Generation X in America

Generation X in America

Generation X (also known as Gen X) is the part of the population born between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. Although it is accepted that the Generation X demographic was born between 1965 and 1980, academics and marketing researchers typically use dates from the early to mid 1960s up to the early 1980s. Below is a summary of the key traits of Generation X;

  • Born between 1965 and 1980*
  • The “latch-key kids” grew up street-smart but isolated, often with divorced or career-driven parents. Latch-Key came from the house key kids wore around their neck, because they would go home from school to an empty house.
  • Entrepreneurial.
  • Very individualistic.
  • Government and big business mean little to them.
  • Want to save the neighborhood, not the world
  • Feel misunderstood by other generations
  • Cynical of many major institutions, which failed their parents, or them, during their formative years and are therefore eager to make marriage work and “be there” for their children
  • Don’t “feel” like a generation, but they are
  • Raised in the transition phase of written based knowledge to digital knowledge archives; most remember being in school without computers and then after the introduction of computers in middle school or high school
  • Desire a chance to learn, explore and make a contribution
  • Tend to commit to self rather than an organization or specific career. This generation averages 7 career changes in their lifetime, it was not normal to work for a company for life, unlike previous generations.
  • Society and thus individuals are envisioned as disposable.
  • AIDS begins to spread and is first lethal infectious disease in the history of any culture on earth which was not subjected to any quarantine.
  • Beginning obsession of individual rights prevailing over the common good, especially if it is applicable to any type of minority group.
  • Raised by the career and money conscious Boomers amidst the societal disappointment over governmental authority and the Vietnam war.
  • School problems were about drugs.
  • Late to marry (after cohabitation) and quick to divorce…many single parents.
  • Into labels and brand names.
  • Want what they want and want it now but struggling to buy, and most are deeply in credit card debt.
  • It is has been researched that they may be conversationally shallow because relating consists of shared time watching video movies, instead of previous generations.
  • Short on loyalty & wary of commitment; all values are relative…must tolerate all peoples.
  • Self-absorbed and suspicious of all organization.
  • Survivors as individuals.
  • Cautious, skeptical, unimpressed with authority, self-reliant.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a tool for auditing an organization and its environment. It is the first stage of planning and helps marketers to focus on key issues. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. Opportunities and threats are external factors. A strength is a positive internal factor. A weakness is a negative internal factor. An opportunity is a positive external factor. A threat is a negative external factor.

SWOT Analysis
Diagram: A SWOT Analysis

We should aim to turn our weaknesses into strengths, and our threats into opportunities. Then finally, SWOT will give managers options to match internal strengths with external opportunities. The outcome should be an increase in ‘value’ for customers – which hopefully will improve our competitive advantage.

The main purpose of the analysis has to be to add value to our products and services so that we can recruit new customers, retain loyal customers, and extend products and services to customer segments over the long-term. If undertaken successfully, we can then increase our Return On Investment (ROI).

Simple rules.

  • Be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization.
  • It should distinguish between where your organization is today, and where it could be in the future.
  • It should always be specific. Avoid grey areas.
  • Always apply the tool in relation to your competition i.e. better than or worse than your competition.
  • Keep your audit short and simple. Avoid complexity and over analysis
  • It is subjective.

Once key issues have been identified with your SWOT analysis, they feed into marketing objectives. The tool can be used in conjunction with other tools for audit and analysis, such as PEST analysis and Porter’s Five-Forces analysis. So SWOT is a very popular tool with marketing students because it is quick and easy to learn. During the SWOT exercise, list factors in the relevant boxes. It’s that simple. Below are some FREE examples of SWOT analysis – click to go straight to them.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors.

For example:

A strength could be:

  • Your specialist marketing expertise.
  • A new, innovative product or service.
  • Location of your business.
  • Quality processes and procedures.
  • Any other aspect of your business that adds value to your product or service.

A weakness could be:

  • Lack of marketing expertise.
  • Undifferentiated products or services (i.e. in relation to your competitors).
  • Location of your business.
  • Poor quality goods or services.
  • Damaged reputation.

Opportunities and threats are external factors.

For example:

An opportunity could be:

  • A developing market such as the Internet.
  • Mergers, joint ventures or strategic alliances.
  • Moving into new market segments that offer improved profits.
  • A new international market.
  • A market vacated by an ineffective competitor.

A threat could be:

  • A new competitor in your home market.
  • Price wars with competitors.
  • A competitor has a new, innovative product or service.
  • Competitors have superior access to channels of distribution.
  • Taxation is introduced on your product or service.

A word of caution – it can be very subjective. Do not rely on SWOT too much. Two people rarely come-up with the same final version of SWOT.  TOWS analysis is extremely similar.

Do you need a more advanced SWOT Analysis?

Some of the problems that you may encounter with SWOT are as a result of one of its key benefits i.e. its flexibility. Since SWOT analysis can be used in a variety of scenarios, it has to be flexible. However this can lead to a number of anomalies. Problems with basic SWOT analysis can be addressed using a more critical POWER SWOT.

History of SWOT Analysis

Having arrived on this page you have probably surfed the Internet and scoured books and journals in search of the history of SWOT Analysis. The simple answer to the question What is SWOT? is that there is no simple answer, and one needs to demonstrate a little academic wisdom in that nobody took the trouble to write the first definitive journal paper or book that announced the birth of SWOT Analysis. There are a number of contrasting, if not contradictory views on the origin of SWOT. Here are a few of the leading thinkers on the topic (and if you have more please let us know so that we can add them). More . . .

FREE SWOT Analysis Examples

A summary of FREE SWOT analyses case studies are outlined in our Lesson Store.

What is Marketing? Marketing definitions.

Marketing definitions

There are many marketing definitions. The better definitions are focused upon market orientation and the satisfaction of customer needs.

Marketing is the social process by which individuals and organizations obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging value with others.

Kotler and Armstrong (2010).

The definiton is based upon an a basic marketing exchange process, and recognises the importance of value to the customer.

The process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.

Kotler and Armstrong (2010).

Kotler and Armstrong develop their orginal definition to recognise the importance of the longer-term relationship with the customer. This is achieved by relationship marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Marketing is the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Accessed 2012.

The CIM definition looks not only at identifying customer needs, but also satisfying them (short-term) and anticipating them in the future (long-term retention). The definition also states the importance of a process of marketing, with marketing objectives and outcomes. CIM is recognised as being one of the most influential marketing
bodies in the world. It is the professional body for marketing in the United Kingdom.

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved October 2007)

American Marketing Association Board of Directors. Accessed 2012.

Again, in common with Kotler and Armstrong above, the AMA focuses its definition on value creation and delivery, and the longer-term retained customer.

The enigma of marketing is that it is one of man’s oldest activities and yet it is regarded as the most recent of business disciplines.

Baker (1976).

Baker introduces the elephant in the room. Marketing has always been part of business, and it is a myth that it is purely a contemporary idea.

Also see the Philosophy and Theory of Marketing

Marketing mix


The marketing mix

The marketing mix is one of the most famous marketing terms. The marketing mix is the tactical or operational part of a marketing plan. The marketing mix is also called the 4Ps and the 7Ps. The 4Ps are price, place, product and promotion. The services marketing mix is also called the 7Ps and includes the addition of process, people and physical evidence.

The marketing mix is . . . The set of controllable tactical marketing tools – product, price, place, and promotion – that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target market.

Kotler and Armstrong (2010).

The concept is simple. Think about another common mix – a cake mix. All cakes contain eggs, milk, flour, and sugar. However, you can alter the final cake by altering the amounts of mix elements contained in it. So for a sweet cake add more sugar!

It is the same with the marketing mix. The offer you make to your customer can be altered by varying the mix elements. So for a high profile brand, increase the focus on promotion and desensitize the weight given to price.

Another way to think about the marketing mix is to use the image of an artist’s palette. The marketer mixes the prime colours (mix elements) in different quantities to deliver a particular final colour. Every hand painted picture is original in some way, as is every marketing mix. Let’s look at the elements of the marketing mix in more detail. Click on the links to go to the lesson on each element.

Price

Price is the amount the consumer must exchange to receive the offering .

Solomon et al (2009).

The company’s goal in terms of price is really to reduce costs through improving manufacturing and efficiency, and most importantly the marketer needs to increase the perceived value of the benefits of its products and services to the buyer or consumer.
There are many ways to price a product. Let’s have a look at some of them and try to understand the best policy/strategy in various
situations.

Place

Place includes company activities that make the product available to target consumers.

Kotler and Armstrong (2010).

Place is also known as channel, distribution, or intermediary. It is the mechanism through which goods and/or services are moved from the manufacturer/ service provider to the user or consumer.

 

Marketing Mix
The Marketing Mix

 

Product

Product means the goods-and-services combination the company offers to the target market.

Kotler and Armstrong (2010).

For many a product is simply the tangible, physical item that we buy or sell. You can also think of the product as intangible i.e. a service.

In order to actively explore the nature of a product further, let’s consider it as three different products – the CORE product, the ACTUAL product, and finally the AUGMENTED product.

The Product Life Cycle (PLC) is based upon the biological life cycle. For example, a seed is planted (introduction); it begins to sprout (growth); it shoots out leaves and puts down roots as it becomes an adult (maturity); after a long period as an adult the plant begins to shrink and die out (decline).

The Customer Life Cycle (CLC) has obvious similarities with the Product Life Cycle (PLC). However, CLC focuses upon the creation and delivery of lifetime value to the customer i.e. looks at the products or services that customers NEED throughout their lives.

Promotion

Promotion includes all of the activities marketers undertake to inform consumers about their products and to encourage potential customers to buy these products.

Solomon et al (2009).

Promotion includes all of the tools available to the marketer for marketing communication. As with Neil H. Borden’s marketing mix, marketing communications has its own promotions mix. Whilst there is no absolute agreement on the specific content of a marketing communications mix, there are many promotions elements that are often included such as sales, advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, online communications and personal selling.

Physical Evidence

(Physical evidence is) . . . The environment in which the service is delivered, and where the firm and customer interact, and any tangible components that facilitate performance or communication of the service.

Zeithaml et al (2008)

Physical Evidence is the material part of a service. Strictly speaking there are no physical attributes to a service, so a consumer tends to rely on material cues. There are many examples of physical evidence, including some of the following buildings, equipment, signs and logos, annual accounts and business reports, brochures, your website, and even your business cards.

People

(People are) . . . All human actors who play a part in service delivery and thus influence the buyers’ perceptions; namely, the firm’s personnel, the customer, and other customers in the service environment.

Zeithaml et al (2008).

People are the most important element of any service or experience. Services tend to be produced and consumed at the same moment, and aspects of the customer experience are altered to meet the individual needs of the person consuming it.

Process

Process is) . . . The actual procedures, mechanisms, and flow of activities by which the service is delivered – this service delivery and operating systems.

Zeithaml et al (2008).

There are a number of perceptions of the concept of process within the business and marketing literature. Some see processes as a means to achieve an outcome, for example – to achieve a 30% market share a company implements a marketing planning process. However in reality it is more about the customer interface between the business and consumer and how they deal with each other in a series of steps in stages, i.e. throughout the process.