Hi-tech Outlets, which is a hypothetical company currently operating in Europe and USA, wishes to become a global organization in the retail sector. The company has 2700 retail stores situated across Europe.
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Hi-tech Outlets Company has ventured into a new international market in an era when technological environmental factors are essential in fostering competitive advantage of any organization that seeks to build a unique brand in a new market. One of the top priorities in the list of marketing strategies of the company is the use of new media in marketing. Selling online is an option that is considered by the company in its efforts to ensure rapid distribution of its products.
Objective and Goals
The main objective of this project is to develop a marketing plan for Hi-tech Outlets Company. Marketing planning involves market research, market segmentation, setting of marketing strategies, evaluation of the marketing environment, and even positioning of marketing strategies among others (Kotler and Armstrong 56).
This concern of marketing constitutes the goal of this marketing project. The goal is to discuss Hi-tech Outlets Company’s suitable marketing plan to help it gain competitive advantage and growth in the global retail industry.
Competitive Strengths and Competitive Weaknesses
Competitive analysis assists in identifying and comparing organizational strengths and weaknesses. This strategy ensures development of an effective marketing planning that capitalizes on organizational strengths while curbing any organizational weakness (Westbrook 48). Hi-tech Outlets Company’s strengths include the ability to offer high quality products, pursuit of low-price strategy, and ensuring minimal operation costs. The company has also managed to establish a strong presence in the German market.
Amid the above strengths, Hi-tech Outlets Company encounters some weaknesses such as a relatively small brand in regions where competitors have managed to establish higher presence. For instance, while Hi-tech Outlets Company has 1200 openings in Germany, Aldi has 8000 outlets. Hi-tech Outlets Company has also not established any presence in global markets. Pursuing the low-cost strategy makes customers perceive Hi-tech Outlets Company as an outlet for cheap and low quality products.
Product Description and Product Life Cycle
Hi-tech Outlets will be introducing a new brand in the Asian market starting with the Chinese retail market. Hence, the organization has to maintain strong brand inventories. Brand inventory constitutes one of the essential elements of brand audits that permit the examination of the origin of brand equities of an organization (Keller 105).
The Hi-tech Outlets China brand inventories will highlight the brand elements utilized to build brand loyalty together with the manner in which this goal is accomplished and/or how it is reflected on any necessary marketing programs to win the confidence of Chinese retail shoppers.
Immediately Hi-tech Outlets Company opens its outlets in China, the reception of its brand is expected to be low. Thus, at the infancy phase of its brand development life cycle, low sales levels are expected. However, following intensive marketing campaigns, consumers will become cognizant of the existence of the Hi-tech Outlets Company’s brand and embrace it, thus making the sales volume increase exponentially (growth phase).
At a constant magnitude of marketing effort and without any change of marketing strategy, there will reach a time when such strategies cannot result in increased clientele and/or more sale levels (maturity phase).
Customers may also be dissatisfied with the quality of services rendered by the company and consider seeking alternative utilities from competitors (Keller 117). This move may reduce the sales levels of the company (the decline phase). To prevent this situation from occurring, a major consideration encompasses re-engineering Hi-tech Outlets’ operational and marketing strategies.
Price is an important aspect of marketing Hi-tech Outlets’ brand in the new market. The company currently uses the strategy of low price to penetrate new markets. “The price of products involves examination of customers’ perceptions, rival products, and the costs of manufacture” (Khosla 220).
The price of a product is set such that an organization is able to cover its direct and indirect costs while earning a profit margin. The price of the products to be offered by the Hi-tech Outlets Company in Asian markets needs to be set such that the target market population will buy large enough number of products. This strategy is necessary to make it break even quickly to deliver value to its shareholders.
Place, Distribution, and Marketing Channels
Hi-tech Outlets Company plans to distribute its products through both physical stores and online channels. The physical stores will be established first in the major cities of China before progressing to other Asian nations such as India. Hence, the place of offering products is at the company-rented stores across China.
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Online distribution of the Hi-tech Outlets Company products will be conducted through partnership with Taobao.com. The organization will enhance the process of ordering and payment for products. Hi-tech Outlets Company will receive bulks of orders from Taobao.com.
After receiving bulk orders online from Taobao.com, Hi-tech Outlets will check them before making necessary logistical arrangements of delivering products to consumers. The choice of Taobao.com as a distribution channel is important and a success factor for Hi-tech Outlets in China. Xie states the company is the major player in the online retail selling in China.
Hence, even though the organization will be sourcing the products from Hi-tech Outlets Company, consumers will continue perceiving that the products are sold by an organization to which they have a long-term loyalty. In this strategic partnership arrangement, both organizations will gain mutually.
Hi-tech Outlets will benefit from the online selling service by a strong brand that is already successful in the in Chinese market. Taobao.com will benefit from Hi-tech Outlets’ help in supplying high quality products and/or enhanced logistical arrangements. Hi-tech Outlets is well experienced in logistics and supply chain management.
Promotion and Communication
Companies seeking to establish a strong brand within new markets need to invest in the promotion of their brand in the effort to create customer awareness. Incidences of negative profiling of the Hi-tech Outlets’ products in the European markets spread through the social media and the internet. In the effort to build a strong brand in the Asian markets, which will overcome such challenges in the future, social media and the internet form important promotional media platforms.
Through new media, it is possible to reach a large number of people globally with minimal expenditure of organizational financial resources (Abhamid and McGrath 47). Social media is a low-cost promotional strategy. Customers share promotional information with minimal efforts from an organization.
The organization only initiates the marketing strategy by sending promotions to the first recipient. Where the campaign becomes viral, the company loses control of what is said about its brand (Southgate and Westoby 353). In this end, Hi-tech Outlets Company hopes that its social media marketing campaigns will result in positive profiling.
Viral spreading or negative profiling might impede its success efforts in the international markets. Apart from using traditional media such as newspapers, magazine, audio, and audio visuals to alert people about the presence of Hi-tech Outlets in the Asian market, the company will also seek to employ point-of-sale promotion.
Hi-tech Outlets Company encounters uncontrollable variables in all its market segments. These variables are political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal factors. Political environment affects the operations of the company via taxing policies. The organization must pay taxes from its profits.
The management must also comply with environmental regulations, tariffs, and employment laws established within various nations where the company has established outlet stores. The main challenges of the company are that these policies are different in different nations. Consequently, Hi-tech Outlets has no control over these policies in the effort to have harmonized financial budgeting approach in all outlets including the ones to be established in the Asian markets.
Market Segmentation and Target Marketing
Market segmentation for Hi-tech Outlets Company is accomplished through demographic and psychographic segmentation. Demographical aspects refer to the characteristics of people such as age, religion, gender/sex, and social class among others. Psychographic elements encompass people’s opinion and interests.
From the paradigms of demographic segmentation, some of the targets of Hi-tech Outlets Company in Asian markets include young people who are highly accessible to social media and internet-based buying and selling systems. The internet is highly embraced by people whose age is between 10-45 years (Maktoba and Sonny 227). Thus, such people are more likely to use social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter among others.
The products sold online through partnership with Taobao.com in the Chinese market mainly target this group of people. The interests or attitudes of people towards different products are dependent on various variables such as tastes and preferences (Kotler and Armstrong 85). In the context of Psychographic segmentation, the target populations are the Chinese citizens and other people from different nations residing in China.
In deriving market-positioning strategies, it is important to evaluate the determinants of buyers’ behaviors in a given market. In the Asian market, psychographics study will be deployed as the strategy for determining these behaviors. This strategy can help reveal why people buy certain products, services, and not others.
“Marketers are able to understand the motivation and conscious aspects of a target audience by creating psychographic profiles” (Xiaoni and Prybutok 9) through studying psychographic characteristics of the target population. The market can be divided into the middle class and working class persons.
Middle and working-class citizens are more likely to consume a wide range of products ranging from food staff to electronic products offered by Hi-tech Outlets Company in China. They are also likely to shop in supermarkets as opposed to small retail outlets (Kerr 125). While targeting this group of people, it is important to maintain high quality products in the stores since middle or the working class is also highly responsive to quality standards of products and services offered by an organization for it (Kerr 126).
Market research is an important component of marketing planning. “It provides important information for identifying and analyzing the market needs, market size, and competition” (Drake 77). For Hi-tech Outlets Company, market research is conducted in China to aid the company in maintaining consistent growth in competitiveness in comparison with competitors in the European markets such as Aldi, Netto, Biedronka, and Lidl who may also consider extending their operations into the Asian markets.
Once the market size is identified, the company will focus on acquiring 70 percent of the market share. This effort is informed by theoretical assertion that threats of new entrants becomes minimal after an organization has established a sizeable market share and/or developed customer loyalty in the market (Westbrook 51).
Perpetual maps encompass a research technique used in marketing research whereby consumers’ views for a given product are traced on a chart. Hi-tech Outlets has many competitors in the market. It should use price and product range to ensure that it stays competitive. Some of the brands that are in close competition have high prices or offer a limited product range.
Companies such as Aldi offer a relatively high price for their products. Hi-tech Outlets should counter competition from them by offering significantly low prices and a wide product range. The perceptual map below shows the most favorable position for Hi-tech Outlets to be the most competitive of all the brands in the market.
Figure 1: Perceptual map for Hi-Tech Outlets showing the brand position.
Close competitors to Hi-tech Outlets such as Aldi and Lidl are seeking to colonize other markets in the attempt to gain economies of scale. Hi-tech Outlets is well aware that in the attempt to gain competitive advantage, it needs to deploy various strategies for success in its expansion to the international markets such as Asian markets that have high-untapped potential for growth. By expanding into international markets, the company can also increase its economies of scale.
Marketing brings a large number of people to work together in a teamwork environment. The work teams are guided by codes of actions that define what needs to be done during the marketing and what should not be done. Marketers have the roles of placing products and services with success in a market. However, it is a violation of marketing code of ethics to deceive while attempting to make a sale. All marketing efforts must then ensure that the targeted audience gains the greatest good from the products offered for sale.
Ethical aspects in marketing refer to “principles and standards that define acceptable conduct in the market place” (Kerr 128). This implies that ethics in marketing involves all practices, which have the capacity to result in the greatest happiness among all people. Some of the marketing practices that are considered unethical by Hi-tech Outlets entail attempts, which are openly meant to deceive and/or take advantage of a given situation for individualistic or group gains.
Marketing research is an essential activity that a company seeking to introduce its brand into new market needs to conduct in the effort to determine the feasibility of a new market.
In the project term paper, Hi-tech Outlets, a hypothetical company operating in Europe, seeks to reach global markets by opening new physical retail distribution stores together with engaging in online distribution activities in Asia with a particular initial focus on the Chinese market. This concern makes marketing planning important before investing in the new market.
Asia is a new market that has not yet been fully explored by many European retail outlets. Consequently, no much data is available on the reception of foreign retail companies in Asia. To determine the appropriateness of the strategic initiatives for expanding the operation of Hi-tech Outlets Company in the Asian markets, implementation of a pilot market plan is necessary. Unfortunately, the project fails to consider it. Lack of data for construction of perpetual maps is also another significant limitation of the project.
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