Several organizations in society today owe their success to effective marketing strategies and techniques. The bottom line is that effective marketing in organizations depends on several marketing-related factors, and one of these is putting in place strategic and effective marketing management structures. Marketing management can be defined as the process of planning and execution of the manufacture, conception, pricing, promotion, as well as the distribution of an organization’s ideas, goods or products, and services with an aim of creating exchanges that meet organizational and individual goals. With a key role in marketing management are marketing managers who face myriads of decisions such as what product features to design into a new product, the number of sales people to hire, or how much should be spent on advertising an organization’s products and services. Successful global organizations such as Emirates Airlines in UAE owe their success to effective marketing management. A host of marketing management concepts at Emirates Airlines is analyzed in this paper. This includes an analysis of the branding and innovation strategy at Emirates Airlines, PESTLE analysis for the UAE, the headquarters of Emirates Airlines, a marketing mix analysis of the organization, how it attempts to understand its customers and the typical buying behavior of its customers, how it segments, targets, and positions its leading brands, as well as an analysis of its Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) Mix, with focus on new methods of communication such as social media.
Several studies and literature explore various marketing management concepts and techniques at Emirates Airlines. Surovitskikh and Berendien (75-81) explores a host of management concepts of Emirates Airlines including the company’s marketing mix, how it segments, targets, and positions its leading brands, its Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) Mix, as well as how it understand its customers and the typical purchasing behavior of the customers. In this study, Emirates Airlines is seen as one of the most successful airlines worldwide because of its effective marketing management, with emphasis on the fact that it is the fourth largest airline worldwide regarding daily passenger flights.
Sarabdeen, Nada El-Rakhawy, and Haneen (1-9) explore some of the key factors that have contributed to the success of Emirates Airlines in recent years in terms of profitability, revenue generation, and an increase in the number of customers. In this study, Emirate Airlines is regarded as the most profitable airline company in the Middle East despite competition from other airline companies in the region such as Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Singapore Airlines. Most importantly, this study takes note of some of the key factors that have contributed to the success of Emirates Airlines in recent years, with the primary focus on its branding and innovation strategies. Branding and innovation play a huge role in customer retention and enhancement of customer loyalty, perspectives that Emirates Airlines has managed to achieve given its effective marketing management.
Balakrishnan (1-15) explores various approaches used by organizations or companies to enter into emerging markets. In this study, some of the noted factors that influence how a company penetrates or enters into emerging markets are political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors. This study examines how the mentioned factors have influenced Emirates Airlines’ success and penetration into the UAE.
In this paper, detailed information and data on marketing management and techniques of Emirates Airlines are obtained from existing studies. There are numerous studies focusing on marketing techniques and strategies, some of which have been identified in the literature review section above. Information from these studies will help in the formulation of recommendations for addressing the key issues or challenges faced at Emirates Airlines.
Branding and Innovation
Branding and innovation strategy used by managers of Emirates Airlines is analyzed using two strategic tools, which are the Brand-Architecture-Brand Relationship Spectrum and Yang’s Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS). The brand relationship spectrum is a powerful brand architecture tool whose intent is to help strategists of brand architecture to employ sub-brands and endorsed brands with insight and subtlety. It is through sub-brands and endorsed brands that companies allow their brands to stretch across products and markets, to signal that their offering is new and different, as well as protect their brands from being diluted by over-stretching. In the real sense, brand architecture includes all the brands that influence a customer’s decision to buy a certain product whether it is owned by a particular company or not. There are three approaches to brand architecture strategies: monolithic structures, endorsed structures, and branded identities. In the case of monolithic structures, corporations or organizations use one name and a particular visual style throughout their portfolio of services. Emirates Airlines is one of the several organizations that have a monolithic structure throughout its portfolio of services, and it is through this that it has managed to achieve its branding and innovation strategy over the years (Sarabdeen, Nada El-Rakhawy, and Haneen 3). Throughout its portfolio of services, the name “Emirates” is used, and it remains one of the most recognized brands in the airline industry today. The name is used in various platforms including its website, which is www.emirates.com and on jerseys of famous football clubs such as Arsenal and Real Madrid. This has played a huge role in enhancing awareness among customers in the global airline industry of the company’s existence. Using the monolithic structure in branding and innovation has also helped the company retain new customers and attract new customers.
Emirate Airlines’ branding and innovation strategy over the years has also used the blue ocean strategy, hence its evident success in the overcrowded and competitive airline industry. According to this strategy, competing within the confines of the existing industry or making attempts to steal customers from competitors is highly discouraged. Instead, this strategy encourages companies to develop uncontested market space, what is referred to as Blue Ocean, which will make competition irrelevant in the long run. Emirates Airlines has been plotting its own strategy for building a leading position in its selected market over the years (Sarabdeen, Nada El-Rakhawy, and Haneen 4). In trying to avoid head-to-head competition with its fiercest rivals, Emirates Airlines has chosen the option of spending $400 million annually to provide accommodation, health care, and schools for its staff, and this is such a huge expense that rival companies have not managed to match (Peng 364). Through the provision of these services to staff, there is a positive word-of-mouth about the company’s brand and innovation, which has seen the number of its customers grow significantly every year. With this strategy, Emirates has avoided the option of head-to-head competition with its rivals in terms of pricing, frequent flyer schemes, and auxiliary services (Peng 365). In fact, the use of the blue ocean strategy puts Emirates Airlines ahead of its fiercest rivals not only in the Middle East but the world in entirety.
The success of Emirates Airlines in the UAE has been influenced either positively or negatively by various factors including political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors. Regarding political factors, the global airline industry is known to be hugely affected by political situations such as terrorism and wars. In recent years, terrorist activities in different parts of the globe have dealt a major blow to airline companies such as Emirates Airlines. However, the political stability in the UAE has been a major boost to the success of Emirates Airlines (Balakrishnan 2). The peaceful political situation in the UAE has made the country attractive for tourists and business travelers, and this has increased the airline’s passenger traffic. In recent years, Emirates Airlines has been ranked the first in the Middle East and worldwide in terms of passenger traffic, and this is owed to UAE’s political stability. Moreover, the political stability in the UAE has made it easier for Emirate Airlines to work closely with other leading companies in the airline industry such as the American Airlines.
From the economic perspective, the commitment of the government of the UAE to support its airline industry financially has been one of the reasons behind the success of Emirates Airlines. Of course, with economic support and stability, Emirates Airlines has managed to construct modern airports supported with the latest technology, which has seen it meet requirements of its customers. UAE has invested heavily in developing its main airports in major cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In fact, it is anticipated that over the coming 20 years, the UAE will spend a total of Dh 71 billion in the development of its airports, a move which will see Emirate Airlines thrive further. The development of airports is beneficial in various perspectives including enhancement of economy, reduction of UAE’s dependence on oil revenues by moving into the tourism sector, as well as an increase in the number of tourists (Balakrishnan 3). The latter has been one of the major reasons for the increase in Emirates Airlines’ passenger traffic in recent years.
Social factors in the UAE have also contributed either positively or negatively to the growth and development of Emirates Airlines over the years. Some of these factors include increasing population in UAE, tourists, as well as increase in the number of people acquiring education (Balakrishnan 3). Research indicates that in 2002, the population of UAE was 3,754,000 and this increased to 4,320,000 in 2004 owing to its multicultural nature. An increase in the number of expatriates, as well as population, has seen an increase in the profits of Emirates Airlines and others because the population and expatriates need to travel to foreign countries most of the time. On the other hand, social factors such as the spread of diseases influence the population in UAE as well as the influx of tourists, and this, at times, affects the airline industry.
The growing use of technology in UAE has affected Emirates Airlines both positively and negatively. For example, in the UAE, there is an increased use of the technology of teleconferencing, which has since reduced the need for a face-to-face meeting between expatriates. This has seen a reduction in the number of business travelers as well as sales of business markets affecting profitability of Emirates Airlines to a large extent (Balakrishnan 4). On the other hand, technological advancements in UAE have aided in e-booking services, which has seen passengers have an easy time when it comes to ticket reservation, and it has also seen Emirate Airlines reduce expenses on printing tickets. Moreover, like in other regions of the world, the use of internet has grown significantly in the US, with research indicating an increase in the number of internet accounts in the UAE from 251,000 in 2001 to over 600,000 in 2006. As such, Emirates Airlines has leveraged on online services to gain competitive advantage over the years.
Regarding legal factors, UAE has put in place friendly regulations and policies that have seen a significant growth of the local airline industry, which is an advantage to local companies such as Emirates Airlines. For instance, the taxation levels for companies in UAE are not as high as in other countries, and this has catalyzed the growth of Emirate Airlines and other local airlines.
Environmental factors have also played a significant role in the success of Emirates Airlines. For instance, UAE has a good climate which makes it more attractive to tourists and this is why there has been an increase in the number of passengers (Balakrishnan 5). Besides, the UAE is located along the ocean, which not only makes it attractive for tourists but also allows easier trade. All these factors have contributed to the profitability and success of Emirates Airlines over the years.
Marketing Mix Analysis (4Ps)
Over the years, Emirates Airlines has been using the premium pricing strategy that has seen it offer higher prices as compared to its rivals in the airline industry and market. One of the reasons for this pricing strategy is because it offers excellent, luxurious, and high-quality services to customers, which warrant high prices (Surovitskikh and Berendien 75). Another reason for the pricing is that Emirates Airlines’ target customers are individuals from medium to high-income levels with the capability to pay more so as to get better services. However, the company has plans to target people of lower income by introducing low-cost carriers.
Currently, Emirates Airlines has around eleven travel shop branches locally and another 122 branches in other regions off the world, through which it offers services to customers. Also, the company offers its services through an online website that can be accessed in nine different languages, and the main aim is to reach customers from across the world (Surovitskikh and Berendien 75).
Emirates Airlines promotes its services to customers through advertisements in television platforms, newspapers such as the Gulf News, and magazines such as Ahlan. Also, the company uses billboards to advertise products as they are more attractive and can be seen by several people at a go. Most of the company’s advertisements are written in simple and easy-to-understand language so as to reach a wide range of customers. For sale promotion, the company offers privilege cards to its customers, and this has been one of the reasons behind the company’s brand loyalty over the years.
In the global airline industry, there is no doubt that Emirates Airlines is always a step ahead when it comes to offering high-quality services and latest technologies to its customers. It was the first airline company to offer unique services onboard such as allowing passengers to send and receive emails as well as SMS services from any class. It was also the first airline company to implement TVs for all passengers in all classes as well as show the BBC world news updates in flight (Surovitskikh and Berendien 76). The company is also known for its implementation of security and safety programs that have seen it regarded as the company with high standard safety and security flights.
How the organization understands its customers and the typical buying behavior of its customers
Emirates Airlines has numerous platforms through which it understands and interacts with its consumers. For instance, it has customer care centers in its travel shops both in the UAE and the rest of the world where customers give their opinions and views on service delivery. Besides, the company has a website through which customers can access services as well as give their feedback on service access and delivery (Surovitskikh and Berendien 77). Since Emirates Airlines offers high-quality services, most of its customers are loyal to the brand and prefer it to others in the airline industry. In the UAE, the company is ranked highly when it comes to customer loyalty and retention, perspectives attributed to high-quality and innovative services as well as the embrace of modern technological facilities.
How the company segments, targets, and positions its brand
As mentioned earlier, the target market segment of Emirates Airlines’ brand is middle and high-income earners. The choice of this segment is because it offers high-quality and luxurious services which can only be paid by individuals in the mentioned market segment. It also targets tourists, business persons, expatriates, and transit passengers who are often in need of flight services from one country to another (Surovitskikh and Berendien 78).
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) analysis
Other than the already mentioned marketing platforms, Emirates Airlines markets its services to customers through call centers and social media. Emirates Airlines has call centers in every travel shop where customers raise complaints or have general questions or inquiries about various services. The company also communicates with customers through social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pin Interest. iPhone and Android users also have access to an application that can be used for accessing services of Emirates Airlines such as purchasing tickets, monitoring membership, or online check-ins (Surovitskikh and Berendien 80). In fact, through these phone apps, services of Emirates Airlines are within the reach of customers’ pockets, and this is one of the reasons for the ever-increasing number of its customers.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Emirates Airlines remains one of the most successful and profitable airline companies in the Middle East and the fourth in the world in the number of daily passenger flights. This has been achieved through the commitment in branding and innovation as well as marketing. The company is also ahead of the rest when it comes to the delivery of high-quality and luxurious services as well as modern technologies to customers. Social media is one of the platforms through which organizations can interact with and understand their customers as well as learn about their typical buying behavior. As such, it is recommended that the company should be more active in platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pin Interest, and Google+ plus that are used widely and frequently in the world today. Moreover, it is recommended that Emirates Airlines should introduce the anticipated low-cost carriers as soon as possible so as to attract to boost revenue and profitability by attracting low-income passengers.
Balakrishnan, Melodena Stephens. “Approaches to enter emerging markets: A UAE case study.” (2009): 1
Peng, Mike. International Business. Cengage Learning, 2016. Internet resource.
Sarabdeen, Jawahitha, Nada El-Rakhawy, and Haneen Niaz Khan. “Employer branding in selected companies in United Arab Emirates.” Communications of the IBIMA, 2011, 1-9.
Surovitskikh, Svetlana, and Berendien Lubbe. “Positioning of selected Middle Eastern airlines in the South African business and leisure travel environment.” Journal of Air Transport Management 14.2 (2008): 75-81.