The question is always there as to whether the public in Botswana need a product like Vitango. Therefore Coca-Cola might be promoting a false want. Possible harmful effects of Vitango have already been discussed. Therefore, unless it is absolutely essential for the people in Botswana to drink Vitango, perhaps they are better off without it. Perhaps what they should rather do is to take matters in their own hands, grow fruits and vegetables in their own backyard with a little of bit joint-financing from the government and GAIN and solve malnutrition that way.
Both GAIN and Coca-Cola can gain immense political influence in Botswana as a result of the marketing resources they have at their behest that the government of Botswana might be tempted to use to its own political ends. GAIN being a not-for-profit organization will not have much to gain from developing political alliances with local governments, but Coca-Cola would certainly get a few concessions in its profit-making operations if it were to help the Botswana government win elections. It is by no means certain that this will happen in this case. But cases like these have been known to occur world-wide.
Diets vary culturally. Different countries with different cultures have their own recipes for culinary experiences. Botwana would also have one and a product like Vitango would tend to push that to the backseat and promote North American solutions. In that respect, cultural pollution is an issue in the case. The five principles of enlightened marketing One of the biggest problems in the Vitango story is the high cost of development and distribution. There are hardly any marketing intermediaries in Botswana that Coca Cola could rely upon to distribute the product.
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And it is not just the lack of distribution which makes product availability in this respect a challenge. There is also the high cost of developing the product itself. These costs are forcing the company to charge high prices for Vitango and, given the high poverty rates in the country, charging high prices there is not consumer oriented marketing. However the naming of the product, Vitango, has a cultural twang to it. That will make the people of Boswana warm to it. So when it comes to high pricing, consumer oriented marketing in not what Coca Cola is doing.
But in naming the product the way it has done, it has taken cultural considerations into account and that is most certainly consumer oriented marketing. Innovative marketing has always been Coca-Cola’s specialty and in the marketing of Vitango, this is no different. Currently the company is marketing the product in the powdered form. However the management recognizes that the water that the public will use in preparing the drink will most likely be unsafe drinking water. This will in turn lead to an unhygienic Vitango solution.
As a result Coca-Cola is reformulating the product so that the customers will able to drink it without any preparatory steps on their part. Another positive side-effect of reformulating the product is that it will bring prices down possibly as a result of lowering manufacturing costs. So innovative marketing on the part of the management at Coca Cola is allowing the company not only to offer hygiene-friendly products, but also to charge consumer-friendly prices. The question of whether Vitango is an example of value marketing is a difficult one to settle.
On the one hand, the social benefits of marketing Vitango are immense. The problem of malnutrition is not little in the third world. According to the case, billions of people around the world are suffering vitamin deficiencies and this shows up in children in an impaired ability to learn. The problem is acute in Botswana as well and Vitango is being developed and marketed to address that problem specifically. Therefore the people in that country will get immense value out of drinking Vitango. The society as a result benefits substantially.
However the price at which Vitango is being offered is prohibitive given the impoverished state of the Botswana people. Therefore the social benefits that they are getting as a result of using Vitango are coming at a high price. Therefore whether value marketing is occurring in this case is debatable. Coca Cola certainly displays a sense of mission in developing and marketing Vitango. It is developing a product that targets some of the poorest countries in the world. Therefore the management had known at the very outset that Vitango would do anything but give the company an inexhaustible cash cow.
Therefore the mission of the management may have been primarily to develop a product that would help school children pay more attention to their studies. Inasmuch as Coca Cola is going ahead with Vitango in spite of all the resistance from micro-environmental and macro-environmental factors simply to help kids perform better at school, sense-of-mission marketing is a strong aspect of the current case. Vitango is an excellent example of societal marketing. Coca Cola has determined one of the critical needs present in the third world and has decided to fill that need.
Malnutrition is a serious problem in the third world and what the people in the third world need is for companies like Coca Cola to show them how to solve the problem manageably. In that respect, Coca Cola is engaging in societal marketing. Needs, wants, demands Parallels cannot be drawn between the North American market and those in Botswana ad Peru. There are cultural differences at work that shape needs and wants in these markets differently. The people in Botswana for example are probably not even aware of the fact that they are suffering from malnutrition.
Therefore, while they are suffering greatly from malnutrition, they probably do not even have a sense of need for a product like Vitango because they do not have the exposure and the education necessary to make that assessment. Therefore, educated wealthy parents in North America would know instantly when to go for Vitango as soon as their kids show signs of malnutrition. They would need, want and demand a product like Vitango. A similar response can hardly be expected from illiterate poverty-stricken parents in Botswana.
The best they can do is to arrange enough cornmeal and rice for the day, if that, and when their kids start to show signs of malnutrition, they have no idea that a solution like Vitango might possibly exist. Of course the intervention of GAIN might help to solve that problem. The public relations campaigns that it is arranging in order to promote Vitango will help to educate the public in Botswana about possible solutions to malnutrition. However that will not solve the problem of demand which is needs and wants backed by purchasing power.
The people in Botswana do not have purchasing power. Therefore the experience gained in North America is valueless in marketing in Botswana. Conclusion If it had not been for organizations like GAIN, it would have been impossible for Coca Cola to succeed in its mission of catering to the medical needs of the third world. However organizations like GAIN would have little to do if business organizations like Coca Cola had not changed their marketing practices to take into account social and environmental considerations.Organizations like GAIN and Coca Cola working together is an example of the long way that market management has come since the day it used to be ‘any color – so long as it’s black’.
Kotler, Philip. , and Gary Armstrong. Principles of Marketing. Prentice Hall. 2005. Weinreich, Nedra Kline. Hands-on Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide. McGraw Hill/Irwin. 2005. Kotler, Philip. , et al. Sociail Marketing & Improving the Quality of Life. McGraw Hill/Irwin. 2005.
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