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Strategically researches, references and evaluates marketing mix related concepts and applications in businesses, and strategies employed by firms to achieve sustainability.

Effectively addresses constructed and real-life problems and correctly identify relevant sustainability-related articles, and relevant sustainability-related concepts/issues/practices. Uses conceptual, analytical and problemsolving strategies. Greater attention to detail would have warranted a higher result.

Effective written structure, including analysis and evaluation of marketing principles as they apply to the selected organisation. Reveals sustainability approaches and strengths. Identifies and evaluates significant gaps in the chosen organisation’s marketing platform

Marketing Mix

For an organization, marketing is the most important process of promoting and selling the products and services via advertising and market research. With the increase in the competition, companies are incorporating sustainability principles to stay competitive against industry rivals. Sustainable marketing is an innovative concept in the business and marketing that is proving to become game changer in the industry. On the basis of social and environmental sustainability, sustainable marketing assists in meeting the needs of targeted audiences. This report includes the marketing analysis of Hershey’s that is operating its business operations in chocolate manufacturing industry. Hershey’s is one of the largest chocolate manufacturing organizations of United States of America (Hershey’s, 2018). The report discusses the marketing mix of Hershey’s by considering product strategy, pricing strategy, distribution strategy and promotion strategy. Furthermore, it includes SWOT analysis to position Hershey’s against its competitors. At the end, there is the discussion about the principles of sustainable marketing used by Hershey’s. The company can improve its strategies and operations by adopting other principles of sustainability.

The Hershey’s Company is an American Organization that is one of the largest chocolate manufacturers all over the world. The company was founded in the year 1894 by Milton S. Hershey and it is headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania that is the home of Hershey’s Chocolate world. It is the largest chocolate producer in North America. The products of Hershey are available across the United States due to its extensive distribution network. In addition to this, it offers its products in more than 60 nations all over the world (Hershey’s, 2018). Hershey is a member of World Cocoa Foundation and associated with Giant Cente and Hersheypark Stadium. Thus, The Hershey Company is a market leader in confectionary business and it has focused on strong brand image and product innovation through effective marketing strategy. The major brands of company are such as Kisses, the Hershey, Twizzlers, Reese’s and the Hershey Bar. These are the strong pillars and top ten candies of Hershey Company.  The mission statement of this company is “to bring the sweet moments of Hershey happiness to the world”. The company is implementing effective marketing strategies to attain this mission and provide tasty chocolates with higher quality ingredients.

Marketing mix is the framework that is used by an organization to develop and implement marketing strategies so that it can approach a large population and attract more people towards its products and services (Bahadir, Bharadwaj and Srivastava, 2015). The marketing strategies of Hershey’s are stated below:

Product Strategy

Hershey’s Company has developed various products under its brand like cookies, chocolate bar, kisses, chocolate syrup, baking pieces, candy bar, nuggets, milk bars and dessert toppings. The company is offering convenience products by including higher quality ingredients (Ramli, 2017). The innovation in marketing mix has assisted the organization to grow through the years.

(Source: Hershey’s, 2018)

It has positioned itself as healthy and delicious for growing children. The major products of the company are:

Chocolate

Kit-Kat, Mounds, Kisses, Brookside, York, Reese’s

Candy

Jolly Rancher, Twizzlers, Allan Candy

Gum & Mint

Ice Breakers, Bubble Yum, Breath Savers

Caramel & Nuts

Rolo, Payday, Lancaster

Others

Bliss, Drops, Nuggets, Symphony, Miniatures, Peanut Butter Cups (Hershey’s, 2018).

In addition to this, the organization is focusing on the packaging of products to do sustainable marketing. It is using different chocolate wrappers for seasonal events. It has replaced its previous papers with the environmental friendly packaging that is bio-degradable materials (de Andrade Silva, et al, 2017). Under its product mix, the company is doing on-going commitment to environmental sustainability that includes decreasing the waste to packaging, landfills and they are going greener. Furthermore, it is providing proper safety measures to the employees under production process.

Hershey Company is a premium brand that charges higher prices in comparison to other popular chocolate brands in market. Under this, the company targets upper and middle class population and international tourists. The prices of chocolates vary from $10 to $60 according to the type and size of chocolates (Gerstein and Friedman, 2015). Recently, it has not made changes in the prices but it has reduced the quantity of various products. If the company will introduce any new product in the market then it will use penetration pricing strategy. Under this strategy, it will offer the candies on a price lower than competitors. It will give its customers an incentive and motivates them to buy the new product of Hershey. In the future, the organization is planning to offer an appropriate combination of superior quality and better service at fair prices. It will assist the organization in create its sustainable image among its targeted audiences (Kizil, et al, 2013).

This is one of the major strategies of Hershey’s that assists in approaching the customers through its product offerings. As discussed above, the company has an extensive distribution network that includes different places where people can purchase the products of Hershey’s. The products of the company are available in drug stores, grocery stores, vending machines, shopping malls, departmental stores etc. The people can purchase its products online from Amazon, eBay and Bigbasket. It has established strong and extensive distribution network that enables the organization to reach across various nations worldwide (Davari, and Strutton, 2014). All the major cities are covered by the channels of organization. In addition to this, the company has focused on improving its supply chain to become more sustainable. The major focus of Hershey’s was on increasing its product offerings to the customers, but customers were not adapted the wide variety of the firm. Considering this, it has transformed its supply driven model to demand driven model. This approach assisted the organization in generating significant cash flows. In the supply chain process, the company focuses on the fact that it does not harm the environment and natural resources (Gutiérrez, 2017).

Pricing Strategy

Promotion strategy is one of the significant components under marketing plan and process. Hershey’s is implementing effective promotion and advertising strategies to approach a large population. The company does promotion through TV advertisement, magazine, billboards, newspapers etc. It uses different ways and ads to promote different products. For example, the ad of Hershey’s milk booster tries to place itself as a healthy product for growing children. These promotion mix strategies assist the organization in informing, persuading and reminding the people about its products. Hershey’s is using effective slogans and taglines to enhance its presence in the market. The major examples of Hershey’s advertising are such as Drops, Carolers, Mother and Daughter and S’mores. It has hired Arnold to develop integrated marketing and advertising programs for its chocolate products (Hannah, et al, 2014). Arnold is very popular for creating brands via multi-faceted campaigns which include print, broadcast, promotions and public relations. Under sales promotion, Hershey is providing gift products in specific seasons. It provides the organization to have an opportunity to enhance its sales. Moreover, the company is engaged in socially responsible marketing process and providing actual information to the people.

In this way, the company is engaged in sustainable marketing efforts by the use of above marketing strategies under marketing mix framework (Pappas, 2016).

SWOT Analysis is the technique that is used by an organization to analyze the external and internal factors like strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is a major effort of the organization towards sustainable marketing (Blockeel, et al, 2016). It indicates that how Hershey’s positions itself against its major competitors. The SWOT analysis of Hershey Company is stated below:

Basis for Comparison

Hershey’s

Barry Callebut

Cargill

Mondelez

Strengths

· This organization is considered as one of the biggest chocolate producers in the world (Market Realist, 2018).

· Extensive Distribution Network

· Sustainability and Philanthropy Efforts

· Huge Brand Portfolio (More than 50 products)

· It is also one of the largest chocolate and other cocoa product manufacturers.

· More innovative than Hershey’s in terms of product development such as tooth friendly chocolate (Khan, 2014).

· CSR activities like child protection, food safety, environmental protection etc.

· Strong R&D

· Largest private sector firm in America.

· Founded in 1865, the company has more chocolate manufacturing experience than Hershey’s.

· The company has more employee strength than Hershey’s and Barry Callebut i.e. 142,000 employees (Renton et al, 2015).

· It has presence in different segments like agriculture, food service, financial and risk management.

· One of the dominant brands

· The company has diversified range of products like snacks, chocolate, cookies, chocolates etc.

· Higher investment on R&D

· The company has string dealer and distributor community.

Weaknesses

· It has more long term debt than its major competitor like Mondelez, i.e. 2.4 billion in 2014.

· Higher prices of chocolates  

· Huge advertisement Expenses i.e. $541million in 2017 (Malawskey, 2011).

· Limited Brand presence in emerging market as compared to Hershey’s.

· Strong competition from Hershey’s.

· Limited growth in market share.

·  It has faced the issues due to higher brand switching.

· It has been negatively publicized due to environmental harms, human right violation and contamination.

· The company has uneven execution of business processes.

· Less brand presence

· Decline in net revenues due to emerging players in sector.

Opportunities

· Operating business in 60 nations is not enough for this largest chocolate manufacturer so it has more opportunities to expand business operations in more developing nations (The Statistics Portal, 2018).

· Segment diversification: it can introduce some sugar free chocolates with healthy ingredients

· Innovation

· It can enhance its presence in confectionary market.

· It can make investment in Research and innovation.

· Strategic partnership with competitors like Hershey’s.

· Global penetration and expand the business in rural areas.

· Acquisition of other firms

· It can make investment in sustainability efforts to regain its brand image.

· Like Hershey’s, Mondelez can expand its business in more emerging markets.

· It can save the money by controlling overhead expenses and increasing efficiencies.

Threats

· Intense rivalry:

The major competitors of the company are such as Mars, Cadbury, Nestle, M&M, Cargill, Mondelez, Barry Callebut etc.

· Increased health consciousness is decreasing the chocolate consumption (Chawla and Sondhi, 2016).

· Due to higher consumption of Cocoa, procuring the right quantity of Cocoa is a main cost and blockage of Hershey’s manufacturing.

· Domestic chocolate producers are posing competition to Barry Callebut.

· Increased cost of raw materials like Sugar, milk and cocoa.

· Like Hershey, increased health issue among people (Huang and Sarigöllü, 2014).

· It has adverse effects due to economic instability.

· Changes in the costs of raw materials.

· Competition in all product segments (Kurie, 2018).

· The company is facing threat from low cost competitors in confectionary industry (Afoakwa, 2008).

· Increased cost of raw materials is a threat that is common for all the players in chocolate manufacturing industry (Gallo, Antolin-Lopez and Montiel, 2018).

From the above analysis, it can be stated that Hershey’s has positioned itself as a major player in chocolate and confectionary industry. This organization is considered as one of the largest organizations all over the world. The company is making various efforts in the field of marketing and sustainability that is the major reason behind its viable growth. The below-given chart shows the positioning of Hershey’s among its major competitors:

  • Barry Callebut                                                                                                             
  • Hershey’s
  • Mondelez
  • Cargill

The chart shows the positioning of Hershey’s against its major competitors. The company is offering premium chocolates at higher prices. So, it will come in the category of higher prices quality chocolate manufacturer. The organization is working to become more sustainable in the market (Kurie, 2018). Company is offering higher quality considering the health of people that will assist them to gain sustainable growth in this industry. 

Distribution Strategy

Sustainable marketing is the environmentally and socially responsible marketing efforts which fulfill the needs of customers and business while enhancing the ability.  Hershey’s has adopted various sustainable marketing principles to enhance its brand image among people. Nowadays, people have become very concerned towards environment so Hershey engaging in social responsibility activities by adopting these principles (Gordon, Carrigan and Hastings, 2011).

Under its sustainable marketing efforts, Hershey’s has adopted societal marketing to attract more customers towards its chocolates and other products. The company has conducted a marketing research to identify the needs and preferences of customers. After that, it has made its product and marketing decision in the interest of organization and customers. In the country, the company has considered that customers always change their needs and preferences for the products. It is not a surprise if they want for the Hershey’s products have changed into the desired products that mean bakeries manufacturing products by utilizing cocoa and chocolate products (Gopaldas, 2015). It has enables the organization to introduce more product lines considering consumer needs and preferences. It prefers to promote its products at television and social media sites as most of the people are active on these platforms. In this way, the organization is using societal marketing considering customers’ preferences (Carroll, 2015).

It is the major sustainability principle behind the success of Hershey in global chocolate manufacturing industry. The company always makes efforts to develop better relationships with its existing customers. It assists them in retaining the customers for long term. After the sale of chocolates, the company takes the feedback from customers so that it can understand their response. It connects with the customers on their special days like birthdays and anniversaries. It assists the Hershey’s in developing customer loyalty (Hunt, 2011).

However, Hershey’s has adopted effective strategies and principles which have assisted the company in becoming success in competitive business environment but company should implement some other principles for long term growth. First, the company needs to focus on its value proposition and to position itself as a socially responsible firm among targeted audiences. Under its positioning statement, it can include something creative that can affect the perception of customers positively (Bassell, and Friedman, 2016). For example, people think that Chocolates of Hershey’s are not good for their health. So company should include healthy ingredients and promote it in an effective manner. It will affect their perception positively that company thinks about them and their health.

Promotion Strategy

Conclusion

From the above report, it can be concluded that Hershey’s is the most popular brand in Chocolate producing industry. The company has some competitors but it is able to gain more competitive advantage by the use of effective marketing strategies. The report includes different sustainable marketing concepts regarding Hershey’s. It can be found that the company can use its strengths and opportunities to overcome its weaknesses and threats in the industry. In addition to this, the company is able to develop a strong image by adopting sustainable marketing principles. These principles will affect the buying behaviors and perception of customers positively. In addition to societal marketing and customer relation management, the company needs to adopt more principles in order to gain more competitive advantage over its competitors. The strengths and opportunities will assist the organization to get a strong position in Chocolate producing sector.

References 

Afoakwa, E.O., 2008. Cocoa and chocolate consumption – Are there aphrodisiac and other benefits for human health? Cocoa and chocolate consumption: Invited Review, 21(3) pp. 107-113.

Bahadir, S.C., Bharadwaj, S.G. and Srivastava, R.K., 2015. Marketing mix and brand sales in global markets: Examining the contingent role of country-market characteristics. Journal of International Business Studies, 46(5), pp.596-619.

Bassell, M. and Friedman, H.H., 2016. Ethical entrepreneurship is redefining marketing-driven organizations. Journal of Ethics & Entrepreneurship, 6(1), p.97.

Blockeel, C., Drakopoulos, P., Santos-Ribeiro, S., Polyzos, N.P. and Tournaye, H., 2016. A fresh look at the freeze-all protocol: a SWOT analysis. Human reproduction, 31(3), pp.491-497.

Carroll, A.B., 2015. Corporate social responsibility. Organizational dynamics, 44(2), pp.87-96.

Chawla, D. and Sondhi, N., 2016. Local versus global brand preferences amongst urban Indian chocolate consumers: an empirical study. International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management, 12(4), pp.508-533.

Davari, A. and Strutton, D., 2014. Marketing mix strategies for closing the gap between green consumers' pro-environmental beliefs and behaviors. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 22(7), pp.563-586.

de Andrade Silva, A.R., Bioto, A.S., Efraim, P. and de Castilho Queiroz, G., 2017. Impact of sustainability labeling in the perception of sensory quality and purchase intention of chocolate consumers. Journal of cleaner production, 141, pp.11-21.

Gallo, P.J., Antolin-Lopez, R. and Montiel, I., 2018. Associative Sustainable Business Models: Cases in the bean-to-bar chocolate industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 174, pp.905-916.

Gerstein, M. and Friedman, H.H., 2015. Smart Pricing Strategies for the Internet Age: A Primer. Journal of Accounting and Finance, 15(2), p.25.

Gopaldas, A., 2015. Creating firm, customer, and societal value: Toward a theory of positive marketing. Journal of Business Research, 68(12), pp.2446-2451.

Gordon, R., Carrigan, M. and Hastings, G., 2011. A framework for sustainable marketing. Marketing Theory, 11(2), pp.143-163.

Gutiérrez, T.J., 2017, State?of?the?Art Chocolate Manufacture: A Review, Wiley Online Library, 16 (6) 1313-1344.

Hannah, D., Parent, M., Pitt, L. and Berthon, P., 2014. It's a secret: Marketing value and the denial of availability. Business Horizons, 57(1), pp.49-59.

Hershey’s, 2018, Hershey's Candy & Recipes - Introducing Hershey's Gold, [Online] Available from https://www.hersheys.com/en_us/home.html. (Accessed on 13 April 2018).

Huang, R. and Sarigöllü, E., 2014. How brand awareness relates to market outcome, brand equity, and the marketing mix. In Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors (pp. 113-132). Hunt, S.D., 2011. Sustainable marketing, equity, and economic growth: a resource-advantage, economic freedom approach. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(1), pp.7-20.

Khan, M.T., 2014. The concept of'marketing mix'and its elements (a conceptual review paper). International journal of information, business and management, 6(2), p.95.

Kizil, C., Eddy, V., Clary, L. and Crowell, K., 2013, Hershey’s Entry to the Australian Market with a New Brand: An Accounting and Marketing Perspective, Emerging Market Journal, 3 (2), pp. 97-126.

Kurie, P., 2018. In Chocolate We Trust: The Hershey Company Town Unwrapped. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Malawskey, N., 2011, Hershey Co. ranked among top 5 in advertising spending growth in U.S., [Online] Available from https://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/06/the_hershey_co_ranked_among_to.html. (Accessed on 13 April 2018).

Market Realist, 2018, Evaluating Hershey’s Financials Against Its Competitors, [Online] Available from https://marketrealist.com/2015/10/evaluating-hersheys-financials-competitors. (Accessed on 13 April 2018).

Pappas, N., 2016. Marketing strategies, perceived risks, and consumer trust in online buying behaviour. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 29, pp.92-103.

Ramli, N.S., 2017. A review of marketing strategies from the European chocolate industry. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 7(1), p.10.

Renton, M., Daellenbach, U., Davenport, S. and Richard, J., 2015. Small but sophisticated: Entrepreneurial marketing and sme approaches to brand management. Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 17(2), pp.149-164.

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