Jill Harms is the Assistant Category Manager for the Nuts, Natural Snacks and Cookies Category at Sathers Inc. Her variety of tasks in this category is challenging because there is a target by the company that the category of Nuts will grow. Another reason for her being challenges are that because she had been given full responsibility for the category. The problem now facing Jill Harms is the recommendation she would make to the Director of Marketing concerning Snacks to Go, the snack nuts product line that was introduced earlier in the year. The pressure is now on Jill Harms as to improve the line’s performance soon or, drop the line completely.
Sathers Inc. started as distributing cookies in bulk to area grocers through selling these packages as 4 to $1.00, to grocers in five counties. Consequently Sathers became an early entrant also in the field of telephone marketing. Sathers has always been emphasizing repackaging. Sathers became very successful with their original “Two for One” concept. Sathers later on manufactured and distributed candies, nuts, snacks, cookies, chocolates and etc. It is the Candy Market that made the company very popular. The company has made quite a name for its products, specifically its candy bags. Some of the strategies of the company to pursue success are the following: strengthening the distribution of the products and looking for new and innovative products.
It is an idea for a snack nuts product in a ziplock package for “on the go” consumers. The aim in developing the line was to become on of the first in the industry to introduce a ziplock package filled with nuts and natural snacks, while achieving Sathers’ company objective of developing the nuts and natural snacks category.
The areas to be considered upon pursuing this case study are the following:
â€¢ the product strategies of marketing the product
â€¢ the importance of sales and pricing
â€¢ the distribution process
â€¢ the target market or the percentage of consumers that are loyal
â€¢ the effect on the growth or decline on the Product Life Cycle
â€¢ there is a high competition on existing product brands
â€¢ options to think about
Product strategy is a critical element of marketing and business strategy, since it is through the sale of products and services that companies survive and grow. The importance of pricing and sales is another aspect to give consideration in making a decision on this case study. It is unquestionable that in every business, sales is significant because it informs entrepreneurs whether the business is still good or already in turmoil. The pricing of products is another element since demographics are different in every area of the county the products are being distributed.
Brand loyalty is very relevant since it will be part of the decision making whether to continue the product line or to drop it. It is because if there is a massive amount of loyal consumers that Snacks to Go or Sathers have, then dropping the line would not be an option. The company’s product strategy must take into account the fact that products have a life cycle. at some point, sales decline and the seller must decide whether to drop the product, alter the product, seek new uses for the product, seek new markets or continue with more of the same. The usefulness of the product-life cycle concept is primarily that it forces management to take a long range-view of marketing planning. shifts or changes in the life cycle of a product is due to the changes in the market situation, competition and demand of the product. The competition of Snacks to Go is very high and this is one area which Jill Harns must consider. Is the competition too hard to deal that is why the sales decline? Does Sathers feel defeated by the other companies that have been established earlier with nuts and snack categories?
Upon examining and clearly understanding the situation of the case, I have 3 choices for Ms. Jill Harns. First would be to drop the product line as soon as possible and innovate another market for Sathers. It is because the declining sales have been immediate since the first months of the product distribution. The second option would be to alter the product where the consumers feel at ease with. Since the survey shows that consumers are most probably interested in candies more than nuts. This option would suggest that nuts in ziplocks should be mixed with candies, gummies and etc. This is another marketing strategy that the company can use for its products.
The last alternative would be to continue with what the company has already done and just produce many of the products. This choice would mean waiting in vain for another growth in the product’s life cycle. Ms. Jill could supply and distribute more, making the product very available. In case the other brands lack supplies, the consumers in grocer stores can conveniently choose the Snacks to Go products because of its availability.
I. Alternative Course number 1: Drop the whole product line in the category
– Easy decision to make
– No more worries on marketing and packaging
– No more additional expenses for distribution and improvements
– Doubtful decision
– No ROI on the expenses made upon starting the product line
– Strategies becomes waste
– The company can think of other new products to focus on
– No problems on Product Life Cycle
– Other leading companies might do well in the certain product line
II. Alternative Course number 2: Improve and alter the products
– This is what the consumers want based from surveys and research
– Better quality of the products
– Carefully studied product strategies
– May be costly to innovate and improve the products
– Consumption will increase
– Growth in Product Life Cycle
– Sales will increase
– May turn out differently from the consumers desires
– Increasing competition
III. Alternative Course number 3: Continue the distribution with more supplies
– No need for planning
– No excess costs for improvements or innovation
– No improvements on the quality of the products
– The brand might be well known for not being scarce in supplies
– More consumers may believe that the product is very available
– May have more consumers dissatisfied
I recommend that Ms. Jill Harns choose the second alternative course of action which is to alter the products. Adding candies to the nuts can be very pleasing to the consumers since the Sathers’ candies are the most recognized product line of the company. Another reason that proves this choice is a very good decision is through the results of the survey questionnaires. I therefore conclude that Ms. Jill Harns’ decision should be to improve and alter the products that are in her product line. by innovating Snacks to Go, consumers could get a new taste of the product, and sales would eventually increase. There must be proper product strategies that the category of Sathers must have. Some of these are the branding, the packaging, the pricing, the improvements, product adoption, diffusion and innovation.
With the right tools, Ms. Jill Harns may eventually see the growth in the product lines life cycle. The problem will be solved if the company gives the consumers what they wanted which is to add candies to the product line of nuts and snacks.
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