Strategic marketing is a concept which is concerned with determination of one or more sustainable competitive advantage which a business enterprise posses in market. It is a way by means of which organization can differentiate them from rivals in terms of their strength. On this basis company is able to make best possible use of resources with utmost effectiveness and efficiency (Aaker and McLoughlin, 2010). Here, in this present report strategic management of Zara is going to be discussed.
It is world’s largest fashion retailer and they introduce approximately 10,000 new designs at the end of each year (Sahaf, 2008). The study has laid emphasis on product and services which is being offered by organization along with importance of their stakeholders. In addition to this, it is going to discuss planning as well as implementation of strategic relationship program. The statement has been followed by strategic marketing planning process.
Zara has been selected for the purpose of introducing strategic relationship marketing as they have successfully executed relation program with their potential clientele. Business enterprise is a Spanish clothing as well as accessories retailer which were founded in the year 1975. It is counted among one of the world’s largest apparel retailer. It carries out its functions all across the globe and operating in more than 2000 stores and outlets in 88 nations (Ranchhod and Marandi, 2012). They mostly deal in large number of fashion products and service such clothing, shoes, apparels, accessories and so on. All of their merchandises are divided on the basis of lower garment, shoes, cosmetics along with children clothing. It has been observed that in a time span of just two weeks Zara develops a new product and get into stores and has adopted unusual strategy of zero advertisement. They prefer to invest that percentage of amount in opening of their stores worldwide (Pech and Stamboulidis, 2010).
On the basis of an independent survey, it has been observed that fashion retailer offers considerably more amount of products as it produces 11000 distinct items on annual basis. On the other hand, it key competitors only develops 2000 to 4000 items yearly. Zara makes best possible use of sophisticated information technology such as PDA with wireless transmission capabilities in their stores for the purpose of monitoring fickle fashion changes of customers (Parvinen, Tikkanen and Aspara, 2007). They are planning to open their online boutique in which customers will be provided with same merchandises at same rate. 50% of production of Zara is carried out in Spain, 26% in rest of Europe and 24% in Asian and African countries (Cravens, 2011).
Customer relationship management which is also popularly known as CRM is a system which is used for the purpose of managing interaction of customer with their current as well as future customers. It comprises of technology in order to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer services along with technical support. In regard to this, Zara comply with range of approaches with an aim to manage their customer relationship management (Ansoff, 2007). Some of their approaches along with their benefits and limitations are enumerated as under:
Keep track of customers: It has been observed that, in order to maintain adequate customer relationship management Zara uses approach for the purpose of keeping track of its potential clientele. It proves to be of great use in analyzing demand as well as preference of customers so according to that they can produce goods and services. In the similar manner, this also provides assistance in maintaining loyalty of customers towards them (El-Ansary, 2006). But on the other hand, it has been found that sometimes Zara is not able to attain desired outcomes by keeping track of customers. This is due to the fact that taste and preference of target market keeps on changing at fast pace, as a result to which it becomes quite difficult for organization to do so. In addition to this, intense level of competition in fashion industry is also held accountable for the same (Donaldson and O'Toole, 2007).
Personalized communication system: On the basis of independent survey, it has been found that Zara does not spend a single penny on advertisement. In regard to this, they make best possible use of personalized communication system. For this, they maintain adequate records of telephone numbers, e-mails and other modes of communication and send personalized messages at the time of arrival of new stock or any other festivity. This proves advantageous in maintaining healthy and cordial relations with customers along with maintaining loyalty with them (Singh, 2007). However, on the flip side it is quite costly in nature as well as time consuming. This is because of the reason that they have to constantly update their data and to improve system for the same. In the similar manner, it is quite confusing as management has to consider efficiency of paying certain amount of cost so that they can reach more or less targeted consumers (Acur and Englyst, 2006).
Social networking sites: In recent times great revolution has been observed in the field of technology. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc. has turn out to be great rage especially among youth and people belonging to different age group. In this context, Zara has adopted this approach for the purpose of managing adequate relationship with their customers and to keep in constant touch with them. With the help of this, they have successfully maintained connection with their target market as it provides rapid viral exposure of their products along with qualified leads and sales (Griffin, 2002).
But on the other hand, there are wide ranges of disadvantages which are associated with this. First and foremost is the risk of negative comments as there is a great possibility negative comment about a particular product or services which is being offered by Zara. It is regarded as one of the most effective tool, but it is required to use safety measures at the time of using it (Moingeon and Soenen, 2002).
Stakeholders are person, group or organization which has a certain interest or concern in the functioning of business enterprise. They are the one that can affect or be affected by actions, objectives as well as policies of organization. Basically there are two types of stakeholders namely primary and secondary. Primary stakeholders are internal and engaged in economic transactions with business, while on the other hand; secondary stakeholders are not directly engaged in direct economic exchange with business but can be affected by decision making (Ruiz, 2012). Customers, owner, suppliers, employees, designers, community, government agencies, creditors are some of the significant stakeholder of Zara. They all play quite crucial role in overall functioning as well as in ensuring smooth functioning in this competitive market environment by providing useful resources (Aaker and McLoughlin, 2010). Some of their significance or importance on Zara is enumerated as under:
Employees: They are the existing manpower which has been employed within business enterprise who is employed at each and every managerial level. They invest their time as well as efforts within place of work so that organization can attain their goals and objectives within stipulated framework of time. Business enterprise such as Zara considered their workforce as one of the most important asset. This is because of reason that they provide timely help as well as support to the company in delivering effective and timely services to their clients and at the same time takes steps for satisfying their needs and wants. By means of this they are able to ensure success of company in long run (Fahy, Farrelly and Quester, 2004).
Customers: They are considered as one of the most essential stakeholders as they are king for whom each and every organization produces goods and services for the purpose of earning considerable amount of profit. In regard to this, they play a very crucial role in maintaining competitive edge of Zara against their rivals by enhancing their productivity as well as profitability ratio (Svensson, 2006). In the similar manner, they also help business in achieving their aims and objectives as their operations are entirely depend on their customers. In case they are not able to satisfy their needs and wants then they might lose them in long run. Without customers it would become impossible for Zara to exist and operate in this competitive marketing environment (Hill, McGinnis and Cromartie, 2007).
Government: It has been observed that role ruling body also plays significant role in functioning of Zara in present scenario. This is due to the fact that they formulate various rules and regulations along with policies and procedures which need to be followed by business enterprise while carrying out their operations. In regard to this, at the time of carrying functions all across the globe, Zara has to comply with all the regulations to ensure its effectiveness. This has made their functioning quite easy and at the same point of time keeps strict check on level of rising level of competition which acts as an added advantage for Zara at international market place (Pech and Stamboulidis, 2010).
Suppliers: They are the one who supplies all the necessary raw materials along with other necessary things which will be required by fashion retailer for the purpose of producing their goods and services. By means of their timely help and support Zara becomes competent enough to manage as well as control the entire inventory system (Proctor, 2013). In the similar manner, due to their active and fast supply they are able to produce new design in every time span of 2 months along with large number of designs at the end of every year which has successfully draws the attention of large number of people (Murthy and Eccleston, 2002).
Investors: It comprises of person who has invested adequate sum of money by means of which Zara is able to carry out its functions and at the same time ensures its presence at market place. They play a very crucial role in ensuring success of business in long run, as they provide financial assistance to company at regular interval of time so that they carry out their functioning with utmost effectiveness and efficiency. In the similar manner, with their help and support Zara has also gained competitive advantage against its rivals so that company can enhance productivity as well as profitability ratio in long run (El-Ansary, 2006).
Community: It is a place where business enterprise such as Zara operates for the purpose of attaining organizational aims and objectives. Society plays a very decisive role in its overall functioning as it provides all the major resources in terms of natural, physical, manpower, technological and so on with the help of which they can attain competitive edge in near future. In addition to this, they also purchase shares of company which tends to improve market standing as well as position of organization in market place all across the globe (Cravens, 2011).
In order to maintain adeuate relationship with all the above mentioned stakeholders, business enterprise such as Zara can plan as well as implement strategic relationship program with all which has been mentioned as under:
Employees: For the purpose of maintaining sound and cordial relations with them, management of Zara can adopt wide range of tactics. First and foremost is to carry out sound two way communication with them. With the help of this, workforce will satisfied as they can contact with their management and share their grievance. In the similar manner, administration can even provide adequate rewards as well as motivation in terms of monetary and non monetary benefits such as incentives, recognition, and timely motivation and so on. They can also carry out various training and development sessions for their further overall growth and development (Bergquist, 2006). At the same point of time management of Zara can even various types of team building activities along with recreational activities so that they feel rejuvenated and motivated and develops sound and positive working environment in long run. This will prove to be of great use in maintaining strategic relationship program as a result to which they will work with full commitment and deliver required results so that business can attain their desired outcomes. In order to implement this they can take help of HR professionals along with managers of all functional departments (Trim and Lee, 2008).
Customers: They are one of the most significant stakeholder, due to which it becomes quite essential for Zara to maintain sound relationship with the. In case if organization fails to do so then it will directly impact on their productivity and profitability as a result to which they will not be able to gain competitive edge against its rivals in near future. For this, company can set up various customer grievance handling departments in which experts can find solutions of their problems (Ranchhod and Marandi, 2012). In the similar manner, better and timely services can be provided to them in order to maintain their loyalty in long run. For the purpose of drawing attention of large number of people Zara can present wide range of offers as well as schemes such as discounts. They can also set up after sales service department with an aim to provide maximum customer satisfaction. Zara can plan this entire course of action especially in festive season to gain desired outcomes along with making best possible use of social networking sites (Moingeon and Soenen, 2002).
Government: For ensuring smooth functioning of organization all across the globe, it is quite necessary to build healthy relationship with government. For the purpose of attaining this, Zara is required to comply with each and every rules and regulations which has been framed by ruling body of nations in which Zara is carrying out its operations. In the similar manner, by making timely payment of taxes along with various duties same can be enhanced. In addition to this, Zara can frame adequate relationship with government by improving ample amount of employment opportunities for the betterment of society (Acur and Englyst, 2006).
Suppliers: In order to ensure timely delivery of raw materials and other necessary tools and equipments, it is very much necessary for business enterprise such as Zara to carry out suitable relationship management program with them. In regard to this, organization can provide them considerable amount of business opportunities which proves to be of great use in their overall growth and development (Parvinen, Tikkanen and Aspara, 2007). In the similar manner, long term relations can also be made by means of making timely payment to them. It will provide assistance in formulating sound and long lasting relationship and at the same time builds and improves level of trust and confidence on each other. In order to plan this entire course of action, management of Zara can develop as well as follow certain terms and conditions in which each and every rules and regulations can be framed and discussed clearly (Donaldson and O'Toole, 2007).
Investors: For the purpose of carrying out process and functioning with utmost effectiveness and efficiency, administration of Zara is required to maintain healthy and cordial relation with investors. This is due to the fact that they are the one who invest considerable amount of money and provide financial assistance as and when required to Zara. For this, they have to deliver adequate and correct return on investment to investors so that they receive good returns. This will motivate them to make more investment in Zara so that they will get good return for longer duration of time (Murthy and Eccleston, 2002).
Community: For the purpose of making best possible use of various resources as well as to enhance market share, it is necessary for Zara to serve society or community in which it is operating. In regard to this, it is essential to develop as well as to maintain healthy relationship. For this, fashion retailer can do a lot by providing environment along with scarce natural resources. This is already being followed by company as they follow toxic free production by banning harmful toxins from the manufacturing of their clothing line. In the similar manner, by proving timely as well as sufficient dividends on share Zara can gain trust and faith of community in short span of time (Fahy, Farrelly and Quester, 2004). Company can also comply with corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity by opening up of many schools, colleges and other educational institution along with medical and health care facilities so that maximum number of people can be benefitted from this. In order to execute this course of action, Zara can plan various campaigns as well as drives for generating awareness in the minds of people living in society and at the same time collaborate with other NGO’s and concerned parties to undertake their corporate social responsibility in effective and efficient manner (Hill, McGinnis and Cromartie, 2007).
By summing up the facts from above mentioned research report, it can be rightly articulated that Zara desires to introduce the concept of strategic relationship marketing within place of work for the purpose of enhancing their market standing. On the basis of the report, it has been revealed that it deal in wide range of products and services which are distinct in nature as compared to other organizations. In addition to this, customers, investors, government, community, suppliers etc. are some of its major stakeholders and plays quite dominant role in it overall operations and functioning. In the similar manner, there exist ranges of ways and methods which can be applied by Zara within place of work with an aim to plan as well as implement strategic relationship programs with all their stakeholders. This will prove beneficial in maintaining cordial relationship with them in long run.