This document marks a major milestone in the development of a Strategic Marketing Plan for the AQUAFRESH Drinking water. Access Natural Water was established as a subsidiary of Access International (Private) Ltd in the year 2001 and is currently a leading bottled water manufacturer in the country. The source of AQUAFRESH water is the fine springs that emerges from the mountains of Labugamkanda in the Ratnapura District. “AQUAFRESH” achieved the SLS 894 certification for bottled drinking water in 2003 being the first to achieve it. Subsequently emerging further by obtaining the ISO 9001:2000 certification in 2004 for the quality management system.
The strategy will seeks the current market for bottled drinking water, major competitors in the field and identify the development which will raise the market stability over the future. It will identify the current situation of AQUAFRESH drinking water’s place within the market now, and where it should aim to be in future.
This analysis will identify the Strengths and Weaknesses of the AUQAFRESH drinking water in the market level and how these are control the consumer’s response to Opportunities and Threats in the market.
Also it will analyse the features of AQUAFRESH drinking water and how it is delivering their benefits to the customers. Based on this analysis, the strategy will identify the target markets whose needs are mostly satisfied by AQUAFRESH drinking water.
Finally, the strategy sets the targets for penetration and market development to AQUAFRESH drinking water for their existing and new target markets. A part from this identifies the main strategies which can be used to achieve these goals. It looks at the consumer power and the necessary changes. Below analysis will give implementation targets for future plan.
This is to analyse the products market situation by applying certain tools.
Macro and Micro environment
Changes in the macro-environment will not affect closely to the firm’s day-to-day operations, but they are just as important. The main factors of macro environmental have been segregated by four.
Political and legal environment
Social and cultural environment
Political and legal environment
To many companies, political considerations are likely to be of prime concern. Sri Lanka’s current political situation is seems to be encouraging the people to invest in the business for an example they are giving some tax exemptions for importing the goods. Drinking water is one of the important physical needs of human. Anyhow human will consume the water in their day to day life. So any political situations will not affect the Drinking water business.
Economic factors are mostly influence among demand, costs, prices and profits. In the current context of Sri Lanka, the consumer goods prices are increasing rapidly and the consumer earnings are less. So the middle class consumer will decrease their interest to buy a drinking water bottles since the water is one of the free elements in the world.
Since the water is human’s important physical needs, Socio-culture environment’s part is very less for drinking water business.
Since the technology is influencing the development of many products, it is a key macro-environmental variable. Access Natural water is adopting latest technologies in their product. Through latest technologies they are purifying water without adding any chemicals.
The micro environment
The micro-environment indicates the elements which the marketing firm has controlled or which it can use in order to gain information that will better help it in its marketing operations.
Marketing Mix – The ‘four Ps’
The ‘four Ps’ stands for:
In the water business Price and promotions contribution are more than other two Ps. Because water is the free element in the world so product is not obvious as well as water is available in everywhere in the world, so place also not essential. But price and promotion are essential.
Since the water is a free element in the world, pricing the water products is very important. Organisation should consider the consumer capacity as well as competitor’s price. Consumers will consider the low price and high quality products. AQUAFRESH’s price is little bit more than their competitor’s price. They are using this price different to maintain the benchmark of their product. Because of this price, their consumer level also has been limited.
In the current world, water business is increasing rapidly. There are so many competitors in the market. In Sri Lanka recently Elephant House also entered in to drinking water business. So the promotion is essential in this business. Currently Access Natural water is promoting their product through selected supply chain. They need to increase their supply chains.
Except above four Ps, the “People” of extended marketing mix also will be considered. Because they are important in this business, for an example village people will not consider the bottled water as well as they will not spend money for it. So targeting these people will not succeed.
Internal Organization Analysis
Internal organizational analysis assesses all related factors in an organization in order to determine its strengths and weaknesses.
Since Access is a group of companies, financially Access Natural water is in a strengthen position.
When compare with other water products, AQUAFRESH price is petite more than other water products. So this product is positioned with the certain consumers.
This product’s marketing capability is high. They are delivering the product at the right time and at the right place.
Except above other factors like, Organizational structure, Human resource, condition of facilities and equipment, past objective and strategies etc. also will considered for internal organizational analysis.
Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)
The lively and refreshing taste of ‘AQUAFRESH’ can be experienced by any person consuming this water, and it is just to mildly tingle your taste buds.
Successions of laboratory tests are conducted consistently for each batch of water, both in fully equipped in-house laboratory as well as other accredited outsourced laboratories in accordance to local and international standards.
The untouched springs are located in aquifers situated 200ft beneath the rock bed. It naturally preserves the purity and freshness of water: a process that cannot be imitated, and is not changed by the bottler.
The water does not require a harsh purification due to the purity of the source from which the water is extracted, thus elimination the use of disinfectant chemicals which are a proven health hazard.
AQUAFRESH is certified with SLS 894, ISO 9001:2000, ISO 22000:2005, Dutch HACCP food safety certificate and the ministry of Health.
When compare with other water products price, AQUAFRESH price is petite more.
They have only few market places in island wide. Their distribution chain is less.
Fast growing field
The world is changing the people to machinery life. So they are willing to go for an easy ways to fulfill their needs. In this situation bottled drinking water have more opportunities.
Since the country in a calm situation, there are more opportunities to expand their business in island wide.
Introduce new flavor
Introduce the herbal water to the market which will helps to human health.
Since they are a group of companies, they have more opportunities to expand their business.
Entering of new players
Many new players are entering in the market. Recently Elephant House also entered in this market. This is gives a tough competition to the current water brands including AQUAFRESH.
Water Filter Manufacturers
AQUAFRESH is not only getting competition from mineral water maker but is also facing a tough competition from various water filter manufacturers. They have been marketing there purifiers in the market which has decreased the sales of bottled water supply to homely customers.
Strong distribution channel of the other manufacturers
Marketing Research data methods
Market research is the process of collecting, recording and analyzing the data available, in order to help the company understand and analyze its market and prospective customers.
Access Natural Water has planned to expand their market. So these data methods will help them for a new market situation. There are several ways to collect the data. But here using only appropriate methods.
Questionnaire: This is one of the commonly used data collecting method. Prepare the product related question and distribute among people to get their opinion.
More data can be collected.
Easy to analyse.
Data can be collected from all level of customers.
Lack of discussions or idea sharing between customers and distributors.
Telephone Interviews: contact the people over the telephone and getting their opinion about product. Here detailed data can be collected but in this method organisation cannot collect data from more customers because all people do not have telephone facilities as well as more time has to spend for data collection and this method is expensive.
Other than above method there are sample survey and personal interview methods also there, but these are expensive methods to use. Water bottle prices comparably lesser than other soft drinks product. So using questionnaire method will be more cost effective as well as more data collecting method.
KEY SUCCESS FACTOR
Water Purification System
AQUAFRESH purifies water without adding any chemicals with a totally natural biological purification system.
They have captured Leading Local / International Organizations as their customers’ e.g Apollo Hospital, UN Organizations. Recently they entered in to Sri Lankan Airlines as an Official supplier.
The newest addition to the production line is the recent launch of “AQUAFRESH” in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles in 200ml, 350ml, 500ml, 750ml, 1000ml and 1500ml capacities.
They have different type of packages which targeted based on the consumer capacity. For an example they have different type of water dispenser so consumer can select based on their capacity.
OBJECTIVE – MARKETING/CORPORATE
Build Brand Image
A long-term marketing objective for AQUAFRESH could be to improve sales by building an image for the product, brand, and/or company. Ever more, this is a precise goal for large companies with ample budgets.
Enhance Customer Service
Access Natural Water can increase returns in some way by improving customer service. When customers are more satisfied, they tend to spread the word about this product as well as buy more often themselves.
Lower Operating Costs
Access Natural water has desired to reduce their operating cost.
Increasing the Sales
Access Natural water is targeting to increase their “AQUAFRESH” sales by 10% in next year.
Strategies are very important to improve the sales of products. Marketing strategies may differ depending on the unique situation of the individual business. It is complete and an invincible plan designed specifically for reaching the marketing objective of a firm. The marketing objective point towards what the firm want to achieve. The marketing strategy gives the design for achieving them.
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When analysed the AQUAFRESH objectives, it is exposed that they are intend to move from their narrow market focus to broad market. Their image building, sales increase and low cost operational objectives are exposing that they are trying to make uniqueness and low cost competency for their product. Since they are keeping the price as a benchmark of their product, they will not make any immediate strategy for low cost. But this analysis is considering the both strategies.
Michael Porter describes a business strategy category scheme where there are three general types for achievement and maintenance of its competitive advantage.
PRICE BASED MARKETING STRATEGY
Since the water business is rapidly increasing in the worldwide, the competitions also increasing. So the companies are using the price as their main competitive level. It will price its product to suit the varying competitive demand. AQUAFRESH drinking water price fairly higher than their competitor’s price because they are maintaining their benchmark as well as their production cost is high due to the latest expensive water purify technology.
As per their objectives, they are intending to expand their market because they are finding the way to reduce the product price. To expand the market in the highly competitive business, they need to reduce the price. Here their one of the objective is lower operating cost. So if they reduce their operating cost, they can reduce their product price as well. If they reduced the price, the sales will increase. Proper strategy has to follow to reduce the operational cost.
A Web based business can help by lowering costs. Automated customer service functions – Web-based FAQ, order status reports, product specifications, etc. can lower the number of customer service calls, reducing customer service labor costs.
For customers, distribute the product through supply chain. It will reduce the transportation cost.
Increasing the supply chain channels in island wide. It will reduce the cost of supply for long-distanced consumers. As well as increase the product sales.
Using social networks (Facebook) to promote their product. It will reduce the many operational expenses.
THE DIFFERENTIATION BASED STRATEGY
Due to the high competition in the market, Access Natural Water has to position their product in consumer mind. Since they intended to move from their narrow market scope to broad market scope, they need to create the brand image among the consumers. So consumers can easily identify the product.
To create the brand image they need to differentiate the product from their competitors. Already they differentiated their product in the bottle. They are having different type of lid for their bottle. But this is not enough to focus. Here are few strategies to make image about their product.
Introducing flavoured water: Until now there is no any flavoured water introduced in the market. S o this introduction will differentiate the product. But in our country, using herbal with water will succeed.
Setting the right retail price: price also will create the brand image among customers. Since they are trying to expand their market, they need to reduce their price equal to or less than their competitor’s price.
Advertisement: They need to advertise to create the image in consumer mind. For an example they can advertise like small baby also can drink this water. In our country, most of the people are not willing to give bottled water to babies. The advertisement should reach to more consumers. So they can advertise in their bottle label, use the social networks (Facebook, Twitter)
Distribution Location & Channel: Product should distribute in the right location. As discussed earlier, if they distribute in the village area, the percentage of succeed will be very less. So when they select the distribution location and channel, they need to categorize that. For an example they can categorize like city level, below city level, village. So in the city level, they can select the major super markets like cargills, Arpico, fast food restaurants etc as their channels and below city level grocery shops where people having often visit.
TACTICS / IMPLEMENTATION
Printing the water purification system brief in the bottle label.
Asking suppliers to keep the product sample in the front display.
Keeping advertisement banners in-front of outlets and in the city main areas where people travelling often.
Explaining to the customers about the benefit of the product (flavoured water)
Issuing the notice of product detail with news papers.
PROPOSE MARKETING BUDGET
There are several benefits of creating and using a marketing budget. The goal of marketing budget is to control expenses and project revenues. It also assists in the coordination of marketing activities within organization.
Web based business
Since the strategy has for web based business, Internet based marketing has been included in the marketing budget. There are now many ‘websites in a box’ for the budget limit, there’s many web designers who will design a site to exact specifications.
Cost areas to consider –
Consulting & development
Search engine optimization
Following cost areas can be considered in distribution:
Overtime and Transport Allowance for long distance travelling
Labor charges for goods uploading and downloading.
New Flavor Introduction
New machine for flavor adding (one-time expenditure).
Low budget advertising can work extremely well for water bottle business. There are many media to advertise as well as social networks and web based advertisement also available.
Following criterion can be considered to make budget:
No. of viewer or reader of specific media
Does the advertising reach target audience?
The length of the campaign
Rental for social networks
Web space charges
KEY RESULT AREAS
Relationship with Distributors
Sales Team Support
This paper has analyzed the marketing strategy planning process of an AQUAFRESH bottled drinking water. All business should starts with an excellent marketing strategy. Organization’s departments are preparing this strategy first to use as a base for it.
A brief executive summary to the company has followed by an analysis important of the strategic marketing plan process within Access Natural Water Company. The paper further discusses brand’s marketing objectives, marketing research, SWOT and marketing mix etc as a tool to assist the marketing strategy. The key for successful marketing is in constant measurement of results retrieved from marketing research. These results need to be analyzed and shared throughout the whole organization as they consider their budgets. Only if all the aspects of the marketing mix are regularly monitored and changed as needed, the company would stay on the top of all possible threats.
Access Natural Water Brochure
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