Another way to increase the market share could materialize in product developments. This would ensure that the number of customers increases as the product offering becomes more diversified and is able to suit more tastes. Sales would immediately boost up, in part due to the promotional strategies, but the growth must be sustained even after the promotions are over. The reason for this specification is that several companies registered record sales during promotional periods, but the revenues were unsustainable in normal periods.
Constant communications with the final consumers and the retail customers would also help in identifying newer needs and trends. The satisfaction of these demands would eventually lead to more buyers and a significantly higher market share.
Improve customer relations good relationship with the customers, both end consumers as well as retail customers, is the key to a successful corporate outcome. In order to improve it, the company could delegate manages to talk with independent vendors and identify any shortages or dissatisfactions they might encounter. For instance, the vendor of a street kiosk might not like it when he has to pay the fee before having sold the products; he is as such forced to invest and risk his own money. The company could allow his payment only after he has sold the beverages. The list of examples could go on for pages, as the complaints are numerous, even more when the operations are conducted at global scale; but whichever problem encountered can be resolved through communication.
And communication also implies ensuring the means. In other words, the multinational organization could offer the retail customers mobile phones through which they could more easily contact a Coca-Cola representative and request assistance.
Finally, however the third method is already present, that of offering specialized business consultancy, the company could further expand these operations and ensure that their vendors are able to understand the market, the industry and they are accordingly trained to satisfy the needs of the final consumers.
Increase exports and serve unserved customers
In order to be able to enter new markets and attract the unserved customers, the Coca-Cola Company could develop a growth strategy based on Igor Ansoff's matrix:
Source: 2008, Ansoff Matrix, Strategy Vector Model
The author of the matrix identified four different strategic approaches: market penetration, market development, product development and the fourth, diversification. The first sees that the company is trying to increase its market share in the existing markets with increased sales of the already existent products. The second strategy sees that the company aims to grow by selling its current products onto new markets. The third one foresees that the economic agent operates on the existent markets, onto which it launches new products. Finally, the diversification strategy sees that the company will launch new products onto new markets (Strategy Vector Model, 2008).
The Coca-Cola Company could implement the second strategic approach to further expand its current products onto new markets, in order to reach the unserved customers, but also to export their items into new countries. The means to successfully achieve this could revolve around the following:
The Coca-Cola Company could address new potential customers within the United States; the company generally addresses the youth, but they could develop a promotional strategy to place their beverages to the mature population, who could easily become consumers of the natural still drinks
The organization could use different sales channels (Mind Tools, 2008). They could for instance consider delivering directly to offices or construction sites, where the number of potential buyers is quite high, but the access to the beverages is limited
The company could identify new international markets onto which to export their products; they must however consider the cultural and socio-economic beverages; they will not, for instance, export more products to the poor countries in Africa, where the buying power is reduced
Regardless off the strategy chosen, its implementation must be based on actual and clear market analysis and the identification of the unique features, characteristics and demands of each new environment.
Coca-Cola's target market is generally formed from the younger population, coming from various socio-economic backgrounds. In order to appeal to them, the organization implements various promotional strategies. The most important such approach, however not a marketing strategy at its core, is that of developing a strong brand, representing a strong organization. "If Coca-Cola were the name of a person, how would you describe that person? How does that person make you feel? Consumers often prefer products...
An important ingredient of this image will be the associations that are evoked in the mind of the consumer. The 'brand personality' is what people think and feel, consciously and subconsciously, about a company identity or product and is described the same way as you would a person" (Business 2000).
Aside from brand recognition, the approach of the target market is also realized through sponsorships. This basically means that the organization would sponsor events where the audience would participate (most commonly sports and music events) and attract their attention. "In return, the company receives a public opportunity to be seen to support and be associated with an event, activity or person. Sponsorship is a crucial part of a public relations strategy because it is possible to reach a target audience with a specific message" (Business 2000).
4. Marketing Activity Recommendations
As a general recommendation, the Coca-Cola Company should continue to strengthen and consolidate their position within the national and international context. They should remain alert to all changes affecting the micro and macro environments and should develop wide sets of strategies to best cope with the latest demands. They should continue their operations by keeping the customer and the shareholder satisfaction at the core of all operations.
In terms of the previously discussed and more specific marketing objectives, namely the increase in market share, the improvement of the customer relationship and the market development, the company should base any approaches on their existent strengths, but they should also take some risks to succeed.
Increase market share
Conduct market research to identify the customers' response to the product as well as any complaints or additional requirements
If the demand from mature consumers is for more organic and healthy products, the company should diversify their product offering to present the customers with natural juices
If the demand from the youth is for more fashionable products, the company should hire specialized designers to create and test a new concept onto a well defined focus group
The results to the newly implemented strategies should be clearly quantified and if successful, they should be repeated, and not in the same exact way, but in a slightly different manner, to address new needs and constantly introduce elements of novelty
Improve customer relations
Conduct a focus group among retail customers and identify their needs and expectations towards the Coca-Cola Company
Delegate various managers to investigate and propose solutions to resolve the various problems vendors might encounter
Purchase communication technologies for the vendors and allow them to directly communicate with the persons in charge of their contracts with the beverage manufacturer
Increase exports and serve unserved customers
First of all, they need to identify the unserved customers; these can easily be formed from the mature population within the U.S., which could be lured through the promotion of healthier products
For the underserved population in foreign countries, extensive studies should be conducted on the market characteristics, but also the social and economic status of the country
The countries found suitable after the environmental analysis should become Coca-Cola importers
The Coca-Cola Company is the ultimate embodiment of corporate success and their tremendous achievements are based on a history of business struggle longer than a decade. Today however, the industry is fiercer than it has ever been and sustainable growth is only possible through a continuous process of development and adaptation to the new requirements.
Hays, C.L., 2004, the Real Thing: Truth and Power at the Coca-Cola Company, Random House, ISBN 037550628
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