Table of Contents
The present paper is prepared with the objective of identifying and evaluating the marketing principles in relation to Unilever Plc which is a top supplier group of fast moving consumer goods. Unilever Plc has its business presently scattered in international markets and thus constantly required to develop a suitable marketing strategy for the expansion of business network. The present paper shall evolve various elements of marketing mix, STP strategy, identifying and developing marketing mix elements in different situations available to the organisation.
1. By using a reputable source, define marketing. Explain how these are applicable to a brands of Unilever Plc.
Marketing can be defined as a managerial and social process by which organisation create value for the customer and develop strong relationship management in order to gain value in return to the value offered to the customer (Best, 2004). For Unilever Plc, the selected brand is Bru Coffee for which there is a constant need to ascertain customer’s expectation from the product and to take steps in the direction to achieve those demands. Only by offering a desirable value to the customer, an organisation shall obtain a counter value for their product in terms of monetary benefits or other. Marketing can be defined as the method adopted in order to communicate value of a product or service to the customers for the purpose of selling particular product or service.
2. Briefly explains the various elements of the marketing process applicable for Unilever Plc and explains how the marketing strategy is applicable to your selected brand.
The various steps included in the marketing process are identification of needs and fulfilling them to a great extent so as to maximise customer satisfaction. Marketing process of the Bru Coffee would include the following elements:
1. Analysing the present situation:
For analysing the current prevailing situation in which Unilever is operating, we need to understand internal and external analysis tools affecting it. Internal analysis would include SWOT analysis for Bru Coffee by consideration of which the major strength and weaknesses of the organisation comes into knowledge. These factors should be taken care of while framing a marketing strategy. Moreover, study of external environment would include understanding the effect of external factors on the working of the organisation. These external factors may include social, political, technological, environmental and legal factors (Blas, 2002).
2. Development of unique marketing strategy
A unique marketing strategy needs to be developed depending on operational objective of the organisation. The market strategy should be framed after taking into consideration the effects of internal and external factors surrounding the organisation. Market segmentation, Define the target market, and positioning of the elements is decided for development of a suitable marketing strategy for Bru Coffee.
3. Development of Market Mix:
After framing a suitable and unique marketing strategy, a marketing mix should be formed. A marketing mix shall include decision relating to price aspects of the product, place where the product is demanded, the particular product which is required and promotional activities to smoothen its distribution. Development of the marketing mix requires a deep survey of a particular product, its demands and needs of the target customers. A perfect marketing mix would lead to achieve the organisational objectives in terms of its brand reputation, name and fame (Jobber, 2010).
4. Implementation and control procedures :
Implementation and controlling the marketing strategy involves the monitoring of its actual impact. The marketing strategy which has been developed should be properly implemented also for attainment of the pre defined goals. Moreover, control procedure should also be undertaken to get a periodic review and to take necessary steps in case of any departure from the pre defined process.
Organisational objectives provide a base to develop an overall marketing strategy. By pre defining a marketing objective, the process of marketing mix becomes easier as the goal of the organisation is now clear. In the present case of Bru Coffee, we have selected its well known brand named ‘Bru Coffee’ which is a famous coffee brand that offers a range of products worldwide. To get its products reached in the hands of desired customer and to expand its business in international markets, Bru Coffee needs to develop more goal oriented marketing strategies and indulge itself into more stable marketing concepts.
Marketing orientation helps Bru Coffee to gain an understanding about the needs of the customers, steps taken to fulfil their needs to a great extent giving priority to the organisational objectives. Bru Coffee deals offer a range of products to different consumers and have an international market share. It has developed its brand reputation by adopting marketing concepts including defining of target consumers, developing marketing strategies accordingly and implementing them to get useful results. It invests huge amount in its market orientation activities to create the demand for its product and offer value to the customer (Baines et al, 2011).
Distribution channels helps in making available the product to the target consumers covering maximum area and this is the reason why Bru Coffee has a proper distribution channel network of its product to cover wide market area. Moreover, the quality of the product plays a key role in growing the demand of that particular product as the customers need good quality product for their use and Unilever Bru has also maintained a quality standard for its product. A quality product creates a brand reputation in the mind of the customer and they become stick to that product resulting into increase in demand. Bru Coffee has also succeeded in developing a brand reputation and therefore increases in customer’s loyalty regarding product. Apart from the quality product, Bru Coffee has also adopted promotional activities to create awareness about the product.
4. Identify and briefly explain the possible costs and benefits for your selected brand for pursuing a market orientation culture.
Market orientation culture is concentrated on discovering or identifying the needs of the potential buyers and making efforts to fulfil them. Company’s primary focus would be research on the needs of the customers and making marketing decisions considering those needs for Bru Coffee to implement market orientation culture, the possible costs would include cost of surveys, cost in terms recruitment of manpower for undertaking the whole survey and analysing it and various other costs directly related to collection and analyses of data (Peter & Donnely, 2007). Market orientation helps in development of a product which matches with the desires of the consumers. This means consumer’s taste and need will be given preference while framing any marketing strategy. The vision of the organisation gets clear and more focuses to quality products in the tune of customer’s demand. Market orientation includes in depth research of the customer’s behaviour and their expectations, which in result increases the demand for the product and develops brand loyalty. Bru Coffee has adopted market orientation culture in order to meet its objective of customer satisfaction and growth of the organisation.
1. Provide a general description of macro and micro marketing environments. Then select two micro and two macro factors and discuss how these affect the marketing decision of your selected brand.
The marketing environment consists of micro factors and macro environmental factors which affects the decisions relating to overall marketing strategy throughout its implementation. The micro environmental forces are related to the factors present in the concerned organisation. These environmental factors are the situations currently prevailing within the organisation and might come across during the process of implementation. These factors affect the various decision making process relating to market orientation. These factors include Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the organisation (Chambell et al, 2002). Thus, study of internal factors involves the analysis of people and customers. Whereas the external factors affecting business decisions of the organisations includes environmental, political, legal, economical factors etc. An understanding about these factors would help the organisation to develop a suitable market strategy and accordingly make plans and it implementation to achieve the desired goals. Major micro and macro environmental factors affecting Bru Coffee is discussed under:
Micro Economic Factors:
Bru Coffee presently has a wide range of opportunities in its way. These opportunities includes expansion of its business in international markets, adding more distribution channels to make available the product to respective consumer, adding more product categories, improving strategy relating to profit maximisation. Various opportunities available to the organisation should be analysed before framing a marketing strategy and development of marketing mix.
· Bru Coffee has entered into global partnership for extension of its business worldwide. For this purpose, it has identified the respective market in which it wanted to establish its share.
· Development of such kind of a market strategy that makes optimum utilisation of the available resources with the purpose of profit maximisation.
· Bru Coffee has maintained its product quality and has increased in the product categories by introducing new product such as Africo coffee (Kapferer, 1997).
· Proper distribution channel network helps in coverage of the wide market area in which Bru Coffee can operate.
Threats include possible fear to the organisation hindering its market operations and affecting its revenue. The threats should also be estimated before development of any marketing mix as they affect various important marketing decisions. The possible threats to Bru Coffee are discussed below:
· Increase in competitive environment is a major threat in front of Bru Coffee as there are several other suppliers have entered in the market which are holding high market share. Major competitors of Bru Coffee are Nescafe, Starbucks the product of which are highly demanded across the world.
· Threats relating to shifting of consumer to another product due to high price factor. This is a constant fear an organisation like Bru Coffee faces and can be reduced by developing a good market strategy.
· Bru Coffee is also affected by threat relating to dilution of brand image. If the brand image gets spoiled, it will directly affect the revenues of the organisations and harms a lot (Stevens et al, 2005).
· A constant fear of alternative products remains with these kind of brands. If the consumer shifts to the alternative product available in the market, the demand for the main product falls and adversely affects the organisation in monetary terms.
Macro environmental factors:
1. Political and legal factors:
Political and legal factors prevails outside the organisations its day to day operations and important decisions. An analysis of the political issues and restrictions should be made while entering into a new market area e.g. a country may have some import restrictions with regard to a particular product, thus, it needs to be carefully studied while making import decisions in that respective country. The law and legal formalities also needs to be complied with if an organisation plans to enter into an international market. Change in employment laws may occur in a particular country, so Bru Coffee must be aware of all these rules and laws of the respective country so as to conduct smooth business.
2. Economic factors:
Economic conditions may differ from location to location, thus, needs to be pre considered before adopting marketing strategy. Inflation in a particular country affects the spending power of the consumers of that country. Inflations increases the initial investment made at the time of entering into a new market. Economical factors also affect the marketing decision relating to Bru Coffee. It should develop a system of flexible work environment so that employee cost would get reduced to the minimum.
2. Identify and explain the segmentation criteria selected by your brand and provide examples to clarify your answer.
There are various market segmentation criteria available to Bru Coffee. These market segmentation criteria include geographical segmentation, behavioural segmentation, psychographic segmentation, demographic segmentation and various other bases. Out of these segmentation criteria, demographic segmentation would be best suitable for Bru Coffee (Kotler, 2008). This organisation will be most benefitted by using demographic segmentation as it deals in such kind of product which is used by different age group of people with different education levels. We segment people into different age groups of 18-28 and education level such as graduate or post graduate etc. Whether most of the consumers belong to a particular religion or a community can also form a basis of demographic segmentation. A demographic segmentation is feasible in operation and the collection of data is comparatively easier than other forms of market segmentation. Moreover, the results generated by this type of market segmentation are useful for Bru Coffee to make relevant marketing decisions.
Targeting strategy includes process of selection of potential consumers of the product so that all the market policies and decisions shall be made focusing on their need. There can be differentiated, undifferentiated or concentrated approach for targeting strategy. The strategy adopted in context of Bru Coffee is undifferentiated strategy wherein the efforts are made to create awareness of the product to all the target consumers. In this approach, the same key benefits of the products are communicated to all the potential buyers located at various places across the world. This is a popular way to enhance the brand value and to distinct it from other brands. A particular segment is prepared to buy the product by using more specific appeal to them. Bru Coffee has been using this strategy since last many years and has gained a brand reputation. The main benefit this system is less cost investment with wide coverage. This involves communication of a same message to a large group of public and hence avoids differentiating problems.
4. Demonstrate how buyer behaviour affects marketing activities in different buying situations of your products.
The behavioural aspects of the buyer affect Bru Coffee in marketing their product. As all the marketing decisions are taken keeping in mind the target consumers, any change in buyer’s behaviour may affect the organisation either in a positive or in negative way. The buyer’s behaviour is affected by factors such as personal, psychological, cultural or social (Shaw, 2012). The marketing mix of Bru Coffee should consider all these factors which affect buyer’s behaviour. A market strategy formed at the initial stage may get affected by a change in buyer’s behaviour and needs to be reviewed. Any change in the behaviour directly affects the demand for the concerned product. Thus, a careful analysis should be undertaken to study the factors affecting behaviours of the target consumers. Some of the buying situations are given below which should be considered while making important marketing decisions relating to Bru Coffee:
· Young customers prefer brand image and quality while buying a product.
· The domestically used product is compared with other competitive products and selection is made by some customers whose price is cheaper.
There are mainly three buying situations which can be assessed for the assessment of marketing activities and can be given as under:
· The first buying situation is the new task (first time buy) under which marketing activities are carried out by the business organization so as to initiate the trail for the product
· Second buying situation would be modified re-buy under which consumers would like to modify product or price. Marketing activities used for straight re-buy would be to satisfy consumer with product offering
· Third buying situation would be straight re-buy in which buyer would reorder the product and marketing activity used by the organization would be to strengthen brand.
5. Explain how your products are positioned in the market, and provide examples to elaborate on the answer.
Bru has now established its market area worldwide by developing a brand image with a good quality product. In 2007, Bru launched Cappuccino which got famous as one of the best brand of Africo coffee. Then in 2010, premium filter coffee was emerged under a brand name “Bru Select”. Bru always selected fresh roasted coffee beans for its product to maintain brand reputation. Competitive positioning has been developed for the Bru coffee brand which can be perceived in the consumer mind as the pricing and other aspects of the Bru coffee are as comparison in the other coffee brands prevailing in the market (Laermer & Simmons, 2007). Bru has developed its positioning wherein consumers are not considering it as the premium coffee and it is positioned as medium category coffee having competitive price range as compared to the other coffee. Product positioning is generally made basis on the pricing and product quality aspect but there would be some additional factors which sometimes may help in positioning of the product as well. For example, in a coffee shop pricing and quality for coffee would be important but customer service and ambience may become additional factor for positioning of product.
In the present case, Bru Africo (special coffee from South Africa), is selected as a new product range for Bru Coffee. The concerned new product has been evolved to cover a larger market segment by creating value and demand for the product. The current new product range i.e. Bru Africo is featured by its taste and immediate preparing by customers for their use. Moreover, availability in small packs makes it easy to handle or carry the product in travelling also. Bru Africo has maintained the brand image of Bru and even enhances its overall revenues. By discovering a new product, Bru Coffee gets help in developing greater market share in terms of the demand of the product. The increase in demand for the product is directly related to the monetary benefits and has helped to faces challenges of growth in such a competitive environment (Baker, 2008).
The two segments selected for developing a marketing mix in the present context are Segment 1 and Segment 2. Segment 1 consists of consumers in the age of 20-28 possessing qualification of graduation or post graduation. Their income range is from moderate level to high level. On the other side Segment 2 consists of people in the age of 30 to 45, married, working, qualified, high spending habits and likes branded products.
These consumers keep on experimenting different products according to their comfort and taste. So more innovative products should be developed to attract them.
No such requirement of innovative products is there in case of theses consumers as they are habitual to conventional products.
Pricing strategy should be such as to fall between moderate to high as they can easily shift to the competitor’s product.
Pricing should be fixed at moderate to premium as these consumers are loyal to a particular brand and hesitate to brand switch over.
Product should be made available to the canteens, outside colleges, online stores , sports ground etc.
Product should be available at their working place, glossary stores, theatres etc.
The best promotional activities would include advertising in a sports channel by selected a brand idol.
Here, the promotional activities would include tie up with corporate houses, magazines, banners at malls.
3. Identification of various distribution strategies and the distribution strategy adopted for newly developed product.
Distribution of the product is undertaken by Bru Coffee by adopting a different distribution chains in form of retailers, online stores etc. The demand for the concerned product is scattered around the world and to make the product reachable to various buyers situated worldwide. By adopting online portal distribution method, the product is introduced virtually with images and by highlighting key features and price. Apart from this, Bru Coffee has been using a chain of distribution including retailers and whole sellers. The product sold via various distribution channels to the ultimate buyer. The profit gained from the product sold directly to the consumer is quite higher than sold through distribution channels (Homburg et al, 2012). Further, the various distribution strategies available to an organisation are Intensive Distribution strategy, Exclusive Distribution Strategy and Selective Distribution Strategy. Unilever Plc has adopted Intensive distribution approach for the sale of its product. In this kind of strategy, company sells its product through the maximum possible outlets. The product is purchased in large quantities and is available in super markets and various other retail outlets. This type of strategy leads to easy retrieval of the product for the consumers.
Pricing strategy decisions should be undertaken after analysing the segments selected. Competitive pricing strategy should be adopted for people falling in Segment 1 who have moderate spending capacity, not addicted to specific brands. As these consumers like innovative products and are knowledgeable about the competitors product also. Thus, they can easily switch to the competitor’s product in case of high price charging. On the other hand, Skimming pricing policy should be adopted for people falling in segment 2. These people are brand lovers and have high earning with more spending habits than Segment 1 people. So the price can be fixed from moderate to premium as they are reluctant to change the brand.
Promotional activities for Bru Coffee can be undertaken through different available media such as print media, social media, website, broad casting etc. Bru Coffee uses print media such a newspaper to promote its product by mentioning features and benefits of the product. Moreover, advertisement on sports channel results into growing demand of the product. The company has also mentioned details about its product on its website along with product images and general description. Another important media for promotion of a product is Social media such as Facebook, Google+ etc. with the help of which customers can become knowledgeable about the company’s product. Moreover, evolving schemes that relates to the buying of the product would also result in fast increase in the sales like free gift distribution with the purchase of the product, Buy 1 get 1 free etc. Apart from this, discounts and cash rewards will certainly attract the consumers towards the product. Bru Coffee has used a combination these promotional activities to enhance the awareness of the product among consumers (Gupta and Lehmann, 2012).
6. Additional elements of extended marketing mix which can be used by Unilever Plc to enhance customer experience and improve customer service.
There are three added components which Bru Coffee so as to extent the marketing mix and these include physical evidence, processes, and people. Bru Coffee may adopt blue printing technology, flow charts, presentations to improve the planning, processing and implementation in the organisation. Various processes available to Bru Coffee are simulation, forecasting, artificial intelligence so that overall processes can be improved to develop a better forecasting and data analysis. Skilled manpower is hired to implement the planned processes. The people in the organisation should be provided with proper training to interact with the consumers so that they become capable explaining the key features of the product.
7. Differences in marketing products to businesses (B2B) rather than consumers (B2C). How Bru Coffee could conduct its business to business marketing.
In the present context, Bru Coffee can sale its product in large quantity when marketing its product to businesses rather than to consumers. When a product is directly sold to businesses, the price of the same would get lower than the price charged from retail consumers. But the benefits derived in terms of selling in large quantities at a single point of time would be achieved in marketing to businesses. Further, the core decision making unit of the target business client must have to be convinced by featuring the benefits of the product. For consumer distribution, promotion through banners, websites, and advertisements is useful so that customer gets aware of the product feature. Apart from this, in case of Business clients, personal selling is undertaken to tie up with the key engagement team of the corporate office (Reid and Bojanic, 2010).
Service is type of activity performed which is intangible not resulting into ownership and is one of the key components of economics. There are several characteristics of service which includes intangibility, ownership, perishable nature, Non returnable nature etc which distinguishes it from goods. Services are intangible by its nature because there is no specific shape relating to it as in case of goods. Moreover, it gets perish even if it is not used as in case of ticket booking. Services cannot be returned if a person has obtained it from the services provider. Apart from this, services are time bound and does not transfer ownership to the receiver.
9. How Bru Coffee continues to hold its position in international markets with example of international marketing strategies.
International market differs from domestic market in various terms such as cultural difference, social and economical factors, laws and regulations, consumer’s taste and preferences etc. A corporate that intends to enter into an international market, should take an analysis of all these prevailing factors in the international market. Bru Coffee has emerged as a famous coffee brand having various innovative products with a wide market network (Britten, 2012).
The present paper discussed the development of marketing strategy, suggesting plans to develop a suitable market mix for Bru Coffee. The study of external and internal environment which affects the marketing decisions of an organisation helps in understanding the prevalent market conditions. Analysis of marketing mix in terms of price, product, place and promotion has been studied above in context selected segments. Further, defining market segments and various promotional activities for creating demand for the product has also enlightened the way to achieve the goals of the organisation. Overall, the present paper would help the organisation in such a competitive environment by providing guidance in important marketing decisions.