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The product for the particular assignment is RC Cola which used to be a product of Royal Crown Cola Inc till 2001. In 2001 Company sold Royal Cola International to Cott International, now all the brands are under the acquisition of Cott International. For the purpose of this assignment we will be looking at the marketing plan for the product that is drafted particularly for the country from which I belong Pakistan.
A reason for choosing this product is more a personal reason. RC Cola was one of the favourite drinks when i was a school boy and in late 1990s RC Cola started to lose its popularity and starts to fade away. After sometime it was out classed by Pepsi and coke. I have tried to draw out a marketing plan for RC Cola because i know that there are so many people in Pakistan who used to fancy RC Cola in their childhood and want it to make a comeback.
For the purpose of making a marketing plan for the chosen product, we will do the situation analysis of the Soft Drink Industry in Pakistan. The Marketing Strategies that can be adopted by the company to gain competitive edge and the Marketing Mix for the product.
The later part of the assignment looks at the Actions that should be taken in order to implement the plan and any control measures that should be taken to make the plan successful. In the end we will draw out a budgeting plan that should be allocated for the advertisement campaign of the product.
The objective of drafting out the marketing plan for RC Cola is to win the market share in Pakistan and beat Pepsi and coke which are the two big competitors in that region. This objective is set because in past RC Cola has been the market leader for more than 20 years in Pakistan and there was no competition. This object might be difficult to achieve but is not impossible as RC cola has a very strong brand name which is a strong edge.
Only thing needed is to formulate a right strategy and to make adjustment to the product according to the strategy.
Industry’s Situation Analysis
Before drafting out a marketing plan for the chosen product it is important to analyse the industry situation. It includes the analysis of strengths and the weaknesses along with the opportunities and the threat that can affect the choice of the marketing strategy that we will adopt. At the moment the soft drinks industry of Pakistan is dominated by the products of Pepsi (market leader) and coke.
Due to the hot weather conditions the Pakistan soft drink market has enjoyed a massive growth in the terms of volume.
Soft drinks industry comprises of carbonated drinks, juices and milk shakes etc. Among all of these carbonated drinks have the highest market share. This is because the change in the lifestyles of the people, as it is perceived that drinking a soft drink makes the person look cool.
The sales analysis of the soft drinks industry in Pakistan shows that the sales have grown in both ways firstly people buying sales directly from the cold drink shop and secondly people going to hotels and having drinks with their food. This clearly shows that the soft drinks have become a part of the culture and have out classed the homemade drinks i.e. Lassi (drink made by adding milk, yogurt) etc.
The sale of soft drinks is normally seasonal; it achieves its peak in the summer and then starts to fall down as the summer progresses to meet winter.
The soft drinks like Lemon and Orange squash are not strong enough in reputation to beat the traditional drinks which are made by adding two spoons into water, mostly known as Sandalwood the best one in Pakistan are Roh Afza and Jam e Shiri.
Government of Pakistan has reduced taxes such as VAT and Excise in order to attract more foreign investments.
The labour is very cheap in Pakistan along with the running costs of a factory. This makes it easier to install and run the factory.
Increase in the awareness of heath related issues, people have started to turn towards fresh juices.
Education providers and media have raised health related issues caused by the regular use of carbonated soft drinks
Mostly people in Pakistan are now becoming self conscious about their diet and have preferred not to use cold drinks as it contains ingredients that increase obesity.
Marketing strategies that company can adopt for a specified product are:
Cost Leadership Strategy
Cost Leadership Strategy
Cost leadership strategy is a strategy which involves company trying to win the market share by targeting the cost sensitive customers.
Company should consider this strategy for several reasons. Which are listed below.
The average income per person in Pakistan is very low and the soft drink companies like Pepsi and coke have increased their prices in recent past. Looking at it as an opportunity Cott international can keep their prices low as it use to have in past and try to capture the market share.
There are about an average of four kids per couple in a country like Pakistan, most of the kids are school going and they need pocket money but due to low average income kids don’t get enough pocket money. If company keeps the cost of RC Cola low than that school going kids will be potential customers.
There is a tradition in Pakistan that people are invited on marriage ceremonies where food and drinks are served. By keeping the cost low will encourage those people to buy RC Cola as they will want to save money on something.
Mass marketing is a strategy in which company ignores the market segment and go into target everyone, everywhere with one offer. Mass marketing is suitable as well in case of Cott International for the following reasons.
It is company’s objective to gain as much market share as they could to become a market leader. For this Cott International has to start a massive marketing campaign starting from the south of Pakistan and going up to the northern areas of Pakistan.
Cott International should use print media and television advertisements as these two are the mostly used modes of media in Pakistan.
Marketing Mix Strategies
Marketing decisions cannot be made without looking at the factors such as:
Product is a term which refers to the tangible (physical process) and services. Before starting the marketing campaign Cott International should think of about the presentation of RC Cola.
Decline of RC Cola shows that there was something wrong in the product or there was something more well in the products provided by Pepsi and Coke.
Rebranding of the product is not an option in case of RC Cola as it is an internationally recognised brand and has a history of more than 100 years. It is consumed by children and adults all over the world. Rebranding in case of RC Cola means that the name of Royal Crown will be replaced by a new brand, which will not be an effective move.
Company should try to improve the quality of the product, for example they should try not to use Caffeine in the drinks as they used to have. As mentioned above people in Pakistan have become more aware about the health and hygiene issues and they know that Caffeine is not good for the health in long term.
RC Cola should try to improve the taste of their drink, this is because it tastes a bit bitter as compared to Pepsi and Coke.
Currently the there is no variety in the taste and they are only offering RC Cola and RC Cola Diet. Company should look to launch RC Cola with variety of tastes as other companies have done. Option of developing new products such as RC Cola Cherry and RC Cola Strawberry is a good option.
It should be made available in different sizes ranging from 250 ml to 2.5 Litre. Option of having disposable bottles should be considered.
As the product has been in decline and out of market for a while so the best option is to adopt marketing penetration strategy and keeping the prices low. This is because our objective is to gain the market share which cannot be achieved if the prices are high.
The price should not be too low otherwise it will be perceived as a low quality drink by people.
As government has levied the taxes for this particular industry which has resulted in reduced cost to the company, even if company set low prices it will not incur any loss.
This is related to how the product is made available to the customers. It is all about distribution of the product in market.
Traditionally in Pakistan the soft drinks manufacturers have links with distributions and wholesalers. So keeping in mind how it works in particular country it is advisable that company should develop relationship with wholesaler and distribution holders, where they could place their product and the product is made available to the consumers.
In this case company should go for the strategy of intensive distribution that ensures that product is placed at as many outlets as possible by the company. Because they aim to cover the large number of customers, so it should be made sure that RC Cola is available in each corner of the Pakistan.
Using distributions will also save the cast that would have been incurred if company has to store the product in their warehouse. Distributions somehow provide storage facility as well.
This part marketing mix is of high importance to Cott International as they have to do massive promotion in order to win the market share from the current market leader. Elements of promotional mix on which company should focus more are as follows.
Company should advertise on popular television channels such as Geo, Ary Digital, Aag. TV commercials should be creative and attractive as it will have impact on the thinking of the people. Currently Pepsi and Coke are very good in tv advertisements so i order to get to that level company should make a separate advertisement department. In Pakistan there are so many cultural and religious events for example Basant (spring festival), Ramdan and Eid.
So company should seek to make adverts according to the festivals.
Print media such as news papers and magazines are another very strong media type in Pakistan. People love to read newspapers early morning, company should advertise in popular newspapers such as Jang and The Nation.
Company should use big advertisement boards in main parts of large cities of Pakistan.
Using banners to advertise will be another good option.
It a short term incentive aimed at generating sales or encouraging consumer trial of the company’s products.
Company can distribute free samples of the RC Cola to the costumers so that they are made aware about the product with new packaging and taste.
Company should seek to introduce new offers such as “Buy a 2L jumbo size bottle and get 250ml for free”. People in Pakistan love to get things for free so this will work.
Company can introduce a lucky draw in which winner will get a car and runners up gets small prizes. Customers have to scratch the specific part of bottle in order to get the code then they have to sms that code with their details and they will be included in the draw. This will encourage people to buy because every time they will buy, they get a code which increases their winning chances.
Company can give free refrigerators with the company logo and name on it to the retailers and can ask them to use it only for RC Cola products.
Company may put vending machines with their logo in schools, colleges and universities. This will remind the people about the existence of product.
This is when an organisation undertakes to carry the cost of hosting an event in return for advertising space.
Company can sponsor Pakistan Cricket Team, by sponsoring them company will provide them cricket kits, bats and pads. On the kit of cricket team they can put their logo and also company will get space to advertise their boards on the boundaries or even on the wickets if match he taking place in Pakistan. People in Pakistan are diehard fans of cricket so there is good chance of this option to work.
Company shall sponsor musical concerts of singers like Atif Aslam Ali Zafar. Because thousands of people attend those concerts, this is the good way of making sure that people remain aware about presence of product.
Cott International should try to sign some cricket players like Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar to work in the company’s advertisement. When people will look at their stars drinking this drink they will definitely try it.
People are included in the production and delivery of goods. People make a lot of difference to the company. They should have proper uniforms.
Company should have rigorous recruitment system through which they employee well educated and disciplined staff. There should be proper training in place for the employees to carry out their duties in a perfect manner.
Sometimes employees have to interact with public during some advertisement campaign, so company should make sure that there employees are friendly.
Company should have clear procedures and policies. Everybody should be aware of their duties and responsibility.
Company should ensure that all the processes are efficient and the output is error free.
Physical evidence related to those aspects of the service that customer can see and feel so as to form an impression of the services or its provider.
Logo: Company should have a unique sign that should make it look different from other companies. It should be distinctive in way that it reminds the customer about the quality of the product that has been provided by the company.
Colour: In past RC Cola has used blue and red colour, which does not look different as the market leader Pepsi uses blue colour this might result in the misunderstanding by the customer.
Vehicles: Company vehicles such as lorries and truck should be painted and must have company’s logo and name on it.
Implementation of a plan needs finances, if there is no finance allocated to the plan than plan will always remain as a piece of paper left inside the drawer of office table.
After looking at the pakistan’s current market rates for the advertisement, budgeted expense has been drafted which is as follows:
Mode of Media used budgeted expense
Television Adverts 2,000,000
Light Boards 500,000
Total Cost 2,700,000
Once budget is allocated to the project than company should move on to start allocating the responsibilities and tasks. The marketing plan will be of no use if capable people of staff are not assigned duties and given the deadline for fulfilling their tasks. Specify the date on which product will be launched into the market.
Time to take Action
Date of launching of product is set as 12th December.2010, advertising manager of the company is given 1 week time to put all the bits and pieces in order and prepare for the advertisement campaign of the product. From next Sunday every week an advertisement will be published in the most popular newspapers.
Television Adverts will be advertised between 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on tv channels like Geo and Ary.
Advertisements will be placed in magazines.
Marketing manager has already specified the major areas where the big light boards will be installed on which advertisement will be displayed.
Lorries with a big model of the RC Cola 250ml bottle at their starts to take round of the city for whole day. People will keep this distinctive way of advertisement and will remain aware about the product.
Continuous monitoring of all the activities should be carried out in parallel till the launch of product this is done to ensure that any inefficiency or weakness could be overcome by the management well before hand.
Critical reflection on learning outcomes
RC Cola inc was formed a century ago, when it arrived Pakistani at that time there no other cola and there were no advance mode of marketing which can be found now in Pakistan. People very not aware of these foreign drinks and were fond of traditional drinks, despite of all these factors that prevailed at that time RC Cola gained market share and soon became the market leader. Acquiring market share when there was no vast coverage of media in Pakistan makes me think that there was something in the product that prompted people to buy it again after they use it for the first time. Value is in the mind of the customer, probably there were not enough carbonated drinks in the market so the arrival of RC Cola with a sweet crispy taste should be a possible source of value to the customer.
After the initial launch of RC Cola in Pakistan in 1970s-1980s the product growth was very rapid and it became market leader as mentioned already. According to my analysis of the product, the reason for its decline in first place that company did not incurred any cost on research and analysis of the development of any new product and tried to survive on the product which they had. With the passage of time the tastes of the consumer might have changed and at the same time new competitors entered the market and got hold of the situation. What do you expect from a company which do not incur any cost on research and development and when new competitors enters the market with an aggressive marketing strategy at that time company do not have enough finances to launch a marketing campaign in response. The result of all these is definitely a failure and failure always lead to the decline. Moreover the analysis of company shows that there were some law suits against them in 1990s which lead to compensation payments and cash being dried up. In my point of view these were the problems that led to the decline of product and company itself as well.
After the first glance at the assignment i thought as if this requires only drafting a marketing plan for a product that has decline and almost out of the market. But when i start to gather my thoughts on how should i start? What should i consider? I soon realise that it is not only the product which we have to look at but also the external and internal elements that will have an effect on the product directly. Than it was obvious that an analysis of the industry needs to be done. I had number of different models among which i have to use the one that best describes the situation of the industry. For the purpose of doing an industry analysis i chose to use SWOT analysis which looked at positives and the negatives of the industry in which we have to launch our product. I have a professional background of an ACCA and i thought the having studied business analysis in past and gone through all the models, it will not be a difficult task to carry out research and analysis. But my perception was proved wrong when i started looking at the product and in particular the company, i have never had a chance in past to study any industry so deeply and finding out what are the strengths on basis of shich you can capitalise and what are the weakness that are inbuilt in the industry. While going through industry analysis my mind was thinking of how the product strengths can be used to overcome the inbuilt weaknesses in industry on other hand i was thinking that how the weaknesses of my product can convert the opportunities that can be availed in that industry into the threats. This thinking process was ongoing throughout the assignment time.
After the SWOT analysis of industry and in particular the product, i had gained enough knowledge about how the things were working and evaluating the options on basis of which i could make the product play around in market to gain customer attraction. It was time to draft a proper marketing plan because a wise man have said ” If you fail to plan than you plan to fail” and i really didn’t want this product to fail. I realised that marketing plan is not only about Marketing Mix 7 P’s. It starts from the analysis which i have discussed above than it goes on to defining the objectives which the product wants to achieve. Objectives defined should be smart and feasible once the objectives are clear than 7 P’s could be used to design a marketing mix strategy, it covers every aspect of the marketing strategy from external factors to the internal factors. Marketing mix analyse each factor individually and then links them with the objectives and missions of the company. It helps to formulate what exactly needs to be done. Once your are sure about what should be done than there should be proper budget allocation to the project in order to meet the desired outcomes. Most of the marketing plans fail because there are not enough resources allocated to carry them out in practical. Roles and responsibilities should defined and work should be properly allocated. After all this has been done the marketing plan should be monitored on regular basis so that if there is something which is going wrong than proper actions should be taken in order to sort them out without any delay.
This is what my perception about how a marketing plan should be carried out and monitored till the desired objectives are achieved.
Now a days the world has become a global village and this has a vast impact on the nature of marketing. There is a big difference between a way how companies market their product now and how it used to be two or three decades ago. Marketing of a product is not limited to any physical barriers now. After the birth of e-marketing the things have changed very positively and business have gone multinationals from nationals. This has reduced the cost to the companies as well and have given a competitive advantage.
Few basic market research techniques followed now a days are Surveys, Personal Interviews, Observations and Focused groups. With the birth of e-marketing these marketing researches are now more likely to be carried out via internet. To me the outcome of these market researches is not effective at all. This is because it you look at the first technique that is Surveys in which people will be handed over a form with a number of questions which they have to answer, which is then handed back to the person carrying out survey. If the questionnaire is given in person than there might b a chance that response will be 100% but the reliability of a survey depends on the sample size if the sample size is only 1000 out of a population of 1million than the reliability of the survey could be impaired. Telephonic surveys could also be carried put but it will cost a bit more and are more effective but yet again sample size is the key thing.
Focus groups. In focus groups, a moderator uses a scripted series of questions or topics to lead a discussion among a group of people. These sessions take place at neutral locations, usually at facilities with videotaping equipment and an observation room with one-way mirrors. A focus group usually lasts one to two hours, and it takes at least three groups to get balanced results. But still the question arises that everyone has its own point of view and perception about the questions which are being asked. Few number of people cannot represent the thoughts of a large population.
Personal Interviews are same as the focus groups but is more tended towards one on one discussion.
Observation is an Individual responses to surveys and focus groups are sometimes at odds with people’s actual behaviour. When you observe consumers in action by videotaping them in stores, at work, or at home, you can observe how they buy or use a product. This gives you a more accurate picture of customers’ usage habits and shopping patterns.
After learning alot from this assignment i tried to analyse the marketing strategies and the behaviour towards customers that is practiced in my country and i than compared it with what is happening here. My analysis was mostly based on my personal experiences that i had in past. Not to my surprised i came up with a very huge difference between two environments. Back home in Pakistan customers are not treated as they should be, the shop keepers are rude to customers and they are not cared. On the other hand the behaviour of the people towards their costumers is very courteous and polite because they know the value of having these customers as they generate revenues out of them.
This assignment has enhanced my analytical skills and i have very positive plans to go back to my country after completing my course and try to work on creating a value for customers and making them feel good.
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