Marketing Briefing Document3
A. Importance of Maintenance of Relationships with Clients..5
B. Suggestions Regarding Improvement of Relationships with
A. Evaluation of Issues Faced by The Creative Agency..7
B. General Recommendations.8
The current paper relates the case study of The Creative Agency, further named The Agency. The Agency faced several problems which are to be solved urgently since it is on the verge of bankruptcy. The Agency management applied to the experts for advice.
The paper represented here contains four parts. The first part is a marketing briefing document. The second part is devoted to the issues of analysis, development and maintenance relationships with customers. The issues faced by The Creative Agency are examined in the third part of the paper. The fourth part relates suggestions and recommendations regarding the changes in strategy that are necessary for the Agency survival.
Marketing Briefing Document
Company: The Creative Agency
Objective: To provide a rationale for the changes of the company marketing strategy
Company Overview: The Creative Agency had found itself involved into price wars due to increasing competition in the advertising market. As the Agency operations are strained to the limit of profitability, the strategic changes concerning the future of the company are needed. Recently, the Agency experienced a significant drop in sales due to the recession and rising price competition in the market.
Sales Overview: Currently, the Agency operates as a full-service advertising agency with market coverage of several products. During 2011-2012 the Agency had lost its major clients. The loss resulted in an average of £3-4 million each year examined.
Product: The Agency delivers the products as tangible (advertisement and brochures) and intangible entities (marketing services). It provides full service including TV, radio and press advertising. In addition, the Agency provides full marketing service for their clients which includes writing marketing communication strategies and plans and their development; printing and design of brochures, branding.
Customer Briefing: The client-base was negatively affected by the changes the changes in external environment. The Agency had lost three of its major clients in the utility, entertainment and transport sectors because of recent changes. The services provided by the Agency are utterly incongruous with what the customers expected from it. The relationships with the clients are mundane. Despite the members of the Board attend clients meetings the format of communication with the clients is laggard.
Marketing Highlight: The advertising market had lately experienced a significant recession. A lot of companies shortened their budgets. Some of the larger clients of the Agency consider that they could save on advertising and seek for cheaper services from the competitors as they are forced to meet budget limitations. Some of the clients switched from traditional approaches to Internet advertising and social networking. Recently, industry-wide contraction of advertising agencies is observed. The advertising agencies are closing down due to contraction and losing profitable accounts. Smaller agencies tend to merger to be able to compete in the current market environment (Anon., 2012).
Marketing Strategy: Obviously, the current strategy of the company has become obsolete and ineffective. Thus, there is a need in strategy changes. The analytics opinion is that it is better to specialize in one specific area then to be an expert in no field due to offering full service. Taking into account the current market tendencies, the Agency should consider the opportunity to operate as the boutique agency. The Agency should try to offer specialized services in Internet design, Internet marketing, advertising and digital marketing (Harvard Business School, 2007).
A. Importance of Maintenance of the Relationships with Clients
Recently, much attention is paid to delving communication issues that arise between advertising agencies and their clients. The costs of acquiring new customers are significantly higher than those spent for their retention. In general, the major problem of the agency is that the management of the Agency is lacking experience in clients’ retention, not to mention acquiring new customers. The aim of this task is to advise the Agency to the point.
A lot of researchers had published their works on the subject (Hair, Anderson, Mehta, Barry and Babin, 2009; Peppers and Rogers, 2011). The emphasized the crucial role of the customers to any business. It is a matter of crucial importance to realize that a successful business is built on efficient relationship with customers. Healthy and productive relationships with the customers are a core competitive advantage in the contemporary business environment. In addition, the development of efficient relationships does not require making much effort or investment (Anon., 2012).
B. Suggestions Regarding Improvement of Relationships with Clients
There are several suggestions regarding the improvement of day-to-day relations with customers. First of all the Agency should take step to get to know its clients better. The maintenance of relationships with customers was assigned to account managers who had to complete a number of other tasks. The relationships between the directors and customers were ordinary. Obviously, the management of the Agency did not think over this opportunity before that was the cause of losing the major clients, thus, the development of efficient relationship with them was underestimated. The Agency management should pay more attention to the maintenance of friendly relationships with the remaining customers to retain them. Time invested in getting to know each other better could be beneficial for both the Agency and its customers (Hair, Anderson, Mehta, Barry and Babin, 2009).
The clients expected to obtain more professional service and care from the managers of the Agency. Sometimes the situation could be improved with the help of asking questions. The managers of the Agency should receive an appropriate training aimed at improvement of ability to maintain the relationships with the customers. The Agency would succeed in completing this task if directors will be responsible for the maintenance of general relationships with the customers. The measures may include greetings on the occasion of significant dates, periodical informal meetings, making calls when offering new services. Meanwhile, account managers would be responsible for provision of quality services and after-sale services including asking questions regarding quality of services rendered or sharing observations in the course of the project (Peppers and Rogers, 2011).
Another important recommendation is to remember that the clients expect of the Agency managers to solve their problems. The ability to offer reasonable solutions is appreciated by the clients. The solutions must be weighed and well-considered to fulfill the customers’ requirements (Anon., 2012).
It is also important to be well-informed regarding new approaches and to learn innovative techniques in the field of expertize. Improvement of managerial skills will also be helpful in the process of development the relationships with the customers.
However, the distance must be kept to be able to give valuable advice and exercise necessary expertize in any situation that occurs. It is essential to understand that the development of the relationships with the clients is the part of the job. Maintenance of warm and friendly relationships with the clients will help develop successful business and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation.
A. Evaluation of the Issues Faced by The Creative Agency
The issues The Creative Agency faced can be divided into three groups, namely: impact of external environment factors, customer dissatisfaction and poor human resource management.
It was outlined in the case study that the Agency was influenced by negative external factors which were post-recession instability, intensification of competition in the advertising market, pricing wars, threat of mergers and switch to Internet marketing (Kotler and Keller, 2008).
The management of the company should investigate the tendencies of the market and prepare for the changes in advance. Externalities are something one cannot change or influence. The only way not be influenced by them is to take steps to adapt to the environment. The management of the company should critically evaluate the position of the company in the market and make appropriate decisions. For example, to switch to Internet advertising or to apply measures to avoid being involved in price wars. Being aware that the recession will cause cutting of customers’ budgets, the Agency should have done special propositions for their customers to save on advertising, thus helping to retain them. Merger opportunity would help eliminate competition. However, such solution of the problem can be brought into effect at the expense of independence (Anon., 2012).
The customers of The Creative Agency expected to receive services of a high professional level. Also, they expected to be cared, valued and treated according to the contribution they made into cooperation with the Agency, but nothing they expected had happened. The development of communication between the customers and the Agency should have been built on the reciprocal inter. This necessity was emphasized in business communication literature (Harvard Business School, 2003).
The account managers had to accomplish several assignments at a time. Therefore, they were not able to pay enough attention to the clients. Poor human resource management resulted in loss of strategic customers. If accounts managers were assigned to pay enough attention to the clients which were important to the Agency, it would not likely lose them.
Reorganization of the Creative Agency to boutique will result in differentiation of products of the company. Usually, small agencies propose specialized offers, such as creative services.
Provision of limited options gives the opportunity to increase expertize in a particular area thus ensuring differentiation advantage. It is very important in a highly competitive environment to differentiate the product from other similar products (Anon., 2012).
The clients of The Creative Agency do not need full services anymore because they tend to save cutting budgets for advertising. In addition, the development of contemporary media, and Internet in particular, stimulated the increase in volume of goods and services sold through Internet. This process forced advertising agencies to switch from traditional advertising activity to Internet advertising, digital marketing and Internet design.
B. General Recommendations
Thus, the concept of full-service advertising agency appeared to be outdated in this particular case. The Creative Agency experiences difficulties with paying out salaries because of high costs for its product. Large full-service agencies can offer reasonable prices due to economies of scale; small agencies tend to merger with larger once not to bankrupt. Due to the situation in the advertising market, The Creative Agency had found itself involved in the price war. Currently, switching to a boutique agency would offer an opportunity to specialize in a particular advertising area, for example, digital or Internet marketing aiming to cut the costs. Besides, The Creative Agency would be able to cooperate with larger full-service agencies which tend to share the orders with smaller boutiques agencies in case of being overloaded rather than compete with them (Kokemuller, 2012).
However, reorganization will cause firing of many talented specialists who had been devotedly working for the Agency for many years. However, the Agency will offer more opportunities to the rest of the employees because creative boutique agencies since working for such an agency encourage the development of creative ideas.
Any agency can face problems that are typical for advertising industry, namely: high level of competition, brand image, brand awareness, and retention of the clients.
Resolving the problem with competition is seen in avoiding direct competition through serving underserved clients or finding points of difference. The latter is an effective move in the framework of differentiation strategy. If the difference is found, the agency will not need to remove competitors applying to price wars (Anon., 2012).
Another solution is to improve brand image. For improvement of the brand image, the advertising agency will have to conduct a brand audit to reveal advantages and disadvantages of the current state of the brand, examine brand elements and secondary brand associations for more detailed brand analysis.
Improvement of brand awareness can be considered as one of the alternatives. It will include the development of marketing tactics promoting brand to potential clients.
The main objective of new marketing strategy for The Creative Agency is to take a position of interest for potential clients which competition is not claiming. Switching to boutique agency regime of functioning would give an opportunity to differentiate a particular product in the market. In addition, changes in the strategy will help gain more expertize in a particular field. Also, cooperation with larger agencies will help acquire new clients. In this case the threat of fierce price competition will be eliminated (Anon., 2012).
Transfer to brand priorities should be accompanied with new positioning. The new position must be adaptable to the market, i.e. consumers and advertising industry. The new strategy must be consumer-centered. The product must be easily differentiated from other similar products. The new strategy must be integrated into the current one rationally (Kotler and Keller, 2008).
Marketing tactics will include raising awareness of the new brand, acquiring, activation and retention. Raising brand awareness includes on-line and off-line advertising in social media and cause marketing. Acquiring relates revision of sales and customer relations management, cause and mobile marketing. Activation is connected with social media contests, web personalization and mobile marketing. Retention of the customers is a specific area where the changes implemented must be subject of periodical control. The measures of retention include telephone and e-mail contacts at least once a week; the customers must be given the opportunity to place comments on the site of the Agency in order to analyze customer opinion and feedback, development of loyalty program and web personalization (Kotler and Keller, 2008).
The brand awareness can be raised with the help of social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Acquiring and activation processes include effective sales management and e-mail. For the purposes of retention e-mail and social media engagements (Twitter, blogs, rss) can be used.
The current paper concerns multiple issues faced by The Creative Agency. This paper contains a detailed analysis of the issues and recommendations regarding possible solutions. The paper is divided into four parts in order to separate each task. The analysis conducted relates internal and external factors that influenced the Agency. The statement of the problems is represented in the first part of the paper. The recommendations are outlined in the fourth part. The second and the third part of the paper are devoted to the importance of maintenance of relationships with customers. Also, suggestions regarding further marketing strategy of the Agency were elaborated in details.
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