Principles of Marketing Management

 Principles of Marketing Questions and Answers

1.    Compare and contrast customer needs, wants, and demands. Describe the need versus the want for the following products: Gatorade, Nike shoes, and iPod
Needs include the basic human requirements the absence of which leads to a feeling of deprivation in the humans (Hitesh Bhasin, 2011). For example, humans have the need for food, water, clothing, shelter, education and entertainment. Most of the times the products don’t require a push and the buyer would buy it himself
Wants are the next step to needs. When needs are directed at specific products and items they make up wants. For example, the need might be thirst but somebody may want a Coca-Cola to satisfy the thirst. Wants are not something without which the person would not be able to survive (Hitesh Bhasin, 2011). They are optional products and may change with every individual and time. 
The ability of financial backup to satisfy wants turns into demands. Before, a need of transformation coupled with financial back up would lead someone to demand a BMW. Demands are a step ahead of wants as well. 
In Gatorade, the need if hydration but the want is of the specific brand called Gatorade. 
In case of Nike Shoes, the need is covering your feet, but the demand is to buy specific Nike branded shows only.
IPod has the need as entertainment but want of a specific music device. 
2.     One of the great new “marketplaces” of our time is eBay. Spend some time on the eBay website (www.ebay.com). Find a product that you are interested in and follow the bidding. How much would you be willing to pay? 
The bidding process at eBay is very simplified and I just had to spend a maximum limit on the amount I was willing to pay for the Toms shoes I wanted. Since this brand is not available in my country I was willing to spend a max of $50 for the same. 
Consider the following questions. (Objective 2)
How is eBay providing value to its customers?
eBay is providing a platform for sellers to sell their products and customers to buy from them. It does not have any inventory of its own. Also, sellers can put a fixed price or they can also opt to set an auction for the product. The auctioning process adds the most value as it is completely automated. The user just needs to provide the maximum amount that he is willing to pay for the product and eBay does the incremental bidding. In this way, customers are able to get the best deals within their budgets. 
Describe the relationship they have with their customers.
The entire process from addition of sellers to the buying process is automated. However, eBay strongly believes in a customer DMA which is a single customer repository that handles all the data. The data helps provide customers suggestions based on their past purchases. Also, eBay has communities where users can ask queries (Customer Relationships, n.d.). 
What are their markets?
The main markets of eBay include Brazil, India, Russia and China (Kucera, 2013). It is currently trying to focus its efforts on the emerging economies of the world. The main segments that eBay is in are:
1.    Marketplace: It includes the global platform and the localized sites around the world. There were about 128 active million users in 2013. This segments provides opportunities for advertising as well. 
2.    Payments: It includes the brand PayPal which helps businesses and individuals to transfer and send payments securely online. There are about 143 million active accounts at PayPal as of December 2013 data (Nielson, 2014). 
3.    Enterprise: There are three main segments: Commerce technologies, marketing and channel operations. eBay also has its own open source platform which developers can access for APIs. 
3.    The marketing mix is the set of controllable, tactical marketing tools the firm blends to product the responses it wants from the target market. These marketing tools can all be collected into four sets of variables known as the “four Ps.” Consider Southwest Airlines (www.southwest.com). Briefly, describe the “four Ps” employed by Southwest.
Product: Southwest airlines offers the most low cost flight services in the United States with no extra services. They only use the Boeing 737 as their carrier jets. They offer best in class services like baggage handling, ability to carry pets, easy check-in and check out, flexible flight schedules, etc. They operate only in the Unites States and no flights are offered outside US. They offer in-flight services like snacks, drinks and Wi-Fi connectivity. (Southwest, 2016)They fly to 72 cities in 37 states and run more than 3400 flights a day. They offer southwest vacation and gift cards along with corporate travel services. The high frequency of flights, short haul, and point to point are allowing them to win customer service points. 
Price: the prices offered by Southwest airlines as the lowest in the United States. There are 2 kinds of pricing strategies. Variable and dynamic pricing is used and also, they offer cost leadership where low prices for all their flights. Prices for children and adults are different. People who book their flights in advance can avail huge discounts. The company had reduced several overhead costs like and has been able to maintain a low fares scheme for its passengers through all these years. 
Promotion: As part of their promotion offers, they have several schemes that passengers can avail. Their rapid Rewards program helps build a loyalty program and users can avail these points on flight miles. Also, they run a special offers section where they partner with hotels to offer discount packages to people. Promotion codes can also be accessed and redeemed on flight bookings made on the site. Along with running promotional offers, they engage in the traditional marketing mix and utilize the channels of communication. They have used internet, television and print media as their major sources of advertising. Their Out of Home adverts target major airports to target the right audience. Television has been an important challenge and they regularly launch campaigns to increase the frequency of air travel. Their 2009 campaign, “Grab Your Bag. It’s on” was an attempt to convince customers to keep travelling despite of the slowdown. Their mobile application sends push notifications to people about new deals and offers. Their non-profit organization relationships and continuous efforts have won them significant media publicity as well. They have sponsored a lot of sporting events like the Orioles, Phillies etc. 
Place: Southwest airlines uses the direct channel of communicating for reaching out to its customers. They only sell their services through their website and users wanted to purchase flight ticket, car rentals or hotels can do so through the site. They have no middle men or other channels of selling their products. All brokers and agents are out of the picture. Users can also book tickets through their helpline and by providing their billing details (Southwest, 2016). 
4.    How would you describe a “market niche?” Describe four product/services that you own or consume that you would consider being “niche” products. Why do you believe this to be true?
A “market niche” is a small area of business that the product is aimed at. The product focusses on selling only in that specific customer base and hence all its design, pricing, distribution etc. are affected by the target segment that it looks at. It is a small with profitable segment of the market that the company wants to draw revenue from. Firms determine the wants, aspirations and needs of a particular target segment and design their product offerings accordingly. 
A niche product is relatively less affected with the price elasticity of demand. It is a good way for company to enter into a new market. Some of the products that I consume and could fall under “niche products” are:
1.    Scientific Calculator: As the general calculator needs are taken care of by any normal calculator, a scientific calculator falls in the niche segment because it caters to very few people and their needs. Students, and some people working in companies on financial terms need to make use of this calculator on a regular basis.
2.    Marketing blogs: There are certain marketing blogs like mad over marketing and afaqs that I follow. These blogs do not aim at addressing the entire world and focus on the very few target audience subset that would be interested in reading marketing articles and news updates. The general news reading public is a very larger set of the people who would be interested in marketing. 
3.    Budget hostels: There are several students who prefer to stay at hostels at low process while travelling. Zostel is one such service that provides low fares and good environment to people travelling on a budget. Hence, their target audience is limited to this particular set only.
4.    Manchester United merchandize: The merchandize like t-shirts, cups, key chains, shows, scarves, etc. aim at the limited people who are Manchester united fans and who would be interested in buying their products. Hence, their energies do not focus on the entire segment of sports apparel but rather on a very small subset only.
 

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References:

1.    Customer Relationships. (n.d.). Retrieved from aBay Project: https://sites.google.com/site/bus600miked/04_customer-relationships
2.    Hitesh Bhasin. (2011). Needs wants and demands. Retrieved from Marketing 91: http://www.marketing91.com/needs-wants-and-demands/
3.     Kucera, D. (2013). EBay Focuses on $195 Billion Global Emerging Markets Push. Retrieved from Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-05-23/ebay-focuses-on-195-billion-global-emerging-markets-push
4.    Nielson, S. (2014). Business overview: An investor's essential guide to eBay . Retrieved from http://marketrealist.com/2014/02/ebay-2/
5.    Southwest. (2016). Southwest. Retrieved from https://www.southwest.com/

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