1. Brief History of Wal-Mart Wal-Mart is “the giant chain of discount stores, the second largest company in the world, with over $400 billion in revenue and 2.1 million associates.” (Philip and Kevin, p94) Wal-Mart began its business in 1962 when Sam Walton, the owner of Wal-Mart, opened up his first discount store in Rogers, Arkansas (Philip and Kevin, p94). In the next two decades, Wal-Mart expanding its scale rapidly. Since 1990s, Wal-Mart started to opened up its store in other countries, from then, it started to become an international company. But in the first few years of 21st century, Wal-Mart met some problems in lawsuit, marketing plans, and employees. At 2007, a new marketing strategy brought Wal-Mart back to life. As this chart showed below, it shows the situation of Wal-Mart in 2011, to make people easier understand the financial statement of recent years (Wal-Mart 2011 Annual Report: Financial Review).
2. Company situational analysis In this part, the SWOT analysis would be the most appropriate way to analysis the company situation. When it comes to a company’s internal capabilities, people would think about its strength and weakness. The first strength of Wal-Mart is it has advanced information technology and international logistic system. Second is its specification management system and well-trained employees. Last but not least, it is not only the second largest company in the world, but also has good reputation in the world (Wal-Mart Strategy Analysis, 2010). Although Wal-Mart has great capabilities on management, but the large scale of the company gives the management department a big challenge to manage the world-wide company, it turned out that some department of the company may not be well-managed, this is the first weakness of Wal-Mart.
Second one is Wal-Mart sell almost every categories of products, comparing with those specialized company, it may lose advantage. Another weakness is the employees. Like the case mentioned, Wal-Mart received lots of employees’ complain about their low salary and health care issues. The conflict between employees and managers is very common in such big company. When it comes to a company’s external capabilities, people would talk about their opportunities and threats.
There are three opportunities for Wal-Mart, it can expanding its international market; it can using its good reputation to enter new communities and change a closer sales mode to encourage customers; it can also acquisition other retail stores and focus on Europe and Asian market (The Analysis of Wal-Mart, 2011). But the threats exist at the same time, there are also three threats for Wal-Mart. First, when enter to a new country or area, the local policy would holds back the expanding of Wal-Mart. Also, as the biggest retail store in the world, the intense competition gives Wal-Mart more pressures to keep its good condition. Last, the culture differences among employees and the high-level manager would be another threat for Wal-Mart.
Body of the Paper 1. Statement of Marketing Problem According to the case, people believed that the most important problem of Wal-Mart’s marketing problem is its positioning problem. As the expanding of Wal-Mart, it became the largest retail store in the world. If it still using the old marketing strategy to the customer, as known as “Always Low Price, Always”, it may losing some customers who have loyalty with, and also, because of the cause the conflict between employees and the managers. So, Wal-Mart made the positioning mistake of marketing plan. The new strategy fixed this problem, so that Wal-Mart can recovered from the past lost. 2. Identification of strategic marketing
Combining with textbook and the case study, a good strategic marketing can not only helps the company expanding its business, but also can make the company come back to life. The tagline of Wal-Mart in 1992 is “Always Low Price, Always”. For this strategy, the advantages are: first, it has a huge attraction to these customers who want to buy products with a very low price. It gives Wal-Mart a strong competitiveness. Also, this strategy can makes Wal-Mart expanding its market faster and easier. In addition, with this strategy, Wal-Mart get a good reputation among the customers and the market. But, there are also some disadvantages for this strategy. First, it makes Wal-Mart lose its position in the market. As time goes by, the demands and needs of customers are no longer the lowest price, they need more choices of products and good quality of lives. Thus, this strategy is out of date. In other hand, a good strategy must update with the daily life. Into 21st century, this strategy no longer works as usual, because it is too old to attract customers. So that Wal-Mart is somehow be replaced by its competitors, such as Target. 3. Recommended strategic
In this case, people would like to choose the newest strategy, which called “Save Money, Live Better”. It not only keeps Wal-Mart’s traditional tagline ”Low Price”, but also added energy saving. It update with the modern society and have a good combination with environmentally friendly. This strategy gives the customer many fresh ideas and keeps its low price advantage in the same time. Thus, the newest strategy would be recommended.
Case Questions and Responses 1. Evaluate Wal-Mart’s new marketing campaign and tagline. Did the company make the right decision to drop “Always Low Prices, Always.” as a tagline? Why or why not? Yes, they did. According to the case, the tagline “Always Low Price, Always.” was published in 1992. As we know, a good marketing strategy needs to develop with the time. As time goes by, the market and the demands of customers are changing rapidly. Thus, a old marketing plan cannot adapt with the new market.
In other hand, the competitors of Wal-Mart are getting stronger and stronger, they have new products to attract Wal-Mart’s old customers and new commercials to attract new customers. Such as Target, it provides various of fashion products to attract young customers. Another aspect is, if Wal-Mart lower its prices, then it would cut more money to pay their employees. It would lead their employees complained. Losing loyalty of their employees is a serious issue in such a big company. The new strategy changing with the time, and sort of stole Target’s successful strategy, then add employees’ health care coverage. Thus, Wal-Mart can back to its gold time in the market. Thus, I think they made a wise decision to change their strategy and tagline.
2. Wal-Mart does very well when the economy turns sour. How can it protect itself when the economy is on the rise? Explain. First of all, as Wal-Mart’s CMO said, the most important thing they need to notice right now is to keep the customer’s loyalty. Only have some loyalty customers, Wal-Mart can keep their profits no matter the economy is good or bad. Second, the marketing strategy needs to change as time goes by. A good strategy cannot last forever, it needs to adapt with the market and the customer’s demand. For example, environmentally friendly is a good way to keep in their strategy, because environment issue is a long-term issue, focus on environment would not only update with the time for the customer, but also can help Wal-Mart save more energy in the future.
Conclusion Above all these analysis, people talked about the history of Wal-Mart, and the SWOT analysis of Wal-Mart. Also, pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of Wal-Mart’s strategies. If people want to know a little about the marketing strategy of Wal-Mart, this essay would give them a little help.