Marketing is an imperative part of business success. The measure of effective marketing lies in the ability to use the available resources for an effective representation of the marketed products. Some of the tools that can be used to analyze marketing effectiveness include the marketing mix which comprises of the seven Ps, the PESTLE analysis tool, and the Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy. The effective use of branding architecture and the Blue Ocean Strategy can help any organization to achieve the desired economic objectives. At Masafi Company, the marketing analysis yields the information that the company has effectively addressed most of the issues outlined through the marketing mix. Factors such as product definition, appropriate product pricing, sufficient promotion, and product placement all contribute to effective marketing. Moreover, the company uses social media effectively and there is increased potential for knowing customer preferences, needs and purchasing habits through constant communication. The company however needs to focus more on aspects such as balanced promotion and advertisement of all products and valuing of the people involved in product manufacture, distribution and marketing and making an indication of the same on its website and on social media.
Marketing is an important aspect in achieving organizational success and sustainable profitability. Companies use different marketing strategies across the globe to be able to reach their target market and to effectively address the business objectives. For a company such as Masafi, engagement in marketing and promotional activities that encourage purchase can be very beneficial to the company. To achieve this, the company has done a lot with regards to the provision of a sufficient range of products, marketing them and providing aces to those products. Through the use of their website and various social media platforms, the company has managed to reach a wide customer base in the UAE where it is situated. The company also engages in various CSR activities aimed at bringing their customers closer to their actions and subsequently influencing their customers more. The social media use has enabled the company to engage its customers and therefore determine their needs and address them effectively through the various provisions of the products.
Masafi Company is a UAE based company that deals with the production, marketing and distribution of various products. The products of the company include bottled water, juice, various food substances and other household products such as tissues. The company engages in promotional activities aimed at bringing their products closer to the market. Some of the strategies used to enhance the brand awareness of the company include the provision of an online shopping platform where the customers can place their orders, pay and have the products delivered to him. In addition to this, the company also practices various promotional activities to encourage customer engagement and to alert customers of their product benefits. Through TV commercials and advertisement on their website, it is probable that the customers manage to get to the company (masafi.com).
Although many studies have been carried out independently concerning various practices in marketing, no studies have had Masafi itself as the center of focus. In addition to this, the studies carried out are based on single theories of marketing and not a combination of several theories. Through this study, it will be possible to obtain an in-depth understanding of various marketing analysis strategies such as PESTLE, Seven P’s and the integrated marketing communication mix. These strategies will help to place Masafi in its context and thus effectively provide information that can be useful for successful marketing planning in the company. The key objective of the present study is therefore to determine the efficiency of various marketing strategies application at Masafi and to provide an understanding of the specific ways in which the company uses those marketing strategies. The objectives of the research will be carried out using a literature review of various academic sources.
Various marketing strategies have been discussed over the years by several authors. One of the key marketing strategies that are commonly applied in the contemporary times is the blue ocean strategy. The Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) is described by Yang (2012) through four key questions. The description provided by Yang focuses on the aspects of elimination, reduction, raising and new creations to facilitate brand awareness. The concept of elimination defines practices that are currently existent in an organization and which hamper its profitability. These factors slotted in elimination should be done away with. Reduction involves minimization of some of the factors considered to be in excess beyond profitability, while raising involves increase of factors that are considered to be present at low levels. Addition involves the addition of new practices that enhance profitability to the organizational performance (Yang 2012). Through these activities, the potential of a company can be identified and used in the design and planning of marketing practices. Alternatively, one may use the PESTLE analysis to determine the factors surrounding marketing potential for a company.
Kotler (2012) outlines the strategy of using the PESTLE analysis as a form of marketing analysis tool. PESTLE analysis involves evaluation of the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors that influence the operation of a company. The use of PESTLE analysis can help to determine the strengths and opportunities that a company can explore to attain higher levels of profitability within the target market. Because of the impacts of the external environment of business growth, a PESTLE analysis is described by Kotler to be an effective tool towards the exploration of a marketing environment for any company. In addition to this, various other studies mention the relevance of PESTLE analysis to the business environment. The mention of marketing mix cannot be complete without a description of some of the aspects of the PESTLE tool (CIM 2015). As a result, it can be argued that the PESTLE tool is the most common form of marketing analysis in the business world today. It however explores the external environment more than it addresses the internal organizational affairs.
An important aspect in the creation of marketing impression is product branding. Various branding strategies are described by Dooley and Bowie (2005). Strategies such as the branded house strategy, the house of brands strategy, endorsement strategy and others are all described in details. However, the most attractive strategy as described by Dooley and Bowie is the branded house strategy. According to these authors, this particular strategy is characterized by the presence of a dominant brand which provides an identity to all other brands in the category. This specific branding strategy is described through exemplification using the Virgin products range. The dominance of the virgin brand over the other sub brands makes it the most recognizable and most influential aspect of the brand awareness strategy. There are many advantages and disadvantages that the two authors associate with the branded house strategy. For instance, the economics of scale achieved in marketing and promotion activities results in cost saving. On the other hand, the overstretching of the virgin brand has the potential of diluting the impacts of the other brand names (Dooley and Bowie 2005, p. 408). It is therefore important that while using the branded house strategy, measures should be taken to ensure that the promotional activities focus also on the specific product brands rather than umbrella brand. Branding alone may however be insufficient to attain complete customer loyalty and the ability to influence customer purchasing practices.
It is therefore essential that marketing analysis should also take into consideration other aspects such as the marketing mix and the integrated marketing communication. The marketing mix used in any company is a function of various aspects. For instance, CIM (2015) and Kotler (2012) both discuss the aspects associated with the marketing mix. From the initial composition of Product, price, place and promotion, the marketing mix currently comprises of seven P concepts which are applied by companies to attain greater market shares. From the description given by CIM (2015), the marketing mix can be taken to comprise of the price, product, promotion, place, people, process and physical evidence of products. These aspects are considered to be a prerequisite for effective marketing and potentially very effective in acquiring, retaining and growing existing customers. In terms of the integrated marketing communication, companies use principles such as becoming customer centric; using outside in planning strategies, aligning customer needs to organizational goals and streamlining functions (Takalani 2015). Other principles applied in the integrated marketing communication include setting customer behavior expectations, and converging marketing communication activities. Through these practices, and combining them with creation of awareness and integration of various stakeholders in the marketing process, it is possible to attain greater market shares in the company (Takalani 2015). Although engagement in promotional activities is not the only way to achieve greater profitability, it is a sure way of achieving higher levels of profitability than expected by organizations.
The research study was carried out mainly using a qualitative approach based on secondary information review. The qualitative research approach is considered effective when the data to be collected, used and relayed is of qualitative nature i.e. theoretical or empirical. Through collection of secondary information regarding a particular target company, it was possible to achieve the objectives of the study which include determination of the marketing strategy of the company and the effectiveness of those strategies. According to a Creswell (2013), qualitative approach to research is effective where the information that should be collected is inclusive of various primary opinions, experiences and feelings. The qualitative strategy has the capability of producing high quality information that can be used to make deductive conclusions.
The particular method that was applied involved defining the research problem, identifying the possible research questions that can help to address the identified research problem and collecting information that relates to the study. The problem to be solved was clearly described as the lack of information pertaining to the marketing practices used at Masafi and the effectiveness of those marketing practices. Based on this information, research questions that addressed these particular issues were formulated. The selection of academic literature to include in this study was content based. Through using various key words such as ‘Marketing Mix’ to search the internet, pieces of literature that fits the desired content of the research paper. The literature also had to be from credible sources to maintain credibility and accuracy of the data presented in this study. Sources were considered credible if they were academic books, book chapters or peer reviewed journal articles.
Through the literature search process, the key ethical concerns that were applied include consideration of intellectual property rights and using only the literature that is available for public viewing. Although this limited the research to the use of free resources, it was also possible to obtain some very high quality resources. The literature reviewed also had to comply with quality standards through provision of information that is supported by other pieces of literature in the marketing field. The methodology used herein can thus be said to have been very efficient towards the accomplishment of research objectives. The information obtained from these materials was analyzed using recursive abstraction. This is a repetitive process involving continuous extraction of information and summary down to the most relevant pieces of information required.
Based on the findings from the literature review, the marketing strategy of Masafi Company can be described as appealing. This begins with effective brand design and architecture. The brand associated with Masafi products can be identified with the branded house strategy described by Dooley and Bowie (2005). The key distinguishing feature of this particular brand architecture is the presence of a dominant brand which has one distinguishing brand product that supports other descriptive products. For instance, Masafi Company runs the Masafi product brand range which includes many products. Food products, water, juice and other products such as tissue are all identified through the dominant Masafi brand. The Water is described as Masafi water. Similarly, the Juice and food are described as Masafi juice and Masafi foods respectively. Each of these products is marketed under the overriding Masafi brand. Although this particular strategy is linked to various advantages, there are also disadvantages to the branded house architecture.
The key advantages that may be associated with the kind of architecture employed by Masafi include reduction of costs due to the potential low investments on every successive addition to the range of products available by the brand. In addition to this, the company also enjoys economics of scale particularly on product promotion due to the use of a single brand identity. Other advantages that Masafi is bound to get from the branded house architecture include greater brand awareness due to the omnipresence of the brand name and increased efficiency in branding. While the positive identity and market awareness of a single product within the brand can help other products to get recognition, it is also possible for negative reputation of a single product to affect other products in the same way. In addition to this, too many products within the Masafi range can result in the overstretching of the brand identity, leading to the dilution of the impacts of the specific product brands. For instance consumers may effectively recognize the name Masafi due to its omnipresence. However, it is difficult for the consumers to identify the particular products in the range.
In terms of the application of the Blue Ocean Strategy, the company can address various issues. Elimination may not be a solution to any of the marketing challenges that the company faces. However, expanding the product range beyond what the company can handle can result in loss instead of gain. Reduction may be applicable with regards to advertisement. From the company’s website, the perception one gets is that the company focuses majorly on water and juice. The other company products are neither differentiated nor identified with the same level of clarity that is accorded to the water and the juice. From the home page to the various tabs, the promotion of water is greater than that for all other products. It may therefore be necessary to reduce concentration in the promotion of water while raising the promotion activities for other products as well. In addition to this, the company may also add new aspects to the marketing and promotional activities in the company. Online platforms for shopping are currently growing to be the newest technology in the retail sector. It is therefore important for the company to provide online purchasing platforms where customers can identify their needed products, order for them, pay online and have their purchases delivered online. The marketing mix can be used effectively in combination with these changes in the Blue Ocean Strategy to achieve even greater benefits.
The marketing mix described by CIM (2015) can be applied to the Masafi Company context. The first aspect of the mix is the product itself. With regards to this, Masafi Company has managed to provide the target market with a broad product range and to clearly define the company products. The broad product range, well identified and clearly branded are the first aspect of marketing. Marketing cannot be done without the product identification activity. Food products marketed by the company mainly include rice. Since this is a staple food of the UAE population, the choice of product range is also well informed. In addition to this, the company tries to market its products as affordable to all. However, the product pricing has to take into consideration the production costs to avoid misconceptions about the product qualities. The company has managed to maintain product prices that match the product qualities without placing undue pressure on the customers. In addition to this, the company has also grown sustainably due to its effective pricing strategies. The third aspect in the product marketing mix is the place of product availability. The company being addressed is the Masafi Company. This company is based in the UAE. The choice of location by the company can be said to be well informed.
First, the climate experienced in the UAE is hot and dry, characteristic of desert areas. This implies that the demand for water and juice are sufficiently high in this area. Any company that focuses on these aspects in trade can therefore earn effective profitability. In addition to this, it has earlier been said that Masafi concentrates most of its online marketing efforts on water and juice and less on other products. This could be due to the high rates of consumption of these products in comparison to the others. Moreover, Masafi product promotion activities also go in line with the expected market access. From the company website, various promotional adverts have been posted by the company to ensure that customers can see them. The use of catchy advertisement phrases by the company also encourages customer engagement and appeals to the customers. Besides the adverts, other product promotional practices that are planned and posted by the company on their website include issuance of water bottles for free. Other promotional measures such as provision of free items through campaigns such as the ‘buy five tissue boxes get one free’, free 1 liter juice for every 3 liters bought and free delivery of 1.5 liter water to the customer within 24 hours; are also carried out by the company.
Despite maintaining a positive outlook on the company’s promotional aspect for various products, the company does not give due attention to the people, and the process of product manufacture. The physical evidence associated with the products is however available. The marketing of the company’s products depends on the effective use of the integrated marketing communication strategy to achieve organizational goals. The key principles of integrated marketing communication as applied by the company include customer centered production and distribution of products. By focusing its promotional activities to customers and aiming at satisfying customer needs, the company clearly applies this principle. Moreover, the company treats its customers as assets by providing excellent customer service exemplified through home deliveries and free gift issuance. The marketing communication activities are also converged, with the company website clearly indicating various media through which the company advertises. The clarification that there are TV adverts and inclusion of social media links to the customers visiting the company website enables the company to communicate effectively with its customers. However, the principles of using outside in planning and aligning consumer needs to the corporate goals are still unidentifiable from the company media. It is therefore critical that the company should engage in other activities that apply the integrated marketing communication principles. This can be better achieved only after exploring the opportunities and strengths offered by the various external factors.
External factors that affect the company marketing can be analyzed through the PESTLE analysis. The political factors such as trade policies, import and export policies, political stability all affect the marketing capacity of the company. In Masafi, the company is located in the UAE; the political impacts of the operational environment can thus be referred to for the improvement of business performance. The political stability enjoyed by the country creates a perfect environment for business growth in businesses. Additionally, the favorable business terms and trade policies also improve the conditions for successful business performance. In terms of the economic aspect, the UAE also boasts of a stable economy characterized by high growth and low inflation rates. Through the boosting effects of the oil and fashion industries, the country manages to uphold a strong fiscal capacity and availability. This increases purchasing power of the citizens hence increasing the potential for successful businesses. The social factors that influence the company’s success in the market are culture and customer preferences. Other aspects of the external environment include the technological advancements in product manufacture as well as in marketing; legal aspects such as environmental regulations and tax laws and the ethical operation aspects for the company. Through these features, the company can realize many benefits in the marketing effects.
Despite all these advantages, the company still needs to address the issues of effective communication with customers, market segmentation, target and positioning. Through its social media pages, the company interacts with customers hence can be able to follow up on customer behaviors. The company can collect feedback information from the customers through requesting for information on preferences, and purchasing trends and influences. On the other hand, the company has effectively positioned its major brand, through the use of effective promotional activities. While there is not clear segmentation of the market by the company or any particular preferred market segment, this may not be necessary based on the nature of the products offered by the company. Since the water which is the leading brand is for general consumption the marketing targets the entire population. However, the food items and the juice should target the households as they are the most probable customers.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Masafi Company Has effectively managed to apply various aspects of marketing to achieve its objectives. Through using the Blue Ocean Strategy and further market segmentation practices, the company can be able to expand its market reach and thus gain even greater market shares. The marketing mix, use of IMC and the branding architecture are all favorable for business growth at the company and have been used effectively. However, there is still need to engage in greater promotion, particularly targeting a specific market segment. As recommendations, the company should do the following:
- Market other products as much as the Masafi water is marketed
- Place value on the people and process used in the manufacturing the company’s products through their representation on the company website.
- Engage in various corporate social responsibilities within and around the community of operation
- Design adverts that clearly define the target market
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