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Nordstrom Inc. is one of the biggest departmental stores in the U.S. and was incepted in 1901 through a partnership of two friends John W. Nordstrom and Carl Wallin, a shoe repair shop owner. The two opened a shoe store which later grew to a chain not only dealing with shoes but also clothing apparel. Wallin later sold his shares to john Nordstrom’s sons when they retired in the late 20’s (Nordstrom: Company History, 2010). This ensured that the control of the company remained in the Nordstrom family and that remains the case up to date. The company philosophy has remained unchanged since the formation of the company and it emphasizes on provision of excellent services to its customers whereby they put their customers ahead of other consideration, followed by the workers who are given the powers and authority to do what they find reasonable to satisfy their clientele; and lastly, the shareholders stand to benefit if the above is followed.
Marketing Environmental Forces
Marketing environment is comprised of forces that influence the marketing management’s performance in establishing and maintaining sustainable relationship with the target customers. They are the external forces that directly or indirectly influence an organization’s capability to undertake its business. According to Ginisha (2008), changes in the marketing environment may either have positive effect on the organization by creating opportunities or negatively by introducing threats to the organization.
Environmental scanning helps in the analysis of the information on the external forces affecting the environment. This helps in the assessing and predicting current and the future environmental changes hence averting crisis. The external forces may be analyzed by using the PEST analysis which means “Political (and legal) forces, Economic forces, Socio-cultural forces, and Technological forces” (marketing teacher, 2010).
The Political, Legal and Regulatory Factors
The political, legal and regulatory factors are made up of laws and other groups and agencies that affect individuals and organizations by either influencing or limiting them. Basically, the political arena controls the regulation of businesses and the spending power of the consumers (marketing teacher, 2010). This may be through among other things laws that protect companies, consumers and the interests of society as a whole and increased emphasis on socially responsible actions (Slide Share Inc, 2009). Businesses can be regulated through different levels which may include Federal Level, State Level, Local Level, and Self-regulation. In the U.S., political forces may include new legislations in gasoline tax, welfare reform, and health care reform which may reduce the disposable income among the people hence decrease in sales among the retail traders like the Nordstrom.
Technological factor is one of the most influential forces in the determination of the future of an organization for it creates new marketing opportunities and products. It is important for competitive edge and compresses the physical distance through globalization. It allows for innovation cheaper and high standard goods and services. Nordstrom has benefited from technology through trading and marketing through the internet (marketing teacher, 2010).
Economic and competitive factors
Economic and competitive factors that influence the business environment include income of the people, inflation rates of the economy, recession, depression, interest rates, taxation rates and exchange rates. Moreover, competitive forces may influence the business depending on whether it operates in Monopoly, Oligopoly, Monopolistic Competition or Perfect Competition markets. This may be shown by the economic depression in the late 20’s to early 30’s that led to the collapse of many business ventures and economies.
The socio-cultural factors include institutions and other forces that affect a society’s basic values, perceptions, preferences and behaviors (Slide Share Inc, 2009). These help the marketers to sell what is needed by a particular population and may include religion, demographic characteristics, and attitudes among others. An example would be marketing a pork product to a predominantly Muslim community, or in the case of Nordstrom, due to the changes in demographic patterns; they unknowingly mass produce clothing and shoes of the wrong sizes
Impact of Marketing Environment Forces on Marketing the Department Store
Organizations respond to the changes in the market forces differently; they may use ignorance, delay, retrenchment, gradual strategic repositioning and radical strategic repositioning (Slide Share Inc, 2009).
Marketing involves knowing what the target market expects and delivering the desired goods and services to satisfy these needs, the result of which is an increased market share. In most cases, people gain interest and confidence in certain retailers or brands hence become part of their loyal clientele, more so when their expectations are met on a regular basis. Marketing increases awareness especially through advertisement which gives the general public information on brands and prices of the stocked goods. It helps carry out a market research which helps the retailers to know the needs and wants of their customers, as well as their demographic and geographic spread. Moreover, it comes in handy when the firm in the process of introducing new brands or when opening new outlets.
The disadvantages of marketing include unhealthy competition which may lead to among other things competition oriented pricing which is allocating prices lower than usual due to competition; this in the long term may lead to loses and debts. In addition, marketing is expensive due to the increased manpower, equipments, and the need for improved communication facilities all of which have an effect on the net profit of the business.
Promotional Strategy for Foreign Market entry
The main purpose of marketing communication is to influence the behavior of a given population by creating awareness, persuading and reminding the current and potential customers about a new or existing product. It also involves building relationships with customers, prospective buyers and retailers and ensuring that all of them feel satisfied in dealing with the firm.
According to Rank (n.d), IMC is implemented by developing comprehensive databases on customers and prospects, segmenting these current and potential customers into groups with certain common awareness levels, predispositions, and behaviors, and developing messages and media strategies that guide the communication tactics to meet marketing objectives. In doing this, IMC builds and reinforces mutually profitable relationships with customers and other important stakeholders and generates synergy by coordinating all elements in the promotional mix into a program that possesses clarity, consistency, and maximum impact” (Rank, N.d).
Distribution Channel to Foreign Market
The firm may opt to either use direct or indirect export of its products depending on which of the two methods is favorable whereby, “in indirect selling, an export intermediary normally assumes responsibility for finding overseas buyers, shipping products, and getting paid while in direct selling, the producer deals directly with a foreign buyer” (Small Business Management, n.d). In either case, the amount of resources to commit in foreign trade is an important factor that needs to be analyzed critically and exhaustively. Moreover, when deciding whether to market directly or indirectly, the size of the firm, nature of its products, export experience and the conditions in overseas markets are put into consideration and the same case will apply to channels of distribution, place of production, the kind of preventatives, the need for distributors and retailers, and the capabilities of the available intermediaries (Small Business Management, n.d).
For a company like Nordstrom which is more concerned about the welfare of its customers, direct export will be more suitable in order to not only enjoy control of the products in the foreign market but also ensure close relationship with the customers is maintained. The firm may use direct sales to end users mode of distribution whereby it will trade its goods or services directly to the consumers who may be foreign governments; hospitals, banks, schools; or businesses or overall consumers in the stores (Ginisha, 2008)
Ginisha, S. (2008). The Marketing Environment. Web.
Nordstrom: Company History. (2010). Nordstrom Website. Web.
Rank, j. (N.d). Marketing Communication. 2010. Web.
Slide Share Inc. (2009). The Marketing Environment. Web.
Small Business Management. (N.d). Export Goods: Methods of Exporting and Channels of Distribution. 2010. Web.
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