Another Prince and Priporas (2014) state that

Another transition between marketing
approaches is the one between the traditional approach to market sensing. According
to Piercy (2009): “Much of the shift from traditional approaches to market
sensing is about emphasizing interpretation rather than just generating data.” The
market sensing methods are the following, quantitative: survey data, big data
and qualitative: social sciences, therefore Prince and Priporas (2014) state
that market-sensing includes all activities that are involved in gathering
market data or intelligence, disseminating the data throughout the organization
and acting on the information gleaned, and market sensing is clearly an
integral activity for successful firms.

 “Brands
have become a major player in modern society, in fact they are everywhere, they
penetrate all spheres of our life: economic, social, cultural, sporting, even
religion.” (Kapferer,2012). De Chernatony, McDonald and Wallace (2011) defined
the brand a cluster of functional and emotional values that enables
organizations to make a promise about a unique and welcomed experience. For
example: “Coca-Cola describes itself as “Open Happiness” and Persil emphasizes
childhood fun by claiming “Dirt is Good”. (De Chernatony, McDonald and Wallace,
2011).  This is why, the consumer is more
inclined to buy from a product if the brand uses a touch of emotional and
personality in advertising their products. Therefore, if a campaign is
customer-focused, the brand will establish a good relationship and gain trust
with the customer. Another good example from De Chernatony, McDonald and
Wallace (2011) is the one where Burger King offered a free Whopper to anyone
who ‘sacrificed’ 10 of their Facebook friends, over 230,000 online friendships
were sacrificed, showing customer’s allegiance to the brand.

Another thing that could be an important
value for the brand strategy, is sustainability. Belz et al. (2013) states
that: “We are all consumers in the sense that in order to live we must eat some
form of food, drink some form of liquid and have access to some form of shelter
from the elements.”. Therefore, the behavior of such consumers, in terms of
what products they buy, how they use them and what they do with them
afterwards, shapes almost every aspect of our planet to an extent that only the
forces of nature can rival. (Belz et al. 2013). This approach has started to be
more implemented into brands, nowadays, as another value of their company,
because people have started to be more aware of the impact they have upon the
environment and if the product has little effect on the environment, then the
customer is more likely to buy it.

When talking about social media, according
to Dolan et al. (2015), the proliferation of social media platforms and
corresponding consumer adoption in recent years had precipitated a paradigm
shift, significantly altering the ways of customers engage with brands.
Therefore, the interactive properties of social media have transformed consumer
from passive observers to active participants, with social media platforms
serving as an ideal forum for product and brand-related advocacy (Chu &
Kim, 2011. Dolan et al. 2015). This is one of the main implications social
media has upon the brand, including customers with content to get more
engagement with them.

 What
has been talked in this part of the paper, was brands ways of adding value to
their companies and to the customers as well. But, there are some internal strategies
that not only play part on the inside of the company but also, play a major
part for the experience and benefit of the customer.  According to Banwait and Longbottom (2017),
state that early models of Internal Marketing focused on creating employee
satisfaction, however later models suggest IM needs to centre around principles
of co-creation and adding value both internally and externally. However, in
Internal Marketing there was a transition between goods dominant and service
dominant logic. According to (Lindberg and Nordin,2008; Simula et al, 2008; Andreini
et al., 2015), the service-dominant logic theory stimulates companies to
develop tighter relationships with customers in order to create solutions
better aligned to their requirements, while, the good-dominant logic introduces
manufacturing tenets into the world of services, transforming intangible
offerings into more objectified proposals, so guaranteeing market
competitiveness.

To sum up, brands, nowadays are facing some
threats, from new arriving trends to better competition, and they all must be
one step ahead of the game, which can lead to errors due to the pressure of
being the best in the market or even failure of the company. These strategies
that have been talked about in this part of the assignment, have such
implications. Therefore, strategic marketing is a market-driven process of
strategy development, taking into account a constantly changing business
environment and the need to deliver superior customer value. (Cravens and
Piercy, 2009).

 

 

 

 

PAST

“Don’t ask the price, it’s a penny” was the
slogan Michael Marks used when he opened his first bazaar in Leeds 1884 and
both his idea and hard work soon paid off, but it was when Michael went into
partnership with Tom Spencer in 1894 that the company started to take shape
(Marksintime.marksandspencer.com,2017). The business is built upon strong
values of Innovation, Inspiration, Integrity, and In Touch and these values
have been at the heart of the business since starting out as the Penny Bazaar
at Leeds Kirkgate Market in 1884. (Corporate.marksandspencer.com, 2017)

(Picture taken from: Marksintime.marksandspencer.com,
2017)

The underwear first appeared in Marks and Spencer in the 1920’s, and
the bra has become the most iconic product of theirs, with one in three women
now wearing one bought from M&S. (Marksintime.marksandspencer.com, 2017).
By the seventies, the M&S employees were measuring customer’s bra sizes
under their coats on the shop floor. (Marksandspencer.com, 2017). This is one
of the core values of the company, making the perfect fit for the customer, and
it’s been running since then. Another core value of Marks and Spencer around
the 1940’s and 1950’s, was achieving high quality for the lowest price for
their customers. During the second World War, they used utility clothing, with
a simple design but brightly pattered. (Marksintime.marksandspencer.com,2017).

 

 

 

(Pictures taken from:
Marksintime.marksandspencer.com, 2017)

 

 

By 1901 the business had 12 shops and 24
stalls in covered markets, this growth continued and by 1926 the business was
operating from 125. (Whitehead, 1992). By the 1980 the company had become one
of the UK’s most widely held in terms of shareholdings, with more than 300,000
shareholders, and one of the UK’s leading retailers of food, men’s women’s and
children’s fashion. (Whitehead, 1992). By the 1999, M launched their
online website and according to Cowe (1999) published on an article on The
Guardian, the website already received five million visits a month, but
customers could only get information on products and stores and to spend money,
members had to visit a store, or order over the phone for a limited range of
products such as flowers, wine and home furnishings. During the 1990’s and the
year of 2010, they came up with new product ideas, and one of their successful
products was the melting middle chocolate puddings and according to Marks In
Time (2017) section from their official website, it took a lot of time, trials
and chocolate to get the pudding done but it proved a massive success.

In conclusion, at that time, according to
Whitehead (1992), Marks & Spencer was built on a philosophy of offering
customers a selective range of high quality merchandise, store expansion for
the convenience of customers, with a greater width of product choice and
fostering good human relationships with customers, staff, suppliers, and the
community.

 

Present

Marks and Spencer is one of the UK’s
leading retailers and one of their strategy is the following statement: “We are
committed to making every moment special for our customers, through our high
quality, own-brand food, clothing & home products we offer in our 1,433
stores worldwide and online.” (Corporate.marksandspencer.com,
2017). According to Vizard (2016) on an article from MarketingWeek, M saw
underlying profits rise 4.3% to £689m in the year to 2 April revenues were up
2.7% to £9.5bn, and food continued to a strong run, with like for like sales up
by 0.2% and total sales increasing 3.6%.

Therefore, since the one of
their strategy is to make every moment special for the customer, according to
their Strategic Report (2017), Steve Rowe, the chief executive, states that the
team itself is now more of a data-driven organization where decisions are made
based on what they know about their customers, not what they think they know.
One of their current campaign Spend It Well, focuses on their customer’s
lifestyle, into the emotional connection with the M&S brand and that is
what it was always about the company, being there for the customer, and putting
the customer first.

At the same time, Steve Rowe, states into
the Strategic Report (2017), that with the celebration of ten years of leading
the social and environmental agenda, they have repurposed Plan A to make it
more customer-focused and with these changes they are most keenly felt in their
stores.

 

However, when talking about competitors,
Marks & Spencer has been competing for years with Next, Debenhams, John
Lewis and even Primark. Even though Primark is not as good on quality as Marks
& Spencer, it has been a leading retailer across the UK. As well as, John
Lewis, has been a strong competition for Marks & Spencer on campaign
advertising, such as Christmas Adverts. The competitors pointed above, are
clothing, beauty and homeware retailers, with high quality products and
tailored prices for their customers.

Nonetheless, on the food section, Marks
& Spencer has been competing with ASDA, Aldi and Lidl. According to Glenday
(2017) on an article found on The Drum, Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot Christmas
advert, has beaten John Lewis’ and Marks and Spencer’s in the annual race to
create the best Christmas ad, scoring an increase of 152% in social media
mentions. Therefore, same as Marks and Spencer, the competitor’s strength is
that they are UK leading retails who have built a relationship and trust with
their customers, and when talking about weaknesses, is the one that the brands compete
with one another and leads to limited market share.

 

 

Future:

“Founded in 1884, M&S has grown from a
single market stall to an international, multi-channel retailer. We sell high
quality, great value products to 32 million customers through our 914 UK stores
and our e-commerce platform.” (Corporate.marksandspencer.com, 2017). Marks
and Spencer has been a powerful brand throughout the years and the brand’s
strategy is to be there for the customer and meet their every need. Marks and
Spencer is a customer focused brand and therefore it has been successful for so
many years, because customers choose to shop at Marks and Spencer not only for
their product but for the experience while shopping at them. “Our actions are driven
by listening to our customers and analyzing the market to build a rich and
robust picture of our customer’s shopping habits and outlooks, and everything
we do as a company is filtered through the lens of what we know about our
customers and every decision starts with them.” (Strategic Report, 2017)

Therefore, Marks and Spencer is a lovemark.
According to Roberts (2015), every person we deal with is an emotional human
being and, yet business had been treating them like numbers, targets and
statistics.” Therefore, Marks and Spencer is a lovemark, because lovemarks are
not owned by the manufacturers, the producers, the businesses, they are owned
by the people who love them. (Roberts, 2015).

In addition, Marks and Spencer has launched
a business model named Plan A to “create long-term value through the effective
use of resources and relationships, managing these in line with our core values
of Inspiration, Innovation, Integrity and In Touch.” (Corporate.marksandspencer.com,
2017). According to Wilson and Beard (2014), Marks and Spencer’s Plan A
environmental strategy is an ambitious one which addresses economic, social and
environmental considerations.

For this part of the assignment, a
quantitative method of research has been conducted, in order to get some
opinions and insights from the participants so it could be formed as a
strategy. According to Barnham (2016), in any quantitative research project,
the task is to establish a ‘representation’ of what consumers do or what
consumers think; trying to establish behavioral and mental ‘facts’. A survey
with 12 questions has been sent to 35 participants to gather some data. With
the survey conducted could be an implication for the market sensing of the
brand because from the data research gathered it was possible to conduct a
strategy for the company. According to Prince and Priporas (2014), companies
able to utilize “real-time” data have a competitive advantage over those whose
data have a serious lag time.

 Considering
survey’s results, people opted for doorstep delivery from M&S Foodhall. In
fact, there’s been a growth in the number of customers who are dependent on
online ordering facility. This has progressed toward becoming a significant
standard and it’s relied upon to develop massively in the following couple of
years. That is why a significant number of supermarkets are investing resources
into the most recent innovations like mobile apps, online ordering systems and
so on. It is expected that the next few years could bring a couple of more
innovations that could help food brands develop.

Therefore, it was found a possibility to
create a strategy that efficiently accommodates the shifting preferences of
time-starved customers from the data gathered for Marks and Spencer. Marks and
Spencer has been in constant change and at the needs of the customer so
therefore, home delivery could be one strategy that can increase more
popularity and trust. By having Plan A implemented already and successfully
working by making customers aware and get involved in making a great impact on
the environment, the food ordered by the customers will be delivered by green
vans, and the chance of leaving carbon footprints would be reduced.

In addition, the ordering process would be
made through an app, being more time efficient and could save a customer’s trip
to the grocery store. M&S OnDemand is a free app that helps customers
quickly shop the full grocery range available in M&S Foodhall. Due to the
fact that the Sparks Loyalty Program does not have a specific feature that can
attract potential customers, the card can be used as a Free Delivery Pass
depending on how many points they earn while buying instore and it can be used
every time they order food from the M&S OnDemand mobile app.

THE
5 W’S FRAMEWORK

To classify the strategy proposed, it has
been used the 5 W’s framework: Why, What, Who, When and Where.

Why:

For this part of the framework, The Golden
Circle by Simon Sinek (2011) has been used. According to Sinek (2011), the
Golden Circle is an alternative perspective to existing assumptions about why
some leaders and organizations have achieved such a disproportionate degree of
influence. Therefore, it offers clear insight as to how Apple is able to
innovate in so many diverse industries and never lose its ability to do so.
(Sinek, 2011)

When it comes to asking this for the
proposed strategy the answer is to transform the way of buying food by
delivering it to the customer’s houses in an eco-friendly way, because by being
sustainable, with green vans, there will be no carbon footprints and could be a
really strong value for the company, since not many grocery delivery companies
use this feature and since the company itself wants to become 100%
sustainable.  It could also make the
customer aware of the many ways the company is trying to make changes for the
better of the environment, because nowadays people have started to pay more
attention to the effects of their actions concerning the environment.

What:

With this strategy and with the data
conducted from the survey it was possible to come up with some measurable
objectives to achieve value and create competitive advantage for the company.
With these objectives it would be easy to get to achieve the goals set for the
strategy and company itself.

1.      
Doing the right thing by being
at the heart of the customer on busy days, special occasions with the home
delivery and increase sales by 15%

2.      
Improve things for the better
by being aware of the impact on the environment with eco-friendly delivery,
green vans.

3.      
To make customers aware of the
benefits they could get from the Sparks Loyalty Card and increase the number of
members by 5%.

The objectives show the expected percentage
of increasing sales and members of the Sparks Loyalty Card, but also explain
how important it is for the company to use a safe way to deliver ordered food
by not exploiting the environment.

 

Who:

 

 

The target market for the chosen strategy
are: senior customers and professional workers, because this kind of target
customers are what makes the company Marks and Spencer a valuable one and also,
they could benefit from delivery to their doorsteps since they barely have time
to shop for themselves or it could be hard for them to handle the grocery
shopping and it could be less of a hassle for them. Another benefit of the
delivery home is that on the busiest days of the years or special occasions, it
would be easier for customers to avoid busy shops and queues. However, with
this strategy the focus is to get more customers and targeting students as
target customer might be an advantage for the company, because since they are
tech-savvy and they tend to skip grocery shopping and end up ordering readymade
food.

Where:

The delivery process of the proposed
strategy will be targeted across the entire UK, subject to the availability of
Marks and Spencer. There is a number of options in which this strategy can be
set, for example, Marks and Spencer already promoted their products and
campaigns on television and radio. Since past few years, they discovered the
best place to their audience. Online advertising built on the social media
channels has played a major role considering that customers can easily get in
touch with the company and also its low-cost payment per impression. Promoting
the campaign though social media platforms is the best direction in which the
campaign can move so M&S could benefit of a high return of investment.
According to the Annual Report (2017) of the company, this year the company had
8.3 m website visits per week, and with this information, considering the
proposed strategy, the visits may increase by 10.2m due to customers getting
more interest on the food delivery process.

When talking about the app M&S On
Demand that has been presented in this paper an estimated number of downloads
might be around 10.000 downloads in its first month since launching. While it
may be confusing for some of its customers that they can order food from the
main M&S mobile app, M&S OnDemand concept could be promoted within the
main app so they can download it separately from the AppStore/Google Play being
a perfect accompaniment to the Cook with M&S app. This feature can also get
10.000 more downloads considering that many Marks and Spencer customers already
have the main app.

 

 

When:

The delivery process will be available at
any time of the year, but customers could benefit more from it around Christmas
or Easter when food orders are at its peak, because a lot of customers choose
to buy from Marks and Spencer for Christmas/Easter due to the quality of the
food and there is a full range of party selection products that customers love
to buy, the only disadvantage for M&S is that the customers have to pick
their orders straight from the store. Therefore, with M&S On Demand, the
company could get even more sales during these times of the year.

In addition to this, social media
advertising has played a major part for Marks and Spencer during Christmas time
and according to Vizard (2015) on an article found on Marketing Week, Marks and
Spencer has invested a fifth of its media budget in social media as it focuses
on content and storytelling to reach customers with a more personalized and
targeted message. In this case, M&S on demand will be advertised through
Facebook Ads, Google ads during Christmas/Easter, using SEO, customers’
specific interests and custom targeting.

 

Conclusion

To sum up, M&S On Demand could be a
conceptualized strategy for the future of the company, Marks and Spencer,
because it is using some of the Marks & Spencer’s actual concepts, of going
100% sustainable, by having green vans as the delivery process, and, at the
same time it is beneficial for the customers during peak times (e.g. Christmas,
Easter, Special Occasions), but not only that, at any time of the year as well.
However, so it can be even more advantageous for the customer, it was
implemented the idea of using free delivery access pass within the Sparks
Loyalty Card, depending on the number of Sparks points the customer has.  Within this strategy, the experience provided
for the customer might lead to higher customer satisfaction.