Sprint Nextel, Inc Strategic Marketing Plan 

Key History

Sprint Nextel, Inc came about after a merger between Sprint Corporation and Nextel Corporation in the United States in 2005. The company operates as one of the largest holding company offering a wide array of both wireline and wireless communications products and services destined to satisfy the need and demands of individual consumers, government subscribers, businesses as well as resellers. Sprint Nextel, Inc is dedicated to provide satisfactory communications services aimed at solving customers’ communication problems in all fifty states in the U.S. However, the history of Sprint Nextel, Inc dates back in 1898 in Kansas when Carlos Florendo, Jr. and Cleyson Leroy Brown came together as partners and formed the Brown Telephone Company, which operated as a landline firm to topple the monopoly of Bell System. By 1972, the company changes its name to United Telecommunications and by then, it was able to provide telephone services and other communication services via railroad system that covered a wide range of places within the Unites States  (Chen 2011). In the late 1970s, when people were migrating from railroad system to radio system, the company was rendered useless until in 1983 when it merged with General Telephone (GTE) to form GTE Sprint. In 1990s, GTE Sprint became under the ownership of United Telecom under the name Sprint International providing communication services both locally and internationally. The company persisted in its services through early 2000, which brought it together with Nextel in 2005 to become Sprint Nextel Corporation to date. Currently, the company is committed to standing out as a leader in corporate governance, compliance and ethics and boasts of the many awards and recognitions it has since achieved while in operations. Apparently, it survival in the market since its commencement is utterly accrued to the company’s strategic marketing plan, which has given it the spirit to thrive and compete among other competitors in the market.

Environmental Analysis

This majorly focuses on the process that Sprint Nextel Corporation use in assessing and interpreting vital information gathered through environmental scanning. Due to augmented globalization effects with related sophistications as far as rapid technological changes, increased competition and other discrete relevant changes are concerned, Sprint Nextel Corporation just like other global competitive companies values the quality and reliability of the information gathered. This is because, these information are vitally important in making key decisions as well as assisting the management to plan for the organization’s future course of action. The general course of environmental analysis encompasses both looking for and at the information gathered from the market aimed at critical analysis and evaluation of information for effective decision making process. Per se, the company engages in a series of external study in a bid to identify threats and opportunities, formulate short-term and long-term planning strategies, identify customer needs, and boycott uncertainty in the market as well as gain competitive advantages over rival firms in the market. Besides, this process prepares Sprint Nextel Corporation to be able to adapt and deal diligently with the complexities associated with the changing society that we live in. Usually, Sprint Nextel Corporation is in constant monitoring of the environment both within and outside by making multiple contacts daily with the aim of understanding the market need and requirements (Mighty Students 2010). As such, the company gathers all relevant information, analyze them, and apply them in making appropriate decisions apropos the company’s operations in its quest to remain a globally competitive firm in the communication industry. In addition, the company engages in constant assessment of information in search of relevant information for decision making. Sprint Nextel Corporation understands that information has no value until the managers use it to make better decisions. The information gathered from all these processes must be distributed to the marketing managers at the right time. With the recent developments in information technology, most companies including Sprint Nextel Corporation are decentralizing their marketing operations and most of the times; the managers have direct access to information network through personal computers and outside sources.

Marketing Strategy

Sprint Nextel Corporation’s marketing strategy is utterly aimed at optimizing market opportunities through its target markets with the goal of maximizing sales and consequently maximizing profits in the long-run. The company understands that there is need to know the circumstances that trigger a need, which enables it to develop various marketing strategy in a bid to trigger a purchase and thus increasing sales. As such, the company utilizes a variety of sales channels that attracts new customers such as the use of web sales and telesales, which are certainly subscriber-convenient channels. The company also owns and operates retail outlets, which center on sales to the consumer market as well as intermediary retailers besides the use of indirect sales agents who chiefly entails the local and state non-allied brokers as well as independent freelancers that not only market but also sell services to the consumer market and businesses. The company also uses direct sales representatives whose efforts are focused on marketing and selling wireless services primarily to government agencies, mid-sized as well as large-sized businesses (Market Watch 2013). These marketing strategies are aimed at capturing new customers as well as retaining the existing ones so that the company is able to make greater sales. In addition, the company markets its services using traditional print and television advertising as well as offering customers an exposure to the company’s brand names and wireless services via a wide array of sponsorships such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) among others. Precisely, the company’s marketing strategy is under the company’s strategic planning, which is merely a prerogative of the top-level managers, that is, it is carried out at the top management.

Product or Service Strategy

The company provides unique services and products providing customers with a broad array of selection to meet their growing demand and needs. Services are provided using a wide range of devices and applications including multi-functional device portfolio and mobile broadband portfolio as well as accessories such as hands-free devices, carrying cases, battery chargers, batteries, among other items to customers, which are sold to agents and other intermediary distributors for resale. Usually, these products are sold at lower prices than the costs, which is a product strategy aimed at attract new customers as well as retain the existing subscribers as they keep enjoying the products. Additionally, the company offers diversified services to subscribers through a wide range of data and voice services such as internet access, email services, and messaging as well as wireless photo and video offering. It also provide subscribers with mobile entertainment applications, such as the ability to listen to satellite radio, view live television, download and listen to music, and play games with full-color graphics and polyphonic and real-music sounds from a wireless handset. Besides, the company provides convenient wireless voice communications with the ability to make both local and international calls at lower rates (Guru 2013). Other important voice services include caller identification, voicemail, three-way calling, call waiting, directory assistance, and call forwarding services irrespective of the recipient’s location. These account for the company’s service strategy to attract as many subscribers as possible while fighting to keep the existing subscribers.

Pricing Strategy

Pricing strategy is very important for the success of organization because it is the only P that generates revenue. All others are costs to the firms. Effective pricing therefore requires a thorough evaluation of costs of the relevant products or services. The company’s pricing strategy is divided into two main categories of postpaid and prepaid portfolios. Under postpaid portfolio, the company offers price plans that are customized to meet the needs of businesses. Early this year, the company launched a masterpiece of all mobile services allowing subscribers to talk unlimitedly, send unlimited texts, and unlimited data on their mobile phones. On the other hand, prepaid portfolio consists of multiple brands designed to meet specific subscriber segments in the U.S. They include Boost Mobile, which is tailored to meet the needs of subscribers who are both voice and messaging-centric where bills are abridged after making six on-payments (VerBrugge-Rhind 2013). Another brand is the Virgin Mobile, which serves subscribers who are device and data-oriented by giving the freedom to exercise control, flexibility, and connectivity via a variety of communication channels. In particular, the company’s pricing decision is based on what competitors’ charges are, which can be termed as the going-rate pricing. This is because of the fact that the company does not believe in cost-plus pricing due to its ability to charge lower prices to its products and services compared to the costs incurred.

Advertising and Promotion Strategy

Promotion in general and advertising in particular are the activities most commonly associated with the term “marketing” although marketing orientation goes far beyond these functions. The term promotion as a component of any marketing mix refers to the processes used by an organization in order to communicate with its customers, both actual and potential. It involves the specific mix of advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, publicity and direct marketing. Sprint Nextel Corporation utilizes a couple of these mixes in a bid to reach as many people as possible. The company engages in rigorous advertising, which is a form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor through the media (VerBrugge-Rhind 2013). Advertising is widely used in order to reach masses of geographically dispersed buyers at a low cost per exposure and it allows the marketer to repeat the message many times offering individuals a reason to purchase both the products and services of the company. Advertising as made by the company majorly includes print and electronic media. Additionally, the company uses a lot of sales promotion, which consists of a diverse collection of incentive-tools; mostly short-term designed to stimulate quick and greater purchase of the company’s products and services. They include numerous unlimited free calls, data bundles and messaging. The incentives attract consumer attention, offer strong incentives to purchase and can be used to dramatize products offers and to boost sagging sales. All these strategies are focused at bringing in new subscribers while also fighting to retain the existing by making them enjoy a wide variety of incentives as well as through numerous advertisements. Sales promotions invite and reward quick response- whereas advertising says “buy our product” while sales promotion says “buy it now”.

Distribution and Logistics

Sprint Nextel Corporation’s logistics operates under the principle of having the right services and/ or products in the precise quantity and quality at the appropriate time and place at the right affordable prices to the target customers. The company uses different distribution channels such as retail outlets to make their products and services readily available in the market to meet customer needs and demands (Chen 2011). As such, the company endeavors to make a good public image by liaising with key strategic organizations with the aim of capturing a wide array of subscribers while striving to retain the existing ones. Sprint has entered into various contractual obligations with suppliers and distributors making it easier for the company to retain a wide range of potential customers in the market. These distributors and /or third-party service providers help to market the company to various parts in the United States, which enables the company to command a significant portion of the market.

Critique of Ad/Website/ Social Media for Product and Service

Generally, the company observes a high ethical conduct in various communication strategies employed in a bid to reach various types of customers and subscribers in the marketing process. As such, the company has a team of specialists with the relevant expertise who review all communications and monitor information flow including advertisements, the website, and social media (Mighty Students 2010). Accordingly, the company employs various market research and analysis which helps it to develop appropriate communication strategies while avoiding making false communications and advertisements that could spark ethical concerns.

Analysis of Major Competitors

Sprint Nextel Corporation faces a lot of competition from a number of wireless carriers in the market and this gives the company a reason to conduct an analysis of its primary competitors in a bid to realize the various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and implement strategies for its survival. The major competitors in the market include the various companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon who offer voice, high speed data, and entertainment as well as offering both prepaid and postpaid services that presents a major challenge to the company (Chen 2011). Company however has noted various weaknesses among its competitors, which include lack of the desire to step-up their customers’ experience, which give the company an opportunity to strengthen its brand through offering a broad selection of services and iconic devices in the market. A proper knowledge of these potential competitors helps the company to design various products and services that are not offered by its competitors and thus able to compete favorably in the market.

Company S.W.O.T.

As much as the company strives to compete with its irk rival in the market by analyzing their competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, the company conducts an analysis of its own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in a bid to gauge its potency to be able to implement strategies of ensuring it survives in the market. Generally, the company’s strength and opportunities can be attributed to its robust market position, strong brands, cost cutting initiatives, and most importantly, the use of WiMAX mobile broadband network (Kurpe 2013). On the other hand, the company’s weakness lies in the fact that the company exercises a high dependency on Motorola. Additionally, there are significant threats facing the company such as increasing number of MVNOs, saturation in the market, and industry consolidation that gives the company a worry over their future operations and position.

Future Trends that may Affect Product or Service

With the increasing rate of business consolidation and conglomeration in the communication industry, the fact presents significant risks to the company’s future position in providing competitive products and services to meet the demands and needs of subscribers. These include increased expenses, diversion of management attention, and possible input weaknesses as well as high competition and increased market sophistications (Market Watch 2013). Additionally, with the augmented uncertainties in the consequences of natural disasters and terrorist attacks that poses a greater threat to the future of the company.

Recommendations for the Future

Considering the current trends as far as managing the impending risks and treats in the market, it is ideal and recommendable for the company to engage in multiple market research and studies and adopt a culture of absorbing the best team in executing most of its operations. As such, the company should strive to maximize customer experience and always endeavor to strengthen its brand in all facets (Kurpe 2013). Additionally, the company should strive to improve sustainably its wireless spectrum assets without backing down as well as grasp the new and emerging technologies in a cost effective approach. Consequently, the company will be in a better position to face the future risks and threats in the market having established a sturdy base to offer them the appropriate support and compete favorably in the market.

Conclusion

The combination of increased competition and greater uncertainty about the patterns of change in the business environment has encouraged an increasingly planned and strategic approach to marketing in many organizations. The development of an effective strategy requires a clear statement of corporate mission and corporate objectives. Therefore, the important feature of any strategy is that it should be consistent with the distinctive competence of the organization itself and must match the environment either internally or externally as explicated in this essay that featured Sprint Nextel Corporation.

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