The marketing planning process in any organization is usually undertaken annually to typically cover what will happen the year ahead. In some rare occasions, some companies can do the process to stretch for two to three years. These plans need to be formalized and should move from a general to a specific point. Since it is an iterative process, the draft output at every stage is amended regularly to conform to any eventuality.
This paper will discus the appropriate marketing mix for this organization (Safari Inc.) which include correlation of the four Ps of marketing, sales promotion programs, appropriate Marcom objectives for this company, branding, pricing and distribution strategies. It will also look into a market segment (China) in terms of the factors that will make it a target market for this company through a critical analysis of the market. Finally, the case study will examine the role of brand positioning and advertising in relation to market entry for the target market
Role of advertising
Advertising is one of the tools which are effectively used to reach a target market especially when launching new brands, getting into new markets or promoting special offers. Safari Inc has used advertisements especially those inline with objective strategies specified in the guidelines of Marcom.
Safari Inc uses the following advertising mediums;
Use of billboards
Improved public relations
Special offers i.e. reduced prices
Using celebrities or respected personalities in the specified market area
Advertisements are always used to create awareness of Safari Inc products to the consumers so that the company may gain responses from their target markets especially when dealing with a new market. There are many other advertising mediums available and which include print; newspapers, journals and posters, electronic; television, internet and radio modes of communication which we may choose to create awareness of Safari Inc. products to their consumers. Another important medium of advertisement is internet form of marketing that has recently become one of the forms of marketing that is utilized more effectively to reach more people.
About this company- safari Inc.
Safari ltd is computer manufacturing company in the United State. Safari Inc offers a wide variety of products including the manufacture, assembly, and maintenance of computers. The company has risen from being a retailer of used computers to become one of the improved companies in the sector. It boasts of a financial base of $ 120Million. The company has been for the past two years getting recognition and that it believes it has saturated the domestic market and now it needs to explore the international markets starting next year. It therefore hopes that a marketing planning process will help it gather the relevant professional information needed to capture any target market either domestically or internationally.
The main objectives of the company are inline with Marcom’s strategic marketing planning processes. The first one is market knowledge. The company intends to understand the market dynamics especially through advertisements and promotions.
Other marketing and advertising strategies as outlined by Marcom for advertising agents and media houses work to develop creative units that are intended to capture the essence of the product include; The objectives include;
To maximize the profits and revenue
Ensuring that the product’s superiority is outlined to the intended customer through proper advertising
Market knowledge and research
Usage maximization and targeting
Full and partial cost recovery i.e. breakeven points
Customer and producer satisfaction
Market promotion programs
Sales promotion programs are programs and strategies which are intended to woo the customer to buy the product especially when launching a new product. The sales programs are developed by the sales team with a view to meet the marketing needs of the company. The most successful programs done by the company is the use of a sales promotion software that contain tools and information that is required to promote the products. Safari Inc. uses the software to maximize sales especially when dealing with industry to industry business. Promotion is an attempt to influence the buying habits and behavior of an individual. Successful promotion programs include the communication tools that are required to pass the message from the sales force to the target customer. The programs may include; direct marketing, public relations or advertisements.
Market analysis and segmentation
A market segment is an organization or subgroup of people who have same characteristics and would in one way or another share same market needs and requirements. Safari Inc. has identified a homogenous market that is likely to respond to the marketing strategy the company has been using in the past four years. Through this, Safari Inc. wishes to understand the behavior of the Chinese market, identify the appropriate marketing strategies that are needed to be applied there. For example, the Chinese people are culturally strong and that the marketing strategy specific to China will be different to that which will be applied to Canada. The preferences of the Chinese people are that since there economy is still young but growing, it needs to have products that go inline with that requirement.
Chinese market segment
Country – China
o GNP: US$630.2 billion
o Growth Rate 1980-1993: 9.6%,
o Annual Growth Rate GNP/Capita: 8.2%
o GDP/Capita: $435
o GDP/Capita PPP: $2604
Climatic conditions- hot and humid but depends on the season of the year
Population density- 1.23 Billion people according to current estimates
Age of the customers- all ages including school children, students, employees, etc
Gender- both males and females can buy the products
Family sizes-2-6 People per household
Literacy levels- 79%
Income- an average of $ 1,000
Religion- mainly Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity
Languages- Mandarine but there is other languages such as English
Readiness to buy- 60%
Attitudes- The public and government attitude towards American products is ‘mixed’ at the moment. But generally it is good
The Chinese market is one of the largest in the world today. The main factor that contributes to the high ready market is provided by the developing economy and the high population (currently stands at over a ¼ of the world’s total population). Due to this fact, more and more companies engaged in the computer hard ware manufacture are heading for the country and the larger Middle East region at large. This will be the main challenge for the safari company and depending with the marketing strategies and approaches, it is possible to get some of its market share. Most of the schools, institutions, organizations and private companies are able to purchase the computers.
If a brand appears in the market, it is normally being screened by the consumer who quickly starts to get acquainted with the product. In order for a product to get a stable market position, it should a have a good brand image. This therefore calls for a positive assessment of the brand of the product in order to encourage the consumer has a positive purchasing decision.
In order to fully understand the market position for a brand, different completive brands currently in the market can be researched and further analyzed in order to reach mothers and accept others. The figure below describes the sequence with which a market research can be analyzed with regard to the specific brand position to be chosen. This is the main role brand positioning offers while deciding to implement a certain market strategy
Figure 1. Brand positioning
Source; Lenka H. (2001): Brand Positioning. GfK, available online. Retrieved from http://www.gfk.si/eng/2_3_brand_pos.php accessed on 2007-08-02.
Marketing plan process
The market planning process as shown by the diagram below describes the actual procedures that is usually undertaken in order to achieve the necessary objectives the company has set. First, it describes the mission of the company, then it looks at the market audits, assumptions, strategies and finally, creative plans for ‘attack’
Source; Borden, N. (1978): The Concept of the Marketing Mix. Journal of Advertising Research, June, Vol. 2, pp. 20-15. Available in Schwartz G. Science in Marketing. John Wiley & Sons
Product branding is a key factor in determining the selling trends for any product in the target market. When selling the products in a market such as China, Safari Inc. products can be renamed after a populous Chinese personality to increase perceived value of the customer towards the computer products. A good brand name should have the following properties that is; it can be legally protected, must be easy to pronounce by anybody especially the customers, easy to be remembered, very easy to recognize and is able to attract attention on everybody. Branding is important for quick recognition for the services and products to be offered.
Product branding strategies that can be used by any business are many but what has been employed by safari Inc.
Premium brands-premium brands are those brands that are so sophisticated in quality such that they are the ones to be fetch higher prices when placed in the market.
Economy brands-branding strategy that usually costs very little to produce and is intended for products that have been already in the market. The idea for this branding strategy is to change the brand which has in the past attracted a small market share with something new. It cheaper than premium brands
Fighting brand- brands that are intended to compete favorably with same products in the market
Licensing brand-these are brands that
Safari Inc. has adopted the usual marketing mix which describes the four Ps of marketing. The marketing mix idea was first developed by Neil Borden and Culliton in 1950s and later modified by McCarthy in 1960 to describe the strategic position of a product in the market place. The marketing for this company is described by the 4 Ps as follows.
It is the process of setting a price for a product. It is not necessarily fixing a monetary value but simply what is exchanged for the product or service at stake e.g. attention, time etc. Safari Inc. utilizes the following types of pricing strategies to set prices for its products. The pricing strategy varies with the type of product, quality and the market or customer information. Marketers and pricing specialists argue that there is no practical and right way to calculate the pricing for the product or the services the following are pricing strategies employed by Safari Inc.
Premium pricing is the use of a high price which indicates uniqueness about the alcohol products. This approach is applicable where a substantial competitive advantage is in existence such as for luxuries. Safari Inc. employs this strategy when setting prices for high quality computers such laptops and other high performance machines. The premium price shows the uniqueness of the company’s product and is used to get attention by the customer. This pricing is normally high and is totally used where there is a substantial competition of the product in the market.
In this pricing strategy, the price for the computer products can be set to be lower than what other companies offer so as to gain a market share. This will mean that more consumers will be rushing to get the cheaper products. The strategy also includes a low price that enables a penetration price which is necessary to allow more products to sell at first but when it catches up, other pricing strategies are adopted. Safari Inc. begun with the application of the penetration pricing whereby, once the company achieves the market share; it increases the price of its product especially in market where the competition level is high.
Other suitable strategies that this company is now looking into in order to test their effectiveness are;
Psychological pricing takes into considerations external perspectives of the consumers’ view and includes the analysis of factors like; positioning, popular price points, fair price etc.
Cost-plus pricing which involves the setting of service or product price based on the production costs, cost of goods, fixed costs at the current volume and a small profit margin
Value-based pricing which a price is set based on the quality of service or product value to the consumer
Economy pricing is a case where the cost of marketing and manufacture are kept at a minimum hence becomes a no frills low price for the computers. The price will be kept at a minimum which will neither put a loss to the company or to the consumer of the product
Promotion comes in various forms; personal selling, publicity, sales promotion or advertising and it refer to the various methods of convincing the customers to buy the brand, product or services offered by the company. Safari Inc. has promoted its products online but it has also engaged in newspaper and other electronic advertisement
Promotion is an important marketing tool which is commonly used to market new products in a market that is new especially that is far from the production point. Promotion processes requires huge investments especially when it comes to advertisements. Any promotion for a product that is already known by the customers is not very expensive as such.
The distribution channel employed by Safari Inc. is many but depends on the market and location of the customer. A channel of distribution is the sequence of activity which includes how the company moves its product from the production to the place where it is consumed. Safari Inc has come up with various channels of distribution to enable their products reach the targeted market. The company has employed the use of wholesalers and other sales groups to distribute the computer hardware to other areas where it can not economically reach through its sales and marketing team in the place of production Sometimes it either uses the direct or the indirect channels to supply to the consumers directly or through retailers not far from the production point
The company’s global headquarters are in Seattle, Washington. Amazon has since spread from its native origin in America and it is now operating in many more counties in the country. Due to increased sales and more competition in the U.S, the company is now intending to go across the borders and get new markets such as Canada, Europe and Asia (specifically China).
Internet marketing strategy
The old day’s ways of marketing was not only time consuming but also costly especially to a wide range of clients. The current internet technology is the best as it is currently being employed by many consumers. The internet is a bi-directional communication tool which is ironically the least expensive way of advertising compared to other types of advertising such as radio, television, magazines and news papers. Internet marketing offers great benefits for businesses in this century; increased effectiveness, wide range of audiences, reduced advertising, marketing, and transportation costs, improved exposure, increased popularity, among others. Internet marketing strategy will help safari Inc. to not only reach frequent clients but also those who may not be able to understand the company. Being a computer firm, this is the best strategy to use at this century.
Many organizations just like Safari Inc. see marketing planning processes as failures because of their complexity. In fact, Safari Inc. has been forced to abandon their strategies in the past due to unpredictable events. The obvious thing that cannot be avoided is strategic planning that involves simple analysis of the marketing process and strategy of marketing.
In summary, the company adopt the four Ps marketing mix i.e. promotion, place, product and distribution. It has used this marketing mix to set objectives that will guide it while segmenting a target market which is in this case-China. It has also used internet marketing strategy, advertisements and other promotion methods to reach its target market not only in America but also abroad.
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