(a) Analyze the environment that the National Trust operates in. Conduct this analysis using SWOT and PESTLE analysis. It is essential you assess the impact of the marketing environment
Understanding the environment within which an organization operates is very essential. This is because it helps understand the position of the organization within the industry and take strategic measures to remain competitive within the sector. The most common tools for environmental analysis are SWOT and PESTLE analysis. These are very essential analytical tool since they do help in understanding a market position of an organization and make strategic decisions (French & Runyard, 2011).
National Trust has been using the stable political environment in UK to its advantage. This is because it has encouraged as many people as possible to become its members or its employees. Economical factors in UK are also very encouraging since most of people in this country have some money to spend during leisure time. Social factors have also favored National Trust since the sites encourages the population to have social sites.
Technological factors have been very essential especially for the Trusts marketing strategy. The Trust uses digital media and social networking sites have improved its marketing substantially. The National Trust has embraced social media and new technologically-inspired below-the-line activities to increase the ‘shareability’ of its messages (Hussey & Perrin, 2003).
The legal factors in UK are very strict and must be followed to the letter. However, National Trust being a not-for-profit organization is independent of the government and thus there is little or no supervision. Environmental factors are the success factors behind the National Trust. The aim of the organization is to conserve natural resources and the environment which has made the organization very environmental friendly.
National Trust has no direct competitors in this industry and therefore it may be difficult to carry out a SWOT analysis. This is because there will be no other organization to compare with. However, the Trust enjoys a strong brand name as one of its strengths. One of its weaknesses is that its promotional mix is not yet perfect. National Trust has an Opportunity of diversifying its services and expands its market beyond UK. The Trust has the threat of lacking finances if it fails to advertise effectively (Hussey & Perrin, 2003).
(b) Highlight the National Trusts relevance and its rationale for developing different market segments
Market segmentation is very important in an organization as it helps an organization to offer its products and services where it feel the performance is good as expected. In order to fulfill organizations mission to grow the nations love of special places ‘Forever, for everyone’. The segmentation will enable the organization to accomplish its mission by reaching as many people as possible. Organization has gardens, mills coastline, forests, moorland, nature reserves and pubs among others in different part of the country (Roberts, 2001).
Most of these services offered by the National Trust are not affected by the life cycle of a product. This is because the love for nature and history is not likely to change. This is because when one generation is bored by these services other people are being born thus making the business perpetual. In order to enhance its segmentation, the firm is expected to carry out both above-the line promotion and below-the line promotion (Hussey & Perrin, 2003). Above-the –line promotion is associated with traditional forms of advertising media such as; magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, bill boards or internet poster ads. This form of advertisement reaches both interested and non interested customers thus making it perfect for reaching large audience (Toledano, 2006).
Below-the-line promotion uses methods over which organizations have greater control. It covers many activities, which are more easily tailored and targeted to selected and relevant audiences. These might typically include news articles and press releases, direct mail, sales promotions, exhibitions, sponsorship or events. This form of advertisement is very important for the organization since it is able to get to the target audience in the segmented market.
Apply your knowledge of the marketing mix to at least two products/services that the National Trust provides ensure you cover each area of the marketing mix and outline the importance of the marketing mix to the National Trust and the industry in which they operate.
Marketing mix is concerned with 4ps (product, price, place and promotion). Every organization should strive to ensure that is strikes a balance between the four key elements so that customers’ needs are met and organizational sales objectives are also realized. Even if an organization had the best product in the world but it promotes it to the wrong audience, overprices it or distributes it in a way that is inconvenient for consumers, then the firm will not be a success (Roberts, 2001).
The relationship between product, price, place and promotion is highly integrated in the case of National Trust. For instance, Trust’s product is a mix of tangible and intangible products. Customers can add value to their membership over the year through a wide range of other activities. This might include, for example, the opportunity to have a camping or cottage holiday on Trust land or learn new skills with Trust experts – anything from bird-watching to archaeological digs
Price; Since the organization is a not-for-profit organization, the price of membership fees, entrance fees and sales through its shops and websites need essentially to cover costs rather than make profits. It is therefore important for the Trust to ensure that it maintains high membership. The membership fees need to remain competitive to demonstrate good value for money in order to attract visitors and keep members. It is therefore an obligation of the board of trustees to budget carefully and ensure that expected income from predicted memberships will cover its costs.
Place; it involves ensuring that consumers get the product at the right price. In order to ensure accessibility of the National Trust has gone online thus making more people to have access to the organization. The organizations website has an online shop from which anyone can buy gifts as wide-ranging as farm produce, cards and craft items.
Promotion; this is a process by which an organization create awareness to an organization of the existence and price of the product. National Trust has adopted both traditional and modern advertising methods to ensure that they create awareness to existing and potential customers. The Trust has used magazines, newspapers, TVs, radio, social and digital media just to mention but a few. The organization has also been involved in events, walks across estates, festivals and firework displays which have been very effective in promotion (Roberts, 2001).
Based upon your above findings conduct a detailed analysis of the pricing strategies used by the National Trust and the industry
The success of any organization mainly depends with the pricing strategy within the organization. The pricing strategy must ensure that the operations costs are less than the revenues of the organization. If an organization fails to have an effective pricing strategy, then it is likely that the business will have continuous losses which may result to closure of the business. A pricing strategy must at least ensure that the organization get a break-even point. Perpetual losses are not acceptable since there is no business entity that aspires to always make losses (Bowie & Buttle, 2011).
National trust has adopted a very effective pricing strategy that will ensure sustainability of the business venture. Though it is a not-for-profit organization, the organization must ensure that its operations costs do not surpass what they earn. The Trust does not mind about profits but it must ensure that all its costs are covered. The pricing in National Trust is based on membership fees, entrance to sites and sales through its shops, websites and catering services.
The National Trust has to maintain its special places for ever, the firm incurs significant costs in repair and upkeep. From previous researches, membership and visitor fees cover only a third of the firms’ costs. It has therefore been deemed important to have fundraising and commercial activities to fill the gap. It is therefore important to keep membership numbers as high as possible. If the income fails to get to the expected level, then the Trust may not be able to fulfill its mission (Misiura, 2006).
National trust must ensure that the membership fees need to remain competitive to demonstrate good value for money in order to attract visitors and keep members. The entrance fees to the different sites must also be set in such a way that it attracts more visitors to these sites. The pricing strategy must ensure that it accommodates all classes of people regardless of their financial position, race, gender and ages.
National Trust is also known to have pubs and restaurants. It is therefore the obligation of the management of this organization to ensure that it has reasonable pricing strategy within these premises. The pubs and restaurants can have a significant impact to the revenues earned by the National Trust. Though it is not after making profit the organization must ensure that it has reasonable pricing strategy for products and services offered in these places. National Trust has over several years been involved in catering services (Hussey & Perrin, 2003). The organization must ensure that it offers high quality services as far as catering is concerned. This will ensure more customers for these services and can have significant contribution to the Trust’s income. National Trust must have an effective pricing strategy for its services such as catering. The board of trustees at the national trust must therefore budget carefully to ensure that expected income from predicted memberships will cover its costs. Failure to have a sufficient budget may lead to the Trust in making perpetual losses which will ultimately lead to the firm being non-operational.
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