The significance of the association of functional units of a business organization and marketing is a crucial factor for every business organization and the contemporary business environment reflects potential setbacks that can be addressed through flexible coordination of marketing along with other essential business functions. H&M is a renowned organization in the sector of retail fashion and the reputation of the organization is based on its unique competence to provide updated fashion at low prices. With a formidable international presence, the organization is aiming at long-term prospects of expansion in countries such as China, Japan, and Eastern European countries alongside developing a formidable market base in countries such as the US, Spain, Germany, Canada, and France.
Therefore, H&M requires the immediate addressing of marketing approaches of the organization alongside moderating the other business functions. Interpretation of marketing essential concerning a case study allows the acquisition of opportunities that would be explicit and unique since they are based on critical evaluation. The following report aims at describing marketing essentials and the significance of a marketing plan and the utilization of marketing concepts that can foster organizational growth. Each section of the report is directed towards explanation by comprehensive categorization and subheadings that allow flexibility in apprehending the marketing essentials.
The references to the marketing mix and its comparative review concerning the planning process and specified business objectives as well as the implementation of tactics for achieving the objectives prove to be complementary inclusions in the report that improve the legibility of the report outcomes. The formulation of a comprehensive marketing plan for the case study organization, H&M, is illustrated in the report through the collation of data about the marketing mix. The influence of the distinct elements of the marketing mix for H&M could help in providing evidence for the particular elements in the marketing mix that leads to the accomplishment of the particular objectives set for the marketing department of H&M.
The theoretical paradigms about marketing functions in organizations are largely reliant on the behavioral and management science implications. A large share of marketing theories and concepts have been derived from the integration of concepts about sociology, economics, communication research, and psychology.
The approaches for modeling and operation research techniques are found to be major influences on the improvement of existing instruments utilized by marketing researchers and academics. On one hand, the formidable interplay between the various disciplines involved in the formulation of marketing strategies and techniques of an organization is emphasized too much in research findings (Babin & Zikmund, 2015).
However, the inclination towards determining the impact rendered by the interrelationship of marketing and other business functions is minimal and could create potential setbacks for organizations in the long run. H&M has been assumed as a case study organization in a vocational scenario for reflecting on the different relationships between marketing and other business functions that could dictate the strategic performance of H&M. This section of the report deals with a precise estimation of marketing essential for communicating to employees so that the latter could implement them for accomplishing strategic business objectives (Baines, Fill & Page, 2013).
The outcomes of this section would emphasize the formulation of an effective marketing plan that would encompass strategic business functions such as financial management, personnel management, procurement, short and long-term business objectives, and the framework for research and development (Bartlett, 2015). The marketing inputs must be integrated with the core business functions of financial management, procurement, personnel management, and research and development personnel to obtain sustainable growth and profitability for the organization.
The identification of interplay between the marketing activities and other business functions should be preceded by the interpretation of marketing activities. Marketing activities can be generically defined as the individual components of a marketing plan of an organization. The proficiency of H&M in the retail clothing industry could be directed towards the classification of marketing plans according to the influences of staff and information resources, frequency of development, and time of execution of the activities.
Considering the size of the case study organization, H&M, and the other influential entities such as short-term, medium, and long-term objectives, and evolution of the external environment, competitive rivalry, and the significance of marketing as a business function in the enterprise, the marketing plan requires comprehensive evaluation and coordination of plans of other significant departments in the organization (Bhatia, 2015). The size and global operations of H&M signify potential highlights for coordination of functional area development to realize the efficiency of the marketing plan alongside establishing a formal impression of the changes brought in other functional areas of the organization through changes in one specific functional area of business e.g. marketing (BRASSINGTON & PETTITT, 2012).
The promising aspects for framing an appropriate marketing plan are subject to the impact of customer and competitor response. The dependency of H&M on its supply chain is a major indicator for the company to consider the integration of cognizable interplay between the different functional areas of the enterprise in the marketing plan of the organization.
Every marketing plan is associated with the mandatory requirement of a financial dimension and the concerns can be validated on the grounds of consistent evolution of profit and costs, required budget, and the strategies for marketing. These elements are cognizably responsible for the observation of other modern analytical instruments such as profitability analysis and budgeting which can be characterized as the primary inclusions in market planning and control (Clow & James, 2013).
As per Dibb & Simkin, consideration of the marketing decisions from an investment perspective is a prerequisite for H&M which is responsible for adopting financial criteria and instruments that could help in credible evaluation of the investment decisions. H&M should consider the investment evaluation not only for new products but also for the decisions on promotion, advertisement, distribution, and price reflecting on comprehensive addressing of the marketing mix (Dibb & Simkin, 2013).
The interplay between marketing activities such as evolution forecast, marketing planning, pricing decisions, marketing mix, and product management decisions and financial activities such as definitions of financial profit, reporting financial outcomes, requirements of capital and financing, and cash flow analysis is formidably observed as an influential element for determining the strategic performance of H&M (Stokes, 2015).
H&M has to emphasize the interplay between marketing and procurement business functions as it is not involved in production and does not have any production units. Procurement from a wide array of suppliers and designers is a major significant function of H&M since the changes in the availability of products could lead to profound concerns for the organization without any own production frameworks. The marketing activities of market research prove to be influential in the procurement of new materials and equipment since research outcomes help apprehend the essential requirements of customers and what they find attractive in the product (Dibb & Simkin, 2013).
Since the products of H&M are primarily clothing and accessories such as nightwear, underwear, and cosmetics, these products require the input of what customers think of them. Fashion needs are evolving constantly and the reflection of distinct fashion trends in different geographical locations suggests the immediate need to determine the trends of preference of customers for fashion.
Another profound procurement activity that could be related to the marketing function of H&M refers to the identification of novel suppliers of clothing which is associated with the marketing function of marketing research assisting in the recognition of sources for new suppliers (Groucutt & Hopkins, 2015). Anticipation of evolving fashion trends and their acceptance in the existing marketing environment through market research helps in maintaining sustainable advantage.
The interrelationship between personnel management and marketing functions is also considered as an influential element for employees of H&M to address strategic business objectives (Stokes, 2015). The marketing activities of research and development of marketing plan are interrelated to personnel activities such as the internal audit of the workforce, development of job descriptions, training programs, assessment of employees, and recruitment. Improvement of the competence of human capital should be executed according to the contemporary business environment and explicit description of frequent changes occurring in the labor market and industry level changes (Jain, 2016).
The newsletter emphasized the interplay of the marketing function of H&M with financial management, personnel management, and procurement to present employees with a cognizable overview of the role of marketing and its implementation in unison with other business management functions.
Management and monitoring of business operations in an organization like H&M have to be dictated by the assessment of the business environment and economic systems of the organization. Concerning business management, the business environment can be very well considered as the representation of the marketing environment (Solis, 2011).
The marketing plan for H&M is associated with formidable business objectives which can be addressed by a review of the interoperability of the marketing mix and the marketing planning process as well as by providing the impression of varying tactics implemented by H&M to collate the findings of the business environment analysis in a marketing plan (Jobber & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). Therefore this section of the report presents a conclusive illustration of the analysis of economic systems and the business environment through an interpretation of varying approaches followed by organizations to leverage the individual components of the marketing mix to accomplish strategic business objectives (Shimizu, 2014).
Analysis of the economic systems of H&M reflects on the possible opportunities that could be acquired by the organization to obtain sustainable growth. The first point that could be inferred from the analysis of economic systems refers to the acquisition of substantial market share by H&M alongside the implications of concurrent growth in sales and international expansion. As per Kotler & Armstrong, the institution of new stores along with formidable expansion strategies enables the organization to acquire higher revenues thereby strengthening the economic systems of H&M (Kotler & Armstrong, 2013).
The other essential highlights that can be included in the analysis outcomes related to economic systems refer to the variability of cotton prices, interest and tax rates and fluctuations in currency are the profound ambiguities that can be perceived as major pitfalls in the economic strength of H&M. Furthermore, H&M has also been subject to concerns raised by the influence of manufacturing and labor costs on the decisions of suppliers (Shimizu, 2003).
An interpretation of the external business environment for H&M through cognizable references to the estimation of market forces influencing the strategic orientation of the marketing activities of the enterprise. The comparative evaluation of each element of the marketing mix of H&M would facilitate a cognizable impression of the implementation of the marketing mix in the marketing planning process. The concerns raised due to competitors can be used as an advantage of the organization through comparative analysis of the competence of other firms. H&M has to understand the impact of competitor response to changes in their marketing mix thereby formulating strategies that could address competition without the requirement of additional investments (Kotler, Philip & Keller, 2012).
Zara is a company based in Spain with an observable presence in Europe and is reliant on production of the Spanish designers who are informed of the requirements of local people. This example suggests a formidable implementation of marketing concepts to ensure flexible supervision of the interplay between marketing and production activities. Some of the essential highlights of Zara could provide legible insights into the marketing mix changes as compared to H&M. The company has limited stores and its production facilities characterized by medium profit scales and a turnaround period of two weeks which positions it as one of the formidable competitors of H&M (Kotler, Philip & Keller, 2009).
H&M specifically relies on its marketing mix elements to acquire sustainable development and business growth. In terms of products, H&M has fashionable clothing, accessories, and cosmetics which are suitable for a wide range of customer preferences for all ages and gender. The primary revenue-earning product segment for H&M is clothing and the shifting of the organization towards earning maximum revenues from the additional product lines such as home decor and shoes. In terms of place, H&M faces minimal deterrents owing to its expanse of over 25000 stores globally, located primarily in high-density places such as large urban locations and renowned malls (Shimizu, 1989).
The institution of online services is also accounted as a promising element in the marketing mix of H&M. The pricing aspect of the marketing mix of H&M is characterized by the trendy clothing variants that are facilitated at minimal prices which comply with the concept of the business to facilitate high-quality fashionable clothing at the most reasonable prices. The pricing aspect of H&M clothing is flexible and can be observed in the reasonable pricing of the regular collections.
The promotion aspect of the marketing mix in the case of H&M is directly dependent on the commercials and print as well as online mediums such as apps and social media which serve as interactive platforms to depict the novel collections (Lilly, 2014). Another essential highlight to be noticed in the promotion aspect of the marketing mix is the emphasis on potential customers within the age group of 18-24 which depict profound characteristics of budget consciousness. In terms of process, H&M has profound management over the procurement dimensions and the establishment of operational guidelines refers to the comprehensiveness of the marketing planning process (Schultz, Tannenbaum & Lauterborn, 1993).
The physical evidence is addressed by H&M through the amiable environment of its physical stores as well as the specific categorization of different product lines alongside the flexibility of the online interface of the organization. The people aspect of the marketing mix is monitored by effective personnel management that ensures the employees in the stores are capable of facilitating a memorable experience for customers (Lucas, 2013).
The section illustrated the varying dimensions of the marketing mix and their relevance to the marketing planning process in the case of H&M. The depiction of the competitor’s i.e. Zara’s marketing stance has also been provided for a comparative standpoint (Pike, 2015).
Strategic fit can be considered as a mandatory requirement in the business plan of H&M as the company needs to establish flexible coordination among the delivery system, the infrastructure of the procurement and supply apparatus as well as the competitive priorities of the organization. The implementation of inputs from the analysis of the internal as well as external environment of an organization could be viable support for developing a marketing mix that is capable of addressing the market objectives (Rao, Babu & Babu, 2013).
As per Macarthy, H&M has the distinct marketing objective of sustaining its position and reputation in the retail clothing industry as well as expanding into new markets to ensure improvement of market share (Macarthy, 2014). These outcomes can be realized only through the integration of the marketing mix in the plan as illustrated below. The distinct objectives of responsibly utilizing natural resources, maintaining ethics, strengthening communities, recognizing and reward for the partners as well as facilitating products to conscious customers could also be collated to determine the marketing plan (Malhotra, 2014).
The marketing plan for H&M would comprise distinct stages which are associated with specific marketing activities and refer to the elements of the marketing mix.
As per Malhotra, Birks & Wills, a marketing audit is the first step involved in the marketing plan which comprises market research and marketing planning that can help in the acquisition of flexible data about the business environment of H&M thereby helping in understanding customers better and apprehending the competitive rivalry. This could help the organization frame product modifications and the outcomes of internal marketing to realize the flexible moderation of product and promotion aspects of the marketing mix (Malhotra, Birks & Wills, 2013). The marketing audit is responsible for identifying market scenarios thereby assisting in the derivation of viable changes in the place and physical evidence of H&M’s marketing mix.
The next stage in the marketing plan is related to the identification of marketing opportunities relying on the identification of key opportunities in the business environment and the threats to accomplish viable competitive advantage (McCarthy, 1964).
Thereafter the marketing plan relies on a description of the marketing objectives in the case of H&M which refer to financial and marketing objectives represented in the form of market share, profit, sales, etc. The financial objectives of the organization are to increase its sales growth from 72% as well as improve the earnings per share of the organization. Marketing objectives are inclined toward tapping into new markets such as China, Eastern Europe, and Japan (McCarthy, 1964).
The next stage in the marketing plan is associated with the definition of the strategies needed for tapping into new markets. The marketing approach that can be followed by H&M would have to emphasize on the people, physical evidence, and product aspects of the marketing mix since these elements would be functional determinants of organizational performance in international markets.
The next stage of the marketing plan is a comprehensive dimension of the plan as it involves the majority of operations that have to be executed for realizing the marketing plan in real-time scenarios (McCarthy, 1964). According to Mousavi, Roper & Keeling, the essential highlights of the marketing program actions aspect of the marketing plan refer to the unique implications for new product development for addressing new markets, process management for moderating the marketing mix, pricing and distribution channel management according to findings of the analysis of the external environment. The other promising measures which can be included in this dimension of the marketing plan refer to marketing communications and brand, product, and portfolio management (Mousavi, Roper & Keeling, 2016).
The marketing program’s action has to be followed by the estimation of budget requirements to accomplish the stated business objectives. Financial resource allocation would not be a major concern for H&M owing to the explicit earnings per share growth estimated at 183% and the sales growth of 72% in five years (Needham, 1996).
As per Pike, Finally, the marketing plan has to be characterized by the involvement of precedents and guidelines for monitoring the marketing initiatives of the organization. The monitoring phase in the marketing plan of H&M should be directed towards the establishment of change management strategies and the repetition of internal evaluation of the workforce as well as marketing outcomes concerning the predefined standards (Pike, 2015). It is essential to collate the marketing plan’s formulation with the outcomes of external environment analysis to impose practical initiatives by the vocational scenario of H&M thereby limiting the occurrence of formidable setbacks in marketing management.
The marketing plan for H&M was illustrated with distinct references to the individual stages, their significance as well as the activities involved in each stage of the marketing plan.
The report presented a comprehensive impression of the marketing essentials required by an organization to accomplish sustainable competitive advantage. Realizing the significance of marketing and its moderation with the external environment as well as the other business functions of H&M was illustrated in the report to facilitate a clear resolution of learning outcomes about marketing management.
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