Organizations face many challenges before introducing a product or service to the buying public. To assist organizations in determining what product or service to introduce to the marketplace, a marketing mix formula must be followed. Successful organizational products’ follow the four main elements of the marketing mix, the four P’s: product, place, price, and promotion. In some instances, due to the shift from products to service solutions business strategy, the four P’s may be substituted by relevance, response, relationships, and results, the four R’s (English, 2000, p.21, ¶2). More than just advertising, marketing is the procedure that answers the questions of what the needs, wants, fears, and desires of ones target consumers are.
Effective marketing is based on understanding a specific audience or consumer segment. Organizations can identify segments based on “the attitudes, beliefs, opinions, and values surrounding their decision not to obtain” a product or service (John and Cheney, 2008, p.67, ¶1). Instead of focusing solely on differences, organizations need to focus on customers grouped by commonalities, with services customized for each group” (Teo, Srivastava, and Ho, 2006, p.109, Executive Summary).As a result, this paper will focus on how Downtown Dealership, a General Motors dealership, in the automobile industry uses the individual components of product, place, price, and promotion as an effective marketing strategy.
The first concept of the marketing mix strategy is product. Products include goods, product lines, or services identified individually by features, accessories, installation, service, and brand names. At Downtown Dealership, the products available are new and used vehicles.
GM and its dealerships are an established brand offering quality products with quality service to support them. Based on their specific divisions, GM dealership’s usually have similar vehicle or parts inventories. As a result, product usually is not an overwhelming determining factor if one has the correct mix of depth and breadth of what the consumer market wants. In other words, GM dealerships have access to the same vehicles and therefore the decisions are up to the local dealerships to maintain and order the correct vehicles for their respective markets.
When done correctly, no one dealership should have product advantage over another. However, maintaining good product levels, especially for those vehicles that are popular within highly lucrative market segments is critical. To attain this product advantage, the dealership reviews previous sales data, customer requests, internet hits on inventory, and requests for information in person or via the internet to order and build a vehicle inventory that mirrors customer requests and expectations.
In addition to having the correct inventory, the ability to offer outstanding service, and one of the longest new vehicle warranties of 100,000 mile bumper to bumper in the marketplace offers a degree of confidence knowing that the product is well built in addition to having all the features a customer wants. Realizing a shift towards environmentally friendly vehicles, GM began producing dual fuel trucks and vans which can run on regular gasoline or an ethanol gas combination otherwise known as E85. By stocking products that are environmentally green taps into a specific desirable market for large trucks and vans that offer’s owners to do something good for the environment. Dealerships that were aware of the market shift began ordering and stocking these new dual fuel environmentally friendly vehicles. Having the right product, at the right price, at the right time is important for overall customer satisfaction and dealership organizational success.