hand, make new product strategy a deliberate process even with the inclusion of top-level managers.
From the researcher‘s point of view, new product development strategy in the textile firms should be a well-defined and part of their priority strategic issues as customer needs for the products may change 84 depending on different global environmental factors.
And keeping track of the development of the market and producing the product to meet those dynamics makes a difference.
Pricing is one of the most fundamental but also most difficult decisions that firms have to make. For business organizations, the price is the only element which generates revenue, all other elements; product, promotion, and place are costs.
Likewise, if effective product development, distribution, and promotion sow the seeds of organization success; efficient pricing strategy is the harvest. However, an effective pricing strategy can never compensate for elements.
In order to make pricing sustainable, it must be integrated and consistent with the other marketing mix strategies in the organization to achieve the organizational objectives.
Thus, proper pricing cannot be done independently of the other marketing them as a firm touches one element of the mix it touches them all. Regardless of the integration requirement and importance, pricing remains the most versatile marketing mix strategy.
Therefore, an appropriate pricing strategy remains a challenge for marketers these days. The relative importance and complexity vary considerably from one product and market sector to another.
In service, for example, the degree of complexity of pricing strategy is comparatively significant due to the high degree of homogeneity between most service groups and shared service delivery and operating systems.
As a result, pricing becomes even more challenging when it is made for the first time in a firm. As firms stay in the business and frequently engage in pricing, they become familiar with the process and pricing becomes more familiar as a result.
In this regard, a firm usually sets a price for the first time when it develops a new product, when it introduces its regular product into a new distribution channel or geographical area, and when it enters bids on new contract work. Furthermore, a firm must also consider factors which affect the pricing decisions.
In most cases, the dominant view of pricing strategy claims that pricing goals, objectives, and strategies which should be formulated a priori and should be consistent with marketing and corporate strategies.
Besides, these are also factors which influence the pricing strategies in a given firm and industry and hence should be considered in the attempt to set the prices of a product. The relative importance of these varies considerably from one product and market sector to another.
All of them, however, need to be taken into account in the choice of the pricing method. From the researcher‘s perspective, it is essential for the textile firms to consider all of them in general and the third factor in particular.
Such particular significance of the factor for Ethiopian textile firms emanates from their interest in the global market through opportunities created by AGOA, COMESA, All but Arms, and some other bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.
Similarly, pricing literature suggests that firms set prices by assessing customer elasticity and competitive prices and then set prices to maximize profit.
Whereas pricing strategies are visible in the market in the form of price changes, price bundles, price levels within a product line, or otherwise, pricing practices are hidden behind the boundaries of the organization.
In addition to this, pricing strategies that the organization judges, or senses to be effective, are repeated, shared, expanded, and refined into successful pricing patterns that, over time and across situations, become pricing strategy.
Hence the firm needs to understand its discretionary freedom where the upper boundary (price ceiling) and lower boundaries (price floor) are set by different factors.
Promotion strategies are concerned with the planning, implementation, and control of persuasive communication with customers. The promotion strategy in a company is designed to communicate value to customers.
To communicate well, marketers have the option to choose from or blend the promotion mix which consists of the specific blend of advertising, public relations, personal selling, sales promotion, and direct marketing tools that the company uses to persuasively communicate customer value and build customer relationships.
Some literature claim that these communication tools are so varied that it includes both traditional and modern communication forms.
The primary forms of marketing communications include traditional mass media advertising (TV, magazines, etc.); online advertising (Web sites, opt-in e-mail messages, text messaging, and so on); sales promotions (such as samples, coupons, rebates, and premium items); store signage and point-of-purchase communications; direct-mail literature; marketing-oriented public relations and publicity releases; sponsorships of events and causes; presentations by salespeople; and various collateral forms of communication devices.
In addition to these means, social media has got recent acceptance in the globe as an effective means of product communication.
This form of media describes a variety of new sources of online information that are created, initiated, circulated and used by consumer’s intent on educating each other about products, brands, services, personalities, and issues.
According to Kotler and Armstrong, the product‘s design, its price, the shape and color of its package, and the stores that sell it all communicate something to buyers.
Thus, although the promotion mix is the company‘s primary communications activity, the entire textile marketing mix must be coordinated for developing a competitive advantage in the market and to remain relevant in the future.
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