The case study, titled “Saturn Motor Corporation: Innovation in Channel Strategy”, provides an account of the corporation’s history, mission, marketing strategy, and its innovative channel strategy. A closer look at the corporation’s mission statement reveals that the company values customer satisfaction, and attempts to attain competitive efficiencies through the integration of people, technology, and business systems.
Saturn Motor Corporation’s marketing strategy is premised on creating a brand through a single-minded focus on how its customers relate to the brand and the company behind it, rather than the product itself, with a view to developing a high level of awareness about the corporation’s products and services among its target market.
The author of the case study then discusses Saturn’s innovative channel strategy to demonstrate how the company relates to its dealers or retailers. It is this strategy that forms the basis of the analysis.
From the reading, it is clear that Saturn’s innovative channel marketing strategy is premised on maintaining customer satisfaction, enhancing brand loyalty, developing mutually beneficial distribution relationships with dealers or retailers, and segmenting the market across key geographical areas.
It is also clear that the corporation depends on its innovative distributorship system to stay ahead of competition, while strengthening its brand image in its single-minded focus to have customers relate to the products and the company behind these products.
Extant literature demonstrates that a company’s distribution channels embody a fundamental portfolio of resources that can be leveraged to not only achieve competitive efficiencies (Banta Corporation 1), but also customer satisfaction, loyalty and return behavior (Epitimehin 62).
Consecutively, as has been suggested in the literature that the success of a particular product or service rides on the quality of the channel strategy (QDI Strategies, Inc para. 1), it can be argued that the success of the corporation rides on its channel’s ability to allow retailers the opportunity to make contributions to key decisions affecting them as well as customers.
Moving on, it is important to analyze how Saturn has been able to maintain high customer satisfaction levels using its innovative channel strategy. Extant literature demonstrates that the channel strategy establishes a strong link between and among partners, leading to a powerful interlocking of strategies which enables the parent organization to have a considerable presence in the market (Vann 6).
The interlocking of strategies between and among Saturn’s retailers can be observed in the way they market the brand as a single entity under the Saturn flagship, how they follow the regulations as set out by the Corporation, and how they set uniform performance standards against which they are to be judged.
More importantly, the dealers are empowered by the parent company to devise and implement their own unique customer convenience systems and monthly order allotments to fit their individual sales and seasonal supplies.
These attributes, as well as the level of dealer independence in decision making, provide the basis by which Saturn’s innovative channel strategy is able to achieve competitive advantage and enhance customer satisfaction.
Extant literature demonstrates that “a thriving channel is a business imperative for any company that wants to scale” (Franklin 1). This author further posits that direct or indirect channels assist companies to reach a wider audience base. This attribute is well reflected in the case study in the way dealers of the automobile giant undertake market segmentation across geographical areas to reach a wider customer base.
Indeed, dealers have succeeded in grouping customers into segments, each with its own buying behavior and orientation (Epitimehin 63). It is difficult for customers to switch from one dealer to another due to Saturn’s “no-haggle” policy, which requires that automobile prices be set at one base figure to enhance the image of the corporation’s dealers.
Banta Corporation 2004, Developing Effective Multi-Channel Marketing Strategies. Web.
Epitimehin, Festus M. “Market Segmentation: A Tool for Improving Customer Satisfaction and Retention in Insurance Service Delivery.” Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences. 2.1 (2011): 62-67. Web.
Franklin, Jacqueline n.d., Channel Strategy and Marketing for the Rest of Us. Web.
QDI Strategies, Inc n.d., Channel Marketing Strategies: Does your Channel Marketing Strategy have the Power to Succeed. Web.
Vann, Graham 2007, The Evolution of Channel Marketing. Web.