The topic and the research is controllable as the topic is critical evaluation of marketing strategies of an automobile company and the research results in analysis, discussion and conclusion on the basis of available data and interviews with the important executives as well as the staff of the company. The data necessary for the research will be acquired through interview or interviews of employee of the company who is in managerial position and the responses of marketing staff of the firm in various countries the organisation is selling its automobile products. In the next stage, the theory of the assignment is to understand the marketing strategies and to evaluate as well as analyse them in different geographical areas and countries.
Critical Review of Theory: The data gathered, the literature reviewed and the information got from the interviews will be critically evaluated keeping in mind the quality of marketing strategies and to the extent they are satisfying the customers’ needs.
Current Position: The current position of the company will be considered while analysing the data gathered and the discussion as well as conclusion also reflect the present situation of the company.
Evaluation of Company use of Theory: As the company follows particular marketing strategies the theoretical aspects in them are evaluated and observed to know about the success of the company in achieving the objectives using those theoretical perspectives.
Conclusions and Recommendations: The conclusions and recommendations depend on three chapters in the research proposal namely; Literature review, analysis and discussion. However, the analysis and discussion are designed according to the literature review and interviews.
Tata Motors is a very high earning automobile company in India and that earnings are due to its manufacturing and marketing strategies. Its marketing strategies enabled to become as fourth largest truck manufacturer in the world. One of the important aspects that made the company to be at that place is its novel marketing approach, which is clear cut in direct marketing and as well as online. One can find the integration of multiple media outlets on the website of Tata Motors and understand their innovation in the marketing strategies. The innovation in the marketing strategies of Tata motors is to attain profitability in the market place lies in carving out a location, which the competitors cannot do. Keeping this important marketing fact in mind, the production and other departments of Tata motors offer the customers the innovative products. Moreover, Tata Motors have excellent track record in service and presentation, but the point that needs focus in this paper is that they create that image in a prospects’ minds to turn them into customers. The marketing executives effectively convey the messages regarding the views of families about their cars and the expectations of truck owners about their trucks. Moreover, the company builds the value by integrating technology with advertisement and media to have an unmovable space in the minds of customers that develops brand value. Hence, the marketing of the products of Tata motors is comparatively easy than their competitors. Another important aspect that makes marketing of the firm’s products easier is that their products are as efficient as those of competitors but are available at a lesser price (Quinson Thomas, 2009).
According to information available from the Website of Tata Motors, it is India’s largest automobile company. It’s consolidated revenues stand at Rs.92, 5.19billion, which are equal to $20 billion in the financial year 2009-10. Though it is a leader in commercial vehicles segment, it also has enough share in the market of family cars, which are available in both economical and luxurious models. It is not only worlds’ fourth largest truck manufacturer but also 2nd largest bus manufacturer. After its establishment in 1945, Tata Motors expanded itself both horizontally and vertically in India and by now, there are 5.9 million vehicles moving on Indian roads. The firm has its manufacturing units located at Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), Pune (Maharashtra), Lucknow(Uttar Pradesh), Pantnagar (Uttarkhand), Dharwad (Karnataka). It has a manufacturing unit in Ranjangaon in Maharashtra also but in collaboration with Fiat. As to increase its manufacturing capacity of its world’s cheapest Nano car, it has recently started a new manufacturing plant at Sanand in Gujarat. When one points to their network, the company has 3,500 outlets or counters or dealers across India. The company tries to establish itself in new areas and countries by acquisitions and may enter as a minor partner in a larger firm. It also uses its subsidiaries and associated companies to enhance their marketing strategies. Apart from India, the company is operating in UK, South Korea, Thailand and Spain. The company acquired British iconic company Jaguar Land Rover, and also the Daewoo commercial vehicle company based in South Korea. After that the renamed Tata Daewoo commercial vehicles company started new products in South Korea and even started exporting vehicles to other countries. In addition to that Tata Motors acquired 21 percent of Hispano Carrocera of Spain, and bought it in 2009. It has joint ventures with Marcopolo of Brazil and Thonburi Autormotive Assembly Plant Company of Thailand. In addition to them, Tata Motors exports its commercial as well as passenger vehicles to various countries in Europe, Africa, Middle East, South East Asia, South Asia and South America. Other than the expansions and sales, the background of the foundation of the company’s growth can be understood from the fact that there are 3,000 engineers working in engineering research centre established by Tata Motors in 1966, which has more number of centres at various locations in India (Tatamotors.org, 2010).
Consequently, Tata Motors’ global sales increased by 50 percent in May 2010, which comprises the vehicles manufactured by the company’s subsidiaries and joint ventures mentioned earlier. Coming to the commercial vehicles segment, the sales of the company grew by 45 percent, whereas the passenger vehicles sales increased by 54 percent. As per the information from the website of Tata Motors, 24,077 passenger vehicles are sold in one month, which amounts to 42 percent of cumulative growth (Tatamotors.org, 2010). In addition to the above facts that indicate them magnanimity of the company, its corporate governance is well known for providing leadership and guidance to the company management and comprising of directors and supervisors .The mode of functioning, can be understood from the fact that it has 83 percent of its directors numbering to 10 as non executive directors, which gives free hand to the management that works on the philosophy provided by the top level management. The company has a clause in listing of agreement for the independence of independent directors thus giving freehand to the directors as well employees. Even the work was divided according to the number of directors as no director in the company has membership in more than 10 committees and chairman of 5 committees.
Apart from the corporate governance and other activities, the marketing strategies of the Tata Motors are acceptable to the customers as there is enough publicity for their customer care activities, which is single point of contact for upkeep of vehicles purchased from the company. The company offers its services for vehicles for entire life span. The objective of Tata Motors’ customer carer department is to offer good quality service by ensuring the availability of TATA genuine parts throughout the network of dealers. There are 1100 dealers for the spares and they offer services also. The services include annual maintenance contract, aggregates refurbished vehicle, reconditioned aggregates as well as training (Tatamotors.org, 2010).
Coming to the channel partners on the map that help the company to maintain its hold on the market, the company offers region wise dealers and channel partners for sales and services of its products as well as the international locations. As per the characteristics of the company mentioned above, Tata Motors is committed to service to customers and corporate responsibility as well. It is a signatory to the UN global compact and undertakes community and social activities regarding labour and environment. The global compact agreement has laid down the compliances for the principles that govern the initiatives. As part of the initiatives, the company’s social responsibility deal with community development, serving rural communities that are adjacent to manufacturing locations. Along with the today’s marketing and sales, the company’s philosophy believes in technology for tomorrow. Their products can be considered as demonstration for the above aspect. The two percent of company’s turnover will be spent on research and development so that the company can have access to much needed timely technology.
Regarding the review of marketing strategies the foremost important issue is about creativity. The marketing strategy concerned with creation of marketing mix enables a firm to achieve its objectives in any target market. As a result, strategy innovation is necessary for the new comers and it cannot be ignored by the firms who already have hold on the market also. That means the innovative or creative strategy can not only make a new firm to have success but also creates a brand value for the old firms and helps it to last long. In this context, Stanley F. Slater., G. Tomas M., Hult., Eric M. Olson. (2010, p.552) quotes Kim and Mauborgne (2004) about example of creative marketing strategies. They mention the blue ocean strategy in a crowded and declining industry. In this paper one can find that the companies began the transition with a new value proposition according to needs of the customers that are conveyed by marketing executives. It is important to reinvent the same thing while one is trying to sell it to the customers. As part of it it is important to imagine new ways that are important to harness and create niche space or to readjust the existing space according to the changed technology and objectives of company as well as the demands of the customers. After that the implementation is important and in this regard Stanley F. Slater et al., (2010, p.552) quotes Bonoma (1984, p.70) about invariably easier thoughts that can be considered as clever marketing (Stanley F. Slater et al, 2010, p.551-552).
As a follow up for the creative marketing strategies and for the relevance of the topic selected for this paper as well, it is important to consider challenges of Asian marketing firms. In the present industrial age, manufacturing contributes to the value creation and it will be to the fuller extent when the marketing is up to the mark and the manufacturing is also done according to the customer needs conveyed by the marketing department. Hence, to meet the challenges it is important for any Asian firm to coordinate the activities of all firms with marketing department and vice versa. Hence, the inputs from marketing department also result in slim manufacturing to enable the framing of successful marketing strategies that create brand value as well as the low price for the products to attract the customers. In addition to that it is important for the firm like Tata Motors to consider the entry of MNCs in to country and the competition that is faced due to the presence of them. Though Tata Motors has created enough brand value in the Indian Market, the strategies should be changed accordingly in the wake of entry of MNCs. In this context, it is important for a company like Tata Motors to enter into foreign markets so that the R&D of the firms can be exchanged and enhanced product can be released and can also find wide market place for its products as it is expanding horizontally first. Hence, one of the important aspect is to expand the market through acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures.
The choice of the company Tata Motors is due to the company’s marketing strategies that consider the aspirations as well as the price concerns of the customers. As the commercial as well as passenger vehicles of Tata Motors are cheaper when compared to their competitors, they cater to the needs of the customers simultaneously. Moreover, the recent such step is to build a people’s car ‘Nano’ as it is the cheapest car in the world at this time. When the release of Nano simultaneously with the implementation of strategies like expanding horizontally into other countries, the Tata Motors offers wide range of marketing strategies to explore and analyse as one can explore the issues of pricing in the market as well as expanding it.
How do the marketing Strategies of Tata Motors can be termed as successful or applicable in the era of globalisation?
In the present situation of globalisation, it is important for the company like Tata Motors to consolidate the present market while expanding it by searching new horizons. However, while doing this, the firm faced two types of situations; one being facing a new competition from the MNCs entering into the company and the other is that the company is facing the same situation foreign countries (new markets) as of the MNCs in India. Tata Motors succeeded in both the strategies; consolidating the Indian Market and entered into the market of other countries by mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures as well. Hence, the way the company made it successful by showing innovation in two types of strategies simultaneously is important to analyse and discuss in the paper.
“The Research Design is the ‘blueprint’ that enables the investigator to come out with solutions to the problems and guides him/her in a right way at various stages of the research” (Nachmias & Nachmias, 1996; Churchill, 1991). Research design involves different research techniques that we are going to use to get the information needed relevant to the problem, the measurement and scaling techniques for understanding the collected information, the questionnaire design etc (Lawley and Gardiner, 1999; Malhotra and Birks, 2003). Also Tull and Hawkins (1987) argue that one of important research design’s goals is to maximize the accuracy of the gathered information to create a proper budget level.
Research design can be broadly classified into three main categories (Churchill, 1979; Green and Tull, 1978).
The primary goal of research design in this paper is to help in understanding of marketing phenomena, determine the problem in a better way and provide additional insights and ideas (Malhotra and Birks, 2003; McDaniel and Gates, 1999). Exploratory research helps in the context of the type of present research, as the researcher’s objective is to have a clear understanding to proceed with the research study and providing alternative measures of action, identifying priorities that had not been initially considered, clarify concepts and ideas, diagnosing critical situations and improving the research design (e.g. Emory, 1980; Zikmund, 2000). Moreover, exploratory research is the “antecedent for a good study” because “is characterized by flexibility with respect to the methods used for gaining insight and developing hypotheses” (Churchill, 1979, p.50) for this ‘qualitative’ research.
Descriptive research is a very important research design and is undertaken to describe something e.g. consumer’s beliefs and attitudes, other market characteristics etc (Parasuraman, 1991; Jobber, 2004). According to Churchill (1979, p.53-54) descriptive research can be used to describe the characteristics of certain groups, to estimate the proportion of people in a specified population who behave in a certain way and to make specific predictions. In addition, descriptive research differs from exploratory research because researcher can plan and structure from before, formulate specific research questions and hypotheses and is based on large representative samples (Malhotra and Birks, 2003). Besides, one disadvantage of descriptive research is that is not able to provide the information needed for making causal inferences about the relationships between variables (Parasuraman, 1991). Finally, it has been suggested that descriptive research is classified into two basic types: the cross-sectional designs which involve the data collection from random samples of population and the longitudinal designs which are repeated-measurement studies that involve collection of information from fixed samples of population which are the same over the time (Parasuraman, 1991; Malhotra and Birks, 2003). This is ‘quantitative’ research.
Causal research “is used to obtain evidence of cause-and-effect (causal) relationships” (Malhotra and Birks, 2003, p.69). The most common types of causal studies are the experiments, since they are the best to determine the cause and the effect (Churchill, 1979; Zikmund, 2000). Additionally, causal research is testing different hypotheses and can help the researcher to observe the reactions of various tested dependent variables at several periods in time (e.g. McDaniel and Gates, 1999). Apart from that, causal research plans and structures from before, like the descriptive research, in a relatively controlled environment; however it cannot give very clear results for managers to interpret, like the exploratory research (Malhotra and Birks, 2003). This is again ‘qualitative’ research.
After looking at the various advantage and disadvantages of the various types of research approaches available the author/researcher chose descriptive research method for this particular research.
Secondary data include internal published data such as annual company reports, reports to stockholders and external published data such as government reports and statistics (McDaniel & Gates, 1999; Peneault & McCarthy, 1997). In addition, another form of collecting secondary data is the search engines (e.g. Google) where the data can be quickly and simply collected (Jobber, 2004).
Secondary research is based on reading and it is sometimes called ‘library research’. It involves reading what other researchers have written about the issues involved in a topic. Secondary sources are second hand and therefore may be biased towards the views of the person or organisation that produced them, also the information may be out of date as the book or article may have been written sometime after the original research was done and the reader is accessing the material after publication therefore information should be treated with caution and if the material is used there should be evidence from different sources to support it. (Schoonhoven & Romanelli, 1994)
Less cost and time needed
Less invasion of privacy by using existing data
Comparative analyses and build creativity for the research report
Sometimes they lack relevance, accuracy and redundancy,
Not as accessible as primary data
The information may not be enough for the way the data was collected
The secondary sources which will be used for the research are:
Books/Magazines on to international business, international marketing and various strategic decisions relating to the developing country business.
Internet / Web pages on the official websites of Tata Motors, online, journals about Automobile industry and its growth in India, online Annual reports will be utilised.
TV/Media meaning various press releases of different marketing campaigns, events and strategic initiatives will be considered for data collection.
CDs on developing countries’ business and marketing strategies, common success factors of internationalisation might be in hand for a general preview.
Newspapers are one of the best courses for secondary data which is updated, well-researched making better and easier sense than the usual theory.
These information will be used for the purpose of literature review to support the study of the research area which will later on lead guidance towards the in depth research for the primary data supporting the analysis.
Major sources are unusual materials on which additional research is based. These sources contain work for instance interviews, surveys, and fieldwork. Primary sources also contain research results produced by experiments that are frequently published in academic and research journals. Information, such as figures which have been charted but not deduced, are also measured a primary source.
In other words primary data are “the data originated by the researcher specifically address the research problem” (Malhotra and Birks, 2003, p.85). Parasuraman (1991) argues that primary data are necessary where the secondary data are unavailable or inappropriate and can be collected by several methods. The purpose of primary data collection is the answering of questions of the defined problem of the study (Dodge et al., 1982). The primary could be mainly of three types, they are the surveys, the observations and the experiments (Dibb et al., 1994; Churchill, 1982). For this study the observation method is chosen research approach with the application of descriptive cross-sectional study, because it is the most effective research approach or method to generating primary data.
Below are referred the three main types of primary research.
Surveys are regarded to be the most popular method of collecting primary data and are used to describe marketing phenomena at a particular time (Dodge et al., 1982). “Survey techniques are the techniques based upon the use of structured questionnaires given to a sample of a population” (Malhotra and Birks, 2003, p.224). Through surveying you can ask respondents a variety of questions regarding different issues such as attitudes/opinions, awareness/knowledge, demographics and lifestyle characteristics intentions, motivations etc (e.g. Churchill, 1982).
The main advantages of surveys are that they are more objective and reliable; they have a more representative sample of the target population; the gathered data can be manipulated with the use of statistical techniques; the collection of the information is not time consuming, costly and difficult (Dodge et al., 1982; Emory, 1980; Zikmund, 2000). Other important advantages are the flexibility of data collection; the opportunity to ask a variety and/or a diversity of questions; the social acceptance of respondents to give answers due to the perceived responded anonymity and finally the accuracy of the gathered data (Parasuraman, 1991; Malhotra and Birks, 2003).
On the other hand, the surveys have some important drawbacks like the difficulty to prove causal relationships; the chances for interviewer bias in the results of the survey because e.g. of wrong selection of respondents, omitting some essential questions, wrong record of answers, the presence of an interviewer only that leads to socially desirable answers by respondents etc; the issue of obtaining sensitive information because may be misreported; the expensive cost of some survey methods like personal interviews and the complexity of considering all variables at the same time (Dodge et al., 1982; Malhotra and Birks, 2003).
Observation method is defined as “the systematic process of recording the behavioural patterns of people, objects and occurrences without questioning or communicating with them” (Zikmund, 2000, p.217). McDaniel and Gates (1999) argue that there are three conditions for using observation research. They are
the research duration should be of relatively short duration
the needed information must be observable or inferable
the behaviour of the interest should be relatively frequent, repetitive and predictable
The main advantages of the observations are the measurement of an actual behaviour namely the accuracy and reliability of the results; the availability of a big number of information by observation at the time it occurs; also another strength is the flexibility that gives to the observer to concentrate on any important variables; moreover the behaviour of interest takes place in its natural environment and finally the most important is that observation is more objective method than surveys without significant bias (e.g. Emory, 1980; Aaker et al., 1995; Bailey, 1982).
Nevertheless, observations have some weaknesses as well. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of versatility and communication and as a consequence the difficulty to determine issues like attitudes and opinions, motives and feelings of consumers and generally characteristics of consumer behaviour (Dodge et al., 1982).
Experiment (research) is “a research study in which circumstances are controlled so that one or more variables can be controlled in order to test a hypothesis”. The main reason of the investigational research is the control of the research estimation in order to evaluate fundamental relationships between several variables (Zikmund, 2000, p.238). Experiments according to Babbie (1998) are very useful for hypothesis testing and better suitable for small group interaction and explanatory purposes as well.
The research is accomplished in a controlled environment that permits the use of a smaller sample size rather than in an uncontrolled environment (Bailey, 1982; Babbie, 1998).
The experiments allow the establishing of causality as mentioned earlier (Bailey, 1982; Babbie, 1998).
The allowance of a longitudinal analysis namely the observation and gathering of data over a period of time even some experiments are of short duration (Bailey, 1982; Babbie, 1998)
Despite the advantages of the experiments, there are some weaknesses that have made us to reject this research approach. Firstly, the experiments are accomplished in an artificial environment and may not be suitable for a more natural environment. In addition, their high cost and the fact that experimental research is a complicate and time-consuming process make its usage very difficult (e.g. McDaniel & Gates, 1999). Therefore, this mode of data collection was also rejected by the author.
The types of primary sources which will be used for the research purposes are:
Email contact will be used as a source of the primary contacts making with the company officials of the Tata Motors for permission to interview a few employees.
Discussion could be drawn to meaningful facts participated by the friends working in the Tata Motors.
Observation method will be used for the purpose of gathering neutral knowledge about the marketing directions of the company.
Interviews will the most valuable source of the whole research since based on the interviews of the regional managers of Tata Motors the research paper will establish its findings.
Quantitative research is that which measures the incidence of different types of behaviour, attitudes or characteristics. It looks for correlations between them – for example class and voting behaviour. Because it is working with measurable things it tends to use statistical techniques in looking for relationships. The use of Surveys and Statistical data for example standard deviation tool is referred to as Quantitative. (Ragin, CC 1987)
Qualitative research is typically that which relies on interviewing and observational methods. It seeks in depth data emphasising the perspective of the subjects of the research (Ragin, CC 1987)
Justification for Qualitative Research
Since the research solely stands on the basis of internal information of the company that is to learn the success factors of the marketing strategies of Tata Motors, quantitative research will be of little use to the researcher. The research more depends on the quality than the number of the respondents and the responders are preferable of those who belong to Tata Motors. The interviews of the managers of the various departments will form a quality opinion for the paper and the observation opportunity will just boost up to support the collected data from the interviewees. In the research, there is less to quantify since it does not require any survey or opinion of the general public as it is a descriptive research method.
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