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Community in marketing

            Marketing is constantly evolving.  From simple advertisements in newspapers to media ads on the internet, marketing strategies have had to evolve to reach out to the new generation.  By capitalizing on emerging trends and innovative technologies, marketers are faced with new challenges today.  Yet despite these advances, one thing never changes, getting more bang for buck.  With all the media outlets that can be used for marketing, marketers are still obsessed with the economical ways, especially given the recent global economic woes.

            The power of community in marketing, by Lara Lee, takes a unique look at how marketers and companies are adapting to this recent economic crisis and still breaking ground and taking advantage of new technology and innovations.  One such way by which they are able to achieve this is through community-centric marketing strategies.  Lara Lee states that community centric marketing makes sense, particularly during these times, because community is more cost effective.  It also has other benefits such as cultivating relationships with the base market.  The loyalty and connection that one is able to create with the help of community marketing is an advantage that cannot be gained any other way.  Aside from these, community marketing also lends to authenticity, innovation and natural reinvention.  Due to the relationship that these programs are able to create, companies are closer to their markets and are more reactive to the needs.  As Lara Lee points out, these are even more effective than any marketing studies and plans because it is able to connect to the market in a way that is more personal.

            The strength of this strategy lies in being able to take advantage of the Four Ps.  By being in touch with communities, marketers are able to find out just to what extent their market reacts to the changes in the four Ps.  One such example is that of VANS which was able to tap into the psyche of their customers in developing their deck shoes.  Similarly, other companies have been able to tailor fit the products that they create to the needs and wants of their customers.  While this can be achieved through other methods, community marketing is able to do this more accurately and cheaply.  The marketing model used here is quite simple, focus on the existing market and cater to their needs.  The consumer decision making process can be more in tune with the company strategy and community centric strategy is able to provide this information.

            As a whole the article makes sense in that it neatly ties in all the relevant marketing concepts into the simple bundle of community centric marketing.  One thing that is not shown, however, is the difficulty in creating such.  It is not denied that there are several benefits to employing such a strategy but there are also costs to be entailed and problems in developing such.  With every successful marketer, there are also several more who have failed.  It makes perfect sense to focus on the needs of the current clientele to encourage repeat business but at the same time companies should also focus on increasing their market share especially in a contracting market.  They should not totally abandon their business strategies but should seek to improve upon the existing models while still looking to expand their market share.  This does not mean that they make diverse products but rather that they find more people who are interested in their products.  Community centric marketing is logical and practical.  It provides several benefits but it cannot be the only marketing strategy that companies adopt.  As previously mentioned, the challenges are as numerous as the choices in products and needs and wants are even more expansive than that.  Companies should keep this in mind.

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