A marketing strategy is the combination of the target market, or the customers the marketing is intended to reach, and the marketing mix. Product, price, place, and promotion are components of the marketing mix, or the four p’s, which create a value for the customer (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2009). For this reason, the customer, who is not part of the marketing mix, is the center of the target, surrounded by the elements of the marketing mix.

The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to create value for the customer, which allows the organization to increase customer satisfaction and results in repeat customers and additional equity for the organization (Armstrong & Kotler, 2009). A product can either be a service, a physical good, or both. The product is the first element of the marketing mix (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2009). Once a determination is made regarding the product a company wants to market, other elements need to be considered.The packaging and branding of the product is essential as well as any instructions, warranty, and possible installation options. The marketing strategy has a concern about how to release the newly thought of product into the place of the target market.

If a product goes straight from a supplier to the final consumer, a channel of distribution, or a series of individuals or firms that work together to distribute a product, can be avoided (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2009).Releasing a product outside of the target market can reduce the likelihood of the product fulfilling the needs of the consumer. Making a decision about how the target market will be informed about this new product is part of the promotion of the product. The goal of promoting a product is to maintain current customers while also gaining new customers (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2009). Promotion is often accomplished through advertising, but also can be done through personal communications or sales promotions. The final piece of the marketing mix is price.

In order to set a price for the new product or service, the competition must be considered. Understanding how a customer will react to the price point is important also (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2009). If a price is considerably more than the consumers are willing to pay, the efforts of the marketing strategy and the time focused on the components of the mix are a loss to the organization. After ideas have been formulated for each of the four p’s, the marketing team should make final decisions for each portion of the marketing mix at the same time.

The target market(s) as well as the individual consumers are important factors in this decision-making process (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2009). For example, through marketing research, OfficeMax determined that budget cuts affect teachers in the classroom. In a survey of 700 respondents, 86. 7% or 593 teachers believed that classroom supplies were most affected by these cuts (OfficeMax, 2009). Teachers are spending out-of-pocket funds to ensure that their classrooms have the necessary supplies of pencils, paper, scissors, glue, etc.As a result of this survey, OfficeMax determines that a product that can reach the target market of teachers would align with their mission statement of “We help our customer’s to do their best work” (OfficeMax, 2010).

OfficeMax Incorporated is considered a leader in the office product industry. With competitors like Staples and Office Depot, the marketing department of OfficeMax must remain innovative and create marketing strategies that allow them to rise above the competition. The goal of the marketing strategy is to end teacher-funded classrooms across the nation.The four elements of product, price, place, and promotion are necessary parts of this marketing strategy (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2009). Remember that all four elements should be evaluated at the same time and a decision made as to how to implement the newly devised marketing strategy.

OfficeMax has a teachers MaxPerks program that allows teachers to receive bonus rewards for their purchases, and offers them special promotions and coupons (OfficeMax, 2010). This is not enough to erase the teacher-funded classroom. OfficeMax joins a partnership with Adopt-A-Classroom and begins planning for a way to accomplish this task.Rather than create a new product, the idea is generated for OfficeMax to adopt classrooms, calling this event “A Day Made Better. ” Each OfficeMax retail location is assigned a classroom, and receives products that will be part of the classroom donation for that particular retail location.

The store manager is responsible for the implementation of the donation to his or her assigned teacher (OfficeMax, 2010).The store manager partners with the principal, informing him or her of the teacher who was selected for the surprise of “A Day Made Better. In October of each year, since 2007, OfficeMax associates have honored more than 1,000 teachers throughout the country with classroom supplies worth $1000. The total value of these awards, or donations, is $1,000,000 (OfficeMax, 2010). Each teacher receives an award printed through the ImPress Print Center inside each OfficeMax store. A chair, printer, digital camera, memo board, and a box with more than 60 essential classroom supplies, have been a delightful surprise to each teacher who has been honored.

The place of each teacher donation is determined through nominations made by schools, of teachers who have given exceptional contributions as educators. For the past four years, more than 1000 new teachers have been selected for classroom adoption, funding more than 10,000 classrooms nationwide (OfficeMax, 2010). The schools that are selected to participate are often Title I schools. This means that they have low funding and the majority of the students are often from lower-income families, with at least 40% of the students on the Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program (OfficeMax, 2010).

OfficeMax initially will use Adopt-a-Classroom for promoting this new service. In addition, OfficeMax will issue a press release informing the population of this upcoming event. Information is relayed to the individual stores through the OfficeMax intranet and the leaders within the organizational structure. Through the teacher’s MaxPerks program, OfficeMax informs those teachers who are enrolled that they may nominate other teachers that they believe have contributed in the classroom by going above and beyond.In addition to the promotion that happens prior to the event, OfficeMax plans for promotions after the event.

With the marketing strategy goal being to ending teacher funded classrooms, more donations are needed through Adopt-A-Classroom, and future OfficeMax “A Day Made Better” events. With a Facebook page and the ability to follow “A Day Made Better” on twitter, people are encouraged to fund their own classrooms, make a donation to a favorite teacher, or make a donation for Officemax’s yearly event (OfficeMax. com). OfficeMax also promotes and Associate Giving program that last for three weeks.Employees can go to a site and donate money to “A Day Made Better,” the United Way, or an individual teacher. OfficeMax matches half of each employee’s donation, increasing funds for classrooms.

With the four p’s in place, this marketing strategy was implemented and still continues today. While “A Day Made Better” is not a product a consumer is seeking, it still fulfills the marketing strategy of OfficeMax – to reduce teacher funded classrooms. This event does not increase profits for OfficeMax, rather it costs about$1,000,000 per year.However, the result of this event each year is positive promotion of OfficeMax. Many parents will shop at OfficeMax because of the blessings that have been given to schools in the community.

An employee of OfficeMax witnessed the four annual “A Day Made Better” events that have happened thus far. Each teacher that was surprised continues to shop at OfficeMax on a regular basis. At the beginning of the school year, when suggested school supply lists are created, OfficeMax is listed as a suggested shopping place.Each year, new marketing strategies are implemented for each back-to-school shopping season. One year it was “schooled” where items were marketed towards teens.

Another year the “penny sale” was introduced on a weekly basis, with a new item or items on sale for one penny. Marketing is about creating new products or services that relate to consumer needs. The goal of a marketing strategy is to retain current clientele and attract new customers. I believe that OfficeMax has done just that with the marketing strategy behind “A Day Made Better. ”