Concept Application Paper-Jarir Bookstore
The basic idea in marketing relates to organizational efforts to accomplish long-term marketing goals in the best way possible. However, a company can only do this through an awareness of the particular needs and wants of customers, and the organizational devotion to satisfy such needs in a better way than the competitors can. Most companies today are using the newly developing marketing strategies to promote their businesses for successful performance and improved business survival. This essay, therefore, will focus on three highly competitive marketing approaches used by modern business comprising of segmentation, customer relationship management (CRM) and positioning. The essay will demonstrate how such marketing strategies have been applying at Jarir Bookstore. Jarir is a Saudi Arabian company that is highly recognized as a market leader in school supplies, office supplies, books and IT products. The company is highly popular and respected across Saudi Arabia by customers as well as the business community
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM has been among the key concepts that have secured great prominence among practitioners and scholars. Many companies today are increasingly adopting customer-oriented programs, strategies, tools, technology and strategies to facilitate effective management of their relationships with their customers. Companies have realized the need for a stronger and an integrated knowledge of their customers to build closer relationships with their clients. The development of new technologies and channels are significantly altering the way firms interact with their customers. According to Sheth and Parvatiyar (1), this development is bringing about a larger integration degree between different organizational functions including sales, marketing and customer service. Among practitioners, CRM is a representation of a business approach for developing a complete knowledge concerning customer preferences and behaviors as well as the development of strategies and programs, which promote a continuous improvement of relationships between customers and the company.
CRM, therefore, can be used to facilitate database marketing that focuses on the promotional marketing aspects associated with database efforts. CRM also can apply in enabling organizations increase their customer retention levels through the application of marketing tactics that promotes customer-company bonding even after completing a sale. Today’s most popular approach among companies relates to the information technology application, which stresses on direct relationships or interactions between a company and the customers (Sheth and Parvatiyar 4). Consequently, this helps in integrating the database knowledge accompanied by lengthy consumer retention plus a long-term growth strategy. Relationship marketing is used interchangeably with CRM to mean in integrated effort of an organization to discover, maintain and build a network of individual consumers and continuously strengthening the network for a mutual benefit for both.
Sheth and Parvatiyar (4) noted that this is done through an individualized, interactive and value added contacts within a long period. Other scholars define CRM as the marketing that is oriented towards strong and lasting relations with individual accounts. Most modern business are positioning their businesses strategically by prioritizing customer needs while also shifting marketing roles from customer manipulation to genuine engagement with customers through knowledge sharing and effective communication. Attracting new customers needs to be observed solely as an intermediate action within a marketing process. Similarly, development of stronger relationships with such customers while also making them loyal should be considered as an essential aspect of marketing. Marketing in this case aims to establish, maintain as well as enhance a company’s relationships with customers plus other relevant partners for a profit to accomplish the objectives of parties involved. In relationship marketing, all marketing activities of an organization are directed towards developing, establishing and keeping successful relationships.
Application: Jarir has established a suitable approach for interacting with their customers, sharing information and satisfying their needs. The company uses their website to relate with customers, where they are able to obtain information on what they may require and contact the company for additional information. Jarir has also adopted the modern technology of social media to help in managing relationships with their customers using social network tools like Face book, Twitter and Linkedhn. Through such channels, the company shares information with their customers and get instant feedbacks from customers. From customers’ comments, Jarir can track their performance based on the level of consumer satisfaction if they are pleased with the company’s offerings and services. The company stores similarly have customer help desks where customers can seek information regarding a certain issue through the excellent services from Jarir’s highly dedicated team.
Implementation: Jarir blends social media into their CRM, a strategy that allows the company’s brand to listen to their customers in a more direct manner. Social media has been helping in improving the company’s traditional CRM through engaging in conversations with customers directly on social media platforms. The company may post updates on their social sites regarding their services/products and engage customers in interactions that provides feedback on the level of consumer satisfaction in relation to Jarir’s offerings. Social media conversations allows the company to track new leads from Face book posts and Tweets to acquire information on what improvements the company can make for better performance and increased customer satisfaction.
Problems and Challenges: Various approaches used in promoting Jarir’s CRM are essential in connecting the company with their customers. However, promoting CRM through social media can also cause problems and present challenges to Jarir’s business. Sometimes unhappy or unsatisfied customers may post something or provide feedback on the social sites that presents a bad company image. Such posts/feedbacks can be detrimental to the company’s public relations, which can discourage some customers from consuming the company’s products.
According Epetimehin (62), market segmentation is used as a device for enhancing satisfaction of products or services offered by an organization. Many companies spend a substantial portion of their energy, time and resources in pursuit of new businesses. Although it is essential to replace lost businesses or grow and expand existing businesses to new markets, the retention of the existing customers and enhancing consumer relationships has remained a key goal. Nonetheless, effective understanding of consumers’ buying patterns or behaviors enables companies to retain customers while also gaining a larger share of the business. Moreover, customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and consumer retention have remained vital intermediate goals to facilitate unique economic excellence in the modern liberalized markets.
As markets become more and more competitive, organizations will most probably try to maintain their present market share through focusing on retention of the existing customers instead of attracting new customers. To enhance consumer retention, firms initiate variety of activities like programs on customer satisfaction, loyalty and complain management. Epetimehin (62) has recommended segmentation as a form of enhancing consumer satisfaction, customer retention and loyalty. Considering the changes in the regulatory situations, the increased competitive pressures and squeezed profits have made many companies to seek new ways of directing their resources to the most lucrative consumer groups. For this reason, the combination of regulatory forces, economic conditions plus the increased competitive activities have led to the upsurge in market segmentation interests (Epetimehin 62). Companies use the demographic variables like social class, age and income levels in facilitating their segmentation strategies.
Market segmentation, therefore, comprises of customer grouping that is based on similarity of needs or buying behaviors/habits into segments, where each segment is targeted through a unique marketing strategy (Epetimehin 63). The concept tries to reconcile varied customer needs under limited firm resources. In segmentation, marketing and product offerings are adjusted to align with the diverse customer groups. Most companies today are increasingly adopting target marketing. The idea behind this strategy is that consumers are heterogeneous in their purchase behaviors and needs. For this reason, companies are placed in a better position to serve specific customer segments. Moreover, customers switch to competitors for various reasons including quality of service, pricing, competition, ethical problems and poor customer services, among others.
Segmentation is a practice that helps in reducing failed services incidences, which make customers to switch to competitors. According to Epetimehin (64), market segmentation primarily aims to group consumers based on the similarity of purchase behaviors and needs into segments. In this case, each segment is targeted using a different product/service and different marketing offerings, which matches the needs of diverse consumer segments. Business organizations should always try to know their customers better via the application of geographic, demographic and psychographic factors to determine the typical user profile. Such information becomes very critical in subsequent marketing efforts. Retention of customers and obtaining a bigger business share require companies to understand better the purchasing patterns of customers. A segmentation strategy generates various benefits for an organization, which results in more satisfied customers due to enhanced understanding of consumer needs, effective resource allocation, and clearer recognition of market opportunities plus better positioned marketing programs. Consequently, this helps in developing sustainable competitive positions for business organizations, ultimately leading to more satisfied clients (Epetimehin 64).
Application: Jarir’s target market is divided into various market segments including school supplies, office supplies, stationery, IT supplies and books. The target group comprises of both Arabic and foreign customers. The company uses a different approach or strategy to reach each of the segments because their needs differ widely. A marketing strategy to reach the school supplies will be ineffective to communicate to the office supplies or IT supplies segments.
Implementation: In order to reach the different market segments, Jarir conducts various promotional activities like the ‘Back to School’ initiative targeting the ‘school supplies segment’. Others include customer loyalty programs and showroom opening events to reach various segments being targeted by the company. Newspapers and billboards also serve as advertising channels to reach various market segments. In addition, Jarir generates thin margins from some supplies (school supplies segment). This implies that the company sells certain items at subsidized prices. The approach helps in building a long-term consumer loyalty with such market segments while also motivating them to acquire other products from the store. For instance, Jarir Bookstore believes that students buying school supplies at low prices from the store will most likely purchase other items like laptops later in life. Because of the lower margins generated from the wholesale sector, Jarir stresses on supplying fast-moving products including school bags, paper products and notepads in order to attain higher volumes. Higher volumes increase Jarir’s buying power, enabling the firm to negotiate for better terms with the suppliers. Consequently, this gives the firm a competitive advantage over their competitors.
Problems and Challenges: The retail industry has developed to be the most dynamic sector with a similar pace of change as that of technology. Primarily, this is because there has been an increased consumer awareness that presents great challenges for retailers like Jarir to maintain customers’ loyalty. Although customers’ spending power is high, Jarir’s business success is based on their unique offering plus quick responses to business environmental changes. Moreover, Jarir’s survival in this market depends on their ability to continuously being innovative and adapting to new technologies failure to which risks the firm’s future growth. Jarir also faces a problem/challenge linked to their conversion rate, which relates to the sales volumes compared to customer flow into a store. The company is faced by the challenge of retaining their conversion rate with no compromise on the profitability margin to advance their business growth in today’s highly competitive environment. For this reason, Jarir has been accepting low profit margins in efforts to retain/increase customer loyalty.
In the modern increasingly competitive industrial environment, marketers are facing a key challenge in competing successfully to attract consumer attention. Brand choice and publicity has exploded thereby increasing confusion among potential customers. According to Manhas (16), positioning is among the core elements of contemporary marketing management. Positioning strategies aim to promote brand attractiveness as positions that differentiate a brand in a specific market, in a manner that is meaningful to consumers. Effective positioning mutually benefits both the consumer as well as the marketer, since it is supported by the understanding satisfaction a brand delivers to consumers.
Similarly, proper positioning provides customers with benefits intended for solving problems linked to customer needs in a manner that differs from competitors (Mita and Bettman 459). The importance of positioning in an organization is found within the link it offers between the external and internal competitive environments. Therefore, this is essential in defining strategic marketing that points to aligning organizational internal resources with the available environmental opportunities. Positioning is thus is a pertinent strategic concept, which is crucial in consumer marketing development. The concept relates to the positioning of a firm’s value, which entails a unique manner in which a company delivers value to customers.
Successful positioning can solely be attained through adopting a consumer’s perspective. Similarly, it involves an understanding of how consumers perceive products, in addition to how they accrue importance to specific attributes (Mita and Bettman 460). In modern marketing, gaining competitiveness and securing a long term market survival requires a company to evaluate the product/service it delivers while also managing their businesses with consideration of their competitors. Positioning attempts to adjust the tangible features and intangible perceptions linked to a marketable product based on competition. In today’s marketing environment, positioning is inevitable for a business to succeed. According to Manhas, (17), a product’s position relates to how customers define a product in relation to key attributes plus the place the product occupies within the consumers’ minds compared to competing brands.
When developing a marketing strategy, a company must consider factors like the target market, the differentiating factor in relation to competitors, the value of that difference to the targeted group plus the ability of a brand to communicate its uniqueness to the market targeted. Brand positioning and identity is fundamental in the development of a strong consumer base as well brand equity. The perceived differentiation from market rivals and the target market are key concepts of positioning. Brand positioning can be considered a vital concept in a brand strategy, which assists in the identification of a market niche within the target segment’s mind. Manhas (18) stated that the primary objective of brand positioning is to strengthen the positive image already within the target audience mind, develop/create a new image and correct negative images.
Application: Jarir positions itself as a high quality brand with products setting it apart from competition, serving both the Arabs as well as foreign readers with excellent customer service to ensure total customer satisfaction. This differentiates the company from their closest competitors like Obeikan that positions itself to serve the Arab readers only. The positioning gives Jarir a high competitive position because they are able to serve a larger market that incorporates both foreign and Arab readers. The positioning has made the company to be a highly reputable and respected bookstore among the customers as well as the business community. This has also played a key role in enabling the company to maintain their market leadership.
Implementation: Jarir implements their positioning strategy by continuously adding new lines of products that maximize on opportunities while also reflecting the general company/business image. Similarly, the strategy is executed through the firm’s employee commitment, dedication and professionalism, which ensures excellent customer services regardless of which customer is being served (a foreigner or Arabic). The company also has a strong team of management with efficient leadership skills and that respects personal initiatives and offers opportunities for employees’ individual growth. Employees are treated as key assets and as engineers, which builds the company’s dream towards reality.
Problems and Challenges: Jarir Bookstore operates in an industry that is experiencing stiff competition within Saudi Arabia. The industry is being faced by high competition due to severe price cuts, new product offerings, aggressive marketing activities by competitors plus the changing market share. Moreover, the industry is increasingly fragmented with a huge number of participants of different sizes and many business lines. Entry barriers into this industry are limited such that new companies are joining the sector quite easily. Companies like Jarir Bookstore, therefore, have experienced a major challenge in trying to operate with sustainable profits. Jarir has always been trying to position their brand strategically through creating operational efficiencies and generating benefits from scale economies to increase their market survival as well as competitiveness to retain their leadership position in the market.
The above discussion has provided an analysis of selected marketing concepts that are being employed by modern businesses to promote their businesses. The three concepts discussed include segmentation, CRM and positioning. The essay has also demonstrated how the three concepts have been applying at Jarir Bookstore, their implementation process as well as challenges. The company deals with products like office supplies, school supplies, books and IT supplies and serves both the Arabian people as well as foreigners. Jarir has been a market leader in this industry and is highly popular and respected across Saudi Arabia.
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Sheth, Jagdish and Parvatiyar, Atul. Customer Relationship Management: Emerging Practice, Process and Discipline. Journal of Economic and Social Research, 3.2:1-34.