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Final Paper Focus of the Final Paper Assume the role of Marketing Manager. Select a product (good or service) that is sold in the United States and has sales opportunities in a foreign market. Apply your critical thinking skills and the knowledge you have acquired throughout this course and address the following in your Final Paper: Describe the product you selected in terms of the four utilities of customer value. Identify the product’s target market at home and in your stated foreign market. Indicate the competition of the product category in both home and foreign markets. Explain how you would apply the segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP) approach to market the product in the foreign market. Discuss the major environmental facts and trends in the foreign markets that might affect sales of the product. Explain how you would develop, execute. and measure a campaign for this product considering the four p’s (product, price, promotion, and place). Discuss the U.S. and international ethical marketing considerations. Writing the Final Paper The Final Paper: 1. double-spaced pages in length, and formatted according to APA style Writing Center (not including the title and reference pages). 2. Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement. 3. Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought. 4. Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis. 6. Must use at least five scholarly references in addition to the course text. 7. Must document all sources in APA style, Marketing Management: The Coca-Cola Product Name Subject Instructor Institution Date Introduction Product marketing is a critical facet of the supply chain, and usually requires proper management by the marketing management, to provide seed for the achievement of the organizational goals. With globalization, the role of marketing managers have become more complex and demanding, owing to cross-cutting cultural and ethical considerations, open market for competition, as well as rapidly changing customer tastes and preferences. The United States has been a force in the global market, maintaining the front position in both imports and exports. One particular product that has largely been adopted in the U.S. as well as the world over is the Coca-Cola drink (Regassa & Corradino, 2011). The author of this paper proceeds to discuss the marketing management strategies surrounding the sale of this product, including its foreign and local target market, its adoption and positioning in the foreign markets, environmental concerns raised by the product in line with both the U.S. and international ethical considerations, and an analysis of the product marketing with respect to the four P’s. Utilities of Consumer Value Business marketing utilities, also referred to as utilities of consumer value, are those elements that are needed for purchase or exchange of a product to take place between a company and business customers. The word ‘utility’ refers to that benefit which a customer derives from the above mentioned exchange. These include form, place, time, and possession. These utilities work synergistically to bring about customer satisfaction. Firstly, form is the actual product that is offered to the customers. Coca-Cola is a non-alcoholic soft drink/beverage that is cherished by most consumers around the world. Developed by John S. Pemberton in Columbus in the year 1886, and later bought by Asa Griggs in 1892, the beverage has registered profound sales due to its unique form and taste. It is a carbonated soft drink, with caffeine and cocaine as the principle stimulants incorporated within in. it was originally purposed to be used as a medicinal drink by its inventor, but when it was bought by Asa, it became a simple, but widely accepted form of refreshment(Regassa&Corradino, 2011). The Coca-Cola Company has since developed several other brands under the Coke brand-name, so as to satisfy specific needs of customers, including diet Coke, Diet Coke Caffeine-free, Caffeine-free Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Vanilla, and Coca-Cola Zero, as well as other special versions with lime, lemon, or coffee(Regassa&Corradino, 2011). Due its unique nature, Coca-Cola remains one of the world’s most valued brands. In terms of place, the marketing of the Coca-Colabrand has adopted a franchised form of production, which involves leashing out rights to smaller local entities across the world to engage in active production of the product. The parent company controls the production by keeping the formula as a secret only known to two executives. The formula is then supplied to all franchising companies, which produce the bulk of the product, and delivers to the final consumer(Regassa&Corradino, 2011). With this manner of marketing, the Coca-Cola has managed to capture over 200 countries worldwide, and is the largest bottler in the United States and China. This arrangement is convenient to customers, as the product reaches the final retailer faster. In addition, local franchises have contacted small-holder vendors, who provide localized services to customers, coupled with the availability of the product in all supermarkets and retail outlets. Lastly, the company has developed a website where interested customers could visit and find answers about pertinent questions regarding the usability, technicality, and benefits of the product. The utility of time is also very crucial in ensuring customer satisfaction. As has been mentioned above, the system of marketing which has been adopted by the Coca-Cola Company is a holistic and comprehensive one that allows availability of the product at the right time whenever it is required by the customer(Regassa&Corradino, 2011). An efficient supply chain has been developed, where independent firms are contracted to carry out the distribution process, which is anchored on efficiency, effectiveness, and timeliness. Due to the myriad of distributors registered with the company or foster companies, the supply of the product takes place 24 hours, 7 days a week, to ensure that there is no shortage of commodity in the market. This is one aspect that has greatly contributed to developing of consumers’ trust and loyalty towards the brand. Lastly, the utility of possession enables customers to gain ownership of the product, and subsequently derive benefits from it. There are different forms of possession, ranging from complete ownership gained after full purchase of a commodity, to partial ownership resulting from financial aids extended to customers to facilitate purchase. A suitable for of possession allows a consumer to utilize a product to develop and improve the performance of his own product, which is absolutely a strong benefit that drives most consumers to a particular brand. Since the Coca-Cola is bought in small quantities, the final consumer cannot receive financial aids to facilitate purchase of commodity, but the product is purchased in full, and the customer gains the opportunity to derive exclusive benefits from the good(Regassa&Corradino, 2011). Since the product has high-performance component, customers usually derive maximum satisfaction from the Coca-Cola product, owing to its sweet taste, the effect of carbonation, and it’s refreshing feel. Target Market Coca-Cola considers every consumer around the world as a target and potential consumer. In the United States, it has been identified that the product is popular among the youth, especially those between the ages of 15 and 25, but also adults of up to 40 years(Walsh &Dowding, 2012). Older people comprise the minority of its consumers, but the introduction of special brands under the Coke brand-name such as Coca-Cola Zero has seen a rise in consumption among the senior adults(Regassa&Corradino, 2011). Based on gender, the males have been identified as more ardent consumers of the product, as it is commonly used as an accompaniment with alcoholic beverages. In other foreign markets, especially the African market, females are better targets of the product, as they are viewed as being more sensitive and responsive to
snacks than their male counterparts. The product utilizes the emerging trends in economic settings defined by busy schedules, a plethora of departmental and group meetings, and mobile generation. It targets the youth, who are majorly dependent on their parents, are fun and entertainment loving, and belong to both the upper and lower economic classes(Walsh &Dowding, 2012). Based on access to media, the target consumers are believed to have exclusive or occasional exposure to media, are a mobile generation and spend time using SMS and MMS services, like innovations, and are lovers of entertainment and merrymaking(Regassa&Corradino, 2011). This is not entirely true to the foreign market, as many other economies in the global market are still developing, and may not be defined in the same capacity as that of the U.S. Instead, the target horizon is extended for these foreign markets to include adults, executives, and family parties. Competition The Coca-Cola product has over the years battled with a number of competitors, both locally and internationally. Coca-Cola has, however, outweighed them in the market due to its successful market base, and the large number of its loyal customers. Pepsi, a product of the PepsiCo, is Coca-Cola major rival in the industry of soft drinks, and often emerges as the second in sales in overall rating, though in some markets, it outsells Coca-Cola. RC Cola owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group is another potential competitor, emerging third in the sales and manufactures of soft drinks(Walsh &Dowding, 2012). In addition to the above mentioned giant competitors, there are a myriad of smaller competitors of Coca-Cola around the world. Some of these include Kola Real in Central and South America, Corsica Cola in French island of Corsica, Breizh Cola in Brittany, Inca Kola in Peru, Julmust in Sweden, Tropicola in Cuba, and China cola among others(Walsh&Dowding, 2012). In addition, other soft non-carbonated drinks produced in other foreign economies especially in Africa and India are potential competitors, as many consumers move to adopt them due to health benefits. The Coca-Cola Company as managed to acquire most of its competing companies, including Thums Up among others. This has increased its market share in many local and foreign economies. Despite the stiff competition faced by Coca-Cola, it has remained steadfast and unique in the market, and is still preferred by many consumers. Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning Approach Researchers have defined segmentation as the process position a given market into groups of potential consumers, having the same needs or characteristics, and are likely to exhibit a similar behavior of purchase. Carrying out market segmentation serves the purpose of providing an analysis and understanding of the market, so as to help one identify opportunities existing, and develop a competitive edge over other participants(Heischer, 2013). In the case of Coca-Cola, I would segment the market based on the following criteria: geographic segmentation, place of consumption, product type, and demographics. In a new and foreign market, for instance, Africa, I would segment the market based on geographies. Various divisions would be created for major continental regions, and head of each division would report to the parent company. A great deal of autonomy would be given to each division as concerns the running of operations. The market can also be segmented in terms of place of consumption. Most of the consumption of the Coca-Cola product takes place in railway stations, cinemas, restaurants, and homes among others. The commodity would also be segmented based on the product type. As mentioned earlier, the Coca-Cola Company has introduced other special brands under the Coke brand, such as Diet Coke. As the promotion of the normal Coke would be done, the others would also be customized and advertised. Lastly, the segmentation would be done in terms of demographics, including age and income. The Coca-Cola product can target segments of a foreign market using different ads(Heischer, 2013). As identified earlier, the primary target of the product would be the younger generation, with exposure to media, and have the zeal for entertainment and merry-making. Other variants of the Coca-Cola product like diet Cola would be targeted at people with special needs like patients suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, and generally the old. I would position the Coca-Cola product as thirst-quenching and refreshing. It would be portrayed as bringing joy, excitement, and jolly mood, as depicted in its latest tagline: Little Drops of Joy. It would be associated with merry-making and spending some good time with friends and family, as well as enjoying other forms of leisure like watching soccer. In addition, it would also be marketed as of high quality and consistent in its uniqueness. Environmental Facts and Trends The environment is becoming increasingly sensitive to effects of multinational corporations and small local industries, as issues of global warming and other types of environmental poisoning take shape in the contemporary society. As a result, many governments have set policies to curb the indiscriminate operations and use of some components in manufacturing of consumables. Pesticide use is one particular area that has attracted lucid criticism, especially with regards to the Coca-Cola Company. It is feared that the water that the company uses in Coke production contains a substantial amount of unhealthy pesticides as well as other harmful chemicals. It has been found out that aerated waters used produced by Coca-Cola contains toxins such as malathion, DDT, lindane, and chlorpyrifos, which are potential precursors of cancer and immune failure. Policies and regulations set by various economies could in future bar the Coca-Cola Company from operating within the boundaries of such economies. Secondly, use of disposable containers which do not cause environmental degradation is a rising issue, and Coca-Cola might finally find itself at cross-roads with some government legislations. In addition, water preservation and conservation in some parts of the targeted foreign market may pose challenges to the manufacturing of the product, as it requires large amounts of the scarce resource, thereby depleting the water table of the local ground. Lastly, industry effluents from the Coca-Cola franchising companies also cause environmental pollution, which may, with time, be opposed by some growing economies. The Four P’s The first step in the marketing strategy of any company is to develop a unique and desirable product that would satisfy the needs of its consumers(Frank & Jonathan, 2012). Coca-Cola’s signature product, Coke, is accepted by many consumers as truly refreshing and thirst-quenching. Based on the nature of the target consumers, the price of the product should be reasonable and affordable to the youth who largely depend on their parents. Identifying and defining the place where the product would be sold, keeping in mind the target consumers is another crucial step that must be undertaken to ensure successful product delivery. Therefore, it is imperative to outline a succinct distribution channel for the product ahead of time(Frank & Jonathan, 2012). Lastly, promotion is critical in creating awareness and demand for the product, and this could be done through TVs, the Internet, boards, newspapers, and other forms of public media. The successful manipulation of the marketing mix would be evaluated by percentage of market cover by the product, as well as the level of customer satisfaction. Ethical Marketing Considerations There is an increasing emphasis on the importance of following some basic ethical practices, such as labor rights, environmental conservation responsibility, and relation with the community. Corporate social responsibility is particularly critical in manifesting a company’s goodwill towards the community, and has been used in various capacities to portray the good image of various corporations(Gökmen&Öztürk, 2012). The U.S. has specific rule
s and autonomous organizations dealing with labor rights, and these bodies have collectively been mandated to engage in constructive negotiations with corporations to better working conditions for the workforce. Mistreatment of labors is a serious ethical malpractice in the international market. Moreover, environmental conservation is an ethical practice that has been overemphasized currently, and most economies are moving towards enactment of stringent policies to govern such practices(Gökmen&Öztürk, 2012). Conclusion Coca-Cola is a unique product that has many potential opportunities in the foreign markets as well as in the local market. It mainly targets the youth, and presents itself as a perfect product to segment and position in a foreign market, through judicious manipulation of the marketing mix. Ethical considerations such as environmental concerns, labor rights, and community relation are factors that have to be closely monitored to ensure successful and sustainable marketing of the product. References Heischer, L. (2013). Chapter 6: Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. Marketing Communications in Tourism and Hospitality, 143-175. Frank James, L., & Jonathan, B. (2012). Original article: Strategic Marketing, Part 2: The 4 P’s of Marketing. Journal Of The American College Of Radiology, 3274-277. Gökmen, A., &Öztürk, A. (2012). Issues of Business Ethics in Domestic and International Businesses: A Critical Study. International Journal Of Business Administration, 3(5), 82-88. Regassa, H., &Corradino, L. (2011).Determining the value of the Coca-Cola Company – A case analysis.Journal Of The International Academy For Case Studies, 17(7), 105-110. Walsh, H., &Dowding, T. J. (2012). Sustainability and The Coca-Cola Company: The Global Water Crisis and Coca-Cola’s Business Case for Water Stewardship. International Journal Of Business Insights & Transformation, 4106-118.
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