Explain the key roles and responsibilities of the marketing function in relation to H&M.

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Learning aim

This Unit 2 Marketing Essentials H&M Assignment is designed to introduce students to the principles of marketing, enabling them to develop a basic marketing plan and to employ elements of the marketing mix to achieve results. While they will learn the underpinning theories and frameworks, they will also be able to relate these to real-world examples, including products/services that they encounter in their own daily lives.

Organisations such as Apple, Google, VISA, Burberry, Zara, Cadbury, Nestle, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Unicef, BP and small local businesses all have at least one thing in common: they all use marketing to influence us to engage with their products and/or services. Whether it is becoming a loyal customer buying a product and service or donating to a charity, organisations use a range of marketing techniques and tools to inform and influence us.

The knowledge, understanding and skill sets that students will gain on successfully completing this unit will enhance their career opportunities; whether setting up their own business or being employed by an organisation.

Vocational Scenario 

The company‘s vision as stated on the website is: Our vision is that all our operations are run in a way that iseconomically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Which will mean our business is helping to meet the needs of both present and future generations. We have to change how fashion is made and enjoyed today. We want to use our size and scale to lead the change towards fully circular and truly sustainable fashion(HM.com)

H&M has been at the forefront of affordable chic for some time now. From its Swedish base, Hennes and Mauritz has grown into a major multinational clothes and cosmetics retailer. Just the place for fashionistas, it now has over 1500 outlets in 28 countries and a turnover in 2007 of over SEK92bn. H&M was one of the first to challenge the retail clothing sector by delivering fast fashion at low prices.

The company offers different concepts for women, men, teenagers and children and includes everything from modern basics to high fashion. The collections are supplemented by matching accessories, nightwear, underwear and cosmetics. However H&M does not have factories of its own but has a multitude of designers and buyers and works with around 700 independent suppliers to produce clothing collections for almost everyone, all at affordable prices. H&M lives by its business concept, ‘fashion and quality at the best price‘.

Expansion at H&M is the name of the game with 168 new stores being opened last year. The availability of attractive business locations is the major deciding factor but most recently there has been specific focus on the US, Spain, Germany, France and Canada. That said, a weather eye is also being kept on emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, China and Japan. The company’s expansion has been entirely self-financed and with sales over the past 5 years increasing by 72% and earnings per share by 183%, the company can certainly afford it.

H&M is not solely reliant on new fashion store openings however: it also aims to expand its product range organically. Alongside launching H&M home, extending its ladies footwear range and growing its online shopping, it has recently launched a new chain called Collection of Style, or COS, which is an upscale version of its current H&M stores which merges high fashion with extremely competitive pricing. H&M mixes cool organised efficiency with zany fashion pizzazz. Or, to put it more practically, they have combined good basics with the hot-off-the-catwalk designs which keep people talking – all at a low prices. Store displays are designed to inspire but the essence of H&M is that it allows customers to find and experiment with their own style, irrespective of occasion and on a limited budget. Turnover is fast and stock is changed on a daily basis.

Although global in reach, H&M also recognises the power of local. Whereas other firms provide a ubiquitous retail experience with the same product range in San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo, H&M thrives on tailoring the ever-changing product mix to local tastes and buying preferences. This is attributed to the company’s fast feedback from each store into a central IT and logistics operation that pushes the right products out from its Hamburg distribution hub. In a world where product innovation is the apparent differentiator, H&M also gains from expertise in process innovation.

Collaboration has also worked well for H&M. Following on from the breakthrough Karl Largerfield range in 2004, subsequent celebrity endorsements have included Madonna, Viktor and Rolf, Stella McCartney and Roberto Cavalli. H&M have even won the support of the pop princess herself, Kylie Mingoue, whose clothing range was launched in Shanghai in 2007. Alongside this, H&M is also a big supporter of UN programmes, the Designers Against Aids initiative and campaigns to increase the use of organic cotton, reduce the use of chemicals and the implement more energy efficient transportation. H&M is the undeniable leader in global fashion retail and looks like maintaining this position for some time to come.

H&M is the largest fashion retailer in Europe at the present. Like ZARA, fashionable designshigh qualityaffordable prices and its distribution system are keys to its success and rapid expansion worldwide. However, fast fashions, the most important factor of ZARA’s success, is not the one to make H&M more thriving in the market.H&M’ physical stores are also located in the largest cities around the world. Its strategy is quite similar to ZARA’s; that is, H&M tries to let its customers have an image that it is a brand focusing on stylish designs with good quality at the affordable prices. In fact, H&M’s prices are lower than ZARA’s because it provides its products to all people who want to be fashionable without any scruple about the prices. H&M has a mission that it is possible for everyone to find his or her own dressing style in its collection.

  • Product – wide range of cloths and accessories with lower price and reasonable quality, inspired by the latest catwalk trends.  Its product concept is ‘EDLP’ (every day low price product). H&M also offers sportswear, lingerie, cosmetics and home department.
  • Price – cost-based. Cheap and affordable
  • Place – H&M stores and departments are always located in well-known and famous shopping streets. H&M has an online shopping website which gives customers` access to different products and services that they offer. Customers` have the conveniency to browse, interact and order H&M  products and services anywhere and at anytime.
  • Promotion – H&M spends a lot of time on promotion, outdoor advertising, and direct marketing as part of its marketing campaign. H&M uses the press and famous blogger including world celebrities to carry out their advertising message. The company uses video advertisement, print advertisement and the concept of e-marketing to make its products and services known to its customers.

Task 1

LO1 Explain the role of marketing and how it interrelates with other functional units of an organisation


You have recently been employed as a marketing assistant at ‘H&M’ and you are located in the UK head office.  In order to test your abilities, the managing director has asked you to carry out concepts and principles of the marketing process applicable to the given organisation. Based on the findings of your research, provide answers on all of the following tasks:

In your role as the marketing assistant, you have been asked to write a newsletter for publication in the company’s in-house magazine to provide a brief overview to staff on the processes of marketing and its importance for an organisation like H&M.

You are required to present this newsletter in a good structure including title, introduction, main body and conclusion including appropriate theoretical references in line with ‘Harvard Convention’ where relevant. You need to adopt a critical stance and not only being descriptive in subject knowledge but showing analytical approach by using relevant examples from the given organisation to support your discussion. Your newsletter must incorporate the following:  1000 words, photography, illustration and creativity.

Task 2

LO2: Compare ways in which organisations use elements of the marketing mix (7Ps) to achieve overall business objectives.

In managing and overseeing the business operation of H&M, your managing director has asked you to produce a detailed report on the analysis of economic systems and business environment in which businesses operate in. The business environment is also reviewed as marketing environment in marketing management. Therefore, your report should also highlight the appropriate use of the different concepts of marketing to sustain organisational growth by responding to the changing environment effectively.

Your report should be presented in a structured manner by including table of content, title, introduction, main bodies with headings and sub-headings, and conclusion or summary.

Task 3

LO3:Develop and evaluate a basic marketing plan

In your role as a marketing assistant, your marketing director has approached and asked you to contribute in the company’s business plan by writing a basic marketing plan. Therefore, you are required to produce a marketing plan mainly focusing on the marketing concepts, current situation analysis of the business and the use of marketing mix in different

You should present your marketing plan in an appropriate structure including executive summary, and introduction by developing main key elements of a marketing plan where possible.

Please note:you only have to produce one marketing plan, the level of detail regarding the merit and distinction criteria are additional.

Learning outcome

LO1 Explain the role of marketing and how it interrelates with other functional units of an organisation

Explain the key roles and responsibilities of the marketing function in relation to H&M.

Explain how roles and responsibilities of marketing relate to  the wider organisational context.

LO2: Compare ways in which organisations use elements of the marketing mix (7Ps) to achieve overall business objectives.

Compare the ways in which H&M and Zara apply the marketing mix to the marketing planning process to achieve business objectives.

LO3: Develop and evaluate a basic marketing plan

Produce and evaluate a basic marketing plan for H&M.

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