Current marketing communications practices of Marriott
Marriott International, Inc. operates in the lodging industry and has numerous properties in more than 70 countries (Albee 2015). The lodging industry of the world is faced with numerous challenges that affect the profit margins of most of the players in this industry (Cai & Hobson 2004). Some of the key competitors of Marriott include Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Accor Hotels, and Intercontinental Hotels Group Plc (Aaker, Kumar & Day 2004).
Despite this, Marriott Inc. has gained a large market share in the global loading industry (Marriott News Center 2015). Such success in an environment full of numerous players and challenges is attributed to the organization’s effective marketing communications practices, which ensure that the company’s customers are retained and served a variety of quality products and services according to their needs and demands (Brier 2016; Boone, Kurtz & Sandburg 2008).
Covey (2016) noted that Marriott runs more than 3000 properties in over 70 countries with its focus being to satisfy high-end and luxury customers as shown in appendix A. To ensure the success of all these brands, Marriott has effective communication strategies among its departments as well as for its management. Additionally, the company ensures high priority is given to its employees and customers for a chance to ensure effective customer service and customer satisfaction (Marriott International, Inc. 2010). As such, the company has a rewards system for its loyal customers, which increases the rate of customer retention in Marriott’s facilities.
The rewards systems of Marriott comprise of redeemable points that subscribed members earn upon staying in the company’s facilities. Such an approach is considered a marketing strategy and is communicated openly in marketing campaigns, surveys as well as in any other promotional material. The use of a reward system has been successful in attracting customers as well as in retaining existing ones given that there are more than thirty-five million subscribed members of the Marriott Rewards program. According to recent statistics of Marriott’s profitability, the rewards program contributes immensely to the company’s total profit margins.
Marriott puts a lot of effort into its marketing strategies by ensuring the availability of sound marketing communications practices that serve to create awareness of the company’s brands and attract new and retain existing customers. Marriott uses various promotional avenues such as websites and the availability of an active global sales office to coordinate the company’s operations.
Theoretical principles of Integrated Marketing Communications
Several studies have been carried out to examine the emergence of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) following the increased use of IMC among many businesses all over the world (Clow 2010). The adoption of the Integrated Marketing Communications was based on the need to provide alternative approaches to marketing other than the obvious advertisement, as well as ensure branding is more powerful and tactically strong (O’Guinn, Allen &Semenik 2009).
This is attributable to the fact that the adoption of IMC allows marketers to integrate numerous marketing communication strategies in a single container with the aim of effective development of brand equity (Bowen 2016). Kliatchko (2008) noted that it does not qualify as a marketing strategy rather it provides an avenue for the delivery of any given marketing strategy adopted in an organization. Four core principles used in integrated marketing communications include consistency, community, cooperation, and communication.
Consistency plays a very significant role in the success of any marketing process, especially in the case of integrated marketing. Consistency, in this case, is considered in terms of the brand of the concerned organization, the mission statement of the organization and its primary aim in the industry. The advantage of consistency in marketing is that an organization can maintain quality customer service thereby ensuring a high rate of customer retention and effective market positioning (Ali 2014). Taylor and Okazaki (2015) asserted that companies can develop their brand and have a positive outlook by ensuring consistency through procedural responses whenever it comes to the concerns of employees, without considering their diversity.
Communication is the key to effective marketing strategy as it ensures the success of integrated marketing (Kitchen et al. 2004). The communication principle of integrated marketing communication connects every aspect of marketing in ensuring successful marketing in any organization. This can be achieved through a good CRM program such as an effective salesforce.
Customers are the key to a business marketing strategy that is successful. This is attributable to the fact that the growth and development of companies is depended on the customers (Kurt & Hulland 2013). Most of companies that engage in marketing are aimed at the acquisition of new customers, the creation of new avenues for audiences, as well as the creation of new markets for their products and services (Aspris & Meyer 2013). However, what many marketers ignore is the fact that the retention of existing customers is very important in the success of any marketing strategy. Dibb and Simkin (2009) pointed out that companies need to create a community of customers by working towards retaining existing customers while at the same time attracting new ones.
Such an approach is likely to ensure that there are suitable marketing approaches for a company to remain integrated (Kurtz 2012). For this reason, the achievement of integrated marketing communications objectives in any company can be done through ensuring the interconnectivity of customers forming a robust customer base as well as the creation of marketing strategies concerning the needs and demands of the customers. As such, the principle of community in integrated marketing communications is applicable through the creation of email campaigns, use of letters, reconnections, and surveys, as well as through availing various benefits to members and events.
Teamwork is important in the success of any company’s activities especially in ensuring the achievement of all organization’s goals (Hassan & Craft 2012). Such an approach requires cooperation among the organization’s departments as far as resolving issues within the organization is concerned. A high level of cooperation among departments ensures that the adopted marketing strategy succeeds (Bose 2012). For such a level of cooperation to be reached, there ought to be an appropriate structure of tasks in the concerned organization and holding of review meetings to ensure that every individual remains focused on the organizational goals.
Theoretical principles in the context of Marriott
Effective marketing strategies are the key to successful marketing process, better market segmentation, positioning and targeting (Rahman & Areni 2014). The management of any organization needs to ensure that they adopt the right marketing strategies to remain competitive and attractive within any given market (Ward & Lewandowska 2008; Cheng-Han, Chien-Lung & Kuo-Kuang 2016). In the case of Marriott, the adoption of the various marketing strategy such as differentiated marketing, cost leadership, and the provision of a wide variety of brands, is beneficial to the company in the long run (Olmsted 2016).
Marriott International gives a lot of priority in its customers through the creation of a strong customer base (Marriot News Center 2015). For example, the company embraces a robust corporate culture whereby a lot of commitment is on the level of association that the company gives to its customers. Marriott has extended stay services that target guests who purpose to stay for longer periods in the hotels. This ensures that there are effective communication strategies to develop the necessary cooperation between the company and its customers-potential and existing ones. Also, Marriott has created different brands next to one another to ensure that the process of selecting different hotels in the case of a loyalty promotion is easy especially in a case whereby customers are willing to earn rewards points offered by Marriott (Marriott International, Inc. 2010; Renner 2016).
For the company to remain highly competitive in the hotels and lodging industry there is the need for effective marketing strategies aimed at achieving integration, high customer retention and increased competitive advantage. One of the suitable ways to be successful in its marketing strategies is through the adoption of an integrated marketing communication approach.
Marriott should ensure consistency in its marketing strategies. Such can be achieved through ensuring that the products and services offered to its customers of the same quality and that the actions of the company align with the company’s mission statement and its purpose in business (Belch 2004). However, the Marriott does not have a mission statement presently but operates under the vision statement of being at the top of the global lodging industry.
Effective communication and cooperation within the company ensures the success of Marriott’s operations (Renner 2016). The corporate social responsibility of Marriott is very instrumental in the achievement of its market share as it promotes the culture of attracting customers and maintaining a high level of trust and loyalty (Marriott International, Inc. 2010). Marriott has a high concern for its employees and ensures that there are effective communication and cooperation strategies that ensure effective customer service, which attracts new customers and plays a significant role in retaining the existing ones (Renner 2016).
Marriott International can effectively achieve integration if it ensures consistency in its operations, embraces effective cooperation and adopts communication strategies focused on the organizational goals; developing a good CRM program and creates customer-tailored marketing campaigns.
Role of IMC in the planning and implementation of Marriott’s future marketing strategies
Several researchers and scholars have noted that the use of the approach of integrated marketing communications in the marketing process of many companies is very significant as far as achieving organizations’ marketing goals is concerned (Madhavaram, Badrinarayanan & McDonald 2005; Moriarty, Mitchell & Wells 2012 ). This is attributable to the fact that the integrated marketing communications approach can help the delivery of marketing strategies of concerned organizations (Bin & Chongqi 2015). In the case of Marriott, integrated marketing communications can improve the planning and implementation of future marketing strategies in the company in some ways.
IMC lays out the pathway to ensure that any given company operates in line with its objectives, goals as well as mission statement (Eagle, Kitchen & Bulmer 2007). As such, the adoption of integrated marking communications at Marriott will ensure that the company is consistent in its actions, tasks, goals, and quality of products. Blankson et al. (2013) asserted that the IMC approach is important in the development of a company’s brand and thus, its adoption at Marriott will ensure that the marketing strategies of the company are focused on brand equity and development.
The implication is that the planning and implementation of future marketing activities in the company would be geared towards consistency, effective communication, creation of a robust customer base and enhancing cooperation among the necessary stakeholders to ensure the achievement of the organization’s marketing goals and objectives (Challagalla, Murtha & Jaworski 2014). Kailani (2012) asserted that the integrated marketing communications approach has a very strong impact on the behavior of consumers of any given products. As such, its adoption in the case of Marriott will influence the targeted customer base of the company greatly with a possible increase in the rate of customer conversion.
The planning and implementation of marketing strategies at Marriott can be improved through the adoption of the integrated marketing communications in that the approach allows to the harmonization as well as the integration of various strategies of advertisement in developing the company’s brand equity, its awareness as well as the image (Dewhirst & Davis 2005).
This is based on the fact that the conceptualization of integrated marketing communications is founded on the aim of ensuring that any company that adopts IMC becomes integrated. For this reason, through the adoption of IMC, Marriott will be in a position to correlate its marketing objectives with its actions; its purpose, as well as plans in the future as far as services to its customers, are concerned. For example, adopting integrated marketing communications would lead to the creation of customer-tailored marketing campaigns.
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