difficulties with marketing varies from organization to organization and the first matter to learn when dealing with the marketing of any organization is to understand the nature of functioning of the organization and then decide on the methods of marketing that will be applicable.
Let us hear from Sainsbury's as to what they are: "We're a leading UK food retailer with interests in financial services. J Sainsbury plc consists of Sainsbury's Supermarkets, Sainsbury's Local, Bells Stores, Jackson's Stores and JB Beaumont, Sainsbury's to you and Sainsbury's Bank. Sainsbury's stands for great products at fair prices and our objective is simple; to serve customers well." (J Sainsbury Plc) The Company has been having difficulties with managing its supply chain and the present individual in-charge is Lawrence Christensen as supply chain director. He had joined Sainsbury's in September 2004 for a fixed period of 16 months and has now been asked to continue till the end of December 2006. He will now be in an advisory capacity and a new person has been appointed -- Roger Burnley. (J Sainsbury Plc announces management change)
Roger Burnley will be the supply chain director in the operating board of the company and this will be in place of Lawrence Christensen. His starting date has not been confirmed, and he is now working in Matalan where he is now the supply chain director. Earlier he was in retail management and buying before joining Asda or Wal-Mart and in that organization also held a number of positions before he became the supply chains director. So far as Sainsbury are concerned, they are happy that they have got a new supply chains director who will be able to add value and were also very grateful to Lawrence Christensen who had made a great contribution to their supply chain services and customer services. They are also happy that he has agreed to stay on and continue providing his services. (J Sainsbury Plc announces management change) Thus it is clear that the company has some difficulty in the supply chain services area though the organization has had an existence for quite some time.
Let us go a little further and try to find out how the company has really been performing. We are specifically concerned with retail marketing here and this has to be selected carefully from the results of the company that are available. Part of the information is available from dividends paid and this had been rising continuously from 12.10p in 1995-96 to 15.69p during 2003-04 and has come down sharply to 7.80p during 2003-04. No investor likes to get reduced dividends and this was certainly due to compulsion. The compulsion becomes obvious when one looks at the profitability. This was at 462 million pounds in 2001 and went up to a figure of 572 million pounds in 2003. This was more or less at the same level or 564 million pounds during 2004. Even worse than this, the company was getting a sizeable amount of profit of 153 million pounds from discontinued operations. This has also been lying at almost the same level and was 145 million pounds in 2004. Thus it is clear that the profitability of the company was probably not increasing at fast enough rates for satisfying the shareholders. There have also been sharp increases in the interest paid from 76 million pounds in 2001 to 92 million pounds in 2005. (Company Profile)
Thus it seems that the company's shareholders are not seeing that the company is performing well enough and this is leading to problems for the company. The company has been recruiting and training young individuals for the line functions and it does not seem that there is a problem there, as they can only follow the decisions that are made by the top management. Thus the problems are with the top management and that is also clear from the earlier paragraph. Another important point to note is the organization from which the new director for supply chains is coming. It should be remembered that Wal-Mart has succeeded in practically wiping out many of the giants in the American retailing scene.
Reasons for success
Now let us look into the various reasons that affect marketing of products, though what we are talking here is about retail sales only as that is the job Sainsbury's is really involved in. They are not marketing companies selling a range of products that are manufactured by them or marketed by them from another manufacturer. In short, it is really doing a part of the marketing exercise -- selling to the customer. The most important point in selling any product is convincing the buyer that the product being offered by you is the best product that he can buy. In any free market, he has the choice to buy products from any other retailer and he will come to you if he thinks that your services are superior to others. To achieve this, the person presenting the product has to be very presentable and the manner of presentation very likeable. If at any instance the presenter is shy or anti-social, for whatever the reason, then the customer is not likely to purchase the product. The opposite is also true and if a seller tries to sell the product too hard, then the buyer will not like to come to the seller for buying the product. (Five Key Concepts)
All contacts with the seller will be avoided as the contact with the seller is unpleasant. Thus the point to be remembered is that the buying experience should be pleasurable. The correct technique is to get to the point of sale slowly and try to point out the advantages of the product without trying to convince the potential buyer the need for buying the product. Thus the seller should always be on the look out for opportunities for selling the product and the seller should not loose any opportunity when a potential sale is likely. This may take place even outside the place of work at picnics, trade shows, wedding receptions, etc. The sale will not be direct as Sainsbury's is not there, but the advantage of buying from Sainsbury's can be explained and an attempt can be made to get the person to Sainsbury for purchases. This is not very difficult for the organization as they have a lot of staff to do their selling. To make sure that the directed person comes to Sainsbury's a large supply of visiting cards should be provided so that the person knows where to come. These visiting cards should be in good condition as cards in poor condition reflect on the seller and his organization.
This brings us to the question of appearances. Image of the organization is not the total picture, but it shows a difference between an organization doing well and an organization just trying to exist. All sellers are judged by their appearances and a good appearance can make the difference between the seller being able to make a sale or not being able to sell. This comes not only from individuals but also from ill designed brochures, poor logos, bad setting up of special sale units, poorly designed visiting cards, a garbled message from answering machines and many other ways. All these total up to create an image of the organization. (Five Key Concepts)
One of the ways of getting out of a situation of this nature is through enthusiasm and this is often transparent to all buyers. Even when the customer is not very confident of the product or its benefits, if the seller is enthusiastic, then the buyer will buy if for no other reason than to encourage the seller to continue. This enthusiasm is perceptible in contacts face-to-face, over the telephone or even when it is printed out. The requirement for this is for the seller and the selling organization themselves to first believe in it. This is what will convince the buyer to buy. Enthusiasm does not exist for all products among the salesmen, but it is a matter to be cultivated by sales individuals.
The last item on the line that organizations can concentrate on is the intangible rewards that any buyer gets from making a purchase. This is the point that has to be concentrated in all communications to the buyer. The message should concentrate on the benefits that the product offers rather than concentrating on the product itself. Generally this ends up in attracting more customers for the product and as a result gets a higher rate of response from the customers. The product and service are important points for the customer, but the buyer buys for the benefits, the pleasure, the convenience, the speed, and the enjoyment, the approval of others, the comfort level, the safety, the security or sheer enjoyment of the product. This is often the decisive factor that makes a customer buy a product. (Five Key Concepts)