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Customer Targeted Marketing in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

7 pages
1727 words
Boston College
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Marketing represents the most critical aspect of business operations in every company.  It involves the process of gathering and analyzing relevant data that assist organizations in selling their products more efficiently on the market (Armstrong and Kotler, 2012).  This information is valuable, and it is used by companies to set prices, choose distribution channels, improve the existing products or develop new products and create a brand or image in the marketplace.  Most companies' base their marketing strategy on traditional marketing approaches that are no longer effective compared to customer targeted marketing approaches which usually helps an organization achieve a competitive edge and increased sales in the market.  Customer targeted approach is the modern form of marketing strategy that segments and identifies customers in the market based on their preference,  experiences,   attitudes, and behaviors with a given company.   When adopted this marketing approach successfully ensures companies embraced results-driven approach and reduced significantly wastage of marketing expenses that is often associated with the traditional marketing approaches.

Traditional marketing approaches represent different types of campaigns, advertisements, and promotions that most companies have embraced over the years to market their products and services. This form of marketing utilizes mostly print advertisements such as flyers, newsletters, newspaper print ads and billboards to showcase and market their products and services (Hutt and Speh, 2013). Other traditional approaches include television or radio spots commercials used to advertise a business, product or service. As opposed to customer targeted marketing approach, traditional marketing approach reaches out to less customer base. Customer targeted approach incorporates new and innovative marketing tactics that reach a larger scale of customers. In this paper, I will explain how as a vice president of marketing in one of the leading companies should strategically change from a traditional marketing approach we are currently using to customer targeted marketing to reach out to more clients and customers.

Strategic Plan Adopted to Transition from Traditional Marketing Approach to Customer Targeted Marketing

The first step that I will undertake is to understand how the traditional marketing approaches used by the organization has impacted its operations and develop appropriate research objectives to understand how the new marketing approach can be implemented. This is an essential step which set the prerequisite foundation for a sound adoption of customer targeted marketing (Klapdor et al., 2014). The second step involves the establishment of training programs to help marketing staff understand how to change the current marketing plan strategically. These programmes highlight what the marketers would base their action when marketing their products and services. The third step that I will employ is the assembling of information from the market, to know the consumer's taste and preferences which is the key ingredient in making decisions. The fourth step involves the analysis of the information collected from the consumers and the competitors. This forms the basis on which the marketing staff will base their decisions. The last step is the presentation of marketing research findings to help the sales team understand why adopting customer targeted approach would promote the company, in the long run, popularize its brand to a broader customer base.

In these programmes, I will sensitize my marketing team how customer targeted marketing embrace digital marketing that utilizes digital media to promote and market products and services. This type of marketing incorporates the use of digital media platforms such as computers, smartphones, and other digital devices. Over the years, digital marketing has expanded significantly following the advent of technology and many organizations have developed the preference for digital marketing since it is an effective medium that attracts a large number of customers within a short time. As an effective marketing platform, digital marketing helps an organization attain its objectives, increase efficiencies of the value chain and reduce marketing cost thus increase its revenue generation.

Brief Background of the Organization

I work as the vice president of marketing in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This organization is one of the biggest humanitarian networks in the world that serves one hundred and fifty million people in more than one hundred National Societies through the work of over seventeen million volunteers (Henley et al., 2013). The mission of the organization is to offer humanitarian assistance before, during and after disasters to meet the health emergencies and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It offers these services without any discrimination to all people regardless of their religious beliefs, nationality, class, race or political opinions.

IFRC was established in 1919 after the end of World War I in Paris, France. The aftermath of the war called for close cooperation between Red Cross Societies to meet the increased humanitarian need at the time (Henley et al., 2013). Led by Henry Davison, IFRC targeted to improve the health of people in the nations that had suffered severe fatalities during the four years of war.

Traditional Marketing Approach

For many years IFRC has adopted traditional marketing that incorporates a multitude of marketing techniques such as the print advertising (billboards, magazines, and use of coupon books among others), TV, radio, direct contact, and printed promotional materials such as brochures or catalogs. This approach was the primary marketing approach before the entry of internet marketing that has revolutionized how different companies and organizations popularize their products and services.

Though it has facilitated the process of marketing services of the organization in different countries, this approach has been ineffective and has limited the advancement and expansion of the organization in several areas. First, this approach is expensive because the organization usually has to pay a high amount of money to advertise its services on TV, radio and print media (Henley et al., 2013). The company prints hard copy business cards and brochures on a regular basis which are quite expensive. These expenses usually make the cost of conducting our rescue operations high and quite untenable. Apart from the increased cost of adopting this approach, another setback is the difficulty in tracking results. The organization finds it difficult to track how target consumers are responding because the entire process is complicated.

Customer Targeted Marketing

IFRC's principal role is to save lives and change minds of millions of vulnerable people across the globe. Mainly the organization offers its volunteer services to several countries and communities experiencing civil war, disasters and discrimination. Since the body is an international organization, its role is to support the national societies that operate at the nations in need of humanitarian assistance (Henley et al., 2013). The millions of volunteers working for the organization facilitate healthy and safe living of the affected people by promoting a culture of non-violence, peace and social inclusion. The volunteers are expected to protect livelihood, save lives and strengthen recovery from crises and disasters.

The organization requires an effective marketing strategy that facilitates faster and effective assistance of the affected people (Perreault et al., 2014). For instance, during the 2015 annual report, the organization published a story of a boy who died at the Turkish beach. The boy in the company of his family members was crossing over to Greece when the boat carrying them sank. After his image was circulated on social media, the world was shocked, and the attention was drawn to the migration crisis that has claimed several lives of migrants on the shores of Europe.

This story underpinned the humanitarian crisis that is facing the charity organizations unable to reach the people in need on time due to poor marketing and deeply interconnected organizational hierarchy due to widely entrenched use of traditional marketing approaches. The organization targets to adopt the use of customer targeted marketing to increase awareness of how it plans to support its members and implement various goals to meet the needs of vulnerable people.

The organization relies heavily on external funding, mainly the well-wishers willing to support the cause of championing the rights of millions of disaster-stricken people across the world. IFRC General Assembly in December 2015 ratified a new Plan and Budget running from 2016 to 2020 setting out four strategies for implementation (Pride et al., 2015). These strategies are set to help the organization streamline its efforts towards achieving lasting outcomes in eight thematic areas that include water and sanitation, disaster risk reduction, the culture of non-violence and peace, migration, social inclusion, and shelter.

In its bid to attract a high number of partners, the organization will require the support of marketing team to incorporate the use of customer targeted marketing, utilizing such platforms as internet, radio, and television to seek more support (Solomon et al., 2013). Besides, the organization markets its services using this approach by strengthening the capacities of national society and facilitating relevant and sustained Red Cross and Red Crescent presence in communities. By adopting effective customer marketing strategy, the organization seeks to promote national societies to achieve improved sustainability and accountability. It seeks to strengthen the role of national societies through the creation of sustainable aids. Besides, customer target marketing brings about innovation and knowledge brokering within IFRC organization.

The customer marketing framework improves international disaster management through increased coordination of international disaster response as well as enhanced cooperation and coordination of movement (Keegan and Green, 2015). With the use of digital platforms, the organization will increase its influence on other Red Cross organizations and hence it will enhance its authority as the leading strategic partner in the provision of humanitarian actions and community resilience. It will increase the popularity of its services through communication, advocacy, and research. In this way the organization strategic and practical partnerships will expand significantly.

Moreover, through customer targeted marketing the IFRC will be able to enlarge its operations further well beyond Africa and Europe. For instance, the National Societies has been able to respond to the needs of the migrants who braved treacherous seas such as the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Aden among others. And in effect, they have offered family reunification services, life-saving medical attention and water and food to migrants traveling through Central America (Reed, 2014).

The organization will utilize RACE (Reach, Act, Convert, and Engage) customer targeted marketing planning framework that seeks to improve service delivery. By embracing this approach, the organization will reach out to those in need by building appropriate infrastructure and drive visits that will facilitate faster access to these remote places. As part of enlarging our operations, the organization target to encourage online intera...

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