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Costco Wholesale Promotional Tools Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2022

Costco Wholesale Corporation (2015) is a large international membership warehouse company that has been operating for over 20 years; in 2014, it had 671 warehouses (p. 2). This company uses a wide variety of promotional tools; in particular, its system of coupons and discounts can be mentioned as an effective and constantly ongoing means of promoting sales (Costco Wholesale Corporation, n.d.). However, another one of the public relations tools stands out among the rest due to its integrative nature. It is the Costco Wholesale Corporation [CWC] (2016) magazine that is called The COSTCO Connection, which has an online edition and a print version that is sent to the members. The online version is available for anyone, and it includes a wide variety of promotional tools. The most recent edition of CWC’s (2016) magazine incorporates coupons (p. 87), catalogs (pp. E1-E14), numerous articles that mention or directly advertise COSTCO products while also providing some useful information like a vaccination calendar (p. 63), and various advertisements. The online version also includes a cooking tutorial video from the Quick and Easy Cooking the COSTCO Way series that shows a lunch being cooked with the help of the foods and cooking tools that can be bought at COSTCO.

The Connection magazine appears to illustrate the concept of integrated marketing communications (IMC). As demonstrated by Quesenberry, Coolsen, and Wilkerson (2012), the concept has been defined and redefined, but it typically presupposes a more strategic and comprehensive approach to promotion, which involves the integration of various promotional tools into a single strategy for the establishment of relationships with the customer to increase brand value.

It is apparent that Connection incorporates various means of promoting sales (including coupons, the tool that was mentioned first), advertising, and improving public relations, which are regarded as traditional and specific (therefore, separate) promotion disciplines and areas (Belch, 2014; Quesenberry et al., 2012). However, it is also hardly dubious that this magazine is an independent and integrative tool of promotion. It can be concluded that the coupon tool along with numerous other promotional means was integrated into the Connection magazine to create a comprehensive and more effective promotion instrument. The use of both print and Internet media (and technology in general) is also a sign of integration (Belch, 2014, p. 12). Apart from that, COSTCO integrates a variety of modern technology achievements in the online version: for example, it includes video together with the text and contains hyperlinks to facilitate navigation. Unfortunately, we cannot access the actual promotion strategy of the company, but all these decisions demonstrate that COSTCO responds to the changes in the modern environment and works towards the development of comprehensive IMC promotional tools (Belch, 2014; Quesenberry et al., 2012).

Insights for a “Mo-Betta” IMC strategy

The tools that are used by COSTCO apparently correspond to the ideals of IMC strategic promotion. As a result, they can be used as an example of certain best practices. It is noteworthy that the choice of the tool is guided by the COSTCO customers’ profiles, which is also in line with IMC since its final aim consists in building customer relationships (Quesenberry et al., 2012). In particular, the idea of a membership warehouse presupposes belonging to an elite club, which can be strengthened through the existence and free distribution of the special COSTCO magazine. Also, it is apparent that the magazine is primarily oriented towards middle-aged married people with children, which corresponds to the view of Value Line analyst Dalavagas (2015), who states that COSTCO targets primarily baby boomers. As a result, the specific practices of COSTCO may be of little use for a very differently oriented organization. Still, the concept of a comprehensive tool that uses the technological advancements to its advantage, integrates varied media and means of distribution, and involves numerous and diverse promotional tools can be regarded as a part of a “mo-betta” IMC strategy and, therefore, may be used for our group’s marketing plan.

References

Belch, G. (2014). Advertising and promotion. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

Costco Wholesale Corporation. (2015). Annual Report 2014. Web.

Costco Wholesale Corporation. (2016). Web.

Costco Wholesale Corporation. (n.d.). Warehouse Coupon Offers. Web.

Dalavagas, I. (2015). SWOT Analysis: Costco Wholesale Corporation. Web.

Quesenberry, K. A., Coolsen, M. K., & Wilkerson, K. (2012). IMC and The Effies: Use of Integrated Marketing Communications Touchpoints Among Effie Award Winners. International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, 4(2), 60-72.

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