Select TWO products from the list of product categories below and using the teaching materials and any additional research explain what you think would be an appropriate promotions strategy for both them. In doing so compare and contrast the two promotions strategies explaining why you think they would be similar or different.
Select TWO products from the following product categories:
Illustrate your answer by referring to specific brands within each of the two product categories you have chosen.
In defining promotional strategies for airline flights and breakfast cereal, the many differences in the broader marketing, selling and service aspects of these two products need to be taken into account. In addition, the way customers purchase airline flights are markedly different than how they purchase breakfast cereal. For any promotional strategy to be effective they must take into account differences in hwo customers choose to learn and purchase new products (Shum, 2004). The factors most critical to someone purchasing a seat on an airline flight, which is a service by definition, are significantly different than the criterion used in evaluating and purchasing breakfast cereals. Yet both share the need to educate customers of their benefits, and most importantly, what kind of customer experience each delivers (Palmer, 2010). Both the service category of flights and the commodity-like natural of breakfast cereal both have a common foundation in having to communicate with customers over the channels their prospects most want to use. Increasingly, customers of services and products both are relying on social media more than ever, due to the authenticity, transparency and trust level they see in how their peers rate and value products
(Bernoff, Li, 2008). For airlines this is critically important as their reputation is an industry is lacking; there are many business travelers on Facebook and Twitter routinely complaining about the lack of service. For breakfast cereal producers, the challenge of getting their voices heard over the loud voices of larger advertisers is met with social media. While both share the need to effectively use social media to their brands' benefits, both also must balance the role of traditional media in their promotional strategies mix as well. The intent of this analysis is to compare and contrast the promotional strategies of airlines relative to breakfast cereals.
Promotional Strategies of Airlines
By nature, airlines are a transportation service, one that is oriented towards both the causal pleasure traveler and the more frequent business traveler. There is today a vast difference in how airlines approach their promotional strategies (Hvass, Munar, 2012) with many incouding United Airlines choosing to ignore the customer even if they loudly ask for service over social media channels (Bernoff, Li, 2008). The traditional role of promotional strategies dictates that service-based businesses seek to generate awareness and interest in their service, prompting the business and leisure traveler to choose their airline for travel. The promotional strategies of airlines in the past concentrated on the safety, stability and luxury of their jets (Sin, Chellappa, Siddarth, 2012). Promotional programs by now-defunct Pan Am specifically looked to create the aura of exclusivity and glamour from flying across the country and internationally, as air travel was initially very costly for the typical consumer (Sin, Chellappa, Siddarth, 2012). An elitism emerged form these promotional strategies that continued until deregulation of this industry unleashed competitive forces that completely re-ordered the economics of this industry.
With deregulation the airline industry experienced a proliferation of new entrants that concentrated on low prices, excellent customer experiences and a new egalitarianism that concentrated more on the common traveler, not the elite. The airline industry is in this area today, with Southwest Airlines leading this revolution in pricing and customer experience value. Their value proposition is predicated on being less expensive to fly than drive (Sin, Chellappa, Siddarth, 2012). It is noteworthy that Southwest Airlines is the only U.S. airline to have a state-of-the-art command center in their headquarters with a full-time staff dedicated to social media promotional strategies and programs (Bernoff, Li, 2008).
Southwest is also the only U.S. airline to never file for bankruptcy or seek a federal handout or relief of any kind. Many experts in the airline industry credit these accomplishments with how strong their customer loyalty is for this airline brand, and customers have been known to drive to other cities to just fly to their final destinations on a Southwest flight (Li, Green, 2011). They are also the model of social media for the airline industry with non-competitive low-cost airlines globally regularly visiting their headquarters in Dallas, Texas to understand their approach to using social media for promotion. Air Berlin, JetStar from Australia and many others regularly visit their social media command center to learn the latest on how to bring social media more effectively into the customer experience (Bernoff, Li, 2008). The mileage programs of American Airlines, Delta, U.S. Air and United all lack the immediacy of customer experience that Southwest has been able to attain with its innovative use of social media. Best practices in promotional strategies center on bringing the customer into the conversation (Bernoff, Li, 2008) while also creating highly differentiated service experiences that respect the different needs of customers (Palmer, 2010). The highest-performing airlines are blending social media, the customer experience personalized to the individual traveler and traditional public relations strategies to gain and keep business and leisure travelers for the long-term.
Promotional Strategies of Breakfast Cereals
The promotional strategies of cereals concentrate on the healthy aspects of these products while also underscoring their convenience and portability. The purchasing cycle for these products are markedly faster than for airline tickets, in addition to being driven more by customer preferences and loyalty. In addition to the habitual nature of purchases in the cereals segment, the purchasing process is more complex than many other commodity-like products. Mothers are often the decision makers yet children have a very significant impact on which brands of cereal get into the final recommendation set or mix a given household will consider (Shum, 2004). Promotional strategies therefore need to cater to both of these audiences across a wide spectrum of communication channels and platforms. Just as is the case with airlines, social media is a very significant force in the promotional strategies of companies in this market (Bernoff, Li, 2008).
Cereal manufacturers including Kellogg's, Post and others have devised promotional strategies that seek to connect with and influence children to recommend their cereals to parents. Using social media to connect with adolescents and teenagers is done through games and online programs that give them the chance to earn prizes and electronic games including the Microsoft X-Box 360 for example. In conjunction with these promotional strategies, cereal companies are also fully addressing the concerns of mothers specifically and parents in general by providing sections of their websites full of statistics and figures showing the healthy aspects of the cereals they are selling. Many of these sites also have Body Mass Index (BMI) calculators to give parents and opportunity to see how the cereals can contribute to their children's health even more. The message in promotional content both in traditional media and online is centered on giving parents the information they need to make good choices for their children. The reliance on the unique value proposition of good tasting cereal also being good for children is shared across many cereal brands, from Kellogg's, General Mills, Post, Quaker Oats and many others.
As the majority of parents today favor learning about the health benefits of cereals over social media, each of the brands competing in this industry are concentrating on this aspect of their promotional strategies (Bernoff, Li, 2008). This is markedly different than airlines who are selling an excellent, safe and predictable experience for business travelers, who…