The paper "Marketing Strategy for W H Smith" is a perfect example of a case study on marketing. W H Smith is a mature company in the United Kingdom market for stationery products. Since the company operates in various product segments, it needs to adopt different strategies in each segment. The company has been witnessing a loss of market share in many of the product segments not only because of competition but also because it has not adapted to the changing conditions of the marketplace. In this paper, I will offer a marketing strategy for the company, develop a brand for it and discuss the issues that arise while developing the strategy. Marketing strategy A company and plan a strategy and implement it successfully only if the entire hierarchy is committed to it (Thompson, Stickler, and Gambler, 2007).
While the top managers design the strategy, other employees put it to action. In order to transform its marketing strategy completely, WHS needs to re-focus its business environment and evolve its value chain completely. The first step in transforming the marketing strategy, it is essential that the existing strategy is reviewed thoroughly in the context of changing business and market environment.
According to Porter’ s theory of distinctive competencies, which has been developed further by other researchers (cited in Barney and Clark, 2007), a firm derives its competitive advantage from its managerial capabilities, leadership qualities and other specific managerial attributes, rather than the natural resources that it owns, that makes it distinctive from others. Wernerfelt (1984) developed Porter’ s (1980) product-market competitive advantage theory to a resource-based view in which the resources are in terms of marketing capabilities. Since WHS operates in a business space that is highly competitive and with little scope for product differentiation, the company’ s competitive advantage can be gained through an aggressive marketing strategy that addresses the issues that are raised by the changing environment.
The case that is presented below develops the strategy on the basis of cost competitiveness and a higher level of customer interface on newer and different marketing platforms. WHS has been facing declining sales and market share, despite its strong historical reputation as a high street stationery retailer primarily because it has not changed its focus and not adapted to newer marketing channels like the online space or reduced its procurement costs through global purchases.
The high costs of its high street stores and the limited footfall from the younger customers have meant that the company has been stuck in the declining phase of the product life cycle. According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix, WHS is in the stage of “ problem child” when it is facing diminishing market share and reducing market growth. It is losing market share to supermarkets and specialized retailers.