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Kingdom Dates Company’s Marketing Plan Report


Kingdom Dates

Company Name: Kingdom Dates

Tentative Contact Company Details:

Al-Qassim Head Office

Dheema Road, Al-Badaya, Al-Qassim

Tel: +966-1 63311111 (5 Lines)

Fax: +966-1 63310973, 3310974, 3310975

E-mail: [email protected]

[email protected]

Executive Summary

This is a marketing plan for Kingdom Dates. The domestic market for Kingdom Dates is highly competitive, even though the company controls about 30% of the local market. Although it derives about 20% of its total sales from other markets outside the Saudi Kingdom, Kingdom Dates has failed to exploit massive opportunities in the regional and international markets. The local demand is stable, but Kingdom Dates now needs to seek opportunities in the regional and international markets.

With the positioning message focusing on the relevance of dates in the Muslim world and related health benefits of the fruit, the company will invoke significant responses that could culminate in increased sales, market shares, and expansion to regional and international markets. While the regional and international markets are appealing, the company is most likely to face price challenges because of high-quality dates exported from other producers, such as Israel.

Nonetheless, product improvement can help the company to mitigate such risks. For effective marketing activities with impacts, a marketing communication strategy involving Omni-channel has been adopted to deliver the message. The cost may be substantial, but the impact on the target audience is expected to be massive. All marketing efforts will be monitored to ensure that the most effective channels are developed to enhance positive outcomes.

Current Marketing Situation

This is a marketing plan for Kingdom Dates, which was established in 1987 and is now among the leading dates’ companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Market Description

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is listed among the leading top three producers of dates globally responsible for about 15% to 17% of the global production.1 Hence, Kingdom Dates must compete locally with the same company that can also collect the best dates. The Saudi market is highly competitive because it is the home of high-quality premium dates, which could be exported to other countries globally, including the European Union (EU), Australia, North America, and New Zealand among other countries. Hence, both domestic and global markets are available for Kingdom Dates. Europe is a major market for Saudi exported dates.

Like any other agricultural produce, dates are also exposed to supply and demand and, thus, price increases during Ramadan are expected.2 Pilgrims and other visitors are known to throng the Central Date Market next to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to purchase various types of dates, which is seen as a customary present once they return to their home countries. The best data quality for Ajwah price ranges “from SR35 ($9) to SR50 per kilogram, the best quality of Anbarah cost SR40-55 per kilogram, and Al-Siqi cost SR15-20 per kilogram while Al-Safwi is sold at SR15-25 per kilogram”.3 Date retailers have observed that most pilgrims who most like to purchase dates are “Turks, followed by Indonesians, Malaysians, Pakistanis, and Gulf nationals”.4

At home, Kingdom Dates faces competition from many other companies, including Investment Opportunities for Trading; Al-Aseel Dates; Al Ansar Dates Factory; Aneesah Farms; Ibn Zaid Dates Factory; Al Mohamadia Dates Company; Onaizah Dates Factory; Almallo uhiah Dates Factory (Prefood); and Madinah Date Factor.

In the international markets, Kingdom Dates faces competition from companies that also exports in the US, Mexico, Israel, South Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Iraq, Algeria, and Tunisia.

At the domestic Saudi market, dates remain high in demand, but Saudi companies only export only about 6.8 percent of the fruit production to other markets outside the country.5

Kingdom Dates claims a large market coverage both in the Kingdom and outside Saudi Arabia. Notably, about 20% of the company’s total sales is realized outside the domestic market.

Product Review

Kingdom Dates considers dates as blessings and gifts of God. Scientific research has shown that date fruits contain “sugar, water, vitamins, minerals, fibers, and anesthetics”.6 Dates are also seen as sources of foods, “Oh, Alsha, a house without dates is a house in which people shall starve”.7 Hence, the fruits are extremely important in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and all over the world.

Kingdom Dates offers a variety of date products and varieties. The company has over 400 products from diverse kinds of dates and products produced and packed in weights and various sizes and shapes to meet all needs and tastes of all consumers.

Kingdom Dates produces innovative dates to ensure high-quality products meant to strengthen its position in the domestic and world market and accelerate demands from different customers, including corporates, hotels, cafés, retail shops, and individuals that seek for the best date products and their derivatives.

Kingdom Dates insists on high-quality dates, as well as variety. It is well recognized for some specific types of dates blended with chocolate, sesame, coconut India, or dates specifically produced, customized, and packaged for weddings or parties.

To ensure high-quality data products, Kingdom Dates has its farms and nurseries to ensure that only the best, healthiest fruits are ultimately selected for subsequent processing and sales. The company ensures that date palms are inspected regularly and carefully to protect the birds, insects, and infestation. All handlers have the right qualifications to ensure the best fruits are selected during harvesting, sorted, graded, fumigated, and cleaned before transportation to the processing facilities.

Additionally, Kingdom Dates claims that medical and laboratory experiments have proved that dates have numerous “vitamins, minerals, antibiotics, fibers, enzymes and fluids”,8 all of which are useful in managing certain illnesses. Some of these medical conditions include:

  • Anemia managed through minerals, such as iron.
  • Heart disease controlled using its iron contents.
  • Constipation dates have a high content of fruit sugars, such as fructose or laevulose.
  • Dates are anti-allergy because of zinc content.
  • Controlling bleeding associated with pregnancy because of vitamin K and tannin contents.
  • Dates can be applied as prophylactics for renal failure management because of vitamins B1, B2, B6, and sugar contents.
  • Heartburn and acidity management because of alkaline salt contents.
  • It contains carotene agents to manage dizziness.
  • Dates can be used to inhibit multiplication and reproduction of cancer cells because of magnesium, calcium, and sulfur contents.
  • The fruits are known to stimulate the reproductive system due to available vitamins, minerals, and phosphorus.
  • Dried date flour and palm pith can treat asthma and pertussis.

Kingdom Dates focuses on selling high-quality dates, and it considers dates as having great nutrition values. The company position dates as remedies for some diseases due to its nutritional material, enzymes, minerals, and vitamin contents.

Competitive Review

Both domestic and international markets are highly competitive for Kingdom Dates. As previously observed, the company is ranked among the top five date companies in the Kingdom. Kingdom Dates competes with Investment Opportunities for Trading; Al-Aseel Dates; Al Ansar Dates Factory; Aneesah Farms; and Ibn Zaid Dates Factory for the local market share. It remains difficult to determine the exact percentage market share because of numerous retailers at the Madinah date market, although Kingdom Dates claims at least 30 percent of the domestic market share.

Date varieties, quality, and price determine the competitive landscape locally. Additionally, high demands are also associated with periods of pilgrim visits.

Although the Kingdom is among the largest producers of dates globally, it only exports about 6.8%, implying that the local demand is stronger. Madinah attracts about 10 million pilgrims and visitors throughout the year, and it is now the main market of Saudi dates.9 Nonetheless, Saudi seeks to open new foreign markets for its data products.

Channels & Logistics Review

Kingdom Dates relies on many regional distribution centers, two warehouses, and a large transportation fleet to serve its retail chains within the Kingdom. The company now claims about 30 percent of the Saudi date market share. Its branch domestic market branch outlets include Riyadh branch; Jeddah branch – Prince Sultan Street; Jeddah branch – Madina Street; Makkah branch; Makkah Shawqiah branch; Al Dammam branch; Khamis Mushait branch; Tabuk branch; Abha branch; Al Khobar branch; and Yanbu branch.

Additionally, Kingdom Date products are found in attractive packaging, in almost every reputable hypermarkets and shopping malls throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Kingdom Dates claims that it has a wide coverage of date markets outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which are responsible for about 20% of the total sales. However, a review of its presence outside the Saudi Kingdom shows that Kingdom Dates intends to open new branches or subsidiaries in the region, specifically in Bahrain the city of Manama, Kuwait, and Qatar. This implies that the company makes sales outside the country, but without any physical branches.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • Kingdom Dates strives to create a strong brand using high-quality date products.
  • A focus on popularizing and preserving the socio-cultural and commercial value of dates.
  • The company has defined more important benefits of dates to consumers i.e. health benefits.
  • A wide network of distribution and retail outlets in the country.
  • The company owns its nurseries and date palms to control supply and demand, infestation, and quality.
  • Relying on ten direct sales representatives supported by sales agents outside of the Saudi Kingdom.
  • Numerous varieties of dates and related products.

Weaknesses

  • Kingdom Dates has failed to exploit the regional market fast.
  • Limited or no attempts for market expansion beyond the Saudi Kingdom or weak attempts to gain access to new potential markets beyond the domestic market border.
  • Inability to counter competition.

Opportunities

  • A wide regional and international market is available for the company. From the United Arab Emirates to India, and any other countries with Muslim population globally, Kingdom Dates has a huge potential market.
  • Partnership and distribution networks outside the Saudi Kingdom.
  • With the growing health concerns globally, Kingdom Dates can market the product as a potential solution to some chronic conditions, such as cancer.
  • Enhance online presence in the new markets.
  • Appeal to Muslim consumers who value traditions and socio-cultural practices.
  • Innovative approaches to date product development and other related products, such as chocolate dates, wedding dates, and gift dates among others.

Threats

  • While the local demand is strong, market forces of supply and demand impact sales during pilgrim visits when the demand is high.
  • Price increment is a factor that reduces sales.
  • Fierce competition from both the domestic, regional, and international markets.
  • There are reports that Saudi dates are smuggled to Israel, which are then repackaged and sold to Europe where they attract high prices than other Saudi dates.10 This practice denies the company its potential external markets.
  • In the international market, the price for the Saudi date products, which is not regarded to be of particularly high quality, is relatively lower.

Objectives & Issues

First Year Objectives

  1. Kingdom Dates will open its Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar branches within the next 12 months and focus its regional marketing efforts on creating a 5 percent market share within the same period and the same countries.
  2. Kingdom Dates will increase its domestic market share by 10 percent in one year

Second Year Objectives

  1. To increase the percentage of enquires from our marketing communications and promotional efforts15% within 12 months
  2. To increase domestic sales by 10% within 12 months
  3. To increase the regional or international market share by 10 percent to 15 percent within 12 months

Issues

Kingdom Dates has highly exportable different types of data products. However, the company has failed to market them around the world. A huge percentage of its date product is primarily consumed locally or exported closer to home. Notably, the global market for dates is expanding, and it is observed that the exporting countries are determined to increase further their date market share, as new markets open up following the global trade liberalization.

Kingdom Dates has failed to consolidate its regional and international date markets. Hence, there is an urgent need to explore mature markets in the UK, the US, Canada, and Germany. A large market is also available in India, Russia, China, and other countries in the Middle. It is also observed that Kingdom Dates can export its products globally in countries where Muslim populations can be found, particularly in countries that do not produce dates, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

The company requires strong market promotion and consistently meets the needs of emerging markets globally. Once Kingdom Dates addresses these fundamental issues, it will be among the top three date companies in the Saudi Kingdom with a huge control of the international market.

Marketing Strategy

Main marketing messages are directed to the entire target customers, all current and potential consumers of dates within the country and outside. The company will focus on the traditional, socio-cultural, and health benefits of date fruits.

  • Kingdom Dates focuses on selling high-quality dates, and it considers dates as having great nutrition values. The company position dates as remedies for some diseases due to its nutritional material, enzymes, minerals, and vitamin contents.

Thus, the marketing strategy aims to highlight the health benefits of dates and its socio-cultural and traditional roles in the Muslim community and shows how Kingdom Dates has ensured that the tradition is maintained across the generations, as it seeks to expand into new markets.

Positioning

This marketing strategy to reposition Kingdom Dates and make certain it is date products are promoted, marketed, and increasingly sold in the Saudi Kingdom and the entire GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region and beyond. Further, this marketing plan strives to reposition Kingdom Dates’ products as having a long tradition and extremely important for Muslims. Moreover, in a world where more and more chronic diseases are reported, Kingdom Dates will communicate the health benefits of its dates based on their nutritional materials, enzymes, minerals, and vitamin contents.

Product Strategy

Kingdom Dates offers a variety of date products, and it has over 400 products from diverse kinds of dates and products produced and packed in weights and various sizes and shapes to meet all needs and tastes of all consumers. It has some of the well-known date varieties, such as Ruthana and Rabeia varieties, as well as Ajwa, Barni, Majdoul, Anbara, and Safeway. These are the most sought-after dates among residents and visitors in the Saudi Kingdom.

Kingdom Dates product strategy also focuses on highly improved dates to ensure high-quality products meant to strengthen its position in the domestic and world market and accelerate demands from different customers, including corporates, hotels, cafés, retail shops, and individuals that seek for the best date products and their derivatives.

Kingdom Dates insists on high-quality dates, as well as varieties. It is well recognized for some specific types of dates blended with chocolate, sesame, coconut India, or dates specifically produced, customized, and packaged for weddings or parties in attractive packaging. This strategy is most likely to appeal to different dates’ consumers in the regional and international markets. Overall, foreign competitive markets would require product improvement right from the farm by enhancing management practices to ensure better quality and yields and focus on new cultivars for the new markets to conditions in Europe, for instance.

Pricing Strategy

Kingdom Dates understands that dates are also subjected to the rules of supply and demand, which affect pricing strategy depending on the season, like any other agricultural produce. The company understands the price increment during the period of Ramadan. Hence, the adopted pricing strategy also accounts for supply and demand factors to account for over 10 million pilgrims and visitors expected all year long in the Kingdom, particularly in Madinah.

The prices of high-quality types of dates, such as Ajwa (SR35 ($9) to SR50 per kilogram), Anbarah (SR40-55 per kilogram), Al-Safwi (SR15-25 per kilogram), and Al-Siqi (SR15-20 per kilogram), are dictated by market forces in the Saudi Kingdom.

In the international markets, the pricing strategy could present some challenges to Kingdom Dates. Given the competitive landscape in the international markets, for instance, in the European market, it is shown that the Saudi dates can fetch about $1,650 per ton compared to Israeli dates that go for about $4,000 per ton. Hence, a huge price discrepancy is observed in the global market because of variations in date product qualities.

In comparison, again, Medjool dates from Israel can fetch up to $6,000 per ton because it is considered a high-quality type of date, while another variety known as Noor goes for $3,000 per ton and Halawi variety only fetches about $1,600 per ton.11 On the contrary, Saudi date varieties are considered as low-quality variety and, thus, their prices are equally low in the international market. This price discrepancy is most likely to present a significant challenge for Kingdom Dates. Hence, the company must only select the best date products for its international operations to attract high prices.

Distribution Strategy

Madinah is among the major sources of dates in the Saudi Kingdom, and Kingdom Dates has a presence there. The city of Madinah is also the number market for Saudi dates. It attracts about 10 million visitors and pilgrims throughout the year, implying that buyers are always available.

Apart from Madinah, Kingdom Dates can also be found across major cities in the Saudi Kingdom, including Jeddah, Makkah, Yanbu, and Tabuk among others.

Kingdom Dates’ products are found in attractive packaging in almost every reputable hypermarkets and shopping malls throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Kingdom Dates relies on many regional distribution centers, two warehouses, and a large transportation fleet to serve its retail chains within the Kingdom.

This distribution strategy has ensured that Kingdom Dates commands at least 30 percent of the market share. However, the company now needs to develop a regional or international distribution strategy that may involve strategically located branches outside the Saudi Kingdom, but served by many regional distribution centers, warehouses, and a large transportation fleets. As such, Kingdom Dates would be able to increase its foreign market share and increase sales.

Marketing Communications Strategy

Kingdom Dates will rely on several communication tools available to develop the most efficient media mix for advancing its market positioning – dates have a long tradition in the Muslim world and their health benefits cannot be ignored in this modern age of many chronic diseases. The Omni-channel strategy includes the following:12

  1. Advertising – using both traditional media (TV ads) and modern media (online social media)
  2. Web site – the company will revamp the site to display over its 400 products and where they are found and their prices
  3. Conferences and trade shows – dates’ exhibition every year in foreign markets
  4. Downloadable materials – these materials should capture research about the health benefits of dates and case studies (video or published materials)
  5. Direct marketing (offline and online) – mobile marketing and online advertisement would be most effective
  6. Packaging – the company should sustain its attractive packaging strategy for products sold in hypermarkets, shopping malls, and outside the Saudi Kingdom
  7. Event sponsorships – Kingdom Dates can sponsor an event for expectant women, for instance, to learn more about the importance of dates and healthy pregnancy
  8. Merchandising promotions – the company can use this approach by encouraging people to buy some and get some for free or at discounted prices

Marketing Research

Primary Research

Quantitative research for Kingdom Dates would be carried out using a survey. The survey will be distributed online to the target audience in the Saudi Kingdom, the GCC region, and Europe.

Research Objectives
  • To identify consumers’ preferred date varieties.
  • To determine the level of Kingdom Dates brand awareness among consumers.
  • To discover why or why not customers by Kingdom Dates products.

These research objectives will allow Kingdom Dates to understand the needs of its customers. The study will also highlight the demographics of consumers who are most likely to purchase dates from Kingdom Dates or its competitors.

The survey will also focus on the best foreign markets and strategic locations for new branches. Finally, this survey will also explore the best media mix in which majorities seek information concerning date products and consumer expectations.

Targeted Customers
Primary Audience

The primary target market consists of Muslims who are working fathers, mothers, single people, college students, and any other potential consumers who are not Muslims to ensure that Kingdom Dates can expand its market reach. Kingdom Dates will target all tiers, including lower, middle, and upper.

  • Women and men of all ages.
  • Employed.
  • Some household income.
  • Geographic – nationwide and the region.
Younger Audience
  • Men and women.
  • Married or unmarried.
  • Some personal income.
  • Geographic – nationwide and the region.
Psychographic
  • Love Muslim traditions and socio-cultural practices.
  • Love healthy living.

Marketing Organization-include an organizational chart

The General Manager heads the company. The marketing and sales department is under the management of the marketing and sales manager. The sales and marketing team is responsible for the regional distribution centers and seeking new markets.

Marketing Organization

Action Programs

  • Billboard campaigns along the major roads and city spaces with clear messages about Kingdom Dates.
  • Radio promotions highlight products offered at Kingdom Dates.
  • Kingdom Dates would use television ads that appear at the periods when majorities watch at home or work, perhaps, in the morning and late night.
  • Social Media – Kingdom Dates should use YouTube to stream online videos about its superior dates. Facebook provides a marketing platform for majorities in the region cost-effectively.
  • Internet – Kingdom Dates should launch more current Internet promotions and interviews for the target audience to highlight the importance of dates. Visitors to the site can search for different products, their prices, and retail outlets. Additionally, video or published promotions, newsletters, interviews, evidence-based studies, and other useful materials can be made available to users.
Deadline Actions Possible Drawbacks Outcomes
Launch by July 2017 and run for at least 180 days Billboards across major highways High costs
Only exposed to people using roads or locations where they are found
Increased consumer awareness
Launch by July 2017 and run for at least 180 days Television and radio – develop more appealing commercial ads on health and traditions for 30 seconds Primetime too expensive Direct reach to the target audience
Launch by July 2017 and run throughout the year Social Media – lots of creative ideas required Poor disorganized App, videos, photos, and others Personalized messages delivered
Launch by July 2017 and run throughout the year Internet – developers of Web sites with excellent knowledge in online advertisement Get sufficient users to drive awareness A more robust site to attract online customers

Budgets

Item Cost
Billboards SAR300,000
Television SAR150,000
Radio SAR85,000
Social Media SAR50,000
Internet SAR30,000
Total SAR615,000

NB: these are tentative figures. The actual budget cost and cost per item may vary depending on the service providers.

Controls

Kingdom Dates expects continued marketing activities into the likely future. It, therefore, anticipates more aggressive competition, tighter budgets, and intense campaigns from other producers. Therefore, Kingdom Dates will continuously observe all marketing and promotional channels and review outcomes after every 180 days or at the end of a marketing exercise to determine specific outcomes with significant effects and invest appropriately. It will concentrate on sales data, the number of Web site visits and clicks on products, customer feedback, and other relevant information. Online analytical tools, such as Google Analytics, would be useful for tracking online campaign activities.

Marketing Plan Tools

Generally, Kingdom Dates would rely on its completed marketing plan for reference. The plan contains specific current marketing needs of the company. Additionally, Kingdom Dates would adopt an interactive marketing plan tool to assist with assessing marketing strategy mix and determine the extent of the issues encountered. The interactive tool offers some important features.

  1. It integrates a complete methodology to assist the marketing and sales team to build market research, determine the target audience, and analyze competitors
  2. It would assist the company to revamp the 4Ps up and improve results
  3. It will facilitate market research and data collection from customers
  4. It will increase access to information and provide summary and tip sheets that guide marketers and sales team through various concepts and assist them to progress with overall strategies

References

Al-Shreed, F., Al-Jamal, M., Al-Abbad, A., Al-Elaiw, Z., Ben, A. A., & Belaifa, H. (2012). A study on the export of Saudi Arabian dates in the global markets. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, 4(9), 268-274. Web.

Balkhi, K. (2017). . The National. Web.

Kingdom Dates. (2017). Dates benefits. Web.

Mohammed, Y. (2017). . Arab News. Web.

Peskin, D. (2014). . Al-monitor. Web.

Piotrowicz, W., & Cuthbertson, R. (2014). Introduction to the special issue: Information technology in retail toward omnichannel retailing. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 18(4), 5-16.

Footnotes

  1. Al-Shreed, F., Al-Jamal, M., Al-Abbad, A., Al-Elaiw, Z., Ben, A. A., & Belaifa, H. (2012). A study on the export of Saudi Arabian dates in the global markets. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, 4(9), 268-274. Web.
  2. Mohammed, Y. (2017). Madinah’s date market bustling with pilgrims. Arab News. Web.
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid
  5. Balkhi, K. (2017). How Saudi Arabia is building the date trade. The National. Web.
  6. Kingdom Dates. (2017). Dates benefits. Web.
  7. Ibid
  8. Kingdom Dates. (2017). Dates benefits. Web.
  9. Mohammed, Y. (2017). Madinah’s date market bustling with pilgrims. Arab News. Web.
  10. Peskin, D. (2014). The Israeli-Saudi date war. Al-monitor. Web.
  11. Peskin, D. (2014). The Israeli-Saudi date war. Al-monitor. Web.
  12. Piotrowicz, W., & Cuthbertson, R. (2014). Introduction to the special issue: Information technology in retail toward omnichannel retailing. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 18(4), 5-16.
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