Marketing: Wal-Mart Corporation
Wal-Mart is one of the most well-known publicly traded companies in the retail industry. A leader in retail, Wal-Mart has adopted many marketing strategies geared toward making products available to as many customers as possible with marginal profits but high sales ratios. Wal-Mart’s unique marketing strategies are so successful they are actually being adopted by other retailers large and small the world over.
A diverse product mix targeted marketing strategies that focus on niche markets and a specific audience, as well as special attention to customer service and product quality have all helped propel Wal-Mart to the top of the retail industry. Several aspects of the marketing strategy adopted by Wal-Mart are discussed in greater detail below.
Wal-Mart: Marketing Mix and Market Strategy
Wal-Mart’s strategy over time has been to maximize their relationship with suppliers so that their costs are reduced resulting in better profit margins. Wal-Mart’s marketing strategy is based on a large mix of products that are differentiated, and advertisements geared toward customers that show a desire to build customer intimacy and relationships, to remain the leader in quality and products offered and to promote operational excellence.
Wal-Mart is well-known for focusing on supply chain management and streamlining operations. It’s marketing strategy involves sending the message that the company offers innovative products at reasonable prices. Consistently in print media and in other forms of advertising and marketing Wal-Mart has sent the message that customer service, value and high quality brand name markets are the focal point of their service. This marketing message has successfully reached out to many different target audiences, including consumers looking for niche products and brand names at reasonable prices.
Wal-Mart has successfully marketed itself as the world’s largest retailer, though this is not the corporation’s only accomplishment from a marketing perspective. In addition to recognition as the largest retailer, there are those that claim that Wal-Mart is also the world’s largest company, having sold more than 244 billion dollars of goods in 2002 alone.
One can attribute this success in part to marketing and advertising that has sold people on Wal-Mart’s offers of quality at a fair price. A company that has a reputation of providing the widest range of products and services is more likely to attract additional customers via reputation alone than one that is less well-known. Also working in the companies favor is the emphasis on brand name offerings at reduced prices.
Wal-Mart’s marketing goal has been consistently to “command 30% of the market share in every category it covers” which for the most part is all categories of products, whether electronics, house wares, food or clothing.
This is a further testament to Wal-Mart’s marketing strategy, which emphasizes a broad product mix so that consumers have many different options available to them.
Wal-Mart has created a “downward price pressure” and it’s key drivers of marketing success include product configuration, category management and use of technology.
Product configuration involves continuous improvement in packaging to provide consumers with a positive shopping experience; category management involves allowing marketers to sell based on “the niche their brands fill in meeting consumer’s category needs”; technology involves innovative packaging, delivery and offerings to consumers, including use of RFID technology.
Wal-Mart has also taken advantage of technology to promote its business and become a marketing leader. The website offered by Wal-Mart is comprehensive, offering customers the convenience of online shopping and at home delivery, with even more product offerings that are available in the store.
The web site offers products ranging from electronics, furniture, pharmaceuticals, and tires to toys, and shipping fees are kept relatively low.
Wal-Mart’s online strategy has been successful for many different reasons. Among the more obvious include the fact that Wal-Mart already had a well established customer based, established customer services and order fulfillment procedures, established marketing of merchandise through print media, brands and a well defined market niche for products.
Wal-Mart also offers a broad product assortment to customers that include ordinary and niche product offerings. Brands are clearly identified both online and via print materials and media marketing. The products offerings provided via Wal-Mart meet the needs of a broad range of consumers as well, which has certainly helped Wal-Mart stand out among other retailers in the industry.
Wal-Mart’s marketing strategy is oft considered one of the most successful, and has been adopted by many other retailers large and small. Part of Wal-Mart’s mega success from a marketing perspective may be attributed to its marketing mix, which is diverse and utilizes a variety of marketing and advertising techniques. Wal-Mart has consistently targeted many different audiences, including those looking for brand name products, niche products, low prices and high quality goods. Customer service is also continually at the forefront of Wal-Mart’s marketing strategy, with much of the marketing material geared toward emphasizing satisfying customer needs above all else.
Wal-Mart has recently entered the online marketing business very successfully as well. Part of Wal-Mart’s online success may be attributed to its already well grounded marketing foundation in its retail stores. With a solid customer base already fashioned, it did not take much additional effort for Wal-Mart to enter the world of online marketing successfully.
Customers are afforded the convenience of shopping from home, and even more product differentiation is available online that is offered in stores. In addition shipping fees are kept to a minimum in order to encourage more customers from varying backgrounds to take advantage of Wal-Mart’s niche product offerings.
Brand names at low prices. Quality products. Customer service first and foremost. These are all messages that are revealed through Wal-Mart’s marketing campaign. The marketing strategy adopted by Wal-Mart is multi-faceted, which allows the corporation to meet the needs of many different target audiences rather than a few small portions of the population. This is part of the reason for the company’s success. The company’s reputation precedes itself, and its reputation as the world’s largest retailer is a testament to the successful marketing campaign used by Wal-Mart over time.
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Fishman, Charles. “The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know.” P. 68
Trade Marketing Solutions. “Wal-Mart Insights.”
Opt cit. Ibid.
Op. Cit. Ibid.
Hoover’s, Inc. “Wal-Mart.com, USA LLC.”
Op. Cit. Ibid, 2004.
BizBrick, 2004. “Marketing Strategy.”