Marketing Case Studies Sample Paper on Marketing strategies

Marketing strategies

Introduction

            Marketing is an essential element in business success as it determines the extent to which an organization is able to present its products to the target market. Effective marketing entails identifying the most appropriate customers or the target market, defined by a number of aspects such as age, gender and social class. Identifying a target market accurately enables a company to formulate the most suitable marketing techniques to apply for the products to reach the customers. A target market also dictates the pricing strategies to use, the level of pricing and the methods of product promotion to apply.  Product positioning in the market also affects the success of marketing strategies adopted by a company.  It is the technique used by marketers to enhance the efforts of marketing by ensuring that the target market knows about the availability of the product. This entails defining the best methods to use to inform the target market about the desirable attributes of the products. Communication of these attributes to the customers is based on various factors such as the channels available, customer demands and actions of the competitors.

            Determining the quantity of a product to contain in a single unit is also important in marketing as it influences the extent to which the customers can afford the products. The package count is mainly determined by the customer aspects such as demand of the products and the usage.  While defining the most suitable marketing strategies, the company must consider the advantages and demerits of each available option so as to meet optimal sale levels.  To determine the most appropriate marketing strategy, it is important to consider the product’s demand. The higher the amount of the product that customers are willing to buy, the lower the price that should be charged as long as the company does not make losses.

            Under normal circumstances, consumers are attracted to products that have the lowest market price. It is therefore important for companies to lower their prices so as to attract a significant market share but they should also consider the desired profitability of the company. The ability to accurately forecast a product’s demand is thus important for a company in formulating the most appropriate price to charge.  Pricing decisions affect various aspects of the business that determine the company’s profitability. For instance, it affects the demand of the product and this has an impact on the size of market share that eventually affects the company’s profitability. The efficiency of the marketing mix applied by the company depends on the ability of the organization to fully implement the identified strategies. The budget of the marketing mix such as the cost of product promotion affects the company’s profitability.

Identification of the problem

            Weight loss is an issue that people have been struggling to solve especially due to the stigma associate with being overweight. An obese person finds it hard to interact with the people in their environment and they may develop poor self image as a result. The social isolation faced by the individuals may lead to other health complications such as depression.  Due to the change in modern day lifestyle, there are more people affected by weight loss issues than ever before. In the United States, the number of persons with excess weight is estimated to be 65% of adults. This is a very high number of unhealthy populations. The discovery of Metabical was thus a relief to many people who had tried losing weight without success.

              On carrying out clinical tests, it was concluded that the drug was safe and effective in enhancing weight loss. The demand for the product was therefore very high but there were issues with the perception that the potential customers had on weight loss drugs. The negative perception was as a result of earlier incidences of deceptive marketing by the other competitors who deal with weight loss drugs. Metabical is considered the first drug that may be prescribed to people with excess weight but the company has to define the most effective ways of communicating the same to the potential and existing target market.  The management needs to define optimal segmentation, suitable target market and the positioning of the drug in the market to maximize its market share.

External analysis

            The analysis of a company’s external environment helps in identifying the major threats and opportunities that may affect its profitability. The external environment entails any factors that are not within the control of the company such as the economic climate, competitors’ actions, regulations and social aspects of the people. When accurately identified, the analysis may help the company achieve the desired market segmentation, target market and product positioning.  The opportunities found in the external environment are factors that can be exploited to enhance the success of the company. On the other hand, threats are those factors that may limit the profitability of the company if they are not contained. Although the external factors are not within the company’s control, they determine the type of strategies taken by the company. This section identifies the major threats and opportunities that face the company and their implication on the communication of the product to the target market.

Threats

            The major threat that faces the company is stiff competition from other companies that manufacture drugs that are claimed to facilitate weight loss in the same way as Metabical.  The increasing number of herbal and dietary supplements that are claimed to enhance weight loss is a threat to the company’s success in product positioning. It is hard for consumers to distinguish the different types of drugs that enhance weight loss. These drugs include Xenical, Alli products and herbal supplements.  The bad experience that the consumers had on the Xenical and Alli products destroyed the impression that the consumers have on the weight loss drugs. This makes it hard for the company to convince the consumers that Metabical is superior to other weight loss drugs.  The other threat relates to the strict regulations imposed on the company by Foods and Drugs Authority owing to the negative side effects that Metabical has on the users such as vomiting and diarrhea. The regulations affect the communication of the product to the customers by the company.

Opportunities

            The inclusion of Metabical in the category of prescription drugs is likely to have a positive impact on the sales volume due to improved confidence of the consumers in the drug. The other competing weight loss drugs are classified as herbal medicines thus separating the two classes will create a positive image of Metabical to the consumers.  There are healthcare policies that intend to include the drug in the prescription category.  The other opportunity is the high number of population in the United States that is considered obese.  The high number of obese adults coupled with the social exclusion of the overweight people is among the main factors that enhance the demand for Metabical. The high rate of social exclusion of obese members of the society has led people to accept their health status. This is likely to boost the market of the product making it easier for the company to communicate the positive attributes of the product to the consumers.  The other opportunity relates to reduced competition with regard to drugs that are prescribed to persons with a body mass weight of between 25 and 30. The only competing firm that is allowed by the Foods and Drugs Authority is Alli. This gives the company an easier task of marketing its product as it is easier to predict the actions of the competitors when they are few as opposed to when the number is higher.

            From the analysis of the external environment, it is evident that the company is faced with serious threats that may affect its ability to communicate to the customers. The major threat that the company faces is the negative image that consumers have about weight loss drugs. It is not easy to communicate a company’s positive attributes when the customers already have a socially constructed theory about the inefficiency of the product.  However, the fact that the drug has been approved by FDA as a prescription drug makes it easier to change the negative perception of the consumers about the drug. The trust that consumers have on FDA assures them that Metabical is a safe and effective weight loss drug. Although the numbers of threats in the environment are many, they are outweighed by the opportunities that have the potential to increase the market share for the product. Focusing on the opportunities of the company is crucial to its success in communicating to the target market.

Internal environment

            The internal environment is concerned with the factors that are within the company’s control. An accurate analysis of the internal environment helps the company achieve its objectives in all aspects by identifying the major strengths and weaknesses.  Maximizing on the company’s strengths guarantees sustainable success of the company and it may serve as a way of keeping the competitors away. The weaknesses may also be turned into company’s strengths thus enhancing its efficiency. Communicating the product attributes to the customers depends on the ability of the company to maximize on its strengths and reducing the impact of its weaknesses.

Strengths

            The approval of Metabical by the FDA is one of the factors that make it easier for the company to communicate to the customers. The institution is trusted by majority of the people due to its integrity thus any information that it provides is deemed to be right. Clinical research has proved the drug to be least harmful among the weight loss drugs thus creating a positive impression on the customers that makes it easy for the company to position its products.  The drug is considered to be safe, secure and effective compared to other drugs thus making its marketing easier.  The company’s experienced and knowledgeable research and development as well as the marketing team makes it easy to segment the market and identify the most effective market positioning strategies.

Weaknesses

            The drug is not effective for all the people who may need it because those with a body mass index that is less than 30 cannot use it thus limiting the number of consumers that the company can reach. The negative side effects such as abdominal discomfort are the other weakness that affects the extent to which the company communicates to the target market.  The target market may be negative about the drugs due to the fear of the side effects. Although the weaknesses that the company faces may be harmful to its success, the strengths outweigh this and thus it is unlikely that the company’s weaknesses may affect its communication to the target market.

Marketing audit

Current marketing strategy

            To address the issue of weight loss effectively, the company decided to include all the affected parties in the marketing strategy.  The major concern with the medical professionals providing health care to the consumers was the fact that the drug had the potential to harm the patient by making them regain their weight immediately they stopped using it. This implies that they must rely on Metabical for the rest of their lives. The professionals needed the company to provide a support program that would enable the persons using the drug overcome its side effects even after stopping the usage. The communication strategy with regard to the customers addresses their major concern of leading a healthy life free of excess weight.

Marketing mix

Advertisements

            Advertisement is among the major marketing tools that the company implemented, allocating $ 13 million for the exercise. The major goal was to create a positive impression about the weight loss drugs so as to attain confidence of the drugs in the society. The activity was intense during the first year as the company needed to create awareness of the product through channels such as website, televisions and print media.  The tagline used in the advertisements encouraged more participants by assuring them that the drug would ease the struggles of losing weight. To encourage the professionals to join in the campaign against weight gain, the company used print media with a tagline that encouraged the healthcare professionals to sensitize the overweight individuals to take use Metabical.

Public relations and promotions

            This is the other marketing mix that the company used to address the concerns of the consumers as well as medical professionals.  The company used direct mail to send messages to the professionals in the medical field, providing all the information about the drugs. The use of social networks is also another promotion strategy that can see the productivity of its marketing efforts rise. Launching an online competition that awards the person who loses a lot of weight within a given time is another strategy that seemed effective.  Apart from using viral marketing through social media, the company can use press release to improve the spread of information about Metabical to a large number of people.

Sales force

             This is another marketing mix that has the potential to enhance communication of the product’s attributes to the consumer, both the ones existing and the potential ones. The provision of clinical facts that prove the efficiency and safety of the drug is among the major factors that were set to enhance the communication to the customers and the health care professionals.

Product strategy

            The main attributes that make the product marketable include safety and efficiency as proved by clinical research. The speed at which the drug makes the user’s goals a reality is also another desirable attribute since they are able to lose their weight after only 84 days.  The other desirable factor is the package count that reduces the number of times that a customer buys the pills.

Distribution strategy

            The fact that the drug is approved by the FDA and categorized as a prescription drug reduces the channels of distribution. The customers an only access the drug from drug stores, chemists and hospitals.

Pricing strategy

            Analyzing the major competitor’s pricing model is important in formulating a more efficient one. The model by Alli products on pricing enables the company to come up with an effective pricing strategy. The pricing is based on the assumption that there is high demand because they prefer prescribed drugs to the non-prescribed ones. The pricing strategy has a positive impact on the profitability of the company because even if it is high, the consumers will still buy due to high demand.

Alternative strategies

            The company has a number of marketing strategies that it can implement to make sure that it accurately identifies and communicates with the target market. With regard to the marketing communication strategies, the company has implemented adequate measures but it can still use billboards as means of advertising using a tagline such as , ‘say yes to a healthy life’. The company may not have much control on the local distribution of the product but it can export the product to other new markets to increase its market share. Product development is also another alternative that can be used against the weakness that the company faces with regard to negative side effects of the drug. On pricing, the company may consider increasing its prices higher to cover for the costs of advertisements that it has to incur. The increase is unlikely to affect the demand due to the inelastic nature of the drug’s demand curve.

Marketing metrics

            If the market state remains constant in the five years, the most efficient marketing strategy would be pricing the product at $ 150 as opposed to $75 because the high price level does not affect the demand. Furthermore, the high prices appeal to the consumers who associate quality with high prices.

Recommended strategy

            The company needs to come up with more alternatives regarding packaging so as to accommodate the needs of the persons who still want to reduce weight yet they cannot afford the current package at once.  The marketing strategies also need to change to include a wider range of channels such as billboards to target the population that does not use the internet or television, yet it may be in need f losing weight. Pricing the product too high may appeal to the groups categorized highly in the social classes but it may not favor the poor. The company may thus consider providing a price that favors both group or engage in marketing discrimination technique. The price of Metabical should not be lower or too higher than the major competitor’s.