The broad definition of marketing describes it as the combination of all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchange intended to satisfy human needs and wants. In this case, Kumar intends to market Swift’s runner shoes to Bangladesh. For successful marketing of the product, Swift has to prepare a marketing plan which consists of various tools like the 4 P’s of marketing, target marketing, segmentation, positioning etc. The promotional mix is also formulated which consists of advertising, direct selling, sales promotion etc which helps in the promotion of the product.
The marketing principle or concept : The central idea is the matching’ between a company’s capabilities and the various wants of the consumers to achieve the objectives of both parties. (McDonald, 1999). It is also defined as the philosophy of doing business that emphasizes customer orientation and coordination of marketing activities in order to achieve the organization’s goals. The management of the marketing mix consists of the various tools and techniques that are available to marketers in order to implement the marketing principle.
The marketing planning process is basically explained as a systematic way, or a logical sequence of identifying a range of options, choosing few of them, scheduling them, setting the marketing objectives and the formulation of plans for achieving them.
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Marketing planning is very essential for the proper running or any organization considering the complex and hostile environment for the operating company. Each of the typical objectives that the firms set, such as maximizing factors like profit, return on investment, revenue and minimizing costs has their own special appeal to the different managers depending on the nature of their particular function. (Miller ; Layton, 2000)
THE 4 P’S OF MARKETING :
Marketing mix – Defined as the combination of elements such as product, pricing structure, distribution system and promotional activities that are used to satisfy the needs of an organization’s target market and accomplishing the firm’s objectives. When entering a foreign market, the company has the choice of pursuing basic marketing mix options such as: the mix remains unchanged, certain elements could be modified or a totally new mix can be formulated. (Keegan & Green, 1997)
These are vital marketing tools that help in satisfying the consumer’s needs and wants and help in targeting the potential market. These are the major elements in a marketing mix for any product or service that is intended for marketing.
Product – the good, service or simply the idea that satisfies the end consumer. Here, in terms of international marketing, it is necessary for the firm to adjust its products to meet local tastes and conditions. Sometimes the merchandise modification may not be feasible and a totally new product must be developed. Here, Swift’s running shoes take the place of the product that is intended for selling.
Price – what is actually paid by the customer that intended product. The price charged in the foreign markets is seldom identical to that charged domestically because of differences in costs of many things such as transportation, advertising, selling etc. Because of these variations in costs experienced in different countries, most firms use some form of cost plus pricing to set foreign prices. For Swift, an introductory price, but not too low is recommended at an initial stage while promoting this new product, so that it does have competition and at the same time, it does get the necessary profit.
Promotion – the means of communication between the supplier and the buyer. Many firms standardize their international promotion efforts. Here, it is critical and vital to understand that the overall message has to be translated and not the words in the main language of promotion. The meaning has to be delivered and not the change in words. Due to the translation problems, it is in best to the company that it develops new promotional themes in foreign markets.
Place – the means of getting the product into the hands of the customer. Here, the international distribution channels can only be identical to the domestic ones if similar distribution institutions exist and the buyers support similar establishments. This comes under distribution where Swift’s marketer distributes the shoes under proper channels, obeying government laws.
The above four marketing mix elements are interrelated i.e., decisions in one area affect actions in another. If a firm relies on price as its primary competitive tool, then the other elements must be designed to support aggressive pricing. Each marketing mix element contains limitless alternatives such as a producer may make and market one product or many, and may be related or unrelated to each other. Ultimately, from the multitude of alternatives, the management must choose a combination of elements that will satisfy target markets and achieve organizational goals.
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE :
A product’s life cycle comprises of the aggregate demand over an extended period of time for all brands belonging to a general product category. The cycle is graphed by plotting aggregate sales volume for a basic product category over time. (Miller & Layton, 2000) The graph can also plotted with the sales volume curve with the corresponding profit curve. An organization’s marketing success can be affected noticeably by its capability to decide and adapt to the life cycle for each of its product categories. The different stages in a product life cycle are:
Introduction – Also called the pioneering stage, here, a product or a service as the case may be, is launched into the market in a full scale marketing program after passing through development, idea screening, prototypes and market tests. As the consumers are unfamiliar with the new product, the firm’s promotional program is to provoke demand for the product. The introduction stage is the most risky and expensive stage as money is spent on both developing the product and to seek consumer acceptance. As this is an introduction of Swift’s shoes into Bangladesh’s market, the shoes are in the introduction stage of the product life cycle. (Kiel, Lusch, McColl-Kennedy & Lusch, 1992)
Growth – Here, the sales and profits rise at a rapid rate and competitors enter the market. As a result to competition, the profits start to decline near the end of this stage. In this period, prices generally decline gradually as part of the company’s efforts to build sales and market share. With respect to the current Indian market, Swift lies in the growth stage, as the market is increasing and sales are going up at a certain level.
Maturity – During the first section of this stage, sales rise but at a decreasing rate and when the sales level off at a certain point, the profits of both the producers and the intermediaries decline due to intense competition. Then, in the latter part of this phase, those producers having high costs and no differential advantage drop out of the market as they lack the sufficient customers.
Decline – In this stage, the fall of the product is inevitable due to reasons such as, a better or less expensive product is developed to fill the same need, or the need of the product has disappeared because of another product development or the consumers have simply grown tired of the product.
Marketing MixProduct life cycle
ProductMinimal product variation, poor product qualityIncreased product variation, improved product qualityMaximum product variation, excellent product qualityFew product variations, drop in product quality
Distribution (Place)Little coverageGood coverageExcellent coverageLittle coverage
PromotionDevelop primary demandDevelop selective demandHeavy promotion spending focusing on minor differencesMinimal promotion
PriceRelatively highsofteningHigh price competitionLow prices
Table 1. The marketing mix over the product life cycle
PROMOTION AND PROMOTION MIX :
Promotion is an attempt to influence, or an entity in a firm’s marketing mix that serves to inform, persuade and remind the market of a product and or the firm selling it, in the expectation of influencing the customer’s feelings or behavior. (Dommermuth, 1989) The most useful product will be a failure if no one knows it is available. Due to this, a producer must inform the intermediaries as well as the ultimate consumers about the product. The various facets of promotion include : Personal selling, exhibitions, public relations, sales promotion and advertising.
Promotional mix is mainly an organization’s combination of personal selling, advertising, sales promotion, public relations and publicity is defined as the promotional mix of the product. Designing an effective promotional mix for a specific product involves a number of strategic decisions like the target market, the nature of the product, the stage in the product life cycle and the amount of money available for promotion. (Miller & Layton, 2000)
Advertising – This is often described as all non personal communication in measured media. The main objectives for advertising include deciding important factors such as the content of advertisements, the media to use and the frequency of advertising. Other objectives are also setting the budget for advertising and determining the target audience. All advertisements have the main features such as a verbal and or visual image, a sponsor who is identified, delivery through one or more media and the payment by the sponsor to the media carrying the message about the product. Here, Swift plans to advertise through the means of ads on the T.V, radio, newspapers, billboards etc.
Sales promotion – This is can be explained as a non face to face activity that involves the making of a featured offer to defined customers within a specific time limit. The main objectives for sales promotion include slow stock movement, encouraging repeat purchase, securing marginal buyers and counteracting competitive activity. Sales promotion usually helps production and distribution scheduling by persuading consumers to bring forward their peak buying from one period to another. Examples of sales promotion devices are premiums, in store displays, participating in trade shows, coupons, samples, patronage rewards etc. There are two types of sales promotion, trade promotions which are aimed at the members of the distribution channel and consumer promotions which are aimed at the consumers. Swift hopes to participate in sports exhibitions, sponsor small sports contents and campaigns.
Direct Selling – This is fundamentally described as the sale of a consumer product or service in a face to face manner away from a fixed retail location. This is also called in-home personal selling, since it involves house to house canvassing. (Kiel, Lusch, McColl-Kennedy & Lusch, 1992) This type of marketing offers the consumers the convenience of purchasing at home, but the merchandise might be limited and there isn’t any opportunity to shop and compare products. In our case, Swift intends direct selling but in a limited process, as consumers might prefer buying these sports products in a sports retail store, by comparing the products.
Public Relations (PR) are the communication efforts that are designed to favorably influence attitudes towards an organization, its products and its policies. Public relation activities are designed basically to maintain or build a favorable image with its various publics such as customers, prospects, employees, shareholders etc. However, the major difference between advertising and PR, is that PR does not use the media as a means of communication. Good public relations in the case of Swift can be achieved by participating in community service events, funding the arts, local sports events where school kids can get to know of the image and the brand of Swift that intends to bring.
Publicity is explained as a special form of public relations that involves any communication about an organization, its products or policies through the media that is not paid for by the sponsoring organization. This usually takes the form of a news story appearing in the media or an endorsement provided by an individual. The major advantages of publicity are lower cost than advertising or personal selling, increased readership, getting more information about the product and timelines. Here, Swift intends to get launched in the local newspapers itself so that at the earliest, consumers get to know the product beforehand.
Distribution of the product is basically described as the physical flow of the desired goods through channels, where the distribution channels for a product consists of the set of people and firms involved in the flow of title as the product or service moves from producer to ultimate customer or business user.
INTERNATIONAL MARKETING PLANNING :
International marketing planning is pursued with much less commitment of resource than domestic marketing plan. Here, the form, the purpose and the methodology employed differs according to the size of the company, the organization structure and the length of the involvement in international business activities. (Lamont, 1996)
The three different levels involved in international marketing planning are:
1.Operational Planning Level – The short range planning is the responsibility of each overseas operating unit. Here, the plans include sales, profit and cash-flow projections by product line, market share, capital requirements etc.
2.Strategic Planning Level – Here, the operating units are asked to plan ahead on a longer term basis for new products which might be developed from within or acquired. The main headquarters of the home company provide only very general guidelines as to how far a field a local operation might explore.
3.Corporate Planning – Worldwide plans are developed at international headquarters tied closely to overall corporate objectives and plans.
MARKET SEGMENTATION ; TARGETING:
The various differences in the responsiveness of customers are related to different buying habits and the ways in which the product or a service is used or the motives for purchasing. In order to takes these aspects into view and as making a different market for each particular customer is impossible, marketers divide the entire market into a number of several smaller markets or homogenous groups. The fundamental motivation for this procedure is that the members of each smaller group are similar to the factors that influence the demand. This is called market segmentation and is a critical aspect in the marketing company’s success. (Kiel, Lusch, McColl-Kennedy & Lusch, 1992)
Market segmentation is vital for matching the right marketing mix to the right customer is the aim of all good marketing. The overall intention of segmentation is better serving of customers and competing more effectively. (Paliwoda & Thomas, 1998) When a marketing company divides a market, it can mold a marketing mix to a well defined market, i.e., it can design product attributes, set prices and develop promotions and distribution policies to serve the needs of a target market. One promotional program can have separate marketing mixes for each segment or one marketing mix for a specific group. In this case, the main target market was teenagers and sports enthusiasts who had accepted athletic shoes readily.
Market Targeting – Simply because a product sells well to a particular domestic market segment, does not mean that a similar target market can be reached in another country or location. In trying to develop an optimal promotion mix, the marketing manager of the certain firm must understand the size and characteristics of the target market. (Kiel, Lusch, McColl-Kennedy & Lusch, 1992)
With respect to the company in context, Swift plans to segment its current market internationally in the following segments such as sport enthusiasts and athletes, teenagers who consider the shoes to have a young rebel feeling, health looking old people who take early morning jogs in the park etc. Hence in this way, the organization sees t it that they divide the market into smaller interest segments and enhancing the products according to their tastes.
ATTRIBUTES OF SUCCESSFUL MARKET SEGMENTATION:
The main requirements for effective target market segmentation are :
1.Substantiality – This is finally, is a vital factor of segmentation that requires a target market large enough to be a potential profit maker for the business.
2.Measurability – Here, if the market is segmented by a variable or a group of variables, these specific variables has to be measurable. The advantages of using such measurable variables such as age, income, sex, education etc are that they are easily ascertained and information and statistics on them are available through different government sources.
3.Responsiveness – An organization must create a specific marketing mix for a target market segment only if they believe that it will receive a favorable response.
4.Accessibility – This refers to the degree to which a firm can target its promotional and distribution efforts on a particular market segment and the ease of obtaining data about that particular segment.
MARKET POSITIONING :
This is a major step in market planning and it involves two complementary decisions namely :’ how to position a product in the marketplace’ and how to distinguish it from competitors’. Here, in market positioning, what the firm intends to do is creating and generating and image for its product in the minds of the potential buyers. (Kiel, Lusch, McColl-Kennedy ; Lusch, 1992) This also refers to the product’s image to directly competitive products as well as other products marketed by the same firm. After the product has been efficiently positioned in the market, identifying a differential advantage is necessary. It refers to a feature of the organization or the brand perceived by the customers to be desirable or different from those of the competition. Swift intends to position its product as something associated with speed, as the name suggests, that the consumer perceives an image of speed and rapidness associated with the product.
BRANDING OF THE PRODUCT :
Another important section of international marketing decision making and the marketing mix as one of the major ways that a firm identifies their products is by the brand. This is defined as a symbol, name, term, design or their combination that uniquely separates them from the competition. Companies can only protect their brands if they register their trademarks with the home organization. (Kiel, Lusch, McColl-Kennedy & Lusch, 1992) The benefits of branding belong both to the consumers and the marketers, in the case of buyers, branding acts like an information source that tells them what to expect in a product. The sellers also benefit from branding, if a core market segment becomes brand loyal, then the seller has a firm base to rely on to cover fixed costs. A successful brand can also have a carryover effect on new products the seller introduces to the market. Another way of benefiting the seller is, if the brand name is used on several products, then, each time the distributor advertises one of its products, the other products with the same brand name benefit. In the case of Swift, they hope to attain the same brand loyalty they received in India, in the new country – Bangladesh. The perception of that brand name signifying comfort, sports oriented, style etc should enter the minds of the new customer.
This report describes the development of a marketing plan of a product namely, i.e., running shoes or joggers by the Indian shoe company, Swift to an international market i.e., to the country – Bangladesh. The report develops the marketing mix, describes the product relates to all the 4 P’s of marketing. It also creates the promotional mix consisting of factors such as advertising, sales promotion, direct selling of the running shoes to the international market. Different marketing tools and concepts such as segmentation and positioning of the product have also been considered in this report.
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