The operation of business organization centered round its customers. The product, price, promotions and distribution network (place), mostly referred as the 4Ps of marketing, are focused on customers and how to satisfy them and make them continue their patronage with the organization. Customers’ satisfaction and winning their trust goes a long way in determining the success rate of an organization. Marketing involves the process of strategizing in bringing goods and services to consumers when and at the price needed.
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Thus, strategic marketing entails that the organization carries out an effective planning that would coordinate the whole marketing operates of the organization and make it adapt to its environment through effective utilization of available resources. Thus, the different marketing strategies; pricing strategy, distributive strategy, promotional strategy, sales strategy, product creation and branding strategy, inter alia, these are synchronize in meeting the marketing objectives of the organization. “Strategy is concerned with effectiveness rather than efficiency and is the process of analyzing the environment and designing the fit between the organization, its resources and objectives and the environment” (Proctor, 2000).
Adopting a pragmatic strategy for an organization is aimed at making the organization curve a niche over its rivals. Through an organization marketing mix structure, it can build for itself a strategy that would make it meet its objectives adequately. In doing this, the organization’s strategy should be centered round the customers through its marketing mix.
Here, strategizing should take acknowledgement of the product, place (distribution), the price, and promotional strategies in building a competitive base for the organization, through customer’s satisfaction. In this view, Oden (1997:3) argues, “many of today’s most successful organizations continue to survive because many years ago they offered the right product at the right time. Most product, market, and process venture decisions of the past were made without the benefit of strategic thinking or planning.
This write-up would give an analysis on Innocent Drinks has effectively utilize its marketing mix in its overseas operations.
INNOCENT DRINK ORGANIZATION PROFILE
Innocent Drinks organization started operation in the production of drinks since 1998. The name ‘Innocent’ for the organization is derived to symbolize the organization’s products that are naturally made and unadulterated. “We call them innocent because our drinks are always completely pure, fresh, and unadulterated.
Anything you ever find in an innocent bottle will always be 100% natural and delicious -and if it isn't, get on the banana phone and make us beg for forgiveness” (Innocent Drinks, 2006). The organization is a multinational corporation with operational base well established in European countries, which include United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, France, Austria, and Netherlands.
Innocent drinks organization involve in the production of drinks derived from its cow milk and fruit drinks. The organization has variety of brands of drinks, which are produced to give delight to its customers. The different range of the organization’s product range from smoothies; with brand for children and other varieties; superfoods; a natural smoothies produced for specific purpose such as when one feels tender; big carton smoothies for home keep and refrigeration.
There is also thickies; live probiotic yoghurt, and juicy waters containing juice and spring water all mixed up to make customers feel wonderful and satisfy. This range of product from Innocent Drinks organization goes to testify that the organization is product oriented. Furthermore, the accomplishing supplementary services from the organization go to make the delivery of its products to consumer in the most delightful way and making them satisfied. All these supplementary services are built around the delivery of good products to consumers.
These supplementary services include the cooling of the organizations drinks in refrigerated van that are specifically designed in a cow image. Since the organization sell its drinks all over the place, it uses its cow van in making sure its products are well distributed. The cow vans of the Innocent Drinks are built in cow form, with horns and button that when pressed would make it make the moo sound of a cow. This brings about the creation of a specific branding of the organization products and creates great awareness of its product in the place of its marketing. An organization provides core services and goods to its customers.
This core services or products are the main organization’s operation, which they render or sell to customers. According to Iacobucci (2001:323), “An organization that provides services, either as its central provision or in a value-added capacity in a bundle of attributes included in a customer’s purchase of some goods, may find it useful to distinguish those elements of the services purchase experience that are ‘core’ from the supplemental”. For Innocent Drinks, its supplementary services are built around its products to make the consumers of its product feel satisfied. Thus, it is arguable that the Innocent organization operates a product-oriented organization.
The product brand of the organization goes a long way in structuring the organization’s identity. To further support this proposition, the location where the organization operates from is named ‘Fruit Towers’. This also shows the reflection of the products of the organization in every of its activities. The organization also runs a voluntary foundation aimed at giving back 10% of its generated profit to countries in Africa and Asia where it gets its supplies for its product. This also, shows how product oriented the Innocent Drinks organization is structured.
HOW INNOCENT DRINKS ORGANIZATION USES ITS MARKETING MIX IN OPERATING ITS INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS
The marketing mix of an organization is usually built around the customer in making sure the utility they receive in the consumption of the organization’s products or services are of the maximum.
The products of Innocent organization are produced in ways that consumers get the natural taste of the drinks they consume. Here, pure, fresh, and unadulterated drinks are produced in their quality form for customer’s satisfaction. The products are 100% pure of fruits or milk according to the different brands. Thus, customers are guaranteed that they are consuming hygienic, natural, and unadulterated drinks. Furthermore, the Innocent Drinks organization has different varieties of assorted smoothies, made of fruits and milk.
The different brands of the organization are made to satisfy customers taste both young and old. The prices of the Innocent drinks are moderate and customer friendly. The drinks come in small bottled pack, which costs are affordable by all and sundry. Given the quality and pure unadulterated drinks consumers get from the Innocent drinks product range, they get the worth for their money. The strategy embarked by the Innocent organization where it recycle its products containers and bottles, this goes to reduce the cost of production of the organization’s product, hence, the price set for its products are low.
“We are moving away from virgin finite materials to renewable materials, such as recycled plastic and plastic alternatives such as bottles made out of corn starch - a material known as Polylactic. To date, we have managed to get our plastic smoothie bottles to 50% recycled plastic (we're working on the rest) and we have a corn starch, commercially compostable bottle due to launch in September 2006” (Innocent Drinks, 2006).
In ensuring that the organization gives its customers uniform quality products across the different countries it operates, Innocent Drinks has adopted five corporate ethics. These ethics that are observed include:
- Keeping its products natural. The raw materials used in the productions of the organization’s drinks are derived from cows without artificial sweeteners and chemicals
- The ingredients of the organization’s products in all its overseas operations are organized responsibly, in a manner that would not affect the environment.
- The organization engage in sustainable packaging for all its products across its overseas operational centers
- The different organizations units are expected to operate a resource-efficient business that is rewarding to stakeholders.
- The organization engages in good profit sharing among its investors and shareholders.
All these five ethics have helped in ensuring that Innocent Drinks come out with the best products for its customers across the different countries it operates.
The distribution of the organization’s product is carried out through direct sales of the organization’s products to consumers by the aid of the organization’s cow van. The cow van helps to carry the organization’s product every nooks and crannies in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries where the organization operates. The similarity in product delivery through identifiable vans with cow shape gives the company its brand name. Product distributions are organized
The promotion of the organization’s products is done through the strong brand it has built for itself. The cow van is easily recognized, and this serves as a medium of promoting the organization’s products as the vans engages in the distribution and sales of the organization varieties of drinks. The well-structured websites of the organization is another medium in which the organization promotes its ranges of products to a wider market in the international level. The organization’s websites are similar, even though they are configured in different languages, the same promotional tactics and product displays across the websites bear semblance for the different countries the organization operates.
All these 4 Ps of the organization’s strategic marketing are integrated to bring about the effective increase in sales of the organization’s products. Each of the strategies for product manufacturing, pricing system, promotion and distribution all are built in an integrated pattern to bring about the effective distribution of quality product at an affordable price to customers. Moreover, satisfaction of customers taste is the overall focus of the Innocent marketing strategies.
Innocent Drinks has maintained a stable and similar pricing system across the ten European countries where it operates.
WHY INNOCENT DRINKS HAS ADOPTED THIS MARKETING MIX
The marketing mix operated by Innocent Drinks is one that has given it a brand name across the different countries its products are manufactured and traded. This brand name is very strong given the company’s logo and branding for its products. The cost of operating in the aforementioned ten EU countries is reduced by the aid of the adopted marketing mix. Similar strategy for product design, promotional strategies, pricing, and distribution channels have gone a long way in reducing the operational cost of the individual business units of Innocent Drinks.
The extra cost for designing new strategies for the organization’s 4Ps would have gone to increase its cost of operation and production. The adopted recycling cut across the operations of Innocent Drinks in these 10 countries it operate. This has further lead to cost reduction, thereby giving the organization’s customers the opportunity to buy its products at low price.
The marketing strategy of the Innocent Drinks organization is one that is very rewarding in the sense that it is centered and focus in the promotion of the organization’s products. The strategy has effectively led to the recognition of the organization’s products. This has made the organization won many awards in its areas of operations. According to Proctor (2000), “Strategy is concerned with effectiveness rather than efficiency and is the process of analyzing the environment and designing the fit between the organization, its resources and objectives and the environment”.
The pure unadulterated product of the Innocent Drinks is purely done to bring about qualitative product and maximum satisfaction to consumers. The organization through its marketing strategy has registered its brand name in the industry it operates, whereby it is a household name brand, given the corporate identity of the organization built around its products.
The risk involve in the marketing strategy adopted by the organization is that it may not be able to spread its operation easily to other countries where the technology and materials for conducting its business is not well developed. For instance in some country where the roads are not well accessible the cow van cannot easily operate in such terrain. Furthermore, the refrigeration of its product requires adequate electricity supply. Some underdeveloped countries have epileptic power supply; thus, it marketing strategies would tend to face some tasking challenges in these areas when the organization intends to franchise its operations internationally.
SUGGESTIONS ON INNOCENT DRINKS FUTURE MARKETING MIX
At the present time Innocent Drinks operates in European Countries that to a large extend share similar cultures. In some years to come Innocent Drinks would want to expand into other continents with different cultures, thus, in this case it will face the challenge of building a marketing mix that would be adopted to make the organization’s operations a smooth one.
For firms like Innocent Drinks that is expanding, in their bid to expand operation to other foreign countries there is the need that the issue of environment is critically considered in line with the organizations existing corporate culture. “…a number of theoretical perspectives related to the role of firm-specific knowledge in competitive strategy-resource-based view of the firm, dynamic capabilities knowledge-based view of the firm, organizational learning-have began contributing to our understanding of international strategic alliances” (Simonin, 1999).
Moreover, it is germane that modification to existing corporate culture is made to be in tune with the features of the environment that are on g round. The importance associated with paying attention to a country’s culture and environment in the management of business operation, especially as applicable to fruit drink, this is for the organization to operate effectively and adequately apply its resources in order to adapt to the environment and to meet set objectives at the most efficient manner. “Given the global strategic perspective, the corollary that it should be accompanied by a universal standardization is difficult to sustain as such a stance is product oriented and in defiance of the marketing concept.
It is also apparent that different nationalities buy similar products for different reasons and different versions of a product for reasons of values, custom and preference as well as price” (McCall & Stone, 2004:5). To buttress this argument Ulijn et al (2000), illustrated that, “when a multinational firm, such as Philips, operates in the United States, it is accepted almost as a U.S. firm since it is loosely related to the individualistic U.S. society where interaction is explicit, low context, and monochromic.
On the other hand, to be successful in Japan, Philips should behaves as a Japanese firm, where national culture and corporate culture overlap in a tight, collectivistic society where interaction is implicit, high context, and polychromic”. The above illustration shows that every country has its own cultural characteristics and variables that would compact with the environment in which business operation is done.
From the fore going, it is admonish that Innocent Drinks should built its marketing mix in such a way where the culture and taste in a country, that is, the national culture is respected. It is not as if one is saying that they should loose their cooperate culture and concepts, due to expansion, but people’s custom, taste, preferences, reasons for patronizing a firm’s product and service, all these are different. So it becomes germane that for the firm to operate adequately well in the international arena, these considerations need be put in place for proper marketing strategy.
Furthermore, pricing strategy and promotional strategy should reflect the economy stand of the country where Innocent Drinks is expanding to or currently operating where culture reveries from its home country.
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Innocent Drinks (2006), “Our Drinks” http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/our_drinks/ (02/01/07)
Innocent Drinks (2006), “Our ethics” http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/us/?Page=our_ethics (02/01/07)
Innocent Drinks (2006), “Our Story” http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/us/?Page=our_story (02/01/07)
Innocent Drinks (2006), “Our Vehicle” http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/us/ (02/01/07)
Innocent Drinks (2006), “Packaging Materials” http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/us/?Page=packaging_materials (02/01/07)
Innocent Drinks (2006), “recycling” http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/us/?page=recycling (02/01/07)
Innocent Drinks (2006), “The Innocent Foundation Organization” http://www.innocentfoundation.org/ (02/01/07)
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