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According to Kotler, the concept of marketing means the objective of ‘finding and filling needs’. In his earlier publication, Kotler defines the term ‘marketing’ as “a societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and exchanging products and services of value freely with others”. In other words, marketing should be considered as a practice that is directed at a clear need when some business entity has specified it and propounded an affordable settlement.
Besides, Kotler distinguishes several levels of marketing. The first and foremost level of marketing is responsive marketing, when it is essential to respond to the needs of customers. The second type is anticipative marketing. In accordance with Kotler’s findings, the overall purpose of anticipative marketing is to identify a latent or emergent need in the framework of a growing market. Finally, the third type, need-shaping marketing, is directed at the creation of a need under the conditions when the business entity introduces a new service or a product that no client requested and could not conceive.
After Kotler’s definition of marketing has been provided, it is essential to explain how the aforesaid concept of marketing is applicable to a brand of Unilever Plc. For this purpose, Rexona was chosen as a brand from Unilever. Applying the above-mentioned definition of marketing to Rexona, it should be pointed out that Rexona was designed and offered in the market as a result of finding and fulfilling people’s need in personal care products. Nowadays, the products under the brand of Rexona are available in different forms, such as pumps, aerosols, sticks, roll-ons, and creams.
It is vital to discern essential elements of the marketing process applicable for Unilever PLC, and its brand Rexona. According to Kotler, the marketing process consists of the following significant components:
a) analysis of market opportunities;
b) research and choice of target markets;
c) design of marketing strategies;
d) planning and elaboration of marketing programs;
e) organization, implementation, and control of the marketing effort.
The practical explanation of these essential components of the marketing process may be carried out with the help of SWOT analysis. Applying SWOT analysis to the brand of Rexona, it is possible to ascertain how the marketing strategy accords to this brand by highlighting strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O), and threats (T). Thus, the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in terms of the progress of new and existing products under the brand of Rexona in every single country helps the marketer to prepare and adjust a positioning strategy.
The marketing strategy of Rexona is utilized via the marketing concept. Moreover, the implementation of the marketing concept manifests itself through market orientation. The utility of marketing concept lies in the fact that the brand of Rexona makes a practical use of the company’s business philosophy when the marketer employs market orientation.
The concept of market orientation means ‘the organization-wide generation of market intelligence’, which consists of three reciprocal elements, such as competitor orientation, customer orientation, and interfunctional coordination. These three elements of market orientation can be actualized by the marketer of the brand of Rexona through the accurate decision making process, which is based on two decision criteria – either to focus on profitability or to emphasize long-term focus.
The strategy of market orientation (especially, its customer orientation constituent) requires from the Unilever company substantial expenses. Thus, it is possible to underline the key advantages and disadvantages of spending on customer orientation (‘customer satisfaction’ result) for Rexona. The main benefits are that the strategy of customer orientation (satisfaction) helps to attract new customers by means of putting the customer’s interest first, and developing a long-term profitable business culture which places a special emphasis upon the highest priority of both maintaining superior customer value and sustaining profitability.
As a matter of fact, business entities operate in an external (macro) environment and a market (micro) environment. The business environment may be defined as everything that can influence on the creation, intensification, and survival of business, either negatively or positively. In other words, the business environment is capable to affect the ability of business entities to attain their objectives by introducing threats and opportunities to be taken into account.
The micro-environment constitutes the business itself and all business-related factors/determinants that take place internally and can be addressed by means of business management. For example, production factors (resources of the Unilever Company) determine what strategies of budgeting, application of funds, choice of suppliers, and use of employees must be implemented in order to actualize selling opportunities and avoid threats connected with the realization of Rexona products. Other micro-internal factors involve the cost of business development and prosperity, as well as the access to education, finance, mentorship and availability of resources.
As far as the macro environment is concerned, it needs to be highlighted that economic conditions, technological changes, legal frameworks, and socio-cultural forces constitute those determinants over which management of Unilever have no control. Therefore, by promoting the brand of Rexona, it is incumbent on the company to taken into consideration that the economic conditions, such as interest rates and inflation, affect the level of customer expenses on the products at issue. On the other hand, the political and regulatory frameworks affect the way business entities carry out their businesses in a particular country.
The market segmentation is a specific process of determining and categorizing a big homogenous market into easily identifiable segments imbued with similar wants, needs, and demand features. With regard to the brand of Rexona, the strategy of segmentation is purposed to develop a marketing mix which effectively matches the expectations of consumers in the targeted segment.
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For example, more expensive products of Rexona may be sold in wealthy city districts, whereas less expensive products of Rexona may be supplied to the stores of poorer neighbourhoods (geographical segmentation). On the other hand, Rexona-for-men products may be supplied in large quantities to the stores that are visited preferably by male customers (demographic segmentation). In a nutshell, developing the strategy of segmentation, Unilever must take into consideration the following six criteria of segmentation: substantiality, identifiability, stability, accessibility, action ability, and responsiveness.
The term ‘targeting strategy’ means the selection of potential consumers to whom a company aims at selling its products. Following the scholars’ reasoning, it is possible to infer that segmentation is an undeniable constituent of the targeting strategy. Regardless, it is possible to differentiate among three typical strategies for choosing target markets, such as concentrated, undifferentiated, and multi-segment targeting. The Rexona brand uses neither undifferentiated nor concentrated targeting strategies.
This is because the former prevents viewing the market as a complex reality with individual segments, and the latter is beneficial only in terms of fulfilling the needs of a narrowly defined segment. Multi-segment targeting is the best strategy for Rexona, albeit it requires high costs. Due to multi-segment targeting, Rexona can effectively target different demographic segments, such as women and men, as well as young people or middle age people, and social segments, such as sportspeople, very active people, or less active people.
There is a mutual reciprocity between buyer behaviour, on the one hand, and marketing activities, on the other hand. This correlation manifests itself in the following manner: changes in buyer behaviour spur on adjustments in marketing activities, while developments in marketing activities influence on buyer behaviour.
There is no secret that marketers utilize academic knowledge from the field of psychology that helps to explain the behaviour of consumers. Unilever is not an exception. According to Naik and Reddy, marketers make a practical use of two theories of consumer behaviour: a) the Getalt model; and b) the Cognitive theory.
The former makes it possible to ascertain the peculiarities of human perception from different perspectives, whereas the latter provides valid interpretations of unexplained facets of consumer behaviour. The knowledge of these two theoretical approaches assists a marketer in the progress of evaluating and predicting buyer behaviour.
Thus, for example, referring to the Gestalt model, a marketer understands that buyer behaviour is goal-directed and driven by the desire of making sense of the world in which buyers live. Therefore, all Rexona products display the goal-oriented images and information that help buyers to make sense of the environment they live in; all advertisements of Rexona products are associated with real-life practices and achievements.
Analysis of the positioning strategies in respect of Rexona products demonstrates that the company employs different approaches in different countries. Thus, for example, in India, Hindustan Unilever gives preference to mass urban product positioning by targeting the mail urban youth. On the other hand, those markets which are abundant on competitors require from Unilever to actualize pre-emption for the competition by positioning Rexona deodorants as a unisex brand.
The notion of a new product range should be defined as a new series of variations of the same product platform, which appeal to different market segments. Therefore, a new product range for the brand of Unilever – a combination of a deodorant and perfumery – must reflect three dimensions: a) the number of product lines; b) the number of distinct products; and c) the total products sold by the company.
There are several advantages and disadvantages of creating a new product range. The first advantage is that investments could be focused on a small number of products. Also, a new product range implies easier logistics, limited costs, and more efficient sales administration. However, the key disadvantage of implementing a new product range lies in the fact that it may give a limited choice to buyers.
3.2. The creation of a new product range requires blending two different segments of the market. The practice of creating a marketing mix for two different segments is popular among different corporations. In the framework of this study, the plan of a marketing mix for two different segments in the newly selected market (business executives working for a large corporation) includes the following procedural steps: a) product strategies of branding, warranties, and packaging (management of existing products by adding new ones and dropping failed ones); b) management of price for entering market with a new product; c) management of the channels of supply; and d) individual methods of promotion, advertising, and personal selling.
There are several distribution strategies that can be applied in respect of a new product range, such as exclusive distribution, selective distribution, and intensive distribution. The first strategy is the most restrictive type of market distribution. The second one grants the right to sell a product in a concrete geographic area. The third one “makes a product available in the maximum number of merchants or outlets in each area to gain as much exposure and as many sales opportunities as possible”. Juxtaposing the three strategies of distribution, it is possible to arrive at the conclusion that intensive distribution is the most desirable, because it can help to secure as many sales opportunities as possible.
Every company chooses the pricing strategy which helps to reflect a company’s objectives and market conditions. Scholars discern a multiplicity of pricing strategies, such as absorption pricing, creaming/skimming, decoy pricing, contribution margin-based pricing, freemium, limit pricing, high-low pricing, market-oriented pricing, etc. In the framework of this study, it is deemed wise to implement a product line pricing strategy in order to review and set prices for multiple products of Unilever in coordination and consistence with one another.
As the foregoing discussion must suggest, promotion strategy is an inseparable element of the plan of a marketing mix for two different segments. Taking into consideration the idea of creating a new product range, it is essential to implement an integrated promotional strategy. An integrated promotional strategy is conceived to combine several types of promotion in order to increase the image and awareness of a new product range.
It is suggested to mix several promotional activities at three levels: a) consumer level; b) retail level; and c) trade level. The key forms of promotion should include coupons, refunds, loyalty and loading devices, games, contests, premiums, advertising, and free sampling.
Not opposed to promotion activities, various additional elements of the extended marketing mix, such as people, process and physical evidence, can also be used to augment customer experience and to enhance customer satisfaction. Thus, as far as people are concerned, the simplest way to involve people is to make them a co-producer of a new product range (for instance, by involving them in the contest of designing the brand’s logo). In like manner, physical evidence, such as photographs and video recording of how a new product range is developed may help to encourage new customers.
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There are differences between marketing products to businesses (B2B) and marketing products to consumers (B2C). The underlying discrepancy between the two types of marketing strategies lies in the fact that the former (B2B) focuses on the product, namely industrial or organizational product, that makes a direct or indirect contribution to the output of other products. By contrast, the latter (B2C) accentuates on the product which is purposed for use by final consumers. In the framework of this study, a new product range can conduct its business to business marketing (B2B) by being used as a cleaner for tables prior to their sale. In other words, the product may be utilized as antibacterial deodorant. The concept of “service” may be defined as an organized system of labour and material aid conceived to supply the needs of public. In view of the above, it is possible to distinguish several salient features of the phenomenon of service. First, service is a result of labour. Second, service may be associated with intangible product. Third, service is used to fulfil the needs of public. A new product range cannot utilize service elements because it is tangible. According to Brady, the disparity between domestic and international marketing lies in the application of marketing instruments to the social and behavioural uniqueness existing in foreign countries. This means that the marketing concepts in international marketing and domestic marketing are the same, whereas a buyer behaviour may differ. In this connection, it is feasible to apply a new product range in international marketing if the social and behavioural peculiarities are taken into account by marketers.
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