Promotional and Advertising Strategies
The industry selected for this paper is the automobile industry. Two leading companies in this particular industry, will be discussed in the paper, and these are the General Motors which is popularly known as GM and the Volkswagen Group. Based in the United States, General Motors is a multinational corporation that is involved in designing, producing, marketing, and distributing automobile services throughout the globe. It has ten brands to its name and these include popular brands like Opel, Chevrolet, Holden, Cadillac, and GMC which are manufactured in thirty-seven nations. The company was founded in 1908 (General Motors Corporation, 2011). On the other hand, Volkswagen, is a German based multinational automotive company. It is ranked the second largest amongst the leading automotive companies, after the General Motors. Volkswagen Company is also involved in creating designs, producing, and distributing passenger as well as commercial vehicles, engines, motorcycles, and many other related services that include fleet, financing, and leasing management. Established in 1937, Volkswagen Company is renowned for dealing with a variety of automobile brands such as Bugatti, Audi, and Porsche (Volkswagen, 2010).
Having been in the automotive industry for close to a century, General Motors has been integral in the automotive industry since it was conceived. The company has philosophies that embody its culture, client focus, and product excellence. There are four main markets in which General Motors operates under and these are Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and North America. The strategy a company chooses can defines its success and how it sustains its objectives over time. For GM, there have been numerous transitions over the years. In the recent past, the company has enthusiastically embraced social media as one of its key marketing strategies.
Social media has been attributed to the increase in the sales volume for GM, even as other automobile companies such as Toyota, Volkswagen, and Ford are reported to ave experienced a drop in their sales. Furthermore, as part of its strategy to align its design, engineering, and retail operations in a single global entity, GM has come up with a new vision and communication platform for its Chevrolet brand which has been named “ find new roads.” The company regards the establishment of this new platform as the right thing to reach to their clients. The main aim of creating the platform is to make it the cornerstone for the brand which is currently creating new products and technologies that will be sold in more than 140 nations worldwide. GM expects to revive its brand distinctiveness through this initiative. In addition, GM is also employing the use of technology as well as excellent resource management in an attempt to leverage its strategy. Other promotional strategies employed by the company include market development, product development, market penetration, retrenchment, and restructuring (General Motors Corporation, 2011).
On its part, Volkswagen’s business philosophy is concerned with the provision of enduring value, innovative, and responsible for clients worldwide. The brand of the company expresses reliability, quality, and top engineering skills. The main promotional strategies employed by Volkswagen center on customer satisfaction and loyalty, structuring of group sales, and efficient remarketing. Customer satisfaction is the most prioritized pursuit of the company and this is mainly because its sales activities are always driven by the objective of enhancing client satisfaction. The Audi brand, for instance, is a leading example of Volkswagen’s attempt to meet client satisfaction. The structuring of sales are based on a multi-brand structure for all the company’s brands . The company usually restructures its board of management sales department in order to optimize its cross-brand sales volume. In 2009, the company went ahead to incorporate dealers into the company’s information technology system with the aim of leveraging its synergies and facilitating the quick exchange of information among different stakeholders.
The company’s distribution network strategy is focused on fostering a close relationship between the company and its dealers as well as achieving high profitability. In the long-term growth strategy, the company also effectively markets its relatively new used vehicles. Volkswagen also uses regular surveys to obtain a perspective of what the customers look out for when purchasing used cars. Therefore, while the General motors extensively employs the social media to promote its brands, Volkswagen does not. However, both companies use customer oriented strategies and try to ensure that the needs of their client are sufficiently met (Volkswagen, 2010).
Strategies of differentiation are usually very critical for many business entities and they are often suitable when a company sets out to meet diverse needs and requirements of different clients through a standardized product (Boone, Kurtz, & Mease, 2012). It is thus important for successful automobile companies such as General Motors and Volkswagen to carefully survey the needs and behaviors of buyers in the market so that they can aptly establish the preferences of their clienteles. Market information is very essential in differentiating products which is necessary for any company seeking to obtain a competitive edge. A company such as General Motors or Volkswagen can utilize the market information it has collected in incorporating one or more features that are demanded by their clients into their products with the aim of attracting more clients to purchase their products instead of buying from the wide array of brands sold by their competitors. This makes it certain that a company can only gain competitive edge if buyers in the market become strongly attracted to the attributes of the brand that the company is offering. By accessing and using relevant market information, a company in the automobile industry can successfully differentiate its products and even command a premium price for its offerings hence gain a greater client loyalty to its products.
Consumer-oriented promotions entail the offering of a particular value, discount or incentive for customers if they choose to purchases certain products offered by a company. There are diverse consumer-oriented promotions including sampling, premium, sweepstakes, contests, refunds, rebates, couponing, price-offs, and bonus packs. Such promotional tools target clients with the aim of getting them to purchase specific products, hence boosting sales. In addition, consumer-oriented promotions are also aimed at enabling the consumers to save money in order to retain them and make them come back again. An automobile company such as General Motors or Volkswagen can utilize consumer oriented promotions in both the short-run and long-run with the aim of encouraging customers to purchase their brands and also keep them coming back by giving them coupons, hence helping them to save money. Customer-oriented promotions can enable companies in the automotive industry to enhance the loyalty of their clients to their brands both in the short-term and long-term (Boone, Kurtz, & Mease, 2012).
As the leading automobile company in the automotive industry, General Motors has undertaken strategic means of effectively pricing its commodities and products. Many times, General Motors has employed varied pricing techniques to raise its market share and achieve its set target rates of return through sales.
In General Motors retail prices are determined through carrying out property clinics in which participants make a comparison of the target vehicles with sister or similar General Motor vehicles alongside the prices set for similar vehicles by rival companies in the market. In this exercise participants usually undertake reviews of every vehicle, rank each vehicle according to the tastes and preferences, and finally, complete a pricing exercise, which is usually used in evaluating the relative values for each vehicle. Theinformation gained from this exercise helps General Motors to estimate the market share at different costs in the market. For other companies in the automotive industry to differentiate their products and gain a competitive edge, they have no choice but create excitement and interest about their products and special features that appeal to different customers and also set social, ethical, and ideological objectives within their strategies. By sparking off interest and excitement concerning their products, other companies within the automotive industry can easily differentiate their products hence increase their sales volume. Furthermore, setting social, ethical, and ideological objectives, can place many of these companies in better positions in terms of setting priorities and establishing more customer-centered strategies, in order to obtain a competitive edge (General Motors Corporation, 2011).
The automotive industry has been ranked top among the most lucrative ventures in the world today with many of its advertisements appearing on television, radios, billboards, magazines, newspapers, as well as in the social media sites. Some of these advertisements also come in the form of letters or emails. As such, advertisements can be found in every place because they are very critical to a company’s survival especially in the competitive markets. It is very important for any company to advertise its brands as this can help the customers know about them.
There are many companies today that are going online given the increase in social media sites such as Groupon and Facebook. These help to attract more traffic to the websites of many companies. Nevertheless, there are so many people who still use print media, television, billboards, and radios in order to obtain information. In the automotive industry, online advertisements have become the most effective medium because they open up new frontiers. Carrying out advertisement over the internet is a cost effective and a more diversified alternative that automobile companies can use to propagate information to a large number of people or sections across the world. Another advantage of internet advertisements is the fact that they provide a visual representation of the products being advertised (Marich, 2009, 201).
Many companies seek the best and low-cost advertising techniques in order to cut on costs and still market their brands effectively. For such companies, the main aim is to make the most out of the advertisements. The available cheap means of advertising gives these companies a wide range of options to choose from even if they are working on a budget diet. At the same time, these options offer the companies good returns on their investments. Besides advertising over the internet, there are other methods that are generally cheap and effective (202-212).
Designing and using fliers to advertise automobile products is not only simple but also cheap and hence it is a great way of disseminating information with regards to a particular company. Companies that want to use fliers as the effective advertising tools, might need to offer incentives or discounts to their customers. Using fliers for advertisement is also an informal means through which companies can track the number of clients buying their products or brands. Additionally, many companies cooperate and partner with each other on a daily basis because this is an effective way of reaching out to new clients and also cutting on advertisement costs. This is a strong implication of the fact that through partnership with each other, companies can save on advertising costs while at the same time increase their exposure to the customers (215-230).
In comparison to the different advertisement media, the internet stands out as the most effective and cost-effective means of advertising because it is not only cheap but easy to use as well. Even though fliers and corporate partnering are also low-cost and effective, advertising through the internet tends to be better because it reaches out to scores of people on a worldwide scale. To add to this, internet advertising is also an easy and faster means for companies to track the progress of their products as well as estimate their sales volume (241-274).
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General Motors Corporation. (2011). Annual report. Detroit, Mich: The Corporation.
Marich, R. (2009). Marketing to moviegoers: A handbook of strategies and tactics. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Volkswagen. (2010). Volkswagen. Annual report 2010. Wolfsburg, Germany: Volkswagen AG.
Hackley, C. E. (2005). Advertising and promotion: Communicating brands. London: SAGE Publications.