Marketing Strategy of Marks and Spencer

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Marketing Strategy Evaluation of Marks and Spencer

Marketing involves various activities that are undertaken in the process of selling products and services to customers. Marketing is essential to any business regardless of the size, scope, or nature of products being marketed. Marks and Spencer is a large company that operates in several countries. The company has been known for its successful marketing campaigns that have made increase sales almost perpetually. However, since the global financial meltdown, the company has been facing intermittent trends of increasing and decreasing sales. This calls for the evaluation of its marketing strategy and the determination of whether there is room for improvement. Marks and Spencer deal with the sale of clothing and luxury food products. This paper analyzes Marks and Spencer's position in the market as well as its marketing strategy culminating inappropriate recommendations.

Marketing Plans and Strategies

Marketing plans and marketing strategies are vital tools for any business that is seeking to grab opportunities in the marketplace and maintain a competitive edge. A marketing plan provides details regarding how an organization will target its customers in the market by making them aware of its products. More so, an effective marketing strategy leads to more sales and more revenue and profits for the firm (Roper 2012). Recently, Marks and Spencer announced that it will be changing the structure of its marketing team, this came as sales dwindled and there was a need to transform management practices and revitalize marketing to drive up the sales of its products. The new marketing team includes some new talents who will drive customer engagement rates higher than they currently are. The firm has also decided to focus on the one-brand approach that unifies its products and thereby simplifies the marketing process. At the moment, all that is needed is the fortification of the Marks and Spencer brand to increase brand awareness and customer responsiveness to marketing initiatives.

Analysis of the Marketing Mix

At the moment, the marketing strategy of Marks and Spencer can be analyzed using the four Ps of the marketing mix: product, place, promotion, and price (Marketing Mix UK 2018). These aspects are demonstrated in the image below (Marketing Mix UK 2018). Marks and Spencer is a well-known retailer in the global retail scene. Marks and Spencer is based in the United Kingdom. The company has a varied product portfolio. It provides products for people of different ages and gender, i.e. men, women, and kids. For women, Marks and Spencer offer products such as loafers, boots, shirts, blazers, suits, gowns, socks, sandals, heels, handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, beach bags, and pumps. Such products are also available for men. Marks and Spencer also offer home and furniture products such as lighting solutions, furniture for living room, dining room, bedroom, kitchen among others. Marks and Spencer is also involved in the sale of foods and wines. Such products include dinner, wine, lunches, etc. More so, Marks and Spencer also sells gift items such as flowers.

Product Analysis

In understanding the product aspect of the marketing mix for Marks and Spencer, it is vital to analyze other features of the products by the company. Core shops often feature a selection of clothing ranges and a Marks and Spencer food hall. The type and range of clothing sold depend on the location as well as the customer demographic (Roper 2012). The food halls sell groceries branded as v as well as a limited range of products from other brands. Most Marks and Spencer outlets feature some form of hospitality in the form of cafés. The cafes offer beverages such as coffee and tea, pastries, soups, and cakes. There are also alcohol-based hospitality offerings in the form of bars. Marks and Spencer also provide services such as M&S Kitchen and Hot Food To Go. Marks and Spencer also has shops dedicated to home furnishings only. Marks and Spencer also has outlet stores in locations such as retail parks and outlet centers. More so, Marks and Spencer is in the process of increasing simply food outlets that are dedicated to food and a small section for general merchandise (Roper 2012).

Pricing Strategy

Regarding price, Marks and Spencer follows a competitive pricing strategy in its marketing mix. The Marks and Spencer branded products are, however, priced as premium products and can, therefore, be priced between medium and above average (Jones 2008). Nevertheless, competition in Marks and Spencer's market niche has increased, prompting the company to consider the actions and prices of its competitors. The company also employs a dynamic pricing strategy that varies the prices according to season peak-off-peak tendencies (Roper 2012). A dynamic pricing system allows the company to get rid of old inventory and to increase sales according to demand patterns (Drucker 2017).

Market Presence

Marks and Spencer is an international brand with a presence in several countries. The company has more than one thousand stores in at least 50 countries. The company has a heavy presence in the UK as it started there. It also has a significant number of stores in India, Turkey, Spain, Ireland, Finland, among other countries. Marks and Spencer have a website that customers from around the globe can connect with it and request shipments of various goods. Some products have international delivery plans. All products can be bought in local currencies even when making the purchase online (Drucker 2017).

Marketing Strategy

Marks and Spencer choose a marketing strategy that embraces both digital marketing and store marketing. The company uses many forms of media in its marketing. These include print media, social media, and television advertisements. Marks and Spencer promotes seasonal sales by encouraging customer loyalty. Loyal customers are given discounts through its loyalty program (Jones 2008).

Additional Elements of the Marketing Mix

Apart from the 4Ps of marketing, three more can be added to the marketing mix analysis of Marks and Spencer. These include people, process, and physical evidence. Marks and Spencer have to employ thousands of people to run its processes. It is essential to incorporate a sense of positive marketing among all employees as they deal with the processes that create the quality that is associated with the Marks and Spencer brand. The company's stores and products are evidence of its growth and excellence (Drucker 2017).

Environmental Analysis

Internal Analysis

To understand the place of Marks and Spencer in its market, it is essential to analyze both internal and external environments that shape the organization. This analysis equips one with the understanding regarding customers, capabilities of the business, and the business environment it is operating in. Internally, the company is well-endowed with regards to capital, human resources, and other resources such as knowledge regarding the business processes the company is involved in (Drucker 2017). The company has a wide range of quality food sources. Sourcing food is a vital element of the hospitality arm of Marks and Spencer. The quality of the item that is placed at the customer's table depends heavily on the source of food as it does on the processing and preparing as well as storage of the food. Ensuring the food inputs are of high-quality increase the probability of customer satisfaction. More so, high-quality food reduces costs in other parts of the food supply chain.

Marks and Spencer is a globally recognized brand. Its identity is a vital element of its success in the markets. The development of brand value through offering quality products and matching expectations with actual experience has proved an indispensable practice for many global brands. The brand value is built on the trust built between the company and its customers. Being trusted by customers is essential as is the deliberate effort to preserve the trust and address any cracks in the trust wall s soon as possible.

Marks and Spencer has a pool of dedicated employees whose skills drive the day-to-day operations of the firm. In as much as a business needs to focus on customer satisfaction, it also needs to focus on employee satisfaction. Marks and Spencer, through employee engagement practices, ensures their satisfaction and therefore motivation and high rates of retaining them. The company is also a destination of choice for many top talents in various fields. Human resources are the greatest asset that a firm can have. Marks and Spencer provide comprehensive training and induction programs that ensure continuous learning among employees, whether new or existing ones. At the same time, the firm manages the growth of the employees well to enhance their capacity as well as the entire organizational capacity.

Marks and Spencer own a host of physical resources. The company designs its stores meticulously to capture the imagination of consumers and immerse them in the Marks and Spencer world. Apart from the aesthetic design, the stores are located at optimal points to maximize customer visits. Such optimal locations are often nodes of a transportation system, leafy suburbs, or the heart of a bustling city. More so, customers who visit any of Marks and Spencer outlets do not just get out with the item they purchased; they are served a memorable experience of quality with a touch of class.

The company has also been involved in many business partnerships and franchises across the world. Such franchises not only create value through cost-saving ventures but also illuminate the name of Marks and Spencer in the world's marketplace. Such partnerships involve retail and supply chain partnerships where the company gains from the experience of local businesses (Hannington 2016). More so, having a global reach with regard to business partners and customers is always a welcome plate on the table of investors. Investors are always paying attention to the brands that have set themselves apart from the competition and are willing to invest in them. Investment in Marks and Spencer raises the capital necessary for research and development as well as other expansion plans.

External Environment (PESTEL Analysis)


Governments are involved in business activities, however much their involvement is preferred to be limited. When issues such as the government changes, businesses are affected. The changes can bring new opportunities for growth and more profits or lower profits and decline in business. For instance, a cut in government spending slows down economic activity resulting in less vibrant businesses. Marks and Spencer has been affected by the political decision of UK to get out of the EU. The impact of Brexit on businesses in the longer term perspective is still uncertain. However, there are commitments on both sides of the bargain to minimize any negative effects of the move (Hannington 2016).


The economic performance of the UK, as well as the world, affects Marks and Spencer's bottom line (Tresidder 2010). In the post-recessionary period, business has been growing as have most economies. This has resulted in increased sales and profits. Nevertheless, increases in sales taxes or alteration in other aspects of monetary and fiscal policies have an impact on economic outlook as well as the availability of disposable income, which affects the sales of Marks and Spencer. The variability of sales in response to economic tantrums is determined by the elasticity of demand for Marks and Spencer products as well as the income range of its target customers (Roper 2012). Above medium-income earners are not affected as much by slowed economic activity. They can still afford many things as they do in times of prosperity. Nevertheless, the luxury items that mark a large portion of the company's portfolio have relatively elastic demand (Hannington 2016). Rising oil prices are increasing the costs for many businesses, including Marks and Spencer. Appreciation of the local currency could affect the price of imports by the company. Most M&S competitors are based in the UK. Such competing firms have also gone global creating a global competition platform. Such competitors include Arcadia, Burberry, and Benetton.


Social mobility is vital for a company such as Marks and Spencer. A growing economy increases the conversion rate of people from low to medium to high-income levels. High life expectancy increases the customer base for M&S, whose largest portion of customers is aged above forty years. Marks and Spencer is facing stiff competition from the likes of H&M and Topshop. Remaining conservative may make the shop lose some customers (Tresidder 2010).


Marks and Spencer have embraced technology as seen in its use of the internet to market as well as connect with customers who need products delivered. The internet accounts for a larger portion of all Marks and Spencer sales every year. Marks and Spencer have social network accounts to keep customers up to date with various events and promotions. Such platforms are also vital for receiving customer feedback. In the quest to increase its international presence, the internet provides a valuable asset for reaching people in all parts of the world.


Marks and Spencer is committed to realizing its commitment to expand its range of organic and Fairtrade clothes. The company has set up various strategies to reduce its carbon footprint and eventually become carbon neutral. This has involved increasing energy efficiency and reducing packing material required significantly (Tokatli 2008). M&S has been committed to environmentally friendly activities such as recycling, reusing packaging material, and minimizing the use of plastic bags. Marks and Spencer are also signed to UK government's Sustainable Clothing Roadmap. This has made the company embrace a wide range of measures to reduce the carbon footprint of its fashion sector and improve labor relations along the lengths of its supply chains (Tokatli 2008).


M&S now has to deal with the legislative requirements of each country that it operates. Such legal requirements include VAT and cloth sizes. The EU had simplified some aspects in its larger European market but now the company will have to comply with UK laws and regulations as the home economy.

Marketing Segmentation

M&S focuses on individuals of all age-groups who love clothes and have a sense of fashion (Black 2008). M&S also targets high-salaried people in all its product lines such as food and home furnishings. The products by the company can be considered as priced too expensively for average income earners. Market segmentation of any firm is based on several factors. These are age, income, gender, personality motives and lifestyle, location, geographic location, and aspects of socioeconomics such as education, social class, and occupation. Fashion is a matter of importance to most clothes consumers while food consumers are concerned with the health outcomes of their dietary choices. Young people tend to be more concerned with fashion trends than older people (Black 2008). The older generation is, however, likely to earn more than young people. M&S segments its customers largely based on gender and age. It is assumed that income levels and other aspects of societal status are quite homogenous among the high-income earners.

Market targeting follows market segmentation. After identifying the target, the company has to choose the appropriate mode of communication to have the most impact on each target. For instance, M&S can target young girls who are the most conscious of fashion trends in social media marketing initiatives (Tokatli 2008). The older market segment can be marketed to through print and television advertisements. Such targeting applies to every product group provided by the company. Older people may be more conscious of their eating habits than young ones. They are, therefore, more likely to prefer whole foods to fast food items. The same goes for middle-aged women who watch their weight and avoid high-calorie intakes (Tokatli 2008).


M&S has room for improvement regarding its market positioning. Market positioning refers to the perceptions created in the minds of the customers regarding the image of M&S and the brands it offers. After the determination of the market segments and the market targets, it is essential to follow up with market positioning actions. Positioning requires emphasizing on the attributes of each product that are matched with the needs of each consumer segment.

M&S needs to analyze consumer perceptions regarding the brand, more specifically product attributes. A market survey can be a starting point where customers can provide data regarding their attitudes towards the company's products. The data from the survey can be analyzed and the resulting statistics used to make appropriate market positioning policies. A lot can be learned from the analysis of such data regarding customer preferences based on their age, location, income bracket, gender, among other definable attributes. After such a survey, M&S needs to analyze the gap between what it offers and what the customer needs. The gap may not only be in the goods but also in the services (Grayson 2011). To match the customer's needs and preferences, M&S has to allocate resources to the building of a bridge to eliminate the gap identified. More so, M&S will be in a better position to position itself better in the market by communicating to customers the changes it has made to ensure that they get services tailored to their liking.

There are various issues that Marks and Spencer face in its marketing drive. The company sells secondary as well as tertiary products. Such require the sourcing of quality raw materials and best practices in processing and manufacture. Some of the steps involved in making these goods are not within Marks and Spencer's sphere of control. Under free trade arrangements, imports make viable alternatives to local products that may be more expensive. However, the company focuses on local suppliers due to the possibility of ascertaining the quality of their supplies (Campbell 2010). As production costs rise and the company seeks ways to remain competitive, it may have to abandon local suppliers for imports.

The company has also been experimenting successfully with the internet as an avenue for promoting sales. Selling products online has increased sales as well as the scope of the market available for the company to explore. However, there are certain challenges that remain. First, the company has not yet established its roots well in the world of e-commerce. Some customers expect their products to be shipped by the company. However, Marks and Spencer is yet to build the framework for shipping products all over the world. More so, generating traffic online has been an issue, as has been attracting the perfect customer. Clicks and webpage visits do not always translate to a sale (Campbell 2010). Customers may be perusing through various items posted by different sellers to determine the most suited to them. Even after acquiring online customers, retaining them can be an issue. It is essential to supplement online promotion techniques with physical stores where customers can get a real taste of the products before buying them (Grayson 2011).


To counter falling sales and revenues, Marks and Spencer has to revitalize its marketing team and introduce new ways of approaching various issues. From the text above, Marks and Spencer can benefit by having more clearly defined market segments and targeting them appropriately. At the moment, the company approaches its market with the attitude that it is largely homogenous. Segmenting the market will equip the marketing team with the tools to identify the best approach to each segment.


Black, S., 2008. Eco-chic: The fashion paradox. Black Dog.

Campbell, D. and Rahman, M.R.A., 2010. A longitudinal examination of intellectual capital reporting in Marks & Spencer annual reports, 1978–2008. The British Accounting Review, 42(1), pp.56-70.

Drucker, P.F., 2017. The Theory of the Business (Harvard Business Review Classics). Harvard Business Press.

Grayson, D., 2011. Embedding corporate responsibility and sustainability: Marks & Spencer. Journal of Management Development, 30(10), pp.1017-1026.

Hannington, T., 2016. How to measure and manage your corporate reputation. Routledge.

Jones, P., Clarke-Hill, C., Comfort, D. and Hillier, D., 2008. Marketing and sustainability. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 26(2), pp.123-130.

Marketing Mix UK, 2018, April 23rd, 2018

Roper, S. and Fill, C., 2012. Corporate reputation, brand and communication. Pearson Higher Ed.

Tokatli, N., Wrigley, N. and Kizilgün, Ö., 2008. Shifting global supply networks and fast fashion: made in Turkey for Marks & Spencer. Global Networks, 8(3), pp.261-280.

Tresidder, R., 2010. Reading food marketing: the semiotics of Marks & Spencer!?. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 30(9/10), pp.472-485.

September 18, 2023



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