Blockbuster Entertainment is currently the biggest name associated with video rental, both in the United States and abroad. The company has reached this position through focused goals, effective marketing strategies, and a clear knowledge of the market it serves. Combined with this is the company's conscientious involvement with its community, and its expansion and pricing according to marketing demands. Blockbuster thus works with its customers and market in order to achieve its mission and goals by means of a variety of concepts and strategies.
Blockbuster's Marketing Concepts and Strategies
In any business, marketing concepts and strategies need to be developed in order to sell products that satisfy customers. These products should also then be provided at locations and prices acceptable to buyers, in keeping with the concepts of product, distribution, promotion and pricing (Pride and Ferrell, 2000, p. 8). These are kept in focus by Blockbuster in creating the company's goals.
Blockbuster's increased focus on retail for example has resulted in strategic planning (Desjardins, 2003, May). This includes a variety of newly created programs, as well as expansion in terms of in-stores selections of movies, games and equipment. Rent subscriptions, movie and game trading, as well as store-in-store concepts, are some of the new strategies to attract customers and ensure the return of existing customers.
Specifically, the new concepts include the Blockbuster Freedom Pass, a rental subscription program that allows the customer to rent an unlimited supply of movies without restrictions such as return dates or extended viewing fees (Blockbuster, 2004). Furthermore the increased convenience of customers is ensured by the numerous online services offered by Blockbuster. The Freedom Pass is for example integrated with the online version of this concept, offered via the company Web site. For a fee of $19.99 per month, the customer can choose from a wide range of online titles, which would be delivered free of charge and subject to the same benefits as an in-store subscription. Another online service is the E-Newsletter provided free of charge, which includes the latest news on DVD, game and VHS releases. The online presence of the company furthermore provides valuable input to customers. The Web site encourages trust, as it attempts to provide users with the maximum possible amount of information relating to the company.
In 2002, Blockbuster expanded its gaming market by purchasing the UK-based video game retailer Gamestation. This has resulted in the development of Game Rush, which is a store-in-store concept. Game Rush stores share an entrance with Blockbuster stores. Customers can then rent, sell or buy new and used game software and hardware at these locations. Game specialists are trained to staff Game Rush during peak hours. The Game Freedom Pass rental subscription is included in the possibilities for customers interested in this sector of Blockbuster entertainment (Blockbuster, 2004).
In terms of strategic planning, it therefore appears the Blockbuster Entertainment has used its market research sufficiently in order to determine the needs of its target market. Indeed, the sales figure since the strategic move from rental to retail appears to prove this. In July of the year 2003 for example, DVD sales from Blockbuster came to $119 million; a 74% increase from the same period during the previous year. Video game sales also rose to form 19,7% of the company's total revenue as opposed to 14,6% the previous year (Desjardins, 2003, July).
The goal to focus on and expand the retail section of Blockbuster Entertainment seems to have combined well with customer demands. The particular marketing mix offered by Blockbuster has apparently satisfied customers within the market to the extent that the company has made a substantial profit within a single year.
Marketing Style and Philosophy
Blockbuster's marketing philosophy is closely intertwined with its customer base, their needs, and humanity in general. Diversity in the workforce and customer base is for example a primary issue in the company's philosophy, also influencing its marketing style. The focus is on valuing diversity rather than ignoring or avoiding it. As part of its intercultural focus, Blockbuster is involved with organizations such as NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), GLAAD, and the National Urban League (Blockbuster, 2004).
Blockbuster is a national sponsor of the filmmakers' category of the NAACP's ACT-SO Program. This program is focused on students in Grades 9-12, who are encouraged to develop and display their talents in computer science, entrepreneurship, the arts, and other areas. Through its association with LULAC, Blockbuster has provided the Hispanic youth with more than $250,000 in scholarships (Blockbuster, 2004).
The company also provides opportunities for minority artists through sponsorships of minority film festivals, including the American Black Film Festival and the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. For these initiatives, Blockbuster is recognized by prominent minority magazines for its support of minority groups in terms of employment and artistic opportunities.
Apart from the arts sector, there are specific community areas in which Blockbusters Entertainment strives to promote and enhance diversity. In development for example, the company focuses its store expansion within underserved communities. In procuring goods, Blockbusters develops business relationships specifically with women and minority-owned businesses in order to maintain its philosophy of diversity. This philosophy is also maintained in the company's workforce, as equal opportunities exist for all qualified applicants, regardless of dividers such as race or gender. In this way the workforce is representative of the community in which Blockbuster stores are built.
By making all cultures part of its marketing and sponsorship initiatives, Blockbuster ensures that it is fully integrated within the entire spectrum of the community it serves. This forms part of the company's vision for long-term success (Blockbuster, 2004).
Further community projects includes schools as well as other community projects where needs are identified. Examples of these include national alliances such as Boys & Girls of America and Children's Miracle Network. Blockbuster's support and concern for education manifests itself in the "Good Grades Free Rentals" program, though which free game rentals are available for children from Grade K-8 who achieve A or B. average grades. Such students present their report cards at Blockbuster stores to receive their free Favorite rental.
Blockbuster's involvement with the Children's Miracle Network includes community projects to raise awareness and funds for hospitals that promote this pedriatic care program. Both employees and customers work on these projects. Furthermore movies, games and annual in-store fundraisers are used to raise funds for the Network. The Boys & Girls Club of America is also supported by fundraising efforts that Blockbuster sponsors nationwide. The Club helps to develop the self-esteem of the youth in the United States, fulfilling a prominent need in American society (Blockbuster, 2004).
It is thus clear that Blockbuster strives not only to adhere to its philosophy in terms of the workplace, but also in the community it serves. The company thus combines community service with its initially created goals in order to arrive at a philosophy that provides the public with a basis of trust. This trust is focused on the fact that Blockbuster honestly tries to serve the community from the fortune created by its business.
The Success of Blockbuster
When looking at the figures, it is obvious that Blockbuster is financially an extremely successful company. In 2002 for example the company's revenue was $5.6 billion. Sales figures for 2003 and 2004, as well as rentals, have provided increased success for the company. The financial figures are however only the physical manifestation of the work behind the success Blockbuster enjoys.
I believe that Blockbuster's goals and strategies work together in harmony in order to produce its success. The community service in which the company involves itself results in public trust, which in turn results in increased business. The caring attitude of the company towards the youth and disadvantaged of the…