[7BSP1090] Mashion Bakery – Marketing Activities ReportMarch 28, 2022 2022-03-28 22:41
[7BSP1090] Mashion Bakery – Marketing Activities Report
[7BSP1090] Mashion Bakery – Marketing Activities Report
Hello, I’m Tutor Peter. I have been offering PREMIUM help (papers and online classes) to UK and US graduate students for over 7 years now! Get in touch NOW for personalised assistance with your coursework!
7BSP1090 – Intrapreneurship and Enterprise
University of Hertfordshire
Report – 3,000 words.
Entrepreneurship is a concept that has been around and majorly the backbone of the world economy. As Powell (2012) points out, entrepreneurs for example were the ones responsible for the business boom in Medieval Japan that shaped the modern day Japan. While entrepreneurship has its own advantages, so does intrapreneurship. According to Olenski (2015) a research carried out indicated that a majority of contemporary managers would greatly support the idea of intrapreneurs in their firms especially in the edge of technology. One factor that sustains small enterprises according to Jones and Rowley (2011) is marketing. Marketing developments in the recent past especially through use of technology have simplified this process. Particularly, I am interested in Word of mouth (WOM) and electronic word of mouth (eWOM) attributing to their capacity to reach a great deal of audience in a short time. WOM and eWOM also are more believable to the consumers than any other approaches a marketer may use. The two can be invaluable for start-ups and medium-size enterprises. In light of these sentiments this report is going to present a critical analysis of Mashion baker’s marketing activities with specific attention to word of mouth and electronic word of mouth marketing. This will be done against a backdrop of literature in this field.
Mashion Bakers and enterprise behaviour
Casson (2003) defines entrepreneurship as the art of identifying business opportunities and assembling the necessary resources in order to fill those opportunities. Essentially both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs are bound to scan and analyse the market that they operate in and then come up with products that match the needs present. Longenecker et al. (2015) further notes that entrepreneurship may extent to fast-following ventures where new ideas by other are implemented but in a better way. Additionally, Longenecker et al. (2015) avers that ventures may start small but the main idea is usually to expand and majorly to fine-tune the product or service after interactive marketing to the customers. There are a set of characteristics that have remained common to entrepreneurs and that define their ventures. Manjunath (2009) presents some of these as innovation, risk taking, team work, goal orientation, leadership and commitment. On the other hand, Pofeldt (2014), citing contemporary entrepreneurship, presents these defining factors as business focus, creative thinker, confidence, delegator, determination, independent, knowledge-seeker, relationship oriented and promoter capabilities.
Mashion bakery does fit the above definition and description of entrepreneurship. The firm was started by two friends after the completion of internship programs in different businesses. At the start, the owners had the idea of starting a restaurant and although it was a highly viable idea, there were dire limitations on their end including investment capital. It was after rescanning the environment in the immediate sub-urban and urban areas of China that they noticed a gap in the production and supply of baked products. There were other firms that were doing this business but mostly these were large companies that barely customised cakes and bread to the taste and likes of the local individuals. Another opportunity was the chance to supply fresh products that had not lost taste after long periods of transport and storage. In a backdrop of these ideas in mind the two friends started Mashion bakers with the production of bread and buns. They doubled up as owners and employees. As established above, entrepreneurs at times fine-tune their ideas as they go by and Mashion bakers were not different. The two owners working from a rented room would bake bread and then take it upon themselves to distribute the product. As they made rounds in the region of operations they would gather ideas as to what the customers wanted and would then tailor products to fit this wants. Eventually this led to increase in the kind of products made to cakes, scones, donuts among others.
Imperative to the growth of Mashion bakers has been commitment and focus held by the owners. Additionally, the two friends carried out aggressive marketing during their distributing ensuring that they could event get pre-orders. The same culture has been constantly instilled to every new employee that joins the team. The result has been widespread word of mouth marketing as well as reliable networks of business. Recent developments have been that the team has started using online social media to spread the word of mouth. This has been characterised by burgeoning sales and revenue growth.
Word of mouth (WOM) and electronic word of mouth (eWOM) marketing at Mashion Bakers
Oetting (2009) defines word of marketing as the oral, interpersonal communication between a non-commercial communicator and a receiver with the conversation regarding a product, service or a brand. Blakemen (2014) extends this definition to include the use of technology where viral messages on online social media form part of word of mouth. There are reasons why I find word of mouth interesting. Firstly, word of mouth is important because word of mouth is an invaluable contemporary marketing tool among the young generation. Whitler (2014) notes WOM has remained a constant tool for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. An imperative end of WOM is that it is preferred even by customers themselves making it an easy form of advertising. According to Whitler (2014) a study conducted in the US showed that over 92% of customers preferred recommendations from family and friends over any other form of advertising. 62% of marketer also found WOM as effective but only 6% had a mastery of WOM. Secondly, after gradation I will eventually turn to become an entrepreneur and having spent time with my friends I have noticed their engagement of online social media to chat and have fun. I thus believe this is an area I can use to further any business venture. Whitler (2014) shares the same sentiments by noting that successful companies have a way to engage, equip and empower customers using online WOM.
At Mashion bakers, the team of 10 people working there inclusive of the two owner managers are all involved in marketing. As established above, their initial marketing tactic was offline word of mouth. This method worked well as it created trust and the feedback was immense and clear. To further the effect for offline WOM, the owner managers have recruited a diverse group of employee with keen interest to the areas of residence. All the employees are evenly distributed in terms of residence and thus the firm covers more ground through WOM as each employee engages their region. The managers also made sure to hire young people that are active on online social media platforms. One employee has been put in charge of the firm’s social media accounts as the rest engage in sharing and promoting of posts that are made in the accounts. A particular strategy that the firm has been using to win online customers is participating on trending discussions on Twitter and Facebook. The main goal of the firm is majorly to build trust, confidence and network with the community around the region of operation as opposed to widespread but shallow reach. This is similar to the concept that Whitler (2014) refers to as ‘connecting’ as opposed to ‘collecting’ followers. When ‘connecting’ is attained the result is loyalty of customers who are ready to engage the products and services of a business. Essentially, this kind of marketing has sustained business for Mashion bakers. Currently the firm serves over 1000 repeat customers made up of friends, families, work colleagues, other retail stores and numerous referral customers.
A discussion of WOM and eWOM from journal articles
Primarily, the main marketing tool that Mashion bakers use is the word of mouth tactic. They have extensively employed both offline and online elements of WOM advertising and visibly the results have been positive. In this section, the report will look at the WOM and eWOM strategies applied by Mashion basing on views expressed through journal articles.
- Arora, H. (2007) ‘Word of Mouth in the World of Marketing’, ICFAI Journal of Marketing Management, 6(4), pp.51-56.
This journal article is authored by Arora (2007) with the main aim being to comprehensively elaborate the concept of word of mouth, its participants, pitfalls and the implications on management. Rather, the author addresses the practical applications of word of mouth, the outcomes and managerial control techniques. For starters, the discussion centers on the participants of word of mouth as in figure 1 below;
According to Arora (2007), WOM advertising is the most effective form of advertisement through the history of marketing. Citing a research done prior, Arora (2007) maintains that WOM has grown to be believable amongst customers as people refer each other to places and products that they trust. A critical point of mention in regard to the figure 1 above is that WOM has an exponential reach to customers as thus may spread fast. Additionally, offline WOM is accorded importance as it is the influence of online WOM and also generates more trust and loyalty due to the face to face communications that are present. As seen in the market strategy of Mashion bakers, the emphasis is on offline word of mouth. This congruence of ideology is due to the logic that Arora (2007) of relationship quality that drives loyalty and repeat purchases. Figure 2 below offers a summary of his arguments.
As in the case of Mashion bakers, the result of a well managed relationship with customers is a burgeoning network of clients and consequently increased sales.
A point of divergence between the positions of Arora (2007) and the practices of Mashion bakers is the cushioning of risks associated with negative word of mouth. The concept presented by Arora (2007) regarding this is under managerial controls of word of mouth. Specifically, Arora (2007) notes that dissatisfied customers can spread the negative word of mouth as fast as they spread the positive word of mouth. In fact, a citation is made that dissatisfied customers are likely to tell twice as much people about a failed product as they would about a good product. Further, the effect of one negative customer can easily negate the positive effects of several other positive customers. The suggestion offered is that a firm needs to constantly engage in customer referral campaigns where a customer is rewarded for referring new customers. Additionally it is important for a firm to be too close to a customer whereby Arora (2007) believes it is much less likely to disappoint a customer. Lastly, a firm needs to go overboard and offer the customer more than they expect. On the end of employees, good treatment of employees helps counter disgruntlement and reduces chances of negative rumors. Analysing Mashion bakers in a backdrop of this sentiments, it is clear that the firm lacks any proper way of managing negative WOM. No attempts for example have been made to conduct referral campaigns. Mashion Bakers is thusly facing dangerous implications should any negative WOM spread across its customers. A clear point of customer dissatisfaction possible at Mashion Bakers as evidenced by Arora’s (2007) views is lack of monitoring of new customers. This may make new customers feel dissatisfied by lack of attention.
- Gruen, T., Osmonbekov, T. and Czaplewski, A. (2006) ‘eWOM: The impact of customer-to-customer online know-how exchange on customer value and loyalty’, Journal of Business Research, 59(4), pp.449-456.
Czaplewski et al. (2006) in this journal article endeavor to address a specific form of eWOM, that is, customer to customer know-how exchange and its antecedents as well as effect on loyalty and value perception. Particular to this research is that the author has focused of three dimensions, ability, opportunity and motivation, which have previously been overlooked. Figure 3 below presents the conceptual model.
Imminent in the discussion by Czaplewski et al. (2006) is that eWOM works best when the knowledge being transferred is from a customer to another customer. This way, there is more reliability, trust, confidence in the information and possibility of further recommendation as opposed to when the information is from a business to customer. A critical look at the model used by Mashion Bakers, the main source of information in their online platforms is the social media accounts managed by one of their employees. This in the perspective of Czaplewski et al. (2006) may have limited credibility since marketers have the habit of overstating the positive sides of products and services. However, congruence between Czaplewski et al. (2006) work and practices at Mashion Bakers is the engagement of social media platforms for spreading the advantages of a product.
Czaplewski et al. (2006) have also discussed the MOA theory of communication (Motivation, Opportunity and Ability). The key element in this discussion is that the nature of consumer to consumer communication is influenced by the MOA factors. Motivation refers to the drive that a customer has to spread word about a product. Opportunity in the context of Mashion bakers would refer to the availability of chances to spread the word and since the internet is the media then opportunity is ever present. Lastly, ability refers to the competency that is needed to facilitate effective sharing of knowledge about a product. The findings of Czaplewski et al.’s (2006) research indicate that motivation and ability have significant impact on know-how exchange whilst opportunity lacks any impact. Contrasting these findings to the case of Mashion Bakers, it is possible to point out that there is a level of the actual practice and what is advocated for by theory. The bakery has provided exquisite products that have been the motivation for customers to give referrals and recommendations. Thus motivation is purely on level of quality in service and products. Ability on the other hand emerges from the focus on specific geographic regions near where the firm reaches effectively; customers know each other well and thus have the ability to inform each other about products effectively.
‘Weak ties’ is a concept explained by Czaplewski et al. (2006) as the situation where eWOM connects customers that are geographically diverse and not personally close. Although not entirely reliable, it is important for Mashion Bakers to engage these as eventually there shall be need to expand the marker and eWOM shall be the more reliable option as opposed to WOM. Another point of divergence is that Mashion emphasizes on the need to develop very close ties with few customers to increase loyalty while Czaplewski et al. (2006) view the need to reach out to many customers using ‘weak ties’ as a way to promote know-how exchange.
- Stokes, D. (2000) ‘Putting Entrepreneurship into Marketing: The Processes of Entrepreneurial Marketing’, Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 2(1), pp.1-16.
Stokes (2000) in this journal article discusses how to merge entrepreneurship and marketing. The result is entrepreneurial marketing which largely differs from the standard textbook theories and practices. Entrepreneurial marketing is much about interaction with customers with an innovation-oriented mindset. Stokes (2000) considers the marketing strategy of an entrepreneur as an informal approach that is much guided by intuition rather than by logic and theory. As already established entrepreneurial marketing is innovation-oriented. Secondly, it is reliant of the ‘bottom-up’ approach where the marketer starts with a customer and creates more customers thence through networking. Further, the process that is used by and entrepreneur to gather market information is much more informal than formal. The aforementioned differentiate general marketing and entrepreneurial marketing according to Stokes (2000). Figure 4 below summarises Stokes’ (2000) argument;
In addition to the above sentiments Stokes (2000) further argues that the concept of entrepreneurial marketing is more practices by owner-managers. In fact, he claims that most successful owner-managers abandoned traditional marketing and did marketing the way they understood it (the entrepreneur way). A critical analysis of Mashion Bakers through a backdrop of sentiments by Stokes (2000), it is evident that Mashion Bakers has been practicing entrepreneurial marketing. Additionally, as the literature claims that entrepreneurial marketing is effective, this is clearly brought out in the case of Mashion Bakers since their entire sales come from such kind of marketing.
Critically analysing Mashion bakers using the view of figure 4 above, much of the concepts align. At the strategy of Mashion Bakers, the main products were bread and buns but through interactive marketing they were able to learn customer needs and preferences and were able to add more products including a variety of cakes, buns, rolls and donuts. However, the innovation that was present at the start of the firm has slowly faded away as the firm no longer adds new items to its list of products. An additional point of alignment between Stokes’ (2000) positions and Mashion’s practices is the claim that owner-managers employ themselves fully towards the enterprise and try to extensively understand the customers. However a difference emerges is the fact that as much as Stokes (2000) claims that owner-managers abandon traditional marketing, Mashion bakers has grown much and is leaning towards traditional marketing as a supportive element of entrepreneurial marketing. This is through creation of a website to feature their products as well as adverts in the local radio stations.
Entrepreneurship, as established in the introduction, is the pillar behind contemporary businesses and industries. It offers individuals the chance to create and implement new ideas with unlimited freedom. Similarly, corporate are using intrapreneurship as an avenue to generate ideas resultant in sustainable business. Inevitably thus the concept of individuals practicing enterprise behaviour is prevalent in contemporary business. A key area focused by the report is marketing. Specifically, the use of word of mouth and electronic word of mouth in the context of Mashion Bakers has been addressed. Evidently, word of mouth is still as effective as it has always been especially for entrepreneurs. Mashion Bakers rides on successful online and offline word of mouth. Similarly, a critical look at most of the arguments presented by the journal articles shows congruence with practices at Mashion Bakers with only few diverging points. It is thus factual to aver that WOM and eWOM are effective ways of pushing entrepreneurial ideas for owner managers and to-be owner managers like me.
Arora, H. (2007) ‘Word of Mouth in the World of Marketing’, ICFAI Journal of Marketing Management, 6(4), pp.51-56.
Blakemen, R. (2014) Strategic Uses of Alternative Media: Just the Essentials. London: Routledge.
Casson, M. (2003) The Entrepreneur: An Economic Theory. Camberley, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Gruen, T., Osmonbekov, T. and Czaplewski, A. (2006) ‘eWOM: The impact of customer-to-customer online know-how exchange on customer value and loyalty’, Journal of Business Research, 59(4), pp.449-456.
Jones, R. and Rowley, J. (2011) ‘Entrepreneurial marketing in small businesses: A conceptual exploration’, International Small Business Journal, 29(1), pp.25-36.
Longenecker, J., Moore, C., Palich, L. and Petty, J. (2015) Small Business Management: Launching and Growing Entrepreneurial Ventures. London, UK: Cengage learning.
Manjunath, V. (2009) Entrepreneurship & Management. Calcuta, India: Pearson Education.
Oetting, M. (2009) Ripple effect. Wiesbaden: Gabler.
Olenski, S. (2015) Fostering Intrapreneurship And Innovation (Online) Forbes. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2015/02/27/fostering-intrapreneurship-and-innovation/ (Accessed 4 Jun. 2015).
Pofeldt, E. (2014) Gallup: The 10 Qualities Of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs (Online) Forbes. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/elainepofeldt/2014/05/31/gallup-the-10-qualities-of-highly-successful-entrepreneurs/ (Accessed 4 Jun. 2015).
Powell, J. (2012) How Entrepreneurs Created the Great Boom That Made Modern Japan (Online) Forbes. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimpowell/2012/03/13/how-entrepreneurs-created-the-great-boom-that-made-modern-japan/ (Accessed 4 Jun. 2015).
Stokes, D. (2000) ‘Putting Entrepreneurship into Marketing: The Processes of Entrepreneurial Marketing’, Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 2(1), pp.1-16.
Whitler, K. (2014) Why Word Of Mouth Marketing Is The Most Important Social Media (Online) Forbes. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-social-media/ (Accessed 4 Jun. 2015).
Appendix: A personal commentary
In the course of learning this module I have in many ways improved my personal set of skills as well as contributed to the learning of others in class as well. On the end of contributing to the learning of others, I was in a group project with some of my classmates an experience from which we all managed to improve each others’ skills. Since the project was about an enterprise activity, I was able to contribute reliable ideas to group members as well as critique the ideas presented by others. This way, I managed to add knowledge to the project and assist the other members to fine-tune on their ideas. We managed to create a great project which I think offered deep insight to the class as to what entails and enterprise. Majorly aspects that could be learnt from our project include teamwork, coordination, delegation, planning, focus and persistence which coincidentally are some of the characteristics of entrepreneurial individuals.
On an individual level, the general module material offered me great perspectives of venturing into businesses. I learnt about intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship and although being an intrapreneur is a great career, my personal ambitions draw me more towards entrepreneurship. This was even made clearer through this assignment where I had to pick a venture and analyse and interesting activity related to the module. I learnt practical aspects of marketing and specifically online and offline word of mouth marketing which are areas I find interesting as I intend to practice them in future. Particular in the increase of my knowledge is also the learning of how owner-managers control their businesses through a critical analysis of Mashion Bakers. Of interest was the use of entrepreneurial marketing in place of traditional marketing when starting a small enterprise project. Thusly, the group project and this individual assignment served to fortify the knowledge I had gained in the course of the module.
I have always had the plan of starting an enterprise in fashion and designer apparel and reflecting on the know-how I have garnered from this module I believe I am all equipped to handle a business venture. Looking for example at how the organisation reviewed in this assignment has been run by its owners, I can borrow their model of business and capitalise on WOM and eWOM to attain equal or better results.