Marketing Mix is a major concept in modern marketing and involves practically everything that a marketing company can use to influence consumer perception favorably towards its product or services so that consumer and organizational objectives are attained, i.e. Marketing mix is a model of crafting and implementing marketing strategy. In this assignment, I will discuss the major marketing mix variables as classified by Prof. E. Jerome McCarthy which are:
iii. Place (Distribution)
Throughout the assignment I will prefer to use my reference to Sony Corporation. I will refer to this company how it has diversify its market products, the price range, places for distribution and the promotional strategies they have used to promote their products.
SONY Corporation In Brief
Sony Corporation is a multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and one of the world’s largest media conglomerate with revenue of US$88.7 billion (as of 2008) based in Minato, Tokyo. Sony is one of the leading manufacturers of electronics, video, communications, video game consoles and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its name is derived from Sonus, the Greek goddess of sound. Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group, which is engaged in business through its five operating segments—electronics, games, entertainment (motion pictures and music), financial services and other.
These make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony’s principal business operations include Sony Corporation (Sony Electronics in the U.S.), Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony Ericsson and Sony Financial Holdings. As a semiconductor maker, Sony is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders. The company’s slogan is Sony. Like no other.
The first market mix element is Product. A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a need or want. Product decision normally base on brand name, Functionality, Styling, Quality, Safety, Packaging, Repairs and Support, Warranty, accessories and Services. These product attributes can be manipulated depending on what the target market wants. Also, customers always look for new and improved things, which is why marketers should improve existing products, develop new ones, and discontinue old ones that are no longer needed or wanted by the customer. Sony has a variety of products ranging from electronic devices, games and entertainment. So, briefly Sony products can be categorized in the following major product categories: i. Television and Projectors: Bravia LCD TV, CRT TV, Home theatre projector, Business Projector, Public Display Panel. ii.
Home video: Blue-ray disc player, DVD player, DVD portable player. iii. Home Audio: Hi-Fi Systems, Home audio accessories. E.g. Digital media port. iv. Home Theatre system: DVD Home Theatre System, Home Theatre Component System, Home Theatre System Accessories. v. Digital Photography: Digital SLR, Cybershot Digital Camera, Digital Photo Printer, Digital Photo Frame vi. Hand cam video camera: Handycam high definition video Camera, Handycam Standard Definition Video Camera, Handycam Accessoriesiv, Digital Photo Printer, Digital Photo Frame. vii. Computer Peripherals: VAIO laptops and computers, VAIO accessories, Business Projectorsiv, Memory Stick. viii. Portable Audio: Walkman mp3 series, CD Walkman series, CD/Radio/Cassette player, Radio, Voice recorder, Audio Accessories ix. Game: Playstation 3, Playstation 2, PSP (Playstation Portable) x. In-Car entertainment: Xplod CD receiver, Xplod in car visual, Xplod Cassette receiver, Xplod Amplifier, Xplod Speaker/Subwoofer xi. Mobile phones: Phones, Phone Accessories.
xii. Storage and Recording media: Memory Stick, USB storage media, Data storage media, Video Storage media, Audio media, Storage media, Professional media. xiii. Battery and Charger
SONY Promotion Brief Introduction:
Promotion is a key element of marketing program and is concerned with effectively and efficiently communicating the decisions of marketing strategy, to favorably influence target customers’ perceptions to facilitate exchange between the marketer and the customer that may satisfy the objective of both customer and the company. A company’s promotional efforts are the only controllable means to create awareness among publics about itself, the products and services it offers , their features and influence their attitudes favorably. Advertising: SONY has advertised its products through many different ways and media. Through TV we have seen different advertisements of its products such as Bravia televisions or Sony wega TV. Sony also advertise its products by targeting those favorable television programs, like sports, series and also it has its own channel called Sony TV channel. Sony uses some events like Miss India2008 to promote its products.
Also, Sony has advertised its games like Playstation 3, Playstation 2 and PSP using sports like football in England premiere league. Through newspapers like Times of India, Sony has advertised a wide range of products it offers to its customers. And also through Posters a message has been sent to a lot of people to be aware of the products which Sony offers. Sony also uses direct – response advertising. This is type of advertising that encourages the consumer to respond either by providing feedback to the advertiser or placing the order with the advertiser either by telephone, mail or the internet.
Such advertising is done through direct mail or catalogues. Sony incorporates co-operative advertising in its advertising process. Sony corporation provides the dealers (e.g. Sony World) with the materials and guidelines to develop ads for print, television or radio commercials. This ensures that message is in line with, what the manufacture wants to communicate. The company and the dealers usually share the media costs and hence, the name ‘co-operative advertising’.
Sales Promotion: Sales promotion is a marketing discipline that utilizes a variety of incentives techniques to structure sales – related programs targeted to customers, trade, and/or sales levels that generate a specific, measurable action or response for a product or service. Sales promotions for example includes free samples, discount, rebates, coupons, contents and sweepstakes, premiums, scratch cards, exchange offers, early bird prizes, etc. Sony has promoted its products through different sales promotional strategies. For example after the release of the Sony BRAVIA television sets, Sony promoted them by earl bird prizes by saying that all BRAVIA full HD LCDTVs purchased during July 2008 and registered within two weeks of purchase qualify for a Bonus Playstation 3 as long as the customer claims is one of the first35,000 received and validated by Sony.
Also Sony has promoted its Sony Ericsson P1i phones by including a scratch cards which gives the customer the offer to download 10 free software application for that mobile phone. Sony Ericsson has also promoted its Sony Ericsson K550i Mid-Range Cyber-shot Phone that if you buy it you get a free Bluetooth headset with one year manufacturer’s warranty
Public Relations and Publicity: Public relations is a broad set of communication activities employed to create and maintain favorable relationship with employees, shareholders, suppliers, media, educators, potential investors, financial institutions, government agencies and officials and society in general. Through its website, Sony corporation has its provided contacts for those customers who will be in need of any information from the company. In this way Sony can create a mutual relationship with its customers and ensure that it serves the wishes and demands of its customers.
SONY Place (Distribution)
Decisions with respect to distribution channel focus on making the product available in adequate quantities at places where customers are normally expected to shop for them to satisfy their needs. Depending on the nature of the product, marketing management decides to put into place an exclusive, selective or intensive network of distribution, while selecting the appropriate dealers or wholesalers. Sony being the company which positions itself as a seller of durable and high-end products, it is practicing selective distribution of its products from the selective dealers i.e. SONY World.
Apart from this there are grey-markets in India and other countries where a practice of intensive market coverage is practiced, and the products in these kind of markets normally do not posses all the features and benefits which Sony offers e.g. warranty and guarantee. Sony distributes its products in various channels. It uses Zero-level channel, one level channel and two-level channel. In India, Sony has used the method of one-level distribution channel. This means that, customer buy their Sony product from the retailers recognized by Sony, and these retailers buy the products directly from the company itself.
Pricing decisions are almost always made in consultation with marketing management. Price is the only marketing mix variable that can be altered quickly. Price variables such as dealer price, retail price, discounts, allowances, credit terms etc. influence the development of marketing strategy, as price is a major factor that influences the assessment of value obtained by customers. Customers directly relate price to quality, particularly in case of products that are ego intensive of technology based. Sony being a company which emphasize product quality, it tends to sell its products with price range from moderately-high to high-prices, depending on the use and the targeted customers. For example, Lets consider Sony series of VAIO laptops. Sony has tried to categorize the laptops according to style, user, purpose, mobility and performance, and each a corresponding price.
The laptops sold by Sony in India include a series of Sony VAIO, this are VAIO SR, VAIO FW, VAIO tokage, VAIO CR, VAIO NR, VAIO TZ and VAIO SZ. VAIO SR, boast on the excellence in mobility and perfection in performance. This laptop was designed for businessmen and its price is around Rs. 75,000/ VAIO FW, boast of theatrical experience and world class performance. This model was designed mainly for home user or casual user of laptops who aims on media playback. The price of it is around Rs. 80,000 and Rs.1,25,000. VAIO CR, boast on style and texture. Depending on the configuration, the prices are from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 65,000. VAIO NR, boast of natural, chic design. It was designed to meet customers ambiance and lifestyle.
For this reason the Sony corporation has decided the price of the laptop to be Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 50,000 depending on the configuration. VAIO TZ, boast of elite lifestyle, and high class performance. This laptop was designed purposely for business as it is light weight, high processing speed, and flash memory storage and longer backup power. For all this facts Sony has priced it to be between Rs. 1,15,000 and Rs. 1,40,000.VAIO SZ, boast of premier mobility and executive excellence. This laptop was developed by Sony to target executives and business people who are mobile. The laptop is fitted with hybrid hard disk drive and motion eye camera and Bluetooth compatible headset with applications for increasing mobility and video conferencing. It’s price is about Rs. 1,24,000