According to Zug (2003), “squash is a very lively game that was first played by Europeans who enjoyed tossing a ball in corners of a wall.” Zug (2003) explains that “squash has been rated as the healthiest sport in the world as it aids in cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance and at the same time, it helps in burning calories in the body.”
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The Target Country
The target country for marketing squash sport in Sweden. Svensk squash (2007) explains that “in the 1970s squash was a common and well-established sport in Sweden with about 450 established courts but by the year 2007, very few of these courts were in existence.”Svensk squash (2007) goes ahead to explain that the major reason why squash lost popularity was due to the “preference of tennis over squash.”
The target place for squash marketing in Sweden is a local area called Arsenal. The rationale for marketing this product is in line with Sweden’s vision of making squash popular in the entire country, which includes the local areas of the country. According to Svensk Squash (2007), squash is a popular sport in big cities in Sweden, but little is known about it in the local areas of the country. Thus, there is a need to market squash in the local areas of Sweden.
Sweden’s Political and Legal Environment
According to the Journal of international marketing (2011), “political environment of a country is the ideology, nationalism, stability and international relations of a country while the legal environment refers to import and export controls, transfer pricing, taxes, regulation of corrupt practices, expropriation, and distribution of equity.” Zackrisson (2010) states that “Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of capitalism and extensive welfare benefits with a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications as well as skilled labor.”
Zackrisson (2010) explains that “Risk bank is Sweden’s central bank which ensures that inflation is low and stable and which controls Sweden’s monetary policy by influencing inflation through interests.” The other major bank in Sweden is the “Nordic Bank, which is the leading bank in Sweden” (Zackrisson, 2010).
Zackrisson (2010) notes that “ Delphi & Co is the leading commercially oriented law firm in Sweden while Mannheimer Swartling is the leading business law firm in the Nordic region.”
According to the Journal of International Marketing (2011) “businesses must keep records of accounts, financial statements of limited liability companies must be audited, foreigners prohibited to own a whole Swedish enterprise, business enterprises are subject to value-added taxes and company tax is based on net profit taxation.” According to the Journal of International Marketing (2011), “these are the other legal practices that must be followed by business owners in Sweden.”
Social-Cultural Environment in Sweden
According to Shang et al. (2009), social, cultural environment constitutes “institutions and social forces such as basic values, beliefs, and attitudes that affect a society’s preferred lifestyles.”
In Sweden, “the cultural environment is quite different from many other countries of the world, mainly because of the practice of egalitarianism” (Shang et al., 2009).In Sweden, a manager need not act in a bossy way and is not treated in any special way from the other employees (Shang et al., 2009). Shang et al. (2009) also note that “Swedes are hardworking people though they visit sports centers and other recreational areas after work and take long vacations during summer.” Shang et al. (2009) explain that “while working as a manager of a Swedish firm, it’s important to consider consulting the employees while structuring decisions as to the Swedes like active participation.” According to Shang et al. (2009), it’s important to “address the Swedes by their first names and to wear casual clothes while conducting business.”
Shang et al. (2009) note that “women in Sweden are usually considered when it comes to leadership positions and that the Swedes do not address their leaders by any titles however senior they may be.”
According to Shang et al. (2009), if you plan a meeting with a Swedes, then observing time is of the essence since Swedes are usually very strict on time and they translate delays to mean that one is not serious or one is ineffective, in the case of a manager. Moreover, while conversing with a Swedes, it’s important to note that they take time to respond as they first have to think. It’s also important to take care so as not to interrupt the Swedes as they talk since this will annoy them very much. Finally, Shang et al. 2009) explains that “Swedes value knowledgeable people thus while conducting business with the Swedes, it’s important to act with integrity in all your undertakings.”
The Target Market
The target market for squash sport, in this case, is the local people in Sweden who live around Arstadal. Some of these people usually go to the Enskede Racket hall, which is not very far from Arstadal to play squash but because there is usually a lot of competition in time and space with other racket games, most of them are likely to consider attending the squash sport at Arstadal.
Another factor that may make more people join the Squash sport at Arstadal is the fact that “Enskede Racket hall does not pay any special attention to women and the juniors are limited to play squash by being kept in the waiting list until when they are old enough since the facilities are never enough.” Those who want to train as professionals in the squash sport are also a target market for squash sport at Arstadal since they will have ample time for practice at the squash center.
Competitors in the Market
Due to the fact that Squash sport is majored in large cities and Arstadal is a local part of the country, it is expected that the major competitor will be the Enskede Racket hall (Zackrisson, 2010). Zackrisson (2010) explains that “Enskede Racket hall offers all types of racket games; squash included and did not charge any fees for one to play any sports activity apart from the membership fees.” The Enskede Racket hall will be a major competitor in this case because it will be very hard to get people to come out of a cheaper sports center and to make them join a more expensive sports center.
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However, there are other reasons that may make people join the Squash sport at Arstadal. To start with, Zackrisson (2010) notes that the Enskede Racket hall does not recruit juniors because it is usually overpopulated and thus not able to accommodate all those who are interested in playing squash.” This will act in favor of the squash sport at Arstadal because most young people who are interested in playing the squash sport will now have a chance to do so. Secondly, Zackrisson (2010) notes that “at Enskede Racket hall, there is a lot of competition in time and space with other racket games.” Due to the fact that Enskede Racket hall offers many racket games, players of squash sport are usually limited in terms of time that they can play since some of the playing courts are usually shared (Zackrisson, 2010).
This is likely to contribute positively to acquisition of many members at the squash sport at Arstadal, since only one type of sport will be offered, thus there will be no limit in terms of when to play. Finally, Zackrisson (2010) notes that “as much as people may be interested in practicing squash so as to become professionals, they are never able to do so because of lack of specialists in the game and due to the limitation of time that they can play.” This is also expected to have a positive impact on the squash sport at Arstadal because their will be specialists who will be confined to squash sport only.
The Marketing Objectives
According to the Journal of International Marketing (2011), “the overall objectives of a company determine the marketing decisions.” According to the International Journal on Marketing (2011), some of the marketing objectives may include “maximizing profits, return on investment, cash flow, and market share.”
In our case, we only have “two marketing objectives which include return on investment and cash flow”(Shang, et al., 2009). According to Shang et al. (2009), return on investment objective is whereby “a firm sets a marketing objective that requires all products to acquire a certain percentage return on the organization’s spending on the marketing of the product.” In marketing squash sport in Arstadal, it is expected that a lot of funds will be directed towards marketing and promotion, thus it is important that the price of playing the sport be set in a way that eventually, the firm will have returns. Consequently, Shang et al. (2009) defines cash flow marketing objective as a situation whereby “sale revenue can cover the product production and marketing costs.
Shang et al. (2009) describes promotional decisions as “decisions that marketers make to aid the company in satisfying its target market and at the same time, attaining its business and marketing objectives.”
So as to capture the attention of the juniors to join the squash club at Arstadal, it will be important for the firm to establish an official website. This will ensure that these juniors are able to access information about the firm easily and give their feed back on the same. Efforts can also be done so as to reach the juniors anticipating to join Enskede Racket hall through email.
Other promotion decisions may include offering more quality products and services than those of its major competitor, Enskede Racket hall at an equal price.
According to Shang et al. (2009) explains that the environment impacts on the distribution decisions in that if the economy is bad, the producers will tend to search for the cheapest ways to market their products to the target customers.” As per our case, a squash center is first going to be establishes at Arstadal. After it is well established in Arstadal, the sport can then be established in other local areas in Sweden like Ostberga.
Shang (2009) explains that internal factors or “those factors that a firm can be able to control directly, affects selling price.” For instance, “the price may be raised at the expense of promotion” (Shang et al., 2009). To counter this, the manager of a firm may opt to look for an alternative method of promotion that is cheaper. This directly means that the prices are expected to go down, but it’s important to note that the prices will not be lowered immediately since the products on sale were produced at that particular time when a lot of cost was incurred on promotion (Shang et al., 2009).According to the Journal of International Marketing (2011), “some of the Internal factors that influence pricing include marketing objectives, marketing strategy and costs.”
This implies that so as to determine the cost of products or services offered at the squash sport centre in Arstadal, one has to consider the marketing objectives set, strategies used in promotion and the cost of the equipment bought as well as the employee wages. In this case, there were two marketing objectives which included: the return on investment and cash flow. So as to realize these objectives, it means that the cost of materials and resources used and the cost of marketing and promotions must be determined and then the expected returns added. This will in turn determine the price of the product.
On the other hand, Shang et al. (2009) describes external factors as “the influencing factors that are not necessarily controlled by the company but do impact pricing decisions.”According to Shang et al. (2009), such factors tend to “vary from one area to another and that’s why you find that a certain product, made by the same company is likely to have different prices in different localities.” According to the International Journal of Marketing (2011),” the external factors that influence price include elasticity of demand, customer expectations, competition, and government regulation.”Elasticity of demand refers to the “ability of prices to go up when the demand is high or to go down when the demand is low” (Journal of International Marketing, 2011).
Customer expectations is determined by the value that the customers attach to your products or services, so that if they attach a lot of value to your product or services, then they will be ready to buy them at high prices but if they see you products to be less valuable, then they can only get the products or services if sold at low prices. Competition affects price in that if your competitors are offering products or services at lowed prices, then you will also be forced to lower your products or else, you will not attract customers. Government regulations also need to be considered while setting up prices. This is whereby you find that a government has fixed the maximum amount that certain products and services should cost. In such cases, one needs to be very careful so as to abide by the set policies or else one will end up in a criminal court.
This then implies that when setting the price of products and services at the squash sport center in Arstadal, one has to consider the price charged by competitors on the same product or service before making the pricing decisions. The number of customers, who become interested in the sport, will also play a key role in determining the price. If the customers will be very many, then the cost of the sport will be expected to go up and on the contrary, in case the number of the customers interested in the sport goes down, then the price of the sport will have to be lowered.
In conclusion, there are various factors that one has to consider while coming up with a market plan for squash in Arstadal, a local area in Sweden. Some of these factors include the countries legal and political environment, social cultural environment, the target market, competitors in the market, marketing objectives, promotional decisions, distribution decisions, and the pricing decisions.
For a long time now, Sweden has enjoyed political stability. Zackrisson (2010) states that “Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of capitalism and extensive welfare benefits with a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications as well as skilled labor. According to the Journal of International Marketing (2011), “this knowledge about the political and legal environment of a country guides one to knowing the condition of the stability of a country and the boundaries in business.” The knowledge of the culture and social environment of a country is equally important. This is because unless you learn the culture of the people, then you will not be able to get along with them, which is not healthy for a business as you will lose all the customers.
Identifying the target market is also important as it enables a marketer to know the strategies that he is going to use so as to attract the target market by use of appropriate strategies while identifying the competitors enables a marketer to come up with ways of competing successfully with the competitors. The promotional decisions includes advertisements in websites and other social media as well as offering quality products and are usually designed to capture the target market while the distribution decisions are made with an aim of providing the best service to customers while at the same time cutting down on the costs. Finally a description of pricing decisions is important in formulating a market plan. The pricing decision is usually arrived at after considering the costs of production, cost of promotions, the market strategies and other external factors like the price charged by competitors, customer expectations, elasticity in demand and regulations by the government.
Journal of International Marketing. (2011). Journal of International Marketing, 19(1), i-viii.
Shang , J., Yildirim, T., Tadikamalla, P., Mittal, V. & Brown, L. (2009). Distribution network redesign for marketing competitiveness. Journal of Marketing, 73(2), 146-163.
Svensk Squash. (2007). International Squash Magazine, (3),1-10.
Zackrisson, P. (2010). Changing the game: A pre-study to marketing planning in a local squash club. New York: University of Glave.
Zug, J. (2003). Squash: A history of the game. London: Simon & Schuster.