Bottled water is considered one of the fastest-selling liquid commodities on the planet today (Elmhirst, 2016). A report by DÇruiz (2015) shows that its sales numbers have outpaced those of milk, sugary soft drinks, and alcohol. The growth of the bottled water industry is attracting a lot of global attention because more companies are jostling to have a significant share of the market. However, it is difficult to attract customers who are spoilt for choice to a market that largely offers the same thing. In this paper, the motivations for choosing different bottled water brands, among a selection of companies, are highlighted. However, before delving into this matter, the section below provides a background of the bottled water industry.
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The bottled water industry is a multibillion-dollar economic sector that has taken many observers by surprise (Elmhirst, 2016). Indeed, it is ironic that a commodity, which is commonly available in many countries, could create such a lucrative industry (Elmhirst, 2016). Although few companies which sell bottled water make significant changes to this precious commodity, consumers are willing to pay a lot of money to have it. Today, it is almost impossible to find offices without bottled water dispensers and people working out without a bottle of water in their hands. In some homes, people still choose to buy the commodity despite having water flowing through their taps.
Additionally, they choose to do so despite many local authorities guaranteeing that the water flowing through their taps is safe to drink. These dynamics have created an interesting, but lucrative, demand for a common commodity that many cannot do without. The sheer size of the market is more attractive to prospective companies because the market is big enough for everyone. However, the problem most companies experience is that they are all selling the same product. Therefore, the only viable platform for competing with rivals is through the adoption of successful marketing techniques. Different attributes associated with the concept (marketing) influence how consumers make their purchasing decisions. The section below highlights three key marketing attributes that influence the motivation to choose one brand of bottled water over another.
Pricing is considered one of the essential components of marketing. Therefore, it is not surprising that it would inform the decision-making. Consumers often prefer to buy products from companies that offer affordable bottled water to those that sell the commodity expensively. Indeed, some people say that pricing is one area of marketing bottled water where most companies choose to compete (“Companies are racing to add value to water,” 2017). Those that offer the lowest prices tend to get the largest share of the market, while companies that price their water at a premium are often confined to a niche market (“Companies are racing to add value to water,” 2017). A low price strategy is possibly beneficial to consumers in the short run, but in the long run, companies that are unable to adjust their operational costs accordingly are likely to be negatively affected by it.
Advertisement is often touted as an important marketing concept for different types of businesses because it always keeps customers engaged and invested in products (TMM, 2017). Additionally, it could redefine people’s perception of a product, or service, based on the kind of value customers get from it. The bottled water industry is subject to the same motions because advertisement has a huge impact on how consumers view a product. Generally, companies that advertise innovatively are likely to get more attention from customers than those that do not. Additionally, companies that are innovative in how they produce their bottled water are also likely to get more sales than those that do not do so (“Companies are racing to add value to water,” 2017). The concept of advertisement could mean different things for the bottled water industry. However, in the context of this study, this concept mostly means how companies package their products to appeal to specific market segments. Water is simply water. However, adding value to it through advertisement could mean the difference between a sale and the lack thereof.
The quality and safety of anything consumed are often of the utmost importance to consumers. Consequently, buyers are often specific about the kind of products they choose to purchase. Although the bottled water market is a highly regulated industry, companies that adhere to higher safety and quality standard are more likely to attract more consumers than those that do not (FDA, 2017). The importance of making sure only quality and safe products are bought stems from accusations that some bottled water companies are simply taking free water from the tap and selling it to customers at a profit. Some vendors are notorious for false advertisements, whereby they make claims that their water is sourced from springs, but it emerges not to be the case. These incidences draw our attention to quality and safety issues, which would otherwise inform a customer’s decision regarding which bottled water brand to buy (International Bottled Water Association, 2017). Companies that strive to maintain high quality and safety standards are likely to get higher traffic of customers than those that do not.
According to this paper, advertisement, price, and the quality of bottled water influence the motivation to purchase the commodity from different companies. The quality of water processing emerges as the top reason with the highest effect on purchasing decisions because quality supersedes the most superficial aspects of marketing, such as price and innovation. Price would be the next most important issue to consider in this paper when selecting bottled water brands, followed by advertisements.
The three motivating factors highlighted above fit within Philip Kotler’s model of marketing, which frames marketing concepts within 4Ps – price, product, place, and promotion (TMM, 2017). Price is highlighted in this paper as a motivating factor for selecting the most appropriate bottled water brand. It directly applies to the first “P,” which demonstrates that consumers would be partly persuaded by the price of products or services when making purchasing decisions. The quality of bottled water is also highlighted in this paper as another motivating factor for the purchase of the commodity. Kotler’s second “P” – product – represents it.
According to Kotler, the nature and value of different products, or services, often dictate the appeal they will have on the market (TMM, 2017). The need for developing products and services that suit a customer’s specification is integral to this analysis because customers are generally likely to buy products that fulfill their desires (TMM, 2017). In the context of this study, products that are of high quality would have the highest appeal, partly because many people who buy bottled water are often health-conscious. Therefore, the quality of bottled water they buy often matters.
Lastly, innovation is another motivating factor highlighted in this paper that influences the decision regarding which brand to buy. Innovation is covered in Kotler’s last “P” – promotion. The strategies adopted by bottled water companies to market their products would come to focus in this space because, although they are selling the same products, customers would be more attracted to advertisements or campaigns that appeal to a specific attribute they are interested in. For example, a bottled water company that has a youthful bottle design, or that markets itself as such, would find more appeal among this demographic. Similarly, a company that focuses on the functionality of its products would attract customers who are interested in the same. Based on this fact, the advertisement would be a motivating factor for people to buy a specific type of bottled water brand.
Generally, the three attributes highlighted in this paper show that advertisement, price, and product quality are important motivating factors that influence the decision to purchase a specific brand of bottled water. Kotler explained these motivations in his 4Ps framework. Although the concept of “place” does not apply to this study, price, promotion, and product are explained. The main power of influence that these three influencing factors have on people’s decision to choose a bottled water brand is their appeal to people’s need to get quality products at the right price and for the right person. This core thread of analysis informs the motivation to choose the right bottle brand.
According to Kotler’s 4Ps of marketing, there is no clear distinction regarding which of the four key categories of marketing is superior or more impactful in purchasing decisions. However, in this paper, price appears to have a greater significance for consumer purchasing decisions because of the uniformity of the product sold – water. If the product sold had a differentiating factor, the price would seize to have the same impact. However, this is not the case. Product quality emerges as the second most important factor that influences the motivation to buy a specific brand of water.
This is because quality and safety concerns are at the top of the list of many consumers in this market segment (International Bottled Water Association, 2017). Furthermore, many customers who consume bottled water tend to be health-conscious. This is why they prefer this type of water to tap water. Advertisement is the least impactful attribute of influencing consumers to purchase bottled water because it appeals to the superficial aspects of marketing that could fail to gain traction or hold for a long period. Nonetheless, the aforementioned ranking does not take away from the fact that all the three factors highlighted have a significant impact on the motivation to choose a specific brand of bottled water.
In this study, the peculiarities of the bottled water market are seen to have captured the attention of analysts who have expressed their amusement at the fact that a commodity, which is readily available in many homes, has evolved into a million dollar business. Companies are trying to meet the demand for this product in the ever-expanding market, regardless of the fact that they are all selling the same commodity. The future of this industry is largely dictated by the decision of consumers to buy a specific type of bottled water brand. In this paper, advertisement, price, and product quality/safety emerge as the top motivating factors that influence such a decision. Therefore, companies that want to outwit their competitors in this market need to concentrate on them.
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DÇruiz, A. (2015). Odds are, you have fallen victim to the most successful marketing campaign in history. The Observer, 22, 1-3. Web.
Elmhirst, S. (2016). Liquid assets: How the business of bottled water went mad. The Guardian. Web.
International Bottled Water Association. (2017). Water quality. Web.
TMM. (2017). The 4Ps of marketing. Web.