When looking at the two department stores Walmart and Nordstrom’s, it is much easier to contrast differences than compare similarities. This is because they are at opposite ends of the economic spectrum; Walmart specializes in discounted prices, while Nordstrom focuses on quality at a higher price. Both companies enjoy much success, however. To attract customers that are more interested in each company’s characteristics, their marketing strategies differ from one another greatly. A marketing mix is defined as “product, price, place, and promotion – the controllable set of activities that a firm uses to respond to the wants and needs of customers”. . The differences in these four areas become obvious when we look at them at a glance.

Walmart offers many different products to suit every possible need of their customers. From automobile repair services to groceries to a variety of products in between, it is a one-stop shopping excursion for most of their customers. They also produce private label goods, such as Great Value, Sam’s Choice, and Equate. They even have a real estate division for commercial development. Walmart jumps on the bandwagon whenever they see an opportunity – and seem to prosper because so.

Nordstrom’s also strives to meet customer satisfaction through offering an array of products. “Our goal is to offer a well-edited range of products for a variety of lifestyles.”. While they don’t offer common, everyday needs like toiletries, groceries or cat litter; they do offer more upscale products such as apparel and home décor. Nordstrom, like Walmart, offer a private label – but without the notable discount.

Walmart has developed quite the reputation in our country for its low prices. Many name brands are apprehensive of Walmart’s private label. “In July (2006), Coca-Cola disclosed in a lawsuit filed in Atlanta that it changed its distribution of Powerade because it feared if it did not, Wal-Mart would come up with its own, competing version of the beverage.” . Nordstrom’s does not use a low price tag to attract customers; instead they use quality. While it is pricier to shop for clothes and home décor at Nordstrom’s; most designer labels prove to be of better quality, uniqueness, and durability.

Walmart’s private label brands goes directly from the assembly line to their store shelves. Eliminating the middle man helps them to offer such inexpensive store labels. Other suppliers they use to stock the shelves are bought from in bulk quantities. Nordstrom’s, in contrast, has one distribution center located in Newark, California. While they do not have as many stores as Walmart, they can still enjoy sizable profits from selling high-end products at retail prices.

By now, word of mouth definitely works in Walmart’s favor. But they also advertise on TV. “Everyday low prices” is their current slogan, but I think most of us think of the little “Rollback” smiley face cutting all of the prices down. While I have never seen an ad campaign addressed to a television audience, Nordstrom’s does pride themselves in utilizing ‘word of mouth’ from satisfied customers. They also advertise in magazines aimed for the higher-income-bracket female.

The marketing efforts by both companies clearly show that each company aims toward a different audience. There is a difference in the market between customers that want to spend no less than $200 for a pair of shoes, and customers who will pay no more than $10. Each company aims towards their target, and most likely do not share a customer base.



Grewel, D., amp; Levy, M. (2008). Marketing (Second Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Nordstrom Inc. and Subsidiaries. (2002). Annual Report 2002. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from about.nordstrom.com: http://about.nordstrom.com/aboutus/investor/ar/2002/NOR2002AR.pdf

Nordstrom’s. (2009). Nordstrom’s. Retrieved August 3, 2009, from Nordstrom.com: http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/6011957/0~2377475~6003903~6011957?origin=tab-promo

Reyes, S. (2006, August 21). brandweek.com. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from Study: Wal-Mart Private Brands Are Catching On: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/news/spotlight/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003020035 imw;=Y

The Quiznos commercials we have seen in the last decade marketed Quiznos subs in an interesting (and perhaps to some, puzzling and disturbing) way. A bowler hat-wearing animal that appears to have the body of a hamster and the legs of a shrimp sings in a scratchy, off-key voice about how much he loves Quiznos subs because they’re so warm and tasty. Just in case you can’t understand the screechy rodent, speech bubbles from his mouth provide an explanation. A similar-looking animal wearing a pirate hat plays guitar in the background. While this commercial is certainly odd, it was successful in that it really got people talking. Trey Hall, the chief marketing officer for Quiznos, explained that Quiznos felt their marketing needed to be dramatic with the airtime they bought because they had a small ad budget. They were also seeking to gain awareness among the public, which shock value can be successful at doing.

The commercial’s weakness is that the shock of creepy singing animals could have potentially made viewers associate the idea of Quiznos with discomfort and unpleasant thoughts. While many viewers pondered how a singing rat-gerbil could possibly make them want a sandwich, some went so far as to say that the presence of the creature in a commercial suggested that Quiznos is rodent-infested and unclean. I personally avoided Quiznos for years after this marketing campaign – not for any reason that I could have articulated at the time, I just felt unsure about the place. It wasn’t until a friend suggested Quiznos that I ever ventured inside one. When I reminded her of the weird mutated marmoset commercial, she looked confused and said, “Oh yeah I remember that commercial…that was for Quiznos?”

Overall, the marketing strategy seems to have paid off. The company has seen rapid growth through franchises and has received numerous awards for their success. Their early ads were filled with shock value, from the bizarre rodents to a man suckling on a wolf. They then progressed to controversial ads that took on sandwich-giant Subway and suggested that “real women need meat.” This kept people talking and kept their curiosity up until Quiznos became a household name, at which point they dropped the shock value and started making more down-to-earth commercials like this one, which focuses on the value of Quiznos subs in our economy. Their marketing strategy, though criticized at times, has drawn the appropriate type and amount of attention to Quiznos throughout the company’s history.

This is considered an effective marketing – offline marketing or traditional marketing method. Although it may have been too risky to take a shot of at first, it was then followed by a lot of people talking and remembering about it. This can be applied to online marketing campaigns too. Some controversial articles tend to gain a lot of traffic and good value in return. It’s a mixture of being creative, being honest, being annoying (perhaps) and being strategic when you decide to make a scene in the internet world.