In order to stay competitive, attract potential customers, and offer the products in a more tactful way, businesses have to incorporate effective e-marketing strategies as a part of their marketing and promotional efforts. Gold Coast Bakeries is a medium scale business corporation based in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It offers a variety of baked items for every type of customers and all food requirements. Gold Coast Bakeries can be regarded as a growing business in the Gold Coast region. But it has to face certain challenges and threats from different environmental forces and strong competitors in the industry. To survive in an uncertain business environment and compete with the industry leaders, Gold Coast Bakeries must incorporate electronic marketing for the promotion of its products.
As a part of its product strategies, it can improve their quality and taste while keeping the prices at their minimum possible level. To promote its products in a more effective and cost-efficient manner, Gold Coast Bakeries can develop more features in its website, add customer services section, and institute a Customer Relationship Management System in its operational units. Through its improved customer services, Gold Coast Bakeries will be able to give more emphasis on the quality of its products and after sale services. It can take feedback from customers on how it can improve its product range and reach the potential segments. The e-marketing strategies will also entail distribution planning where it can invite more potential distributors and supply chain members to join its business network. Moreover, it can advertise its products on social media platform which is the most cost efficient means of promotion of the present times. The e-marketing budget of the company will be fairly distributed in three major e-marketing objectives; to increase the sales volume and market share, improve the supply chain management, and overall brand loyalty. This can be done by implementing all these e-marketing strategies on the basis of the results of situational analysis.
Businesses use internet or electronic marketing to digitalize their marketing or promotional efforts and achieve strategic objectives. E-marketing enables the business organization to target their potential customers in a more effective and tactful way through e-marketing plan, budget, and strategies (Berger & Milkman 2012). This paper presents a complete e-marketing plan for a medium scale business organization in Gold Coast, Australia. It starts with a brief introduction to the company, Gold Coast Bakeries; its product offering, area served, scale of operations, and target customers; and then discusses its internal and external environment and competition intensity under the Situational and SWOT Analysis. In the later sections, the e-marketing strategic planning, marketing objectives and budget, and marketing mix has been discussed in order to set a roadmap for the achievement of overall strategic goals. The final section of the paper gives an evaluation plan which will be helpful in ensuring the effectiveness of the e-marketing strategies.
1. SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS: GOLD COAST BAKERIES
A. Internal Environment:
a. Introduction, History, and Product Offerings:
Gold Coast Bakeries -- established in 1956, is a completely family owned business in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The founders of Gold Coast Bakeries were Harvey and Dulcie Marrable who had opened their first bakery with no imagination that they will transform it into a successful business by continuing their tradition of providing the highest quality food products. Gold Coast Bakeries currently offers a wide range of baked food items for all kinds of meals and refreshments. The three top brands of the company are Gold Coast Bread, King Henry, and Golden Hearth which have successfully captured the potential customers in the region. Gold Coast Bakeries have been serving its customers for more than 56 years with a continuous growth in its operations and improvement in the quality of its products (Gold Coast Bakeries 2012).
b. Current Target Markets:
The retail stores of Gold Coast Bakeries remain operative 7 days a week with a variety of fresh food products for all types of customers. The major target markets where Gold Coast Bakeries operates are located from the areas of South-East of Queensland to Northern New South Wales. It also distributes its food products to supermarkets and retail stores in Lismore and north Noosa. With the passage of time, Gold Coast Bakeries have expanded its supply chain network and channels of distribution. At present, it has almost 50 vendor distributors from all over the Queensland which offer their services to Gold Coast Bakeries with full efficiency. Gold Coast Bakeries has also hired a number of driver contractors and sales staff that play an important role in the sales and distribution of its food products without losing their freshness and taste (Gold Coast Bakeries 2012).
B. External Environment:
The business environment in which Gold Coast Bakeries operates has greatly changed since the time it was started by Harvey and Dulcie Marrable. The external environment of Gold Coast Bakeries consists of all those forces which can be present in any type of manufacturing concern. However, these forces have brought some specific impacts on its operations during the last few decades. The major external environmental forces for Gold Coast Bakeries include; political forces and legal forces, economic forces, social and demographical forces, technological forces, and competitive forces. Gold Coast Bakeries has to carefully analyze its external environment in order to keep its operations and profitability safe from any unwanted issues or complexities.
a. Political and Legal Forces:
Gold Coast Bakeries is a medium scale family owned business which has very limited assets and financial resources. Therefore, it has to keep its policies and practices according to the Laws and regulations defined by the local government. Gold Coast Bakeries has to keep in view these Laws and Regulations while formulating any new policies or strategies for its business; including introduction of new products, implementing new marketing plan, hiring of employees, making contractual agreements with new distributors or other supply chain members, etc. As Gold Coast Bakeries operates in the food market, the most crucial thing for the owners is to keep their product operations as per the Health and Safety standards set by the Australian Government for food manufacturing concerns. Moreover, Gold Coast Bakeries has to meet the international quality standards in order to keep up pace with the industry benchmarks.
b. Economic Forces:
For a small or medium scale business, economic forces are the most critical forces from the external environment. Reason being, they directly hit the operational and financial performance of the business. For Gold Coast Bakeries, economic forces constitute all those factors that impact its sales, income, and expenditures in one way or another. The biggest economic force is the prices of raw material. Gold Coast Bakeries purchases high quality raw material to produce the baked food items that are best in taste, heath, and nutrition. Due to inflationary pressures, these materials are getting more and more expensive day by day. Secondly, the increasing costs of operations also impact the profit margins of the company. The utility services, manufacturing plants and machineries, packaging, and distribution expenses are the major operational costs which are affected by the economic forces (Peter & Donnelly 2009).
Economic forces have also impacted the purchasing power of customers in a negative way. When ready-made baked products are getting expensive day by day, customers look for alternative foods; especially for their breakfast and occasional meals. In order to retain its customers, Gold Coast Bakeries has to keep its prices intact for a long period of time. That is, it has to compromise on its profit margins instead of increasing the prices of its products. Gold Coast Bakeries also has to offer good commission packages to its suppliers, distributors, and business development agencies in order to retain them in its value chain.
c. Social and Demographical Forces:
The major social and demographical forces which impact the sales volume and acceptability of Gold Coast Bakeries products are its price, quality, and availability. Gold Coast Bakeries has gained a good reputation in the local market by offering the best quality fresh bakery food items. The top food products of the company, Gold Coast Bread, King Henry, and Golden Hearth have made a large number of brand lovers in South-East Queensland and New South Wales. This high level of acceptability is due to the deliciousness and prime quality of products offered by Gold Coast Bakeries (Gold Coast Bakeries 2012).
Gold Coast Bakeries has designed its product operations and strategies in such a fashion that they greatly contribute in the brand loyalty for its products; fair product pricing, easy availability, maintenance of freshness and health standards, and attractive packaging are named to be few of the factors which are the tools of Gold Coast Bakeries to compete with the social and demographical forces present in its external environment. Gold Coast Bakeries have set a fair price for its products so that it can serve a larger customer market in the Gold Coast and adjacent regions.