John Barbour and Sons is Ltd is a cloth manufacturing company that has been in operation since 1894. They manufacture garments that are waxed to provide a waterproof finish. The clothes have been used by fishermen, naval officers and cyclists. The company’s products have gained varied popularity response in different regions depending on the perception of their clients. Some have considered it as functional while others view it as a passing fad and fancy. In spite if the varied reactions by the customers, the Barbour company has managed to sustain its market share and keep its reputation high by maintaining its mains principles.
The company, originally from Britain has gained popularity in the international market and has moved to other neighbouring countries like United States, Canada, France and Spain. Due this expansion, the company introduced new products in terms of designs to cater for the new markets. Their unique marketing strategy and the development of new designs have played an important role in their success especially in the international market hence solving the exchange rate inconveniences.
The launch of the company website was another great achievement of the Barbour Company that came with a lot of benefits including improved business-customer relationship and developed brand loyalty. The uniqueness of the company’s marketing strategy has lead to formation of two clubs on their website that is, Barbour owners club and Barbour members club. This is a competitive advantage they have against their competitors. They also provide for cross selling through their website database Product standardization
Barbour Company is very popular with manufacturing of classic waxed clothed in the European market. Since there is increased competition in the international market, the company has to do a great deal of promotion and marketing in order to remain competitive in the developing market. One of the strategies to do this is to carry out product standardization (Carlo 1994). Though marketing abroad is very tricky and the products for export are not necessarily the same as those for domestic market, core aspect still remain crucial for both markets.
In order to maintain competitiveness in the international market, the Barbour Company should carry out international strategies that include customization, product adaptation, and innovation other than standardization. In the international market, the extent of standardization should be limited to certain degree since the requirements may not be the same as the domestic needs. Three methods commonly applied by some of the successful companies include; 1. adopting the same promotion and marketing policy home and abroad 2. the company takes care of the specific requirements of foreign customers
3. The firm may opt to start designing from scratch, products for the foreign market. The reasons why Barbour Company needs to carry out some standardization its marketing strategy is the benefits that come with the standardization of product in the international market. They include; the company is more likely to benefit from economies of scale, this means that the company would enjoy discounts and expenses that it would benefit as a result of the increased production. Per cost production is reduced and production volume is increased (Carlo 1994).
Common consumer needs allow for product standardization, there are some commodities that are universally used and need same prerequisite across borders for example, raincoats and jackets. Standardization allows cutting down of costs that could have been incurred in designing other products from scratch. Consumer mobility is another strategy in International marketing process. This process helps firms to specifically manufacture products for the markets abroad. Other than standardization, consumer mobility is a strategy
This process will be used by Barbour Company to answer very elementary questions about the foreign market before venturing in to it. They include subjects like, how do the clients arrive at a purchasing decision, what is the customers’ judgement of the stores presentation and how does it influence buying behaviour. These topics would help the management of Barbour a great deal in the prediction of in-store consumer trends and the other factors that affect their purchasing habits. Such findings can be very useful in designing the marketing strategy that would be used in the foreign market (Carlo 1994).
Understanding consumer mobility and purchasing relationships would assist in predicting the expected trend and flow of products in the market and would encourage innovative technology to meet the customers’ requirement as observed by the customer mobility trends. Production adaptation the opposite of product standardization and is equally important in marketing in new markets especially overseas. Product adaptation involves modification and innovation of a firm’s products based on the existing products of the competitors in the market.
This strategy exploits the competitor products and not on ground-breaking innovations, it follows the existing product portfolio. Since in Spain there are existing cloth manufacturing already, Barbour Company needs to carry out a research on the existing consumer requirements and specifications and make modifications on their products and promote them in the international market (Carlo 1994). Many exporting companies have or those that are multinational and have branches in other nations have engaged in product modification of their supply and has devised very efficient foreign marketing style.
Designing such strategy should consider the available resources and the profits. Having eight retail stores U. K and its presence in over 28 countries in the European market including Spain is a very challenging circumstance for the Barbour Company. The company has to employ the following adaptation techniques in product adaptation as a marketing strategy depending on customer desires and market objectives; 1. Same product same needs – this strategy would help to popularize Barbour Cloth Company along other companies that are producing similar products both in domestic and foreign market.
This is because they meet similar deeds 2. Same product different needs – this could be used when similar products are intended for different purposes. Some cloths may be viewed as essential for example, waxed coats used by fisher men while other clients may view them as just fashionable. 3. Different product, similar needs – this strategy would help to provide alternative products in the market for customers in both foreign and domestic market. 4. Dual adaptation – this king of product adaptation would involve modifying the product as well as the purpose for its use.
This is usually very expensive and would not be very necessary unless it shows greater success rates in a field not yet exploited. 5. Invention – this helps the companies in question to cater for customers who may not be able to afford what already exists in the market. This is because some customers have low income and might not be able to manage to pay for expensive garments or the same adaptation can be applied where a company discovers a cheaper production technology that can be used to accomplish the same requirements.
Developing Integrated Communications Strategy Integrated marketing communication is a way of ensuring that all information and messages are connected. This means that the process involved go beyond just the coordination of a company’s outgoing information (advertisements and promotions) through different media and the reliability of the message (Schultz et,al. 1996). Integrated marketing strategy utilizes widespread customer information to plan and develop a marketing approach.
Barbour Company has to develop a well designed integrated marketing strategy because it would enable the company to have an on paper plan which would be very effective in sustaining its market niche in a competitive world as well as discover new marketing requirements and unmet customer needs (Schultz et,al. 1996). Steps in designing this communication mix are; 1. Creating customer database – bearing in mind that Barbour Company operates its own data base, creation of customer database would enable the management access customer information and analyze the purchasing habits and trends in the market.
2. Laying down on-paper strategies – the marketing strategy is usually developed form the information obtained from the customer database. Business communication, sales and promotions are designed from the insights from the customer information. 3. Designing working tactics – once the general strategy has been laid down, proper promotional plans can be specified to target specific marketing goals. 4. Evaluation of Strategy – the outcomes of the new information about the consumer habits is investigated to establish the efficiency of the strategy set to operate. Marketing Communication Mix
This defines the exact advertising medium to be used, personal selling, market promotion, and business – customer relationships the company would use to meet the objectives set in the marketing strategy (Schultz et,al. 1996). The best marketing strategies usually work out the 4 P’s Versus the 4 C’s analysis Product and Customer – in designing consumer products, the company should make sure that the customer needs and requirements are met. Both the international and local markets have changed so much that businesses no longer trade in what they can make rather the product specification is determined by consumers specific needs.
Since the customer is the “man” in business, then meeting the requirement puts a business at a better position in the market mix. Price and Cost – the pricing of products should be designed to comply with the consumer’s cost to satisfy his/her needs. Research has found out that price is just one element of the consumers’ cost structure in meeting their needs (Yeshin 1998). The intrinsic cost plays a very critical part for example; it’s the cost of time to watch a movie and the cost of guilt for not treating your friends well.
Place and Convenience – provision of products at the right place at the right time should be matched with the convenience the customer would enjoy. Convenience covers characteristics of physical or practical location, easiness of access, and reduced transaction time (Yeshin 1998). Promotion and Communication – promotional marketing should not be hard to comprehend as the purpose of the message may not be accomplished. The best mediums for communication and promotional activities in marketing should have a feedback mechanism to enable two way communications (Yeshin 1998).
The message should be understood by the customer in a way to create the need to purchase products being marketed. The revolutionized marketing communications has prompted the change of mass marketing strategy to more target specific marketing. The changes and improved information and communication technology has facilitated market segmentation. The progress in information technology especially the aspect of media fragmentation has encouraged narrowcasting as opposed to broad casting The Benefits
Though integrated Marketing Communications would require a lot of resources from Barbour Company, the benefits (competitive advantage, Profits and increased sales) that come with it are worth the cost and the effort invested in the strategy. Integrated communication wraps information around consumers and shortens the time spent in the buying. This enable to reduce queues and the sales made in a day could be greatly increased; this efficiency usually improves company reputation as well as creating a better relationship between the customers and the business (Yeshin 1998).
Barbour Cloth Company would be able to retain customers in this competitive environment as good relationship between customers and the company builds customer loyalty. This is very essential in eliminating unnecessary onslaught of competition. The possibility of maintaining customers for a long time is a very strong competitive advantage. Integrated marketing communication will result in increased returns due to efficiency involved. The current advances in information and communication technology have adopted the use of effective unified message as opposed to incoherent innumerable messages.
Consolidated and crystal clear message will have higher chances of penetrating the busy environment and reaching the target consumers. Integrated marketing can to a great extent heighten sales by stretching messages across numerous communication tools to d generate more opportunities for customers to access and obtain awareness of the products, stimulate the need to have the product being advertised and ultimately getting the potential customers to actually purchase the goods.
Finally the adaptation of an integrated marketing system would enable the Barbour cloth company to save a lot of money that could have otherwise been used to duplicate graphics and photos. In IMC, the photos can be shared and used for advertising, presentations and promotional literature. Agency costs are cut down buy the use of a single agency for all communications and even if the company might use several agencies, time is a saved for meetings, briefings and strategic planning.
Workload is reduced and hence the efficiency of the marketing strategy is improved, work stress is completely eliminated. Pricing of Products Price is one of the important aspects of the integrated marketing strategy as identified earlier. This is because it’s closely linked to the positioning of the product in the market. On the other hand, the price of a product significantly influences other elements of marketing (Phillips et,al. 1994). There are many ways of developing prices for gods and services.
Come the most crucial one are; Premium pricing – this allocation of high prices depending on uniqueness of the products, Penetration Pricing – prices are purposively set low in order to achieve a market niche, Economic Pricing – prices are set based on low manufacturing and marketing costs, Price Skimming – higher prices are set as a result of the established competitive advantage, Psychological pricing – prices are set based on the emotional perception of the consumer, Product Line Pricing – pricing benefits are granted on a range of products, Product Bundle Pricing – prices are collectively set for a collection of Products as a single package, promotional pricing – prices are set to enhance promotion of the product and Value pricing – prices are influenced by external factors such as competition, and recession. Pricing Objectives Barbour Cloth Company has to develop pricing objectives in order to settle on the most favorable pricing of their products (Phillips et,al. 1994). There are different objectives for pricing, but the basic reasons include the following; 1. Profits – the purpose of any business organization is to make maximum profits, bearing in mind the expenses and other overhead costs. Present profit maximization may not be the superb pricing strategy if it results in lower profits. 2. Revenue – the purpose of the business is to establish long term trend in profit margin by expanding the market segmentation and reducing costs. 3.
Quality leadership – the prices usually indicate the position of a product as the quality leader. This builds consumer confidence and loyalty. 4. Status Quo – prices may help a firm to sustain its position in the market by making a stable and consistent profit level. Conclusion Business success is the dream of many business ventures, expansion and enlargement in to the foreign market is the sign o0f success. With efficient marketing strategy in Place, Barbour cloth company is likely to attain success both in Home market Britain and abroad including Spain. The few set backs that might be encountered would include the Spain’s government policies and business regulations.
Barbour being a family business needs to be cautious with the law and utilize all aspects of legal (LE-PEST C Analysis) environment for business operations. References Carlo A. (1994). Product Standardizatuion.. A Management Process. American Society for Healthcare Central Service Personnel of the American Hospital Association Phillips C. Doole I. & Lowe R. (1994). International Marketing Strategy. Anlysis, Development and Implementation. Routledge. Schultz D. E, Tannenbaum S. I & Lauterborn R. F. (1996) The New Marketing Paradgm. Integrated Marketng Communications. McGraw-Hill Proffessional. Yeshin T. (1998). Integrated Marketing Communications. The Holistic Approach. Butterworth-Heinemann.