Marketing in China
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Organizations are often quick to respond to challenges and opportunities in the marketplace (Young and Aitken, 2007). However, despite the available chances of survival, most of these organizations fail to anticipate future changes in the market. As a result, the strategies and approaches they adopt do not favor them in the long run and have to be reviewed constantly. According to the Journal of Marketing, a strategic plan defines the direction to be pursued by a firm in its operating environment (Zou and Cavusgil, 2002). The purpose of the plan is to oversee the allocation of resources for maximum performance of the organization. Effective strategic plans are comprised of four major steps; these are an operational plan, a marketing plan, a personnel plan and a finance plan (Young and Aitken, 2007). In these steps, the business has to stipulate the goals, objectives, strategies, tasks to be carried out and the budget in an effort to remain abreast in a competitive market. With the high rate of growth in the information technology sector, the automobile industry is among the green pastures that are highly competitive. In this regard, a firm has to engage in a rewarding strategy that does not only guarantee success in the short term but also in the long ran (Laws, n.d.) There are various ways of defining an effective strategic plan. However, the approach adopted depends on the mission and vision of the organization. Success in an information technology sector is highly influenced by the ability to retain customers. Unlike a one stop shop or mall, the automobile industry thrives on mutual trust of the client and the business. The case of Toyota is not an exception. Despite being a market leader in the sale of cars worldwide, retaining such competitiveness while introducing new products is enabled by proper planning.
The process of strategic planning
Before inculcating change, an organization must conduct a situational analysis that shows the available opportunities and threats in the market (Mintzberg, 1994). As a result, this enhances the course of action to be taken by the firm in an effort to mitigate and alleviate the threats or take advantage of the opportunities in an effort to meet its mission goals and objectives (Powell, 1992). During this process, the organization assesses its competitive power. After the realization of the competitive power, the aim of the plan must be established. The aims are based on the priorities of the firm that are aligned with its objectives. After drafting these steps, the organization is in a better position to determine the strategies that are most effective in a competitive and broader market (Juin, 2000).
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The aim of every business culminates to one platform; making profit (Bryson, 1988). Based on the type of business, some are better acquitted in meeting this aim without the baggage of worrying on the long term effects of their goods and services. This scenario cannot be said to be true for any reputable or upcoming company. The reputation that a company like Toyota has created over the years does not leave any room for chances or mistakes. Unlike businesses that rely on one time clients, the automobile industry flourishes from returning customers (Brunk, 1999). Clients are always willing to remain in a reputable company that gives them a chance to upgrade their products. Therefore, providing quality and reliable products coupled with concerned customer support is essential.
The sheer proximity of marketing to the customer makes it an ideal function that drives an organization (Walsh and Lipinski, 2009). There are various departments in an organization and in most aspects, marketing has been integrated in major organizations as an independent department. A global organization has a marketing branch that is independent. The case of Toyota holds true in this aspect where the marketing department is entirely responsible for enhancing the performance of the company. As a department, marketing has its own objectives and goals. However, for conscious performance of the firm, major organizations integrate the objectives of the organization with those of marketing in an effort to increase the returns of the company. The case applies for large companies that operate within spans of market and even nationally and internationally. However, for small firms the marketing department comprises either a single person or just a few members (Kotler, 1971). Naturally, in this event, the cooperation with the entire firm is well blended as there is small or no distinction between the activities of the firm and those of the marketing department. A majority of small organizations bundle their members with columns of duties which largely range from the daily internal activities of the business to the external involvement of the firm.
Introducing new products in the market
China is well known for being a world leader in terms of population. The success of a business in the market is revealed by its ability to determine and exploit a potential market. A large population interprets to a large market from a business perspective. However, the case does not hold true for China. Despite possessing the largest population in the world, Toyota does not enjoy selling most of its products in this country as would be expected. There are varying reasons towards this such as the preference of individuals in the country to ride bicycles other than use cars. Like any other field, effective marketing requires understanding the different stakeholders of the firm. As a result, it becomes easy to blend the objectives of the company with the needs of the client. Therefore, in the marketing of automobiles, the process should be initiated in the marketing department other than the cross-functional production and development division (Mullins and Walker, 2013). According to the holistic marketing evaluation provided by Nigam, products should sense the live, breath, eat, and smell the company’s brand (Nigam, 2011). The firm, through the department of marketing should be able to know the potential customers and provide product customizations that relate to the needs of the customers on a one to one basis. The effect of this elationship is that the organization will be adaptive (Tuttlebee, 2002). It will be able to change the requirements as pertains the needs of the customers. In this regard, there are certain effective marketing approaches that can be adopted to enhance the performance of the firm. Email campaigns, research including SWOT analysis will provide the organization with a clue of what needs to be changed and when. If the changes are carried out effectively, the products of the firm will be positioned with the needs of the clients (Tuttlebee, 2002). Doing this will result into an effective, streamlined communication process that is otherwise jumbled and hindered in a busy marketing place. Once such an analysis and undertaking is provided and adopted in the case of Toyota, the company will position itself in a better place to leverage the market in China.
The sales team acts as the representation of the firm in the face of the customer. Having an adept sales forces is critical to understanding the varying changes in the customer requirements. They have the opportunity to interact with the client on a one on one basis and can feel the changing sentiments of the customer and where they are inclined. To ensure that the customer prerequisite demands are captured and inculcated within the business requirements, the sales force has to be responsive (Walsh and Lipinski, 2009). Prompt response to the changing needs of the client will result into coordination between the various departments of the organization. Recording the feedback from the market is critical for incorporating future changes in the event that the firm adopts a new production or selling strategy. The feedback recorded can also determine whether a certain marketing strategy or campaign is working (Musaeva, 2013). The sales force should be adept to acquire and introduce new models of creating increased demand.
The marketing department heavily relies on the finance department. Unlike other departments in the firm, no activity can commence and become fruitful in the marketing department without proper funding from the finance department (Mintzberg, 1994). Therefore, executive support is required to ensure that the strategies to be adopted by a firm are achieved. Failure to this, the synchronization of the business activities and their relationship to the marketing process would be hampered. As of 2013, Toyota made a profit of $4.99 billion at the closure of the fiscal year. The profit was as a result of the coordination and collaboration of the production, marketing, sales and the planning of financial departments. Therefore, proper allocation of the leveraged profits enhances the continued upward performance in the market.
It is the duty of the customer support team to ensure that new and returning customers are retained. Proper customer support is essential in the introduction of a new product in the market. There are varying challenges with new products and cars are not an exception. Therefore having a responsive support team that address the technical issues customers are facing is essential to enhancing the experience of the customers. The customer service department can achieve this through provision of exemplary services through a prompt and timely manner (Hewett and Bearden, 2001). In a majority of firms, the motto of the customer service department is to ensure that new clients are retained to become long term valued clients of the firm. The ability of the business to address the changing and upcoming needs of the clients is what differentiates a successful organization from a failed firm (Acorn and Walden, 1992).
Marketing models the concept of the 4ps
The 4Ps approach is the most common approach adopted by organizations as they venture to introduce new products in the market. In this model, the aim is to satisfy the needs of the customers through the application of a number of tactics. The elements of this marketing model can be controlled (Gurtuna, 2013). However, they are dependent on the internal and external marketing environments of the organization. Marketing mix is achieved through the integration and incorporation of the different elements of the 4Ps. They include the product, price, promotion, people and place.
In this marketing approach, the product must feature all the values and core elements to be passed from the organization to the customer. It inculcates the benefits, features and advantages that consumers acquire through using the product of the firm (Hewett and Bearden, 2001). The car in front of you is always a Toyota, was the major slogan utilized by the company. However, it lacked the augmentation of the essence of the product and was replaced. To reflect its brand and the global impact it posed, Lets Go Places, was adopted as the new company slogan (Greimel, 2014). The reflection is of the company as a leading producer and manufacture of the most used models. Introducing a new product amidst this entails adopting a niche that reflects the benefits from the previous products, and inculcating the needs of the customers. Therefore, the success of a new product that adopts this model must inherently meet the needs of the customers through delivering the expected value.
The quality of product that a firm delivers should meet the expected value to the client and provide the feature set. The feature set refers to the capabilities and services offered to the customer by a product or service. A full feature set has three elements;
- The actual product- this are the core benefits that the product offers. If these benefits are met and provided with consistency, customers will prefer transacting business with the firm as opposed to turning to competitors. In the case of Toyota, providing basic benefits such as low fuel consumption, low maintenance and durability of a car will gain favor with the customers. A good example was through the introduction of ProBox (Greimel, 2014). Despite initial objects from the look of the car, it gained popularity with the third world countries due to its advantages. Also designing a car thhat meets the needs of the Chinese will have the same impact.
- The core product-refers to the actual benefits that the customers receive from the product. From the psychological mindset of a buyer, one always settles for a product that provides more benefits than the other. This is the choice and preference rule. In this case, a car designed to utilize speed such as should meet this objective without added hustle to the customer.
- The augmented product- a quality product should provide additional benefits to the customer. Customers will be inclined to settle for products and services that provide excellent additional benefits. In this case, proper design techniques that are appearing to the customer must be used. In addition, incorporating class, comfort and taste in a car has added advantage in meeting the needs of the client. Toyota is well known for having a variety of cars suited for everybody. Therefore, determining the taste and preferences of the market in china will enhance modelling designs specifically for that market.
As previously seen, understanding the preference of customers is critical in penetrating a market with a new product. Price is one of the greatest influencers of the choice, taste and preference by customers. In this case, determining why Chinese prefer bicycles other than cars is critical to engaging the Chinese market. If it is due to the prices of the commodity, the organization must be open to adjust its prices since the production point of the cars (Japan), is a stone throw away from the market (China) (Greimel, 2014). Underpricing using this concept, the organization must be adept on how much the clients are willing to pay for a particular product model of a car. Therefore, this model can enhance not only the price of the product but also how the product is to be delivered. There are different means by which the production and distribution of the cars can be done. One can involve the delivery of the complete cars and sold by dealers such as DT Dobie as is common in most cases. However, in an effort of reducing the prices incurred by the customer, an assembly approach can be adopted. In this approach, the cases can be sailed from Japan to China in parts and assembled on arrival. The result is reduced delivery costs and consequently the final cost of the product. This price model will attract more customers and ensure that the company maintains a competitive edge.
Once a product has been tailored according to the needs of the client, the next step involves promoting it and creating its awareness. The basic idea behind every promotion tactic is to create the awareness to the potential consumer of the availability of a new product in the market. Sales and advertising tactics should be relevant to the business model as well as ensure that the organizational resources are utilized maximally (Keefe, 2004). Inevitably, this can be done through online advertising platforms and social media. It is advisable for a company to embrace online sales and advertising. This will create an image of a digital market that is modern and arguably flexible in the minds of its customers. To adopt the best promotion method, a firm should evaluate its operational overhead costs, expected returns in line with the strategic goals and objectives. Since Toyota concentrate on production, it should engage its distributors and third party sellers to engage in promotional tactics ranging from online and offline methods. Some of the approaches to be adopted include advertising and engaging customers in promotional challenges.
In this model, place refers to the external and internal environment of the company. According to porter, the place factor is highly influenced by people. The lack of a strong internal relationship within an organization is a major cause of failed performance. Therefore, in an effort to maintain a mutually beneficial and fulfilling relationship, a firm should ensure that its personnel are held with high regard. One of the most valuable assets of an organization is its personnel. In an automobile industry, a lot of work needs supervision and cannot be automated. Without the presence of personnel the activities of the organization would come to a halt (Koiso-Kanttila, 2004). With this realization, it is extremely important to value the people working in the organization. There are a number of ways through which this is achieved. For example, proper remuneration should be done based on the quality of work done. Machine operation and programming interfaces to respond to user needs is one of the daunting undertaking in an automobile environment. Therefore, it is highly recommended that engineers in this field be paid based on the number of hours. Adopting such an approach does not only raise their morale but also ensures they are motivated to give quality products (Quinn, Doorley and Paquette, 2013). This should be further accompanied by regular training to ensure that the organizational skills are cutting edge.
Marketing management is a process that aims at increasing the sales of a company and maintaining high brand loyalty. The paper has shown that the process of providing a new product in a company should maintain uniformity. There are different marketing approaches which are well enhanced through the use of the appropriate marketing mix. This creates a reputable brand for the product and the company. When such a process is achieved, the company must strive to strategically position itself in the market. This can be done through the place element. Having understood potential clients and their location, providing service within the location of the buyer creates a sense of personal contact. The marketing mix is achieved through creating awareness (Watson et al., 1997). Promotion is a valuable tactic that automobile companies can use. This is through advertisement, both online and offline. Special offers, endorsements and contests can be an effective way of attracting and retaining customers. The use of vouchers and bonuses on quantity buying will ensure that the clients are impressed by the service of the company. The physical evidence of an organization influences service delivery and enhances the infrastructure (Watson and Brancheau, 1991).
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